Out & About
Theatre and Shows
The next seven days at Southend Theatres:
Volunteer? Then please walk this way
‘Walk this Way’ – the local Health Walks Scheme – is looking to recruit volunteer walk leaders to help run free walks across the Borough.
There are currently three weekly walks which each take between 30 minutes to one hour: one in Leigh-on-Sea, one in Priory Park and one in Shoebury. You only need commit to one walk per month, although you can volunteer for as many walks as you wish.
As well as ensuring walks are friendly, safe and organised, walk leaders are ambassadors for walking, demonstrating the difference it can make to people's lives and how it can improve fitness and improve mental and physical wellbeing.
To find out what walkers thought about the scheme, a member of the Public Health team joined a walk in Leigh-on-Sea. Those attending talked enthusiastically about the benefits, saying:
“I get aches and pains, but on these walks I can do as much or as little as I want to. It gets me out of the house!”
“After recovering from a heart attack, I started walking on my own, just into Leigh to the shops. Then I found out about this group and it’s much more fun to walk with others.”
“We always have seafood and a cuppa at the end of the walk. I look forward to that part. I’ve made lots of new friends.”
“I’m a carer for my elderly mother and I can get a bit low at times. Walking helps me feel better and it restores my energy.”
If you’re a people person who loves the outdoors, get in touch to find out more. Contact LeeWatson@Southend.gov.uk, or phone Lee on 01702 212818. Health Walks Leaders receive full training.
If you want to find out what the walks are like first, then visit the Walking for Health website for details of when and where the walks take place.
Musicians sought for county’s first woodwind orchestra
Monday 6 March 2017
Accomplished musicians in Essex are being sought as members of the county’s first woodwind orchestra.
Clarinettists, bass clarinettists, tenor saxophonists and bassoonists are all being recruited to join the newly formed Southend Woodwind Orchestra and tackle a fun but challenging repertoire of woodwind concert pieces for a series of concerts throughout the year.
Established in 2002 as Southend Wind Orchestra, and under the guidance of experienced Musical Director, David Clark, the group of talented musicians is now changing direction to focus primarily on woodwind-only music, though collaborations with brass bands and choral groups are still planned throughout the year. A minimum of grade 6 ability is usually required, though many play to grade 8 and above.
David Clark said: “This is an exciting opportunity for woodwind musicians to join a friendly and talented bunch of like-minded performers, who like to challenge themselves in a supportive environment.
“Our players come from a broad range of backgrounds, ranging from full-time students, to peripatetic music teachers, people working full-time in other professions and those close to or even in retirement.
“The most important attributes we are looking for are technical ability and a passion for playing. So if this sounds like you, please get in touch.”
Anyone interested in finding out more should visit www.southendwindorchestra.org and use the ‘Contact Us’ section to get in touch. The orchestra rehearses every Wednesday evening at Chalkwell Park Methodist Church during term time and performs a varied programme of concerts throughout the year.
World renown university choir to perform in Concert Series
Tuesday 7th March 2017
The Southend-on-Sea Borough Council Concert Series attracts performers of international reputation, and this month’s concert is no exception.
On Friday March 31st at 8pm, The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge will be joined by the Clare Baroque instrumental ensemble to perform a stunning programme of vocal talent at the Plaza Centre in Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea.
Since its formation in 1972, the choir has gained an international reputation as one of the world’s leading university choirs. In a programme that celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, the choir and orchestra will perform J.S. Bach’s great Reformation Cantatas, BWV 79 and BWV 80, alongside chorale-based works by Brahms, Byrd and Mendelssohn.
Cllr Ann Holland, Executive Councillor for Culture, Tourism and the Economy, said “We are very pleased to welcome The Choir of Clare College, Cambridge to perform here in Southend-on-Sea.”
“To have the opportunity to see a choir with such international renown is terrific. For residents and tourists alike this concert will be a delight, and should not be missed.”
Tickets for the concert can be purchased from 01702 215011 (Mon – Fri office hours), or at the Plaza Centre, Visitors’ Information Centre on the Pier, and at Allegro Music. Tickets are priced £10 (£9 concessions), with concert club members’ tickets at £8 & £7.
The Lost Films of the Kursaal and rediscovered Laurel and Hardy film top the bill at 2017 Southend Film Festival
Southend Film Festival, one of the major independent events in UK cinema, will screen over fifty films and welcome directors, producers and actors from across the globe to the 9th year of the annual event (25-29 May).
Films from France, Brazil, Turkey and Japan reflect the eclectic nature of the festivals slate, while much-loved Hollywood and Ealing classics make welcome returns to the big screen.
However, rather than screening a big budget, blockbuster filmed using the latest hi-tech gadgetry, the festival’s opening Gala Night (Thursday 25th May) will showcase previously unseen home movie footage.
In 2006, builders renovating a house in Southend-on-Sea discovered a collection of 16mm film reels shot by the late Jay Morehouse, the owner of the property and the last owner of the iconic, original Kursaal Amusement Park (which had been sold for redevelopment in the 1970s).
For over twenty years Morehouse, an enthusiastic amateur photographer and movie maker, filmed the crowds of day-trippers and holidaymakers having fun at the Kursaal and throughout Southend, creating an astonishing record of people at play from the 1940s to the Swinging Sixties.
In 2016 Morehouse’s archive was offered to The White Bus – the festival’s organising body – and a painstaking restoration and digitisation project began.
At the opening gala, The Lost Films of the Kursaal, Southend-On-Sea will be publicly screened for the very first time, offering moviegoers a fascinating glimpse of Southend in its heyday.
