Shopping giant Intu failed to reach an agreement in financial restructuring talks today meaning Intu Watford and Intu Milton Keynes could be closing their doors having just re-opened them following the coronavirus shutdown.
Earlier this week, Intu Properties warned that shopping malls across the UK may have to close their doors for a period. Intu Properties who are currently £4.5 billion in debt have been in talks with their creditors to obtain standstill agreements. This would have meant Intu would not have to pay back what it has borrowed until the end of 2021. These talks failed and Intu is entering administration with potential closures in Watford & Milton Keynes.
What is administration?
Administration is an insolvency procedure that protects your company against legal pressure from its creditors while an Insolvency Practitioner or firm acts as administrator. Many companies come back from administration.
What does this mean for our high streets?
The news comes as a double blow as Milton Keynes and Watford have lost Debenhams in the past month. The closure of a two-year-old Debenhams store in Watford is particularly disappointing . With its upmarket beauty hall and gin bar, it had been billed as the retailer’s ‘store of the future’. New ideas were introduced which included hosted events for Beauty Club members – a new online loyalty scheme and forum, featuring tips and advice on products from regular customers.
Some view a potential collapse as a good thing for independents who have struggled recently. Rents have been extremely high for all involved and changes in shopping behaviour have created the perfect storm alongside the coronavirus pandemic. Many are hoping landlords take note and look at rent levels.
Monsoon Accessorize, the business behind popular High Street fashion retailers Monsoon and Accessorize recently announced they are closing 35 stores across the UK with two in The Three Counties.
St Albans Comedy Extravaganza returns to Verulamium Park in July
St Albans Comedy Garden presented by heycar is set to light up Verulamium Park this summer with a magnificent series of open-air shows from 27-31st July!
Starring legendary BAFTA and Perrier Award winner DYLAN MORAN, the guv’nor himself AL MURRAY, multi-award winning SARA PASCOE, the Last Leg’s ROSIE JONES, Father Ted star ARDAL O’HANLON, lo-fi hero DAVID O’DOHERTY and many more huge names performing at this year’s astounding set of open-air shows.
St Albans Comedy Garden line-up
Stand-up favourites are out in force too with cult poet / comic TIM KEY, German Comedy Ambassador HENNING WEHN, observational master ED BYRNE, Afterlife star KERRY GODLIMAN, Taskmaster champ LOU SANDERS, Edinburgh Comedy Award winner JOHN ROBINS, Netflix star JOEL DOMMETT, the inimitable REGINALD D HUNTER to name a few.
Alongside established names sit some of the brightest breakthrough talent such as the acclaimed CELYA AB, stand-up phenomenon FATIHA EL-GHORRI and the award-winning ESTHER MANITO, fast rising TADIWA MAHLUNGE all making their St Albans debut.
What to expect at St Albans Comedy Garden
Following last summer’s huge sell-out first edition St Albans Comedy Garden returns with another astounding programme of stand-up comedy presented in a fully-seated open-air theatre in the Park’s beautiful Water Meadow.
This year’s comedy extravaganza will once again be brimful with bars serving up a tastemaker selection of craft beers, cocktails and more, plus an array of street-food stalls from the leading lights of the local street food scene.
Tickets are expected to fly as comedy-lovers from St Albans and beyond grab the chance to see these masterfully curated shows, each featuring a host of critically-acclaimed stars guaranteeing a hit of absolute entertainment in the heart of the summer.
The sibling team behind the Comedy Garden, Cass Randolph and Will Briggs of 57 Festivals, can’t wait to return to St Albans. Cass said “We’re thrilled with this year’s line-up and to be back in Verulamium Park, we had such a great first year last summer, the audiences were an absolute riot, far livelier than we had expected! The acts really feed off that kind of energy and in turn give incredible performances.”
Will added “We have some outstanding acts joining us this year, i’m especially looking forward to seeing Dylan Moran headline our opening night and can’t wait to watch stand-out newcomers CELYA AB and FATIHA EL-GHORRI on the big stage.”
This year’s event is partnered with heycar, Chief Commercial Officer Karen Hilton said: “With this year’s Comedy Garden returning to St Albans, it’s shaping up to be an incredible, feel-good summer. We have so much laughter to catch up on after the last few years and I can’t think of a better way to do it. The line-up is truly world-class, and we’re particularly looking forward to seeing the incredible Joel Dommett in action. heycar is honoured to be sponsoring this incredible event and we can’t wait to see everyone in St Albans this July!”
