Windmill 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 www.wiltonwindmill.co.uk/2013/04/02/murder-mystery-at-wilton-windmill/
For a creepy video of the Smoke & Mirrors team in action, go to http://hauntedmysteryweekend.co.uk/about-smoke-and-mirrors.html
Marlborough'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.”
Edwina 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 – www.whitehorsebooks.co.uk