Hot Lists Wednesday, August 23rd Words by: Lauren Rogers, pictures by: Lauren Rogers

The best bits from the new Arts Alive season

Hot Lists Wednesday, August 23rd

The best bits from the new Arts Alive season

The latest Arts Alive programme has been unveiled, bring properly good shows and big screen films to middle-of-nowhere venues across Herefordshire and Shropshire. Here are our top picks.



Thursday, August 31 | 7pm | The Market Theatre, Ledbury | £11

★★★★★ "Brutal yet ferociously funny" – Metro, ★★★★★ "Billie Piper makes a shattering Yerma in Stone’s inspired reworking of Lorca" - The Observer, ★★★★★ "A shatteringly powerful reinvention of a familiar classic" - The Independent.

Billie Piper Her in Yerma Young Vic. Photo Johan Persson.

Billie Piper as Her in Yerma at the Young Vic. Photo: Johan Persson.

In what is Billie Piper’s best turn since that Doctor Who crying-on-a-beach-on-an-alternative-world episode, National Theatre’s modern day take on Yerma is getting seriously good reviews. The story: a young woman is driven to the unthinkable by her desperate desire to have a child. Simon Stone’s radical production of Lorca’s achingly powerful masterpiece sold out at the Young Vic, and has been wildly praised as a searing, shocking and devastating powerful piece of theatre.

Also showing at Aston on Clun Village Hall and SPARC Theatre in Bishops Castle, near Ludlow.

Tickets: 07967 517125 | | no online booking available

Read more: Billie Piper will make you numb with pity (review)



Saturday, September 2 | 6pm | Belmont Hall, Wellington, near Telford, Shropshire, TF1 1LU | £5

On the brink of an affair and desperately in love but married to other people, Laura and Alec (Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard) must make a choice that may part them forever.


Celia Johnson and Trevor Howard in David Lean & Noel Coward's classic Brief Encounter.

Noel Coward’s 1945 flick is among the most romantic ever made. Directed by David Lean, it’s set on the eve of the second world war, in an era of stiff upper lip, afternoon matinees, handkerchiefs, and railway station buffets. So much more than a golden oldie, it’s a timeless tale of heartache, anguish and forbidden love felt by very ordinary people.

And if that isn’t British enough, afternoon tea will be served before the screening.

Tickets: | @TelfordClifton

Read more: From Brief Encounter to Brokeback - the 21 best movie weepies of all time



Wednesday September 13 | 7.45pm | Church Stretton School, Church Stretton, near Ludlow, SY6 6EX | £12

John le Carre’s stories - The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Night Manager, A Most Wanted Man and A Delicate Truth – have arguably defined the last half century. This event, broadcast live from London's Royal Festival Hall, will be a rare public appearance by the author as he reads from his new novel, A Legacy of Spies, and talks about his long career.

“In conversation le Carré discusses the full breadth of his career spanning five decades, and reflects on the continuing story of his most famous creation, the tubby, bespectacled spy, George Smiley. Through this event John le Carré and the producers The Ink Factory are raising money for Médicins Sans Frontières / Doctors without Borders (MSF), and are donating their proceeds to the charity.”

Tickets: 01694 722209 | book online here

Read more: After The Night Manager: five of the best Le Carré novels | Southbank Centre - An Evening With George Smiley



Saturday, September 16 | 7.30pm | St Michaels and All Angel’s Church, Kingsland, near Leominster, HR6 9QW | £12

The king of gypsy swing. We made that title up, but it’s not far off. Bromyard-raised Remi Harris and his trio take Gypsy Swing tunes and infuse them with jazz, blues, and rock and roll. Expect funky covers Django Reinhardt, Jimi Hendrix, Wes Montgomery, Charlie Parker, Peter Green and more. Jamie Cullum and Cerys Matthews’ are famous fans, and the band has played both Montreal Jazz Festival and BBC Proms at the Royal Albert Hall. This will be far more intimate.

Also playing at Fownhope New Memorial Hall on October 13.

Tickets: 07905 589830 | book online here




Friday September 22 | 7.30pm | Lydbury North Village Hall, Lydbury North, south Shropshire, SY7 8AU | £4

Whether it's the seminal soundtrack or its cult place in film history that tempts you to re-watch this American classic, you won’t need us to tell you that The Graduate is a sexy, and very funny film. Back in cinemas thanks to a special summer re-release, it’s the story of bored and jaded Ben (young Dustin Hoffman) being sublimely seduced by Anne Bancroft's Mrs Robinson. Katherine Ross is her daughter, Elllaaaaaaaaaine.

