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What's On: Virtual gigs and drive-in movies

This month there’s a call to arms to help save a historic Cambridge pub and a Georgian theatrical gem, plus drive-in movies, inspiring art packs and virtual festival fun

At the Drive-in

Star and Mouse Drive In (36506297)
Star and Mouse Drive In (36506297)

If you’ve exhausted your Netflix subscription and fancy more of a spectacle to your film viewing, then roll up – quite literally – to The Star & Mouse Drive In Movie Theatre! Famed for their alfresco cinema extravaganzas featuring giant screens, festoon lighting, firepits and cosy deckchairs, Cambridge company, The Star & Mouse Picture Show, is diversifying to entertain us with ‘a little measure of Hollywood glamour and lashing of Americana swagger’.

Star & Mouse’s Drive Ins will be popping up at various beauty spots, cruising to Helmingham Hall in Suffolk this month, and Burwash Manor, Barton, the first week of August. Blockbusters set to hit the (very) big screen (a giant 52ft Airscreen, to be precise), include 80s favourite Pretty Woman, James Bond epic Skyfall, Elton John homage Rocketman and classic 50s romcom Some Like It Hot.

Expect a party vibe, with DJ sets, car bingo, quizzes, live music and fabulous food for your pre-film entertainment before the movie reels spin at sundown.

* Peruse the movie listings and book tickets at starandmouse.com

Show Time

Theatre Royal Life Patron Dame Judi Dench (36506312)
Theatre Royal Life Patron Dame Judi Dench (36506312)

A host of stars of stage and screen have got behind a campaign to raise £50,000 to begin preparations to re-open Theatre Royal Bury (when restrictions allows). Among those pledging their support is national treasure and theatre Life Patron Dame Judi Dench, who describes the beloved playhouse as ‘an absolute gem’. “It must be preserved for generations to come – a magical place with its historic auditorium and rich heritage - please stand with us and support this emergency appeal if you can,” says the actress, who performed in the 2005 Restoration Gala with Sir Ian McKellen and Timothy West.

The Emergency Reopening Appeal got off to a flying start, raising £19,000 in just six days, backed by Armando Iannucci, Sir Derek Jacobi, Libby Purves, Gyles Brandreth and Robert Glenister.

Though the Georgian theatre does receive some public authority funding and ongoing support from patrons, friends and corporate sponsors, this isn’t enough to survive these challenging times.

* You can help the show ‘go on’ by donating at theatreroyal.org

Activity Time

Fitzwilliam Museum art packs (36506273)
Fitzwilliam Museum art packs (36506273)

Hundreds of families in low-income households have benefited from art activity packs to keep little ones entertained during lockdown. Thanks to a collaboration between The University of Cambridge Museums (UCM) and Cambridge City Council, 500 learning folders have been delivered to homes in areas of high deprivation, where access to the internet is limited.

Each pack includes colouring sheets, art materials and ‘Look Think Do’ activity sheets, encouraging families to examine amazing objects from the Fitzwilliam Museum’s collection, to discuss and get creative.

* Find out more about The Fitzwilliam Museum at fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk

Saviour Song

Singer songwriter SJ (36506291)
Singer songwriter SJ (36506291)

Cambridge singer songwriter SJ Mortimer has released a collaborative single with 24 local musicians – recorded during lockdown - for the Save The Flying Pig pub campaign. Entitled Save Our Home, it is hoped that the rousing track will raise vital funds to save The Flying Pig. The historic Hills Road hostelry - a mecca for live music and real ale - is under threat from developers who initially wanted to replace it with office blocks and now want to flatten half the pub.

SJ, who has recorded in Nashville and toured Europe, China and the USA, explains: “I wrote the song for Justine and Matt (the landlords), and first performed it at ‘The Pig’ a few months back; it was pretty emotional. It’s called ‘Save Our Home’ because as well as being the Hatfield’s family home, The Flying Pig is also the home of live music in Cambridge for many. During lockdown I contacted a few local musicians to see if they would like to record a part on the song and the response was overwhelming.”

Among the 24 musicians featured is Kimberley Rew (formally of Katrina and the Waves and writer of ‘Walking On Sunshine’); and BBC Radio presenter, Nick Barraclough.

* Watch and buy ‘Save Our Home’ at sjmortimer.bandcamp.com - with all proceeds going towards The Flying Pig pub.

Art of Relaxation

Gust of Wind by Renoir (36506275)
Gust of Wind by Renoir (36506275)

Anxiety has been a challenge for many throughout the pandemic, and to help combat this The Fitzwilliam Museum has created seven new art-based films. Inviting viewers to ‘Relax, Look and Imagine’, the recordings – each focusing on a different Fitzwilliam masterpiece – begin with a guided relaxation, followed by an exploration of the artwork.

Among the paintings featured are The Gust of Wind by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (pictured), Springtime by Claude Monet and Children Paddling at Walberswick by Philip Wilson Steer.

The films have been made by Toby Peters, narrated by Dance With The Museum programme artist Filipa Pereira-Stubbbs, and co-created with sheltered housing residents across Cambridge.

* You can watch the films at fitzmuseum.cam.ac.uk


Andrea Cockerton, of #Lockjam, Picture Jules Klass Photography (36506271)
Andrea Cockerton, of #Lockjam, Picture Jules Klass Photography (36506271)

If you’re craving the unbeatable buzz of listening to live music, we’ve found the gig for you. Cambridge-based, award-winning arts entrepreneur Andrea Cockerton has created #LOCKJAM – a new online gig concept. Using a mixture of gaming, streaming and music technology - and in its early days featuring two house bands - #LOCKJAM has been streaming live shows into people’s homes every Wednesday evening. Not only do the ‘pay what you think’ shows give listeners the live gig experience, but they provide income for unemployed musicians, and raise money to fund grants to freelance musicians and sound and tech crews out of work due to Covid-19 (in collaboration with grants provider, The Dosoco Foundation).

Andrea, founder of we-are-sound.com, who has worked with Basement Jaxx and Bew Hewerdine, hopes #LOCKJAM can be broadened to offer shows to groups of wedding guests, college celebrations, balls and beyond.

* Buy event tickets at crowdcast.io/lockjam


The Big Weekend has gone virtual (36506305)
The Big Weekend has gone virtual (36506305)

No need to miss out on festival fever this summer, with Cambridge’s annual celebration of live music, good food and entertainment on Parker’s Piece – the Big Weekend – moving to a virtual platform. The Big Weekend at Home 2020 will take place July 3 to 4, bringing together local artists and shows from radio stations Star Radio, BBC Cambridgeshire and Cambridge 105 Radio. There’ll be a livestream of performances by a selection of Cambridge artists and community groups – including Cambridge hip hop collective SIN Cru, Ska/2 tone greats Big 10 and soul sensation Judvh.

“Even though we can’t be there in person, we still wanted to do something to bring Cambridge together and to celebrate the talents found here in our community,’ says Anna Smith, Executive Councillor for Communities.

* For more information visit cambridgelive.org.uk/city-events

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