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Sculptural textile work goes on exhibition at St Albans Museum + Gallery

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St Albans Museum + Gallery is delighted to present the first major survey exhibition of sculptural textile work by acclaimed artist Anna Ray

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.

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Eating

Win a ‘Freebie Fridays’ meal by tagging your favourite restaurant

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Win a 'Freebie Fridays' meal by tagging your favourite restaurant

By simply tagging your favourite restaurant and who you would like to dine with, you could win a ‘Freebie Fridays‘ free meal for two courtesy of TrendLife Magazine. Launching in January 2022, Freebie Fridays will give foodies across The Three Counties the chance to take a friend or loved one to a restaurant of their choice

Freebie Fridays Entry tasks

  1. Tag your chosen restaurant/eatery.
  2. Tag your chosen guest and follow us.
  3. Sit back and wait for the weekly draw.

You can tag as many friends and resturants in each draw. Duplicates will only be counted once. You and your nominated guest BOTH need to follow us to be entered into the prize draw. You can enter on both Instagram or Facebook.

Win a 'Freebie Fridays' meal by tagging your favourite restaurant

 

Freebie Fridays Terms and Conditions

  1. The promoter of the Freebie Fridays prize draw is TrendLife Magazine. The promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook.
  2. The Freebie Fridays prize draw is open to UK residents aged 18 or over.
  3. Winners must select/tag a restaurant within the Three Counties of Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire. The winner will be chosen at random and a check will be performed to ensure the winner’s account is. valid. You cannot transfer the prize to a third party.
  4. To enter the prize draw you should follow the instructions on the Facebook post or Instagram post announcing the competition.
  5. Late, invalid or incomplete entries will not be considered, and we accept no responsibility for lost entries.
  6. The Freebie Fridays prize for one winner will be defined within the Facebook and Instagram post.
  7. The Freebie Fridays prize is non-transferable and there are no cash alternatives. Freebie Fridays meal value will be limited to £50 per person. Alcoholic drinks are not included.
  8. The winner will be chosen at random from all qualifying entries. The result is final and no discussion will be entered into concerning the outcome.
  9. The Freebie Fridays prize draw closes on the date defined in the social media post. Entries received after this date will not be considered.
  10. The winner’s contact details may be passed on to a third party for prize fulfilment purposes.
  11. The personal information and contact details you supply will be used only for the purposes of administering the competition, including contacting winners. Winners will be asked to review their meal and chosen restaurant.
  12. We reserve the right to amend these terms and conditions or to cancel, alter or amend the draw or the Freebie Fridays prize due to any circumstances that arise beyond our control.
  13. The Freebie Fridays prize draw is subject to the laws of England and Wales.

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Events

Milton Keynes Theatre reveals it’s Winter/Spring 2022 season

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Milton Keynes Theatre has today announced its Winter/Spring 2022 season with a programme of outstanding shows, shaping next year into one of the biggest in the theatre’s history. 

Since it’s reopening in July 2021, Milton Keynes Theatre has seen a joyous return of live audiences, safely welcoming over 100,000 people through its doors to enjoy 42 quality shows. Here’s what the leading live entertainment venue has in store for 2022. The new year will see the final few performances of the highly anticipated, GIANT of a pantomime, Jack and the Beanstalk, which opens on Sat 11 Dec and closes on Sat 8 Jan.

Ashley Banjo and Diversity with Pete Firman and Gina Murray in Jack and the Beanstalk at Milton Keynes Theatre

From 11 January, everyone’s favorite creepy and kooky family are back in town. The Addams Familystars Strictly Come Dancing icon Joanne Clifton as the dark and mysterious Morticia. The spectacular musical comedy comes from the writing team of multi award-winning hit musical Jersey Boys, with music and lyrics by Tony award nominated Andrew Lippa.

Milton Keynes will be the third city in the UK to experience the dazzling show which dominated theatre award ceremonies from its original production in 1982 to its West End debut in 2017. The long-awaited UK tour of Dreamgirls arrives at Milton Keynes Theatre for two weeks from 25 January to 5 March starring The Voice semi-finalist Nicole Raquel Dennis and Milton Keynes actress Natalie Kassanga.

Bringing some rock and roll to your February afternoons and evenings will be the electric School of Rock. Relive the face-melting music from the beloved film and enjoy Andrew Lloyd Webber’s new hits delivered by a band of insanely talented kids. Rock out with the band from 8 to 12 February.

