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Arts & Entertainment

Car boot sales will keep air ambulance flying

A season of monthly charity car boot sales is returning to Marlborough Common, starting this Sunday (April 21).

All proceeds go towards the Wiltshire Air Ambulance charity appeal.

Last year the Marlborough Supporters of Wiltshire Air Ambulance were able to donate £2,800 to keep the air ambulance flying.

Pitches cost £8 for cars and £10 for vans. Keep an eye on our What's On calendar for forthcoming events.  

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Record Store Day will be celebrated with film and, of course, music

Graham Jones, author of Last Shop StandingGraham Jones, author of Last Shop StandingThe rise, fall and rebirth of the independent record shop will be charted during a screening of the film Last Shop Standing next week.

There were 2200 independent record shops in the 1980s, by 2009 there were only 269 left.

Last Shop Standing features the likes of Johnny Marr, Paul Weller and Fatboy Slim as it attempts to find out why so many shops have closed – and how those last remaining stores are managing to survive in the age of the digital download.

The documentary – the official film of Record Store Day 2013 – will be shown at Marlborough Town Hall on Wednesday, April 17 as part of wider celebrations by record store Sound Knowledge to mark the occasion.

And meeting music fans to sign copies of the book and DVD, and to answer questions about the documentary, will be Graham Jones, the Chippenham-based Liverpudlian music fan who wrote the 2009 book that inspired the film.

Doors open at 7pm and tickets cost £5 from Sound Knowledge, which is located in Hughenden Yard, Marlborough.

Roger Mortimer, owner of Sound Knowledge in his shopRoger Mortimer, owner of Sound Knowledge in his shopSound Knowledge will be opening from 8am on Saturday, April 20 to sate the appetite of vinyl fans – a selection of limited edition records have been pressed to promote the day.

And on Sunday, April 21, from midday, a festival atmosphere will come to Hughenden Yard, with live performances from Nick Harper, Port Erin, Tallulah Rendall, The Suburbians, and Peter & the Mountain. Attendance is free. 

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Major London art exhibition to be shown on Marlborough cinema screen

Le Chemin de Fer (The Railroad) by Édouard ManetLe Chemin de Fer (The Railroad) by Édouard ManetArt lovers can see the work of the 19th century painter Édouard Manet – considered the founding father of modern art­ – in Marlborough this month, thanks to the magic of the Town Hall's versatile silver screen. 

The first-ever major show of Manet's work at the Royal Academy of Arts, Portraying Life, opened at the end of January and, due to demand, has been extended until midnight on April 14.

But for fans not lucky enough to get a ticket, there's an opportunity to see the artist's work at Marlborough Town Hall, as the exhibition is brought to the big screen by the Kennet Valey Arts Trust.

The High Definition film of the exhibition, which will be shown on Tuesday, April 11 from 6.30pm and again on Tuesday, April 16 from 1pm, also includes exclusive behind-the-scenes footage of the show’s preparation, interwoven with a superbly crafted biography of Manet and 19th-century Paris.

Tickets cost £13 in advance from, Sound Knowledge or White Horse Bookshop, Marlborough. 

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Lord of the Flies to make its debut as a major musical at the Oxford Playhouse in July

Sir William GoldingSir William GoldingThe Lord of the Flies, the first novel by Nobel prize-winning author Sir William Golding, who grew up in Marlborough, is to become a major musical due to be given its premiere at the Oxford Playhouse in July.

It is a significant and exciting event for admirers of Golding, a pupil at Marlborough Grammar School, where his father was a teacher, since it has immaculate talent behind the Playhouse initiative.

The musical, which calls in students from Magdalen College School in Oxford to play the roles of the boys stranded on an island, is being directed by Adrian Noble, former chief executive of the Royal Shakespeare Company, and the winner of numerous theatrical awards, receiving some 20 nominations for Olivier awards during his career.

He has also worked for the noted Peter Hall Company, The Manhatten Theatre Club, Kent Opera and directed a productions of Giovanni in a Paris circus tent.

And the music for the production, co-directed by Joanne Pearce, is by the award-winning Irish composer Shaun Davey, who has composed for the concert hall, the stage and TV, his work performed round the world.

His compositions have included the theatre scores for The Lion, The Witch And the Wardrobe, and the TV and film scores for Ballykissangle, The Tailor of Panama, David Copperfield and Trevor Nunn’s Twelfth Night.

He received the People of the Year award for his contribution to Irish culture, an Ivor Novello Award for his score for The Hanging Gale, and this year was nominated for a Tony award for his music for the hit Broadway version of James Joyce’s The Dead.

The Oxford Playhouse production of Lord of the Flies – the novel about a group of British boys stuck on an uninhabited island who try to govern themselves with disastrous results was a flop when it was published in 1954 – will run from July 5 to 7.

The novel subsequently twice adapted as a film, in 1963 and 1990, and became an international best seller, chosen by The Times newspaper as third in the list of the greatest British authors since 1945.

And Golding, who lived on The Green, in Marlborough, in his early days – there is a commemorative plaque on his home there – went on to win the Booker Prize for Rites of Passage in 1980, was made a Nobel laureate for literature in 1983 and knighted in 1988.

He died in 1993, aged 81.

The Lord of the Flies musical Oxford Playhouse tryout could become a significant West End and international production if it proves a major success.

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Now four Waitrose partners from Marlborough sing together to lift the austerity gloom

Marlborough's singing quartet, left to right Rose Bennett, Jane Rowland, Ann Young and Ian DavisMarlborough's singing quartet, left to right Rose Bennett, Jane Rowland, Ann Young and Ian DavisThey are not only partners in Waitrose serving the people of Marlborough, but now four members of staff have joined a newly formed choir called, naturally, Partners Aloud.

