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As for the southeast corner, we're on our way there now: Shakespeare Miami to see Hamlet. We've visited Miami before baseball trips , but this is our first visit to Shakespeare Miami, "Florida's professional Shakespeare company," says its slogan, "Saving the world … One iamb at a time. The company offers free Shakespeare productions at different open-air venues each weekend this time of year in and around Miami as far north as Boca Raton, Florida.

Thank you, and goodnight!

This weekend we will be seeing Hamlet at Pinecrest Gardens, a publicly owned outdoor recreation area with an amphitheater. We're still en route—air traffic today has been hampered by a fog-socked mid-Atlantic corridor—but our plans are to see the play tonight, and then tomorrow take in a sensory-friendly performance, which is the focus of this visit. Colleen Stovall, Miami Shakespeare's producing artistic director, has coordinated an opportunity for us to meet with local Shakespeareans and historians who will give us specific insights into Miami's relationship with Shakespeare, which apparently dates to the community's founding.

Where once a large raptor swooped inches over my head from the rafters to the stage, I'm watching Hamlet set a mousetrap for Claudius in Shakespeare Miami's production of William Shakespeare's play—or, rather, a close proximity of his play. One of the longest tenures of my journalism career was covering the amusement industry, i. I was, for real, a professional roller coaster rider. One of the theme parks I visited was Parrot Jungle, both at its original site in a residential neighborhood south of Miami, and its current location near downtown Miami in fact, the park flew me in for a private visit a few months before the new location opened to the public in What I didn't know until today was that the Village of Pinecrest, that residential neighborhood south of Miami, took over the old Parrot Jungle property and turned it into a community recreation park, maintaining the paths, ponds, and flora of the theme park but not the famous flamingos and its other fauna and adding a new library and community center.

The entire site was added to the National Register of Historic Places in Sarah and I stroll through the grounds and past the original entrance gate, bird cages, and snake houses. The seat amphitheater where Parrot Jungle staged its bird shows has become a venue for concerts its jazz series is particularly popular , ballet and modern dance, and theater, including Shakespeare Miami, now in its 13th season, which spends one weekend of its four-site tour of South Florida on the premises. It is at times a challenging venue for watching Shakespeare: the acoustics using stage microphones can be problematic, the peacocks and peahens congregating on the roof next to the stage can be distracting though a couple seem intrigued enough to settle in to watch the show , and the constant coming and going of patrons can be annoying.

Nevertheless, the palm tree backdrop with fronds sashaying in the breeze, the rough stone-wall-lined amphitheater itself, and a generally appreciative audience, many new to the play gasps when Polonius falls dead through the curtain , are gift wrap to Shakespeare's verse. Above, the Banyon trees and Patrick Dougherty's Stickwork sculpture right adjacent to the amphitheater. Photos by Eric Minton.

Ironically, the biggest chunk of the play Stovall excised to get down to a run time plus minute intermission was Fortinbras and the Norway threat. The '20s timeframe gives this Elsinore a Great Gatsby look of three-piece suits, capes, and flappers, which has the effect of turning Claudius into an ultracapitalist. That, in turn, brings incredible depth to his not-able-to-pray scene. Stovall's most significant tweak of the text is transforming Ophelia's mad scenes by defining the term mad not as insanity but fury.

In the scenes themselves, this reimagining of Ophelia works textually, but in the big picture it also requires changing the manner and the reporting of her death and that would require a spoiler alert. Stovall tells me she not only doesn't believe a woman would react the way Ophelia does, she also had never seen the mad scenes work effectively in films and other productions.

Thus, Shalia Sakona portrays an Ophelia of the MeToo era, dealing with harassment from both Claudius and, after their break-up, the seemingly mad Hamlet. Stovall waited to stage Hamlet until she could land an actor capable of doing the title role, and her patience paid off with Seth Trucks. Hamlet has a lot to deal with, but this Hamlet is also contending with flu-like symptoms of fever, sore throat, and good-god-I-feel-awful malaise.

His performance last night was uneven, but today, though suffering physically which I can confirm upon meeting him briefly after the show , I count him among the great Danes I've seen. His life of late keeps taking peculiarly bad turns, and suicide constantly crowds his thoughts, but he forges ahead on a vague sense of faith. I targeted this matinee performance of Hamlet because it's announced as a sensory-friendly edition for audience members on the autism spectrum.