Jersey Boys UK & Ireland Tour. Credit Birgit + Ralf Brinkhoff

Jersey Boys UK & Ireland Tour. Credit Birgit + Ralf Brinkhoff

From 23 February to 5 March, the stage sensation Jersey Boys returns to Milton Keynes Theatre’s stage. The smash hit musical goes behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons from the streets of New Jersey to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Welsh National Opera will bring a trio of operatic delights on their return to Milton Keynes. Powerhouses Don Giovanni and Madam Butterfly take to the stage between 22 and 26 March while Katie Mitchell’s acclaimed production of Czech opera Jenůfa performs on 25 March.

The scrumptious candy-coated Nutcraker! Credit: Johan Persson

2022 will also welcome two spectacular ballet productions; the scrumptious candy-coated Nutcraker! from choreographer Matthew Bourne in February, and in May Northern Ballet take us back to the roaring 2020’s with The Great Gatsby.

For one night only, audiences can enjoy Strictly Come Dancing stars Kevin Clifton in Burn The Floor(17 January) and Anton Du Beke and Giovanni Pernice in their dance extravaganza Him & Me (17 July). On 13 March, laugh out loud to Friends! The Musical Parody, a hilarious good-hearted romp with everyone’s favourite New Yorkers.

Moving towards the spring season, Milton Keynes will host a handful of phenomenal plays, including psychological thriller Catch Me If You Can (from 5 April) starring Dallas legend Patrick Duffy and brand-new stage play Cluedo (from 30 May) based on the family favourite boardgame.

Following a sell-out run in 2019, Cameron Mackintosh’s acclaimed production of Les Misérablesreturns to Milton Keynes for a stunning four-week residence from 26 April. And the UK premiere tour of Bat Out of Hell rolls into town from 14 June, bringing to life the legendary anthems of Jim Steinman & Meat Loaf.

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Business

The Swan and The Black Horse both receive award for sustainability

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Two local pubs, The Swan in Salford and The Black Horse in Woburn have been officially recognised for their actions to reduce their impact on climate change and help people to make more sustainable choices when eating out by being awarded a Three Star Food Made Good rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

The pubs and their owners Peach Pubs were given the accolade for the steps they have taken to be  better businesses and make a difference to people and the planet.  To achieve it, they worked with the Sustainable Restaurant Association to complete a detailed assessment of the sustainability of the businesses looking at 10 key areas.  These ranged from celebrating local and seasonal and sourcing fish responsibly to treating its people fairly and eliminating food waste.

When combined to provide an overall performance across three key pillars – Sourcing, Society and Environment – Peach and the pubs were given a total Food Made Good Rating of 73%, earning them a Three Star status.

This means that the pubs have been able to show that they are good restaurants with a score of 72% on Sourcing, 74% on Society and 72% on Environment, adding up to a consistently good  performance on all three key pillars.

The pubs’ focus on putting local and seasonal produce on their menus was highlighted by a score of 80%, while the way they look after the people who cook in their kitchens and run their bars and restaurant achieved 76%. Their efforts to reduce, reuse and recycle were recognised with a 76% score and the chefs’ hard work in eliminating food waste was rewarded with 72%.

Finally, everything the pubs do to support the community, especially during lockdown when they kept their teams busy doing voluntary work, cooking takeaways for local residents as well as preparing and delivering free meals to frontline NHS workers, was singled out with an impressive 84%.

“It’s fantastic news to be given a Three Star Food Made Good rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association, and doubly significant after what has been a year like no other for the hospitality industry,” says Frazer Sutherland, Peach Partner who looks after the pubs.

Two local pubs have been officially recognised for the positive steps they have been taking to reduce their impact on climate change by being awarded a Three Star Food Made Good rating by the Sustainable Restaurant Association.

Frazer Sutherland from Peach Pubs

“We are hugely proud that what we have been doing to be better businesses and put the planet first have been recognised in this way. It is tremendous encouragement from the Sustainable Restaurant Association and we shall be working with them over the year ahead to be even better and improve our scores in areas we need to.  In the meantime, we shall be celebrating this excellent news with our team and with our guests” he says.

Juliane Caillouette-Noble, Managing Director of the SRA, said, “By being the first pub business to complete the Food Made Good sustainability rating after the pandemic and additionally achieving Three Stars, Peach truly is demonstrating to its customers, staff and industry colleagues that it is 100% committed to serving up a better food future.”

The Swan Salford Address

2 Wavendon Road
Salford
Milton Keynes
MK17 8BD.

Tel: 01908 281008.
https://www.swansalford.co.uk/

The Black Horse Address

The Black Horse,
1 Bedford Street
Woburn
MK17 9QB.

Tel: 01525 290210
www.blackhorsewoburn.co.uk

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