St Albans Comedy Garden tickets
Get your tickets now and be part of this year’s magnificent St Albans Comedy Garden! Visit the website to find out more www.stalbanscomedygarden.co.uk
Blake Kuwahara launches Summer 22 eyewear collection
“After two very long years dealing with the pandemic, we are finally seeing light at the end of the tunnel” says Blake Kuwahara. “This Spring Collection reflects that hopeful optimism with more color and adventurous shapes”. His design ethos of creating eyewear that is at once artful yet wearable is evident in his signature frame-within-a-frame laminated technique and use of contrasting colors as well as his cast bone motif used in his Grey Label Collection.
Also dropping this Summer will be a limited edition of the now iconic CHAMBERS in a custom Rainbow acetate in honor of PRIDE. “I posted a rendering of the CHAMBERS in rainbow colors on Instagram to celebrate and recognize the LGBTQ Community during PRIDE Month, and it got such an overwhelming response that we decided to produce it!”, says Kuwahara.
“With the lifting of COVID-related restrictions and a pent-up demand, retail is continuing gain traction buoyed by consumer optimism,” says Richard Mewha, President of Fade To Grey, the distributing company for Blake Kuwahara Eyewear.
Blake Kuwahara designs are available from leading independent opticians across Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire.
Kuwahara, the founder of the multi-disciplinary design agency, Focus Group West, first gained international acclaim as the creator and designer of the exclusive KATA Eyewear brand. His groundbreaking use of engineering and production techniques together with his highly curated eye reinvented the way eyewear design is approached today.
Kuwahara’s bold experimentation and innovation have gained him a following in the fashion media and has been profiled in Vogue, ELLE, Bazaar, GQ, In Style, and Esquire and has been seen on E!, Access Hollywood, MTV, and CNN. Buzzmagazine voted Kuwahara one of the “100 Coolest People in Los Angeles” and Detour magazine called him, “a gifted talent, blessed with savvy and unmistakable sense of style.”
Kuwahara was recently named by Brilliant Magazine as one of the “100 Most Important People in the Eyewear Industry”. Kuwahara has also collaborated extensively on eyewear collections for John Varvatos, Carolina Herrera, Isaac Mizrahi, Behnaz Sarapfour, Hanae Mori, and Coach.
A celebrity favorite, Kuwahara’s designs are worn by Lil Nas X, Elton John, QuestLove, Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock, Charlize Theron, Halle Berry, Robert Downey, Jr., Will Smith, Jeremy Piven, Samuel L. Jackson, Casey Affleck, Slash, and Gwyneth Paltrow among many others.
Wycombe Swan Summer Youth Project is back for 2022
Returning for the first time since 2019, this year sees the return of Wycombe Swan’s Summer Youth Project. Running since 1993, numerous participants have gone on to have successful careers both on and off stage. Join us on our next adventure! Build confidence, develop skills, have fun, and make long-lasting friendships.
About Wycombe Swan Summer Youth Project (SYP)
Over the two-week project, Wycombe Swan comes alive to the sights and sounds of 150 young people doing everything they can to put on a full-scale musical in time for curtain up!
Participants have the option of taking to the stage as a performer, or to make magic happen as part of the Technical Team.
All performances take place on our main stage in the 1,000 seated Wycombe Swan Theatre.
Only those wishing to have a principal/speaking role or be a dance captain need to audition.
Big Fish The Show
This year, the show is BIG FISH. Based on the novel by Daniel Wallace and the acclaimed film directed by Tim Burton.
AUDITIONS (FOR THOSE WISHING TO HAVE A SPEAKING ROLE): Sunday 22 May
DATES: Mon 15 to Sunday 28 August
AGES: 9-21 (performers). 14-21 (technical team)
It is our wish that no young person misses out due to financial constraints. For this reason, we offer bursaries of up to 100% so that anybody can take part.
TO APPLY, AND FOR MORE INFO: Visit https://wycombeswan.co.uk/Online/summerproject
APPLICATION DEADLINE: Friday 13 May