For true film aficionados, Laurel and Hardy are in the firmament of movie greatness and they are inextricably linked with cinema’s golden era of slapstick comedy during the 1920s and 30s. In 1952, the duo performed in Southend and stayed at the Park Inn Palace hotel – the main venue for the Southend Film Festival - overlooking the seafront and pier.
So it is something of a very special ‘homecoming’ that Laurel and Hardy’s classic short silent comedy The Battle of the Century (1927) will be screened inside the hotel.
For decades, the second reel of the film had been thought lost but it was rediscovered two years ago and Southend Film Festival is poised to give the movie its regional premiere, as it has only been shown once before in London – last summer at the London Film Festival. To complete the original and authentic 1920s cinema experience, local musician Adam Ramet will provide live piano accompaniment to the action, which consists of a reputed 3,000 custard pies being riotously flung in the climactic scene!
Another highlight of the festival will be Tales from the Two Puddings. In 1962, the Johnson family took over the traditional East End boozer, the Two Puddings, and transformed it into one of the Capital’s busiest and most fashionable venues. This terrific documentary looks back upon a lost world of local eccentrics, villains, vindictive coppers, punch ups and practical jokes, all now lying buried beneath West Field shopping centre.
The festival will be drawn to a close by AmStarDam, the debut feature from Chalkwell born acclaimed music video directors Lee and Wayne Lennox, who have worked with the likes of Rolling Stones, Coldplay and Robbie Williams.
Sick of his musician mother’s poor parenting, Jack sets off to Amsterdam on his 21st birthday to reconcile with his absent father, only to discover that he is the failed owner of a marijuana coffee shop. A chance encounter leaves Jack thinking he might just have solved his dad’s problems and set out on the path of rediscovering their non-existent relationship.
An outlandish take on the city of coffee shops and bicycles, AmStarDam is a rowdy feel-good comedy about family, friendship ... and weed!
“I’m really looking forward to the gala night,” says Festival Director, Paul Cotgrove. “Jay Morehouse’s films are culturally important and they really capture the joie de vivre of people living in and visiting Southend in the 40s, 50 and 60s. We tend to think of this era as rather drab, but these 16mm home movies reveal a different truth.”
He adds: “One of the quirkiest films of the entire festival will be ‘40 years behind the Plough’. It’s a documentary about Donald Cave, who never learned to read or write but became an authority on Stone Age archaeology. He’s reminiscent of David Bellamy, in that he can make a dry, somewhat crusty subject sound fascinating. To accompany ‘Gerry Anderson – On Film!’ we will have an exhibition of Thunderbirds memorabilia and original models to accompany the very special screenings of ‘Thunderbirds’ and ‘Space 1999’ episodes.
I’m also especially pleased to add ‘My Feral Heart’ to the programme. Steven Brandon, an actor with Down’s Syndrome, is a revelation as the central character Luke, giving a performance that won him Best Actor at the National Film Awards. The director, Jane Gull, grew up in nearby Rochford and filming took place there, plus Hockley and Rayleigh. Many of the supporting cast and crew are local too, so it will be great to see a film featuring lives in the local landscape. By way of total contrast, ‘AmStarDam’ is reminiscent of the ‘Cheech and Chong’ movies of the Seventies. It’s good fun with its tongue firmly in its cheek.”
For full listings, details about venues and where to buy tickets, go to
International classical guitarist returns to Southend-on-Sea
Monday 24th April 2017
Southend-on-Sea Borough Council is delighted to welcome Australian born Craig Ogden, to perform at the Plaza Centre, Southchurch Road, Southend-on-Sea from 8pm on Friday 28th April.
Internationally renowned, Craig Ogden is one of the UK’s most recorded guitarists receiving wide acclaim or his work with Virgin/EMI, Chandos, Nimbus, Hyperion, Sony, and Classic FM.
Craig Ogden is one of the most exciting guitarists of his generation having become the youngest instrumentalist to receive a Fellowship Award from the Royal Northern College of Music in Manchester in 2004. As well as several albums going straight to No.1 in the Classical charts in 2010, 2011, 214 and 2015.
Travelling worldwide with tours of Europe, Australia, US and Canada Craig’s programme will include music by Albeniz, Walton, JS Bach, Ginastera and more.
Scott Dolling, the Council’s Director of Culture, Tourism and Property, said: ““It is a delight to welcome back Craig to Southend-on-Sea to perform as part of our popular Concert Series.
“To offer the community and visitors the chance to see an internationally renowned guitarist performing live here in Southend is not be missed.”
Tickets are on sale now, priced £10 (£9 concessions) with tickets of £8 and £7 for members of the Southend Council Concert Club.
Tickets for performances can be purchased at The Plaza Centre, Southchurch Road, Southend, The Visitors’ Information Centre, Allegro Music on London Road or by phoning 01702 215011 Monday – Friday during office hours.
For more information about the Concert Series please visit the Southend-on-Sea Borough Council website: www.southend.gov.uk/concerts
Southend Choral Society
with Southend Concert Orchestra
The Dream of Gerontius
By Edward Elgar
Saturday 20th May 2017 – 7.30pm
Crowstone Christian Centre, Westcliff-on-Sea, SS0 8LH
Conductor: Roger Humphrey
Mezzo Soprano: Emily Griffiths | Tenor: Thomas Raskin | Bass: Ieuan Davies
Tickets are prices at £10 | Concession £8
Tickets available from our Box Office by telephone -
Or can be booked online via our website – www.southendchoral.org
For further information contact our Publicity Officer
Norma Bass – 01702 347983