Independent French restaurant, French Affaire has transformed its courtyard into a wintery retreat for al-fresco festive dining this December.
Based in Odell’s Yard, the idyllic festive French wonderland is complete with fairy lights and furry blankets for guests to cosy-down. The outdoor area is sheltered with heaters so that diners can enjoy French Affaire’s full menu in a festive setting whilst staying warm.
Anca Marcu comments: “Our al-fresco dining wonderland is a great addition for the festive season which we know our customers will love. We look forward to welcoming diners to enjoy festivities at French Affaire.”
French Affaire is located in the heart of Stony Stratford and offer classic yet modern French cuisine in a beautiful interior setting. Since opening last year, owners Razvan and Anca Marcu have also acquired a new premises just across the courtyard, Greek Affaire which serves traditional Greek cuisine. Both restaurants have become local favourites so booking is advised – especially over the festive season.
Milton Keynes Theatre opens Auditions for 14 to 19 year olds
Young people aged 14 to 19 are invited to audition to be part of the MKT Academy Young Company, offering them the opportunity to gain valuable experience in staging a professional production, from the audition to the final curtain.
Participants will work with director Kitty Benford between January and April 2022 to create their own version of the play Like There’s No Tomorrow for NT Connections. The play was originally devised by the Belgrade Young Company with Justine Themen, Claire Procter and Liz Mytton. The Young Company will perform their new production at Milton Keynes Theatre and the Royal & Derngate in Northampton, with the potential to perform at the Connections showcase at the National Theatre in London.
Alexandra Snell, Senior Creative Learning Manager said: “We are really excited to have been selected to take part in NT Connections 2022 and can’t wait to work with a brand-new group of local young people. This topical play feels extremely relevant to our current generation and I am sure the company will make something truly innovative.”
Like There’s No Tomorrow will be a fast paced and vibrant show that focuses on young people and how they feel about climate change and the inaction of the adults around them. This production by MKT Academy Young Company will highlight the unique relationship that Milton Keynes has with the topics of climate change and capitalism, as well as exploring the links our citizens have to other parts of the world that are impacted by climate change. The show will be high energy, feature ensemble storytelling, movement and music and hopes to gather all the resources required in an eco-friendly manner.
Auditions are taking place on Saturday 8th January between 11am and 2pm. To book your place in the audition workshop, email firstname.lastname@example.org
As well as performers, Milton Keynes Theatre would like to hear from young people with an interest in directing and stage managing.
Milton Keynes Theatre is also looking for local sponsors to support this exciting project, which would offer young people from all backgrounds the opportunity to take part. If you would like to help, please contact the theatre’s Sales and Development Manager, Linda Davies on: email@example.com
What the jingle bells is going on at The Galleria?
The true identity of a very festive intruder, spotted on CCTV arriving at The Galleria, has now been confirmed as none other than Santa’s most esteemed helper… the scout Elf! As per Christmas tradition, the scout Elf has been tasked with keeping an eye on guests…he’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice! And this year, it seems that Elf has decided to take residence at The Galleria for the month of December – watching guests, appearing here and there around the centre and of course already getting up to his world-renowned mischief!
To celebrate the Elf’s arrival, The Galleria has launched an official Elf Hunt and is encouraging Elf hunters to take s-Elfies and share them on social media with the hashtag #GalleriaElf.
Chief Officer of Christmas at The Galleria, commented: “When we arrived at the outlet on 1st December, we were stunned to find one of Santa’s infamous scout elves had moved in overnight. We’re incredibly excited at his arrival and have launched The Galleria Elf Hunt, inviting guests to seek out his hiding spots. So far the elf has stayed true to his reputation of causing a bit of havoc so we’ll make sure we keep an eye on him during his stay.”
As well as the Elf Hunt, guests to The Galleria can enjoy seasonal entertainment from local community groups on selected dates along with supporting East and North Hertfordshire Hospitals Charity and Lister Hospital’s Children’s Ward by donating a Christmas gift at The Giving Tree.
For more information about the Elf Hunt and Christmas events at The Galleria, visit https://thegalleria.co.uk/articles/elf-hunt
Sculptural textile work goes on exhibition at St Albans Museum + Gallery
St Albans Museum + Gallery is busy preparing the Weston Gallery for its next major exhibition, Fibre and Form. This will exhibit Anna Ray’s stitched artwork: an unusual and visually striking art form.
Held in conjunction with UH Arts and Culture, the focus of the exhibition will be Anna’s large-scale sculptural wall pieces created over the past 20 years.
Working from her studio in Hertfordshire, Anna has an impressive international commissioning and exhibition record with her stitched artwork. Fibre and Form focuses on large-scale sculptural wallpieces created over the past 20 years. It features two newly commissioned works entitled Mesh and Rosette, which have been fabricated during the pandemic.
Anna offers an artistic practice/medium that is highly accessible and appealing, while also pioneering within the field of art textiles and soft sculpture. Her assemblages are full of joy and life; their palette bright and varied; their form and surface rich and highly tactile. In their fabrication, Anna has developed specialist techniques of stitching, wrapping and stuffing fabrics, which repeat and build in relation to each other – enabling new possibilities. Her pieces are a perpetual experimentation; Anna will have half a dozen artworks in development at any one time.
One of the smaller exhibits, a 2019 padded sculpture entitled Ribbon Chain, is being publicly exhibited for the first time at St Albans Museum + Gallery. With its interlocking and coiled links, it complements the scale and palette of another, much larger piece in the exhibition, entitled Margate Knot.
The newly commissioned Rosette is a bold, brightly painted textile wall piece inspired by Anna’s Huguenot ancestors who were silk weavers and manufacturers of fancy trimmings in Spitalfields during the 1700s. Mesh by contrast is a more subdued monochrome structure, with component parts laced imaginatively together, inspired by the boning of 18th-century clothing. With both new works, sculptural components are slotted in place, stacked, and resting, building up within the space, to create complex surface and visual crescendo.
The scope of the space at St Albans Museum + Gallery offers a rare opportunity to unite and showcase an extraordinary collection of sculptural textile work by an artist working locally but with international ambition and context.
“I want my pieces to float, gather or fall naturally – to be themselves, to become exquisite. I am interested in the exact qualities of the materials I work with, their subtleties, how they look and feel alongside each other, as much as in their overall visual effects.”
“I want the work to be deep, not superficial. The qualities – weight, strength, weakness, drape – of the artwork as it develops tend to lead the way in terms of final install, so there is an element of problem solving until the very end of the process.” Anna Ray, artist.
“We are delighted to be showcasing incredible pieces, both early and new, from Anna Ray’s collection at St Albans Museum + Gallery. Acknowledging and supporting local artists is a central focus for the museum, so to host an exhibition from an internationally acclaimed artist is a pleasure and a privilege.” Cllr Anthony Rowlands, Chair of St Albans City and District Council’s Public Realm Committee, and Lead Councillor for museums.
“This remarkable exhibition gives us glimpses into Anna’s studio practice and her creative process from initial experiments to epic soft sculptures.” Annabel Lucas, Head of UH Arts + Culture.
Fibre and Form will be extended through a range of digital and live resources and events. St Albans Museum + Gallery will host live workshops and talks – complemented by an artist film, online creative activities, and collaborative workshops. The exhibition and Ray’s artistic practice will be further explored in a text by Ann Coxon, Curator, International Art, Tate Modern.