Stovall describes the protocols. Then, in the production itself, the shouts and violence are toned down. She shows me the safe room where patrons can go for a calming environment yet still watch the play on a monitor if they choose to. Today, however, no one requiring a sensory-friendly performance has signed in, so we get the regular show. Selfishly, I'm glad, because, Oh. The Hamlet-Laertes duel in the play's climax is the best stage combat sequence of any production in my recollection afterward, I learn more about it from Joey Costello, the fight director.

The fencing is exquisite, the battle is imbued with the personalities of a feigning-madness Hamlet and a feigning-courtesy Laertes Lito Becerra turning in one of the production's most dynamic performances , and when it gets intense, effectively-delivered punches supplement desperate swordplay up and down and across the set. It lasts at least five minutes; seems like I wish it were An expert seaman himself he designed 56 sailboats , Munroe sailed out to help guide the boat and its owner, William Brickle, to safety. Munroe asked his unexpected guest where he was from.

Munroe had to see it for himself. When he did, he made Miami his home. Munroe's house, which he built himself in and expanded with a second floor in , calling it The Barnacle because it is shaped like one, is the oldest house in Dade County still on its original site: 40 acres right on the bay and now surrounded by the condos, boutiques, and restaurants of Coconut Grove. Instead of giving in to salivating developers, the Munroe family turned the property over to the state in , which now operates it as The Barnacle Historic State Park.

One of South Florida's pioneers yes, Florida was still a frontier for Americans even after the West was won , Munroe brought with him a taste for arts and culture. He hosted music concerts in his home, and his library included several volumes of William Shakespeare's works, some in languages other than English.

Listening to Park Manager Katrina Boler describe the family's and the site's history, I feel like I've formed a first-name relationship with Ralph himself. Boler, with degrees in history and literature, is a big Shakespeare fan. She had her own sailboat-on-the-rocks moment in Shakespeare Miami's Producing Artistic Director Colleen Stovall called after a last-minute loss of funding for one of the sites where her free Shakespeare production was to be staged. Boler got excited until Stovall told her she needed dates in January, The Barnacle's busiest season.

The company went to other sites in subsequent years but in returned to The Barnacle with The Tempest. Talk about a perfect setting for The Tempest : the house with a brick patio for a stage at the front entrance faces down a lawn to Ralph's boathouse and the bay, glistening blue on this Sunday afternoon with sailboats gliding back and forth. Thick forest covers the some acres between the house and downtown with a paved path winding through the trees Ralph considered boats to be the only necessary means of transportation; he hated the railroad and had little use for automobiles.

There's even a sailboat on the lawn next to a pavilion that Shakespeare Miami uses as a stage for rainy nights. That boat doesn't belong there. It is a remnant of Hurricane Irma last September, deposited halfway up the lawn by the storm surge. The Barnacle, thanks to Ralph's barnacle design, has survived some vicious hurricanes, but the boathouse took serious damage from the passing boat. The Barnacle has proved a perfect setting for all Shakespeare Miami productions that have played here, and the two organizations partner on a Shakespeare Birthday event every April.

All much to Boler's delight. Patrons must find a spot somewhere in the busy downtown and walk that path to the house. In Shakespeare Miami's wake, other theater companies have played here, and something called a haunted ballet has also taken hold I must return to see that someday. It's all so perfectly Shakespearean, as was Ralph.

He encouraged a community spirit by inviting neighbors to his home for concerts and cultural events, perhaps even performances of Shakespeare plays. Shakespeare Miami flips that notion around: the company considers "accessible Shakespeare" to mean not only free and relatable but taking shows to the communities. You get to sit and laugh together and go 'oh my goodness! We're heading home, leaving the warmth of Miami 70 degrees Fahrenheit toward the 25 degrees the D. The warmth we're leaving behind is not merely air temperature.

The folks at Shakespeare Miami overwhelmed us with welcoming hospitality, and their hosts—the managers of the venues where Shakespeare Miami stages its plays, Jerry Kinsey at Pinecrest and Katrina Boler at The Barnacle Historic State Park—took time out of their busy schedules to show us around their parks and tell their stories. A highlight of the weekend was being treated to a private dinner backstage at Pinecrest Gardens. Shakespeare Miami board members Maria and Paul Eisenhart prepared a fantastic Cuban meal for us including offering me the pork crackling—now that's hospitality!

At every opportunity I look for affirmation that this Canon Project is a good idea: feedback from theater folks and friends, my sons drawing on their own particular expertise to lend enthusiastic support, the timing given the significance of in America and my life. Then there are the omens. I've had so many mystical signs and portents surrounding this quest that Shakespeare would blush to portray them in one of his plays. My dad even appeared to me in a dream and said, "Eric, just do it," and then laid out a financial plan for the project, which I ended up following.

I couldn't resist. It still feels early. We left the house just after 6 a. Across the street is the Staunton Visitor Center on the ground floor of the city's parking garage. Beyond that sits the Blackfriars Playhouse, the world's only re-creation of William Shakespeare's indoor theater in London. Julie Markowitz , executive director of the Staunton Downtown Development Association, is meeting me in this bakery to talk about Shakespeare: not the man, not the plays, not the industry, but Shakespeare , a term with a Staunton-specific definition.

When she was in her 20s and living in Harrisonburg 30 minutes up the interstate from Staunton, Markowitz would hear people say, "Hey, Shakespeare is coming to the park tonight! More formally known as the Shenandoah Shakespeare Express, Shakespeare to Markowitz was "youthful, spontaneous, incredible fun energy. In the early s, Markowitz lived for a couple of years in Staunton and doesn't have fond memories. Main Street was dying and an adjacent psychiatric hospital the creepy, old generation of such institutions was closing, its de-institutionalized residents being moved into subsidized housing downtown.

Markowitz remembers being chased to her car every night after work. She returned to Staunton for a job in , and though conditions had improved, she still describes it as dark times. In fact, it was the Shakespeare of Markowitz's past. Shenandoah Shakespeare Express built a permanent home in Staunton, making its debut in September The Blackfriars Playhouse is the perfect environment for the company—founded by Ralph Cohen, a professor of Shakespeare at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, and one of his students, Jim Warren—to stage plays using the theater conditions and staging practices Shakespeare's company would have used between and No longer wandering players though a national touring troupe is still part of its operation and with a growing education program, the company changed its name to the American Shakespeare Center.

Staunton already had a thriving arts community, says Markowitz, who became executive director of the Downtown Development Association in Several galleries and theater community groups were operating when the Blackfriars opened, and church concerts were part of the social scene. Arts and entertainment are in the town's DNA. Staunton incorporated in and became a railroad center in the mids today it is at the intersection of Interstates 81 and Warehouses and commercial businesses clustered around the depot; up the hill, the downtown district became the center for hotels, bars, theaters, and other venues of pleasure, arts, and entertainment, inspirational and carnal.

Though Virginia is replete with Civil War battlefields, Staunton served as a rest-and-recreation center for both armies, so the town escaped armed combat. Shakespeare, the man, would feel at home in such a community then, and Shakespeare's arrival in provided a steroid jolt to the culture and commerce of the town and to the academic and social offerings of Mary Baldwin, a women's college sitting like an acropolis in the center of town. Chefs turned Staunton into a culinary enclave. Small businesses thrived downtown.

Next door to the Blackfriars, a derelict hotel, the Stonewall Jackson, was remodeled and expanded as a conference center and designated a historic hotel. When asked what the Blackfriars most brought to the town, Markowitz doesn't hesitate. Only 15 percent of the Blackfriars audience is local. The American Shakespeare Center has a growing international reputation for the quality and style of its productions and for its education program that brings in students to learn how to stage Shakespeare and teachers to learn how to teach Shakespeare.

Many of the theater artists needed for the company's year-round calendar of productions end up settling in Staunton, captured by the combination of small-town atmosphere, a lively cultural vibe, and the surrounding wilderness beauty of the Shenandoah Valley. You want to see the entire Shakespeare canon? Live here. This is all part of the definition of Shakespeare for Staunton.

It is simply "Shakespeare," meaning the place, the product, its people, and their presence. Shakespeare is "a feeling," Markowitz says. If you're in school and studying, it might be work. If you're in our community and you don't quite understand it, it might mean those artsy people. If you're in my job and you see the impact of it, Shakespeare is the reason people gather.

It represents quality, it represents intelligence infused with humor and a sensibility that everybody can understand. He wrote for the common man. He wrote about situations that everybody encounters, and everybody can relate to it. It's couched in this old-world way that a lot of people think is snooty, but it's really not. And I love the way the theater company presents it. It's so high energy, it's so much fun. She pauses a moment and then strikes home with what makes this Shakespeare stand out.