It is but one of 11 such choirs from an original 30 within the John Lewis Partnership who are to compete in an internal competition taking place at the company’s conference centre in Odney, near Cookham, in Berkshire.

But more than that singing together has helped lift the gloom of today’s austerity gloom.

“We’re very much a scratch choir,” Ian Davis, a Waitrose delivery driver for nearly six years, told Marlborough News Online. “It’s all about working together.

“And singing together definitely lifts the spirits in these difficult times and makes you feel good.”

He and three female members of the local Waitrose staff have joined 16 members of Partners Aloud drawn from John Lewis at Home Swindon and John Lewis Outlet Swindon to take part in the competition on April 14.

They are Jane Rowland, on the staff of Waitrose for 15 years, Rose Bennett and checkout staff member Ann Young, who have been there more than five years.

The idea of forming the choirs was revealed in February by Manvinder Rattan, musical director of the John Lewis Partnership, who was one of the judges on the BBC’s Singing in the Workplace initiative.

The Swindon/Marlborough choir, now being tutored by Lisa Williams, musical director of the Occasions Choir from Royal Wootton Bassett, will be singing Somewhere Only We Know composed by the alternative rock band Keane, a must for all the competing choirs.

“We’ll be singing that in three-part harmony like a barber shop performance,” explained Ian. “We’re also singing an old hymn called All Through the Night and probably Sing a Song of Sixpence.

He has a tenor voice and believes it comes from his Welsh background – his family dropped the E in their name Davies – while his three female compatriots are all altos.

“My great grandfather came from Wrexham and my great grandmother was quite musical,” he said. “I did some singing when I was a very young choirboy and also in a big choir at Marlborough College’s annual summer school.

“A few members of the choir can read music and play a musical instrument, but most of them are first timers. We’re all enjoying it thoroughly, especially as Lisa Williams, who is teaching us, is a real find, a great motivator.

“And that makes it all fun.”

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Murder at Wilton Windmill

Windmill MurderWindmill MurderWilton Windmill is to be the setting for a murder mystery event, written especially for the venue by professional actors.

The “seriously scary” immersive event is being staged by Smoke & Mirrors, a company of actors trained at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and the Central School of Speech and Drama, who specialise in bringing murder mysteries to interesting and historic buildings.

Alex Rain, from Smoke & Mirrors, told Marlborough News Online: “The plot features a television producer filming a programme - live on the night - about the supernatural.

“The producer is at Wilton, having been invited by a local psychic medium who has a great revelation that she wants witnessed by our audience and the TV cameras

“But the medium is in cahoots with an immoral and unscrupulous historian, who's hoping to cash in on the deal.”

Mr Rain promised the audience “some of our most spectacular set-pieces to date, as well as the most ambitious murder we've ever attempted.”

And he revealed that the cast would include an actor familiar to fans of the TV hospital drama Holby City. 

Murder at the Mill will take place on Saturday, June 8 from 7.30pm with tickets costing £20. For full booking details, visit

For a creepy video of the Smoke & Mirrors team in action, go to

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Workshops at Marlborough’s White Horse bookshop have become a mecca for the creative arts

Edwina PearceEdwina PearceA town isn’t a town without a bookshop.  And the more so if there is a 10 per cent discount on hardbacks in these hard times.  But Marlborough’s White Horse Bookshop, founded 60 years ago, is more than that.

It has become a mecca over the years as a centre for one day art workshops – now creative writing adventures too – which have proved an attraction to the retired, young mothers and students too who want to develop their talents.

“We’ve also got a knitting workshop going too,” says Edwina Pearce (pictured), who has been organising the workshops for almost 13 years, as well as running the White Horse’s professional artists’ materials department.

“So I’m always looked outside the box for new people who can offer something different.  It’s a job I enjoy.  So my heart goes into it.  And it works wonderfully, up to eight people meeting in warm and comfortable surroundings to develop their talents.

“It’s almost like a club, a miniature version of Marlborough’s Summer School, with people coming back year after year.  I love to see them again.  They send me emails telling me what they’re doing.  It’s great, like being part of a big family.”

It’s a family too with foreign members.  Penny Dedman, who lives in Luxembourg, arranges visits to her daughter to coincide with workshop classes, Ann Summers comes from Spain to meet up with old friends, and Ann Meale travels from the Isle of Wight to attend workshops with her daughter.

The renown of the tutors working in an upstairs studio with windows on three sides in the 17th century bookshop building adds to the value of the workshops.

Bill Mather, whose workshop this Saturday is on Wiltshire landscapes in three colour acrylics, is but one of them, along with Susanna Bailey and Kim Vines, all professional artists with their own websites where you can see their work for yourself.

The relaxed, friendly atmosphere is one of the workshops’ virtues, which is recognised by Debby Guest, a member of the bookselling staff.

“What we offer is a comfortable, non-pressurised environment for people to come in and do something they always fancied trying their hand at and never knew quite where to start,” Debby explains.

“Everybody can have a say, have a go.  Nobody is going to get left out and neither is anybody going to be pushed to the front.

“If you’ve not tried pastels, there’s a tutor there who will set a project, show you techniques, give you ideas and you can go out at the end of the day with a finished piece of work.” she explains.

“The classes are incredibly popular.  We have people who come back time after time.”

Many will welcome novelist Debby Holt and short story writer Alison Clink are now giving workshops in creative writing.

“They enable people to kick-start something they have always wanted to do, to write their own life story, a short story or a novel,” adds Debby Guest. “They may have always wanted to write a novel but never really knew how to get going.

“The first rule in writing is bum on seat and this is it, for a whole day you can get on with it.”

The workshops, which take place on a weekly basis until June 10, cost £27 with a £15 deposit required when booking.

For full details see White Horse website –

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