Also screening at Clungunford Parish Hall near Craven Arms in Shropshire on Nov 24.

Tickets: 01588 680302 | book online here



Friday September 29 | 7.30pm | Steiner Academy Hereford, Much Dewchurch, HR2 8DL | £10 adults, £6 children

Two Actors. Too Many Characters. One Big Ego. Living Spit (great name) are, in the vein of The Reduced Shakespeare Company et al, purveyors of daft dressing-up comedy. Historical facts are by-the-by, costume changes come thick and fast and there will, undoubtedly, be singing in their latest show, The Six Wives of Henry VIII. 16+ only.


“Howard Coggins looks like Henry VIII. There's no escaping that. Stu McLoughlin doesn't look like any of the wives, but he’s going to give it a go. After their previous historical drama is savaged in the press, Howard and Stu are at their wits end. Then they hit upon an idea that could change everything... With original music, embroidery and historical hysteria, this show is an ill-researched lesson in Tudor history that you'll never forget.”

Also at The Talbot Theatre in Whitchurch, Shropshire, on Oct 11.

Tickets: 01981 540221 | book online here

Read more:



Thursday, October 5 | 7.30pm | Brilley Village Hall, near Kington, Herefordshire, HR3 6JZ | £5 adults, £3 children

An oddball buddy comedy from Taika Waititi (Eagle Vs Shark, What We Do in the Shadows, Thor Ragnorark), this sweet Kiwi treat has been described as “a bit Up, a bit Moonrise Kingdom, a bit Midnight Run even”. Highly recommended if you need a little light relief.

Tickets: 01544 327227 | book online here

Read more: Taika Waititi lays on the charm in this storybook adventure yarn about a young Maori orphan (Little White Lies).



Friday October 6 | 6.30pm | Goodrich Village Hall, near Ross on Wye, Herefordshire, HR9 6HX | £5

It’s the story of some books. In a library. But this is no ordinary library. “This is Brian’s library: a wonderful, magical place where the books like to flutter their pages and let their shelves go. But one day Brian changes and the library goes quiet. What’s going on? The books had better stiffen their spines, to get to the bottom of this mystery, they may have to check themselves out…”


Theatre company Monstro (pioneers of the puppet musical) are currently touring this family-friendly show, age 5+, making sure Arts England funding is spent well; inventively.

Tickets: 01600 891421 | book online here

Read more: | @monstrotheatre



Saturday November 12 | 7.30pm | Playhouse Cinema, The Community Centre, Leominster, HR6 8NJ | £12 adult, £8 children

It’s tough to call Emily Bronte’s classic romantic because everyone is so endlessly frigging awful to each other, but there is potent love and passion throughout. Even if it is the kind of love and passion that drives you mad and violent... In the reliable hands of Shropshire-based Hotbuckle Productions, the well known tale of Heathcliff and Cathy - a tale of loss, revenge, and despair - will have All The Feels. 

hotbuckle wuthering

The company has previously adapted Far From the Madding Crowd, Persuasion, Les Mis and Great Expectations, so they what to do with emotional heavyweights.

Tickets:01568 616460 / 612583 | buy online here

Read more: | Can Wuthering Heights Work Onscreen? (The New Yorker) 



Thursday November 9 | 8pm | Herefordshire Archive & Records Centre, Rotherwas, HR2 6LA | £10 adult, £5 children

Not too long ago a book of letters sent during 1917-1920 between a group of six young women was discovered in Shropshire Archive. Revealing the everyday lives as farmers, office workers, factory hands, nurses and teachers, the letters directly inspired this warm, witty show created by playwright Francesca Millican Slater.

letters book smaller

There is gossip and hint of scandal, reprimands and reprisals, tales of dancing for royalty, fiancés on the frontline and how to feed 100 chickens while on rations. The “off-stage story of the Great War”.

Tickets: 01432 260750 | book online here.

Also running at Bitterly Village Hall in Shropshire on Nov 10.

Read more: A week (or there abouts) in Shrewsbury and beyond | Review – My Dearest Girls (Shropshire Events Guide)


For almost 20 years Arts Alive (and Flicks in the Sticks) has been bringing professional shows and big screen films to middle-of-nowhere venues across Herefordshire and Shropshire.  You’ll find the full programme online at, and print copies dotted around the two counties (try your local library/theatre).

@ArtsAliveEvents | @FlicksinSticks | search ‘Arts Alive & Flicks in the Sticks’ on Facebook.  

Do you want to write for Herefordshire Live? Get in touch on Facebook, Twitter or say