THE Stratford Mop of 1914 appeared little changed from previous years. Wartime austerity had not yet set in and few people foresaw that the conflict would be lengthy. One of the great traditions of the fair was its roasts. No less than five oxen and seven pigs were rotating on the spits outside the pubs on the big day. The excursion trains brought their usual hundreds of revellers from Birmingham and other centres of population. None of Stratford’s conscripts had yet embarked overseas, although just five days before, a regular with the South Wales Borderers, Sgt RH Savage, had been the first Stratfordian to fall victim to the war. He had been struck by shrapnel at the Battle of the Aisne and died of his wounds in Bournbrook Military Hospital.
Four years ago Ellis Holtom, of Stratford-upon-Avon, was born with half a working heart. Later, the Herald featured his condition as a tribute to the work of Birmingham Children’s Hospital where he was treated. Now, to mark Congenital Heart Defect Week his mum, Vicki, updates his story. . .
ALL 326 local planning authorities in England, councils like Stratford-on-Avon District, need a local plan. The core strategy is a component of that local plan. It contains all the local district wide policies that need to be considered when processing planning applications. New development needs to satisfy local needs, helping to realise the hopes and ambitions of its communities and protect them from situations they fear. New homes and places to work should provide then with a healthy lifestyle, a pleasant place to live, good recreational facilities and above all the infrastructure that enhances their quality of life. The buzzword to describe this is ‘sustainable’.
THE poor are paying more than they should be for their energy, according to damning new evidence from Stratford-upon-Avon’s Citizens Advice Bureau. Prepayment meters (PPMs) are costing users in fuel poverty a “disproportionate amount” for what little gas and electricity they can afford, the bureau has found. There are around 7.2 million people on prepayment meters in the UK and several thousand in the district of Stratford. Despite Stratford’s reputation as an affluent area, the bureau is being forced to come to the aid of more and more people living in fuel poverty on an increasingly regular basis.
EVEN in recent years, Hollywood has struggled to bring an accurate portrayal of slavery to the big screen. The problem lies in the fact that these films (including last year’s Lincoln and Django Unchained) mostly centre on sympathetic white characters that do all they can to help enslaved black Americans overcome adversity. …» Read Full Story
SEDUCTION, betrayal, jealousy, greed and some rather eccentric hairstyles feature at the heart of the hotly-anticipated American Hustle, a 1970s-set film about con artists which is loosely based on true events. With comparisons already being made to Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas, American Hustle portrays a world on film where criminality is as enticing as it is dangerous – although it is never in danger of taking itself too seriously. …» Read Full Story
THE dust has finally begun to settle following the initial excitement for Gravity’s touchdown on our cinema screens. With five star reviews plastered across newspapers and magazines all over the world, many heralding it as the “Best film of 2013”, it’s easy to see how you might begin to build up sky-high expectations for this movie – and expectations on that scale always have the potential to be met with disappointment. …» Read Full Story
AFTER doing the rounds at Toronto, Venice and other prestigious film festivals (raking in a series of awards and glowing reviews), Philomena arrived at Stratford Picturehouse on Sunday morning for a preview screening prior to its release next week. Based on true events, the movie tells the story of Philomena Lee, who was sent to a convent as a young teenager when she became pregnant outside of marriage. …» Read Full Story
IT’S been a strange week. I’ve spent a significant part of it working on the arts pages of the paper and gazing at images of David Tennant in his current incarnation as Richard II. No sooner had my colleague Mark Williamson’s rather excellent photographic work been sent off to press yesterday evening than I made the short trip to Stratford Picturehouse to spend the evening gazing at Mr Tennant all over again, this time in the film of his previous RSC adventure as Hamlet. …» Read Full Story
THE Shakespeare on Film Festival edged into its second half on Friday with one of the quirkier choices, Gil Junger’s 10 Things I Hate About You. To the casual observer it has the appearance of just another American high school teen movie but just as with other witty, carefully drawn reworkings of literary classics – Clueless springs to mind – it captures the spirit of the original in a wholly original way. …» Read Full Story
SEEING a British musical on our cinema screens is nothing short of a rarity nowadays – let alone a Scottish one. Adapted from the acclaimed stage production, Sunshine on Leith follows in the footsteps of jukebox musical hit Mamma Mia! although, thankfully, doesn’t subject its audience to the travesty of Pierce Brosnan’s singing voice. …» Read Full Story
WHEN Woody Allen was making the film Blue Jasmine he must have woken every morning and sung a paean of praise to whoever had the bright idea of casting Cate Blanchett in the title role (unless of course it was Mr Allen himself...). The Australian actress delivers a devastating performance as a wealthy New York socialite who hits rock bottom after the law catches up with her fraudster husband (Alec Baldwin) and her privileged lifestyle comes to a dramatic and nerve-shattering end. …» Read Full Story
TAKING my seat at Stratford Picturehouse last Thursday evening, I mistakenly thought I was about to watch a docudrama starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a young Stephen Hawking. Maybe there was a lesson to be learnt here about conducting more thorough research but in this case my mistake happened to be a fortunate one. …» Read Full Story
Star rating: Seven out of ten FOR Muppet fans everywhere, this new documentary is a must see. Not only does it give an insight into how such shows as Sesame Street and The Muppet Show are produced, but it tells a moving true story of one puppeteer, Kevin Clash. Kevin is the man behind the iconic furry red monster Elmo, and we see how he brought the character of this Muppet to life making it one of the most adored puppets in the world. The film explores how from the age of ten this man was making…» Read Full Story
OPPONENTS of a proposed woodland burial ground on the site of the old Haven Pastures Golf Club in Henley will gather at the site on Saturday ahead of a town meeting tonight (Monday). Leaflets are being pushed through the letterboxes of all homes in the town advertising Monday’s meeting.
JOE HALSALL'S injury-time equaliser earned Stratford Town a point after a dramatic finale against Shortwood Town at the DCS Stadium. Town's run of misfortune seemed set to continue when, having had Tyrone Fagan sent off on 85 minutes, they conceded a fluke goal in the 90th minute.
ONE of the most exciting and charismatic performers of the rhythm and blues and rock and roll world will be at The Townsend Hall, in Shipston-on-Stour, on Friday, 19th December. Piano player, Mike Sanchez, founder member of the Big Town Playboys, and a one time Bill Wyman Rhythm King, was featured recently on Jools Holland’s BBC Radio Two show.
ACTRESS Alison Steadman regaled a packed audience at the Artshouse in Stratford-upon-Avon on Sunday evening with stories about land ladies in acting digs, mad aunts and getting Paul McCartney to sign an autograph outside Liverpool’s Cavern Club in the 1960s. The award-winning TV, film and stage actress, who was interviewed on stage by Fiona Lindsay for the final event in the Stratford Literary Festival’s Autumn Plus Series, kept jumping up from her chair as she described what a performer she has been since an early age, including painting her face with toothpaste, and delighted the audience with one of her most famous roles — the excruciating Beverley in Mike Leigh’s Abigail’s Party.
HEADS were bowed as silence fell across two South Warwickshire villages to mark 100 years since the outbreak of the First World War. A wreath-laying service and parade was held in Tanworth-in-Arden on Saturday, while in Welford a commemorative exhibition hosted artwork and looked at the lives of the 19 village men killed out on the battlefield. Among the items was a letter written by private Jim Matthews, from the village, just two days before he died. In Tanworth, relatives of those who lost their lives were given the chance to honour them by laying a wreath at the village war memorial. The youngest to get involved was of primary school age while the oldest was in their 90s, organiser Peter Oakley told the Herald.