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Staging plays in the conditions for which Shakespeare wrote them brings out an improvisational vitality long buried by the technology-aided, proscenium-arch, director-centric theater of the past two centuries. Markowitz thinks back to the "youthful, spontaneous, incredible, fun energy" that Shakespeare brought to her life some years ago. They were celebrating two members in the company "completing the canon" playing in every Shakespeare-written play over the course of their careers with their opening-night performance of Coriolanus that had just concluded next door at the Blackfriars Playhouse.

My wife and I happened to be in the lounge when they arrived, and one of the actors sidled up to me and whispered in my ear: "Sarah Fallon is coming back next Ren Season to play Richard II. Then the actor whispered more: "And Josh Innerst is going to play Hamlet. One year of excited anticipation culminated today, a day of incredible theater and exceptional Shakespeare.

Fallon's Richard is everything I knew it would be, and the ensemble work is exquisitely nuanced. As for Hamlet , well, I'm a guy who spent his formative years attending theater in England, where standing ovations are rarer than comets passing earth. I normally don't stand until the second curtain call, and that only because I don't want to stand out—or sit out in America, not standing is rarer than comets.

Tonight, I rocket out of my seat with hand-hammering applause even before the dead bodies can get up to take their bows. Floating out of the playhouse, I catch up with Joan Saxton, who lives in Sausalito, California, and has come to almost every Blackfriars production a continent away over the past 12 years. She just shakes her head indicating she has no words to offer; her contented smile glazed on an expression of awe more than suffices.

We and other patrons walk to the Stonewall Jackson for a formal reception unveiling the American Shakespeare Company's — lineup of plays. The buzz, though, is all Hamlet. People strain to constrain themselves from saying this might be the best Hamlet ever staged. This is not hyperbole; but now comes the part where the uninitiated are inclined to tell me, "pshaw! The company is one week into its annual Actors' Renaissance Season.

During the "Ren Season" the theater uses original production practices. Twelve actors with cue scripts their parts plus a line or two before they speak put on the play without any director or production team. The cast works out all the blocking and the look of the production in only about a week's worth of rehearsal time. By the end of the three-month season they will be doing a repertory of five plays. This, scholars believe, is how plays were produced in Shakespeare's time, a collaborative effort by the actors.

The result is textually pure productions. The actors simply don't have time to contemplate or argue about concepts or interpretations; they have to play what they read, and they have to listen to the other characters on the stage because they have to hear the cues when they arrive. Key phrases here—"original production practice," "textually pure," "Blackfriars Playhouse" a re-creation of Shakespeare's indoor theater , "original staging conditions"—would incline many to think this is "museum Shakespeare.

Shakespeare wrote for such conditions and, reportedly, more raucous audiences than today's. How he navigated such an environment with his plot and verse structures emerge during these Ren Season productions, some of the most dynamic live theater—modern, early modern, or Greek—I've seen anywhere. Fallon portrays Richard's crumbling state—his crumbing psychological state as much as his regal one—speaking Shakespeare's most lyrical poetry. Being king is all Richard has known, and he relies totally on divine right, anointed by God, for his political standing.

Watching Fallon's Richard discovering that he is as human as everybody else is devastating, no matter how petulant we might think him early in the play. Casting Fallon as Richard II is a no-brainer. I've admired this actress's work on this stage since She has portrayed Cleopatra exactly as Enobarbus describes her. She played all four iterations of Queen Margaret in Shakespeare's Henry VI tetralogy produced one part per year over four years, one of the few women to ever do so a boy or young man would have played the part in the original productions.

Fallon playing Richard II is not stunt casting. Cross-gender casting is common at the Blackfriars. Just as Fallon playing Cassius was all about chemistry with Brutus, to Jim Warren, the American Shakespeare Center's artistic director through last year, Fallon is perfect for Richard because of her verse-speaking skills and her abilities in portraying regality and psychological disintegration—even at the same moment, as she does in the deposition scene at the center of Richard II.

Critics often see Richard as an effeminate tragic hero, but Warren knew Fallon wouldn't play the part that way. I've seen Fallon effectively lead armies, torture dukes, go toe-to-toe with Richard III, beat up messengers, psychologically castrate Scotland's greatest warrior, and, in Beaumont and Fletcher's The Maid's Tragedy , physically castrate a king, all while playing women; and I've seen her manage and participate in a successful assassination plot while playing a man.

Here she's playing a king. Sure, Richard is spoiled, loves flattery, is inefficient in governance, and not politically astute, but he keeps a firm grip on his core ethic, divine right. In the final scene he fends off four murderers, killing two of them before being fatally stabbed himself. That moral strength and physical danger runs through Fallon's performance from the start. I knew she'd be scary good as Richard II, and the payoff has been one year coming. It took two, big, burly corpsmen and my father to hold me down as the doctor gave me a penicillin shot when I was 7 years old.

My distaste for needles hasn't abated since. Bravery for me was getting a vaccine during a hepatitis outbreak on the Air Force base in Alaska where my father was stationed when I was a young teen. One of my classmates had been stricken, so I weighed the odds—and gave in only to the base commander's orders for all families to get the shot at the base clinic. I've never gotten a flu shot. I've also never had the flu. Heck, I average a cold only once every three years. But I've had three colds already since October, and there's been a particularly virulent strain of flu going around the D.

Today, when I was at a doctor's appointment for an unrelated matter, the nurse asked, "Have you had your flu shot? My life flashed before my eyes: not my past but my future, cramming as much as a dozen Shakespeare plays in a dozen locations into the next three months. Holy cow, I just agreed to get a shot! How's that for dedication? Honestly, I didn't feel a thing when she gave me the shot. Not that I'll volunteer for future needling, but 53 years of imagined terror seems kind of silly to me now. My parents once gave me a jigsaw puzzle of the moon.

I've never been good with jigsaw puzzles. I was in junior high school at the time and I didn't think to report them to social services. Then my wife, Sarah, topped them: one Christmas a couple decades ago she gave me a piece, double-sided jigsaw puzzle of The Beatles eponymous LP—better known as "The White Album. She's still my wife, too. Traveling back and forth across the land, seeing all that Shakespeare and visiting all those theaters, what fun! Planning it all out, not so much. It is part of the adventure, but in manner much like Alaska's giant mosquitos that suck on you as you hike through that land's majestic splendor something I can look forward to in late July.

Timing, I knew, would be the biggest contention. So many productions were bound to land during festival season, June through September. It's worse than I imagined, however. Most of the productions—including so many on my "must do" list of priority theaters and only-playing-there titles—have their runs in a three-week period from the end of July into August.

Attending an All-Star Game has been one of our primary baseball goals, and when the Nationals were announced three years ago as hosts for , we became season ticket holders to get first crack at tickets. It's not just the game; it's four days of festivities and showcase games from Saturday through the main event Tuesday night. As soon as Major League Baseball set those dates last August, I booked a hotel room across from the downtown ballpark. At that time, seeing the Shakesperae canon in one year was a fleeting wish. Now, the All-Star Game is trimming significantly my canon-completing opportunities.

Back to the matrix. I'm working with several different priorities. Number One, to see all 38 plays in the traditional canon the First Folio plus Pericles and The Two Noble Kinsmen and productions of Shakespeare's poetry and apocryphal plays as a bonus. Equal priority is to see each play in a different theater. Next priority is to cover the breadth of the land, starting with the four corners of the continent: Miami done , Fairbanks, and San Diego are on the table, as is Hawaii if I can work out the schedule I'm quibbling with the definition of continent here.

As for the northeast corner, my preferred theater, Shakespeare by the Sea in Newfoundland, is currently in flux, but I have geographical fall-back options. Except for the last, these regions have blurry borders. I also intend to limit myself to no more than five productions per region, but the midsummer traffic jam of plays I see ahead of me might detour me off these standards. After consideration of geographical spread, I'll focus on covering a full spectrum of theater spaces, production styles, and company compositions. With about 30 theaters linked on Shakespeareances. Ironically, it's not lack of plays but too many productions of the same play that's giving me fits.

Then there's Macbeth , not only with productions aplenty but a great variety in styles: the experimental version at Shakespearemachine in Fort Wayne, Indiana in November, yes! All these Macbeths , but not necessarily enough Shakespeare variety to spread out my calendar or attain my regional goals. When Sarah and I were first laying out our ideas for the Canon Project, we had a short list of theaters and festivals we wanted to visit, some longtime favorites, some places we have never been in fact, one of my goals is for at least half of the productions I see to be at venues new to me.

Idaho Shakespeare Festival in Boise was on that short list; we've been there twice and love the theater and the productions. However, for , of the five plays the Idaho Shakespeare Festival is staging, only one is by Shakespeare: yep, Macbeth. This is a notable trend at Shakespeare-named theaters. Of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival's 11 titles this year, only four are by the namesake playwright, plus one about the namesake playwright. At least they're not doing Macbeth , but three of their four Shakespeare titles I've already assigned to other theaters: Romeo and Juliet I'm opting for the choose-your-own-ending version being presented in a bar next week , Othello I'm opting for an original pronunciation version in April , and Henry V I have two more intriguing options that I can't reveal as one is not yet publicly announced.

That leaves Love's Labour's Lost , which, if I choose that one, several other preferred theaters come off the chart. Ultimately, many of my final selections will come down to time and travel: when can I get where, and where can I get when. Even my desire to get to the continental corners will have to contend with that reality. Fist-bump-times-eight the spider! Piecing together my calendar provided a mix of bad news and good.

As I expected, the run dates of so many plays appearing at only one theater this year fall between July 19 and August 5. Meanwhile, a couple of regions ended up lacking representation on the calendar. I will have to forego a couple of really-want-to-see productions, sacrificing my own preferences for the greater cause.

Nevertheless, laying out the calendar of potential productions brings this project's ultimate goal into clearer focus. I will be able to see every play in the Shakespeare Canon that is produced on the North American continent this year, plus at least three apocryphal plays, each produced by a different theater company. It will take a lot of hustle, but the goal is within reach.

I just need those last three missing titles to be staged somewhere. The production is part of the Women's Voices Theater Festival here in the Capital Region, with 24 companies currently staging plays written or directed by women. As I was about to toss the play program into my recycling bin, I glanced at the festival flyer, and a title caught my eye: Imogen.

Pointless Theatre in downtown Washington combines puppetry and other graphic elements with live action in its productions, and this particular outing does so with Shakespeare's play Cymbeline. The adaptation further retitles the play to focus on the play's true leading character, King Cymbeline's estranged daughter, Imogen. However, the play's run ends this weekend. Can I get tickets? Yes, I can! So now, Cymbeline is in the fold for the Shakespeare Canon Project, and I don't have to fly cross-country or try to squeeze it into a three-week, cluttered window in late July.

Serendipity strikes again. High-five the spider, post this update, and head downtown for an evening with Pointless Theatre. OK, about Spider. My dad had this plush toy spider next to his computer in his home office. I don't know when it showed up, where it came from, or anything about its backstory. My mom collected teddy bears and other plush animals, and because of her obsessive-compulsive nature she had more than 3, such critters of varying sizes and species at the time of her passing. Dad obviously was attached to it. When Mom and Dad moved to their retirement center, Spider was one of the first items he packed in his office and unpacked in their new apartment.

After his stroke, Dad had to move out of his apartment to the center's assisted living wing, and Spider accompanied the computer upstairs. Near the end of his life as his condition deteriorated, Dad twice had to move to a new room for increased levels of care, and he would grab Spider and make sure it didn't get waylaid he may have suspected I was coveting it; he would have been right. Upon Dad's passing, I took custody of Spider. It now sits next to my office computer.

Because my dad's legacy is largely inspiring me to do the Shakespeare Canon Project, Spider serves as the physical representative for my father's spiritual presence, even accompanying me on my travels. He's a spider: he fits easily in my bags and likes tight spaces.


We start our interrogation of William Shakespeare's feminist cred by challenging his choice of title for this play, Cymbeline. At lines, the titular king of Britain speaks just 8 percent of the script. His daughter, Imogen, has more than twice that: lines which, at 16 percent, is so dominant that the next-largest speaking part, her husband Posthumus Leonatus, gets 12 percent of the total with his lines I'm indebted to ShakespeareWords.

King Cymbeline, in his own play, is such an insignificant puppet manipulated by the Queen, Imogen's stepmother, that Pointless Theatre's production of the play presents him as just that: a hand puppet manipulated and spoken by the Queen Hilary Morrow. It's more than just word counts. This is Imogen's play, her story. All plot threads—the banished husband, the chastity wager, the court intrigue, the lost princes, