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Diary Dates: Summer's booking up

Live theatre, live music and a new festival in the grounds of a castle: we're set for a summer filled with culture (and we can't wait)


Several of our iconic arts venues have had their future safeguarded thanks to the latest round of grants from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund.

Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, which is due to reopen its historic doors on May 21 to a socially distanced audience for its production of Around The World in Eighty Days, has received £119,681.

Owen Calvert-Lyons, CEP and Artistic Director, comments: “This money will not only cover the loss caused by a longer than expected closure, but will also insulate us against the challenges of the coming months.”

The theatre will return to a full auditorium from June 21, with a sparkling summer programme, including Alan Ayckbourn’s comic masterpiece Absurd Person Singular and a rip-roaringly funny ‘in conversation’ evening with stage and screen legends, Christopher Biggins and Lesley Joseph.

Cambridge Arts Theatre has been awarded £459,907, which will cover ongoing running costs and support staff as they work towards the theatre’s imminent covid-secure reopening.

Welcoming the grant, Dave Murphy, Chief Executive at Cambridge Arts Theatre, says: “It has been a difficult year for the industry, but this vital grant will enable us to lift the curtain and launch our Summer 2021 season. We are working very hard to bring the theatregoers of Cambridgeshire a fantastic, varied and entertaining season and cannot wait to welcome our audiences back to our theatre once again.”

Elsewhere in the city, Cambridge Junction has been allocated £248,083, in preparation to reopen May 17 for socially distanced shows, and June 21 for larger capacity gigs and clubs. Audiences are promised an engaging new season of innovative dance, mesmerising music (don’t miss The Brass Funkeys, channelling the sounds of New Orleans), comedy and drama.

Artistic Director, Matt Burman says he is ‘relieved and grateful’ for the funding, adding: "We have continued to work with independent artists and inspiring young people, and engage with our audiences through the last year, and are looking forward to progressing our exciting plans, to connect with communities, restart our live programmes and support the making of new projects, as we emerge from lockdown restrictions over the coming months."

In Newmarket, the National Horseracing Museum has been awarded a £166,000 grant, aiding the transition to full operation from July.

Museum Director, Anne-Marie Hogan, explains that the grant will help fund a special exhibition programme, and improve the museum’s outdoor spaces. “It allows us to continue to support our local community and town, developing our family and community events and strengthen our education offering for schools and teachers.”

More than 2,700 cultural and heritage organisations across the country have received grants from the Culture Recovery Fund, administered by Arts Council England on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.


What do lexicographer extraordinaire Susie Dent, former editor of The Erotic Review, Rowan Pelling, and supermodel and environmental activist, Arizona Muse have in common, I hear you ask? Well, all three are appearing on the bill at the inaugural EA Festival.

Due to take place this summer in the grounds of Norman keep, Hedingham Castle, EA will be a ‘hybrid’ two-day festival, with both in-person and livestream tickets available for all events.

Showcasing incredible local luminaries alongside internationally-recognised stars, the line-up includes celebrated comedy producer John Lloyd, music legend Evelyn Glennie, and Twitter’s favourite Government advisor Rafe Hubris.

Expect powerful daytime discussions, vibrant evening concerts, and a curated marketplace exhibiting East Anglia’s finest merchants and artists.

The EA Festival takes place July 31 – August 1. Full details at eafestival.com


Eboracum Baroque, Picture Andrew Wilkinson (46169916)
Eboracum Baroque, Picture Andrew Wilkinson (46169916)

What could be more quintessentially English than wiling away a warm summer’s evening in Grantchester’s bucolic Orchard Tea Garden, relaxing in a deck chair to the strains of heavenly choral song? Create this very scenario for yourself this summer, as Cambridge-based ensemble, Eboracum Baroque, have a trio of concerts booked in this picturesque spot.

A group of freelance classical musicians (singers and instrumentalists), specialising in Baroque and Renaissance music, the collective was formed by Chris Parsons in 2012. They recorded their first CD in January 2015, at Wimpole Hall – which was funded by the National Trust and Arts Council England.

Dubbed ‘spectacular’ by Classic FM, Eboracum Baroque have performed in prestigious venues and festivals across the UK and Europe, including Senate House, Cambridge.

Passionate about making Baroque music is accessible to all ages, they also run education workshops in schools.

Active during lockdown with online concerts and projects to help support young freelance musicians, they are ecstatic to be returning to live, atmospheric performances.

Eboracum Baroque play Grantchester Orchard on June 24 (Dido and Aeneas by Henry Purcell); June 25 (Baroque Classics); and June 26 (Acis and Galatea by George Frederick Handel). Find out more at eboracumbaroque.co.uk


Saffron Walden Musical Theatre Company, Picture Simon Bates (46169936)
Saffron Walden Musical Theatre Company, Picture Simon Bates (46169936)

The pandemic has been a true showstopper for am-dram and musical theatre. But after nearly a year of enforced closure, Saffron Walden Musical Theatre Company members are dusting off their dance shoes and preparing to tread the boards once more!

The thriving theatre group, which formed back in 1922 as Saffron Walden Amateur Operatic Society, will perform the spectacular hit musical Wind In The Willows (youth group) in November. Then in March 2022, the huge-hearted and full-of-fun production Kinky Boots (adult group), will mark SWMTC’s 100th anniversary.

Company Chair Fiona Wilson Waterworth says: “The arts community has been bereft with the lack of creative expression over the past year. I am so excited to get the rights to ‘Kinky Boots’, it’s just the kind of uplifting, heart-warming and at times hilarious journey we all want to be taken on after the recent pandemic.”

If you’re a would-be thespian longing for your moment in the spotlight, or a creative soul who could help backstage, the theatre company are looking for new members to join their merry crew.

Wind In The Willows will hold an audition workshop towards the end of June, with rehearsals beginning in September for the production, running November 5-13, 2021. Rehearsals and auditions for Kinky Boots will start in October 2021.

Maybe it’s your time to dazzle?

Visit swmtc.net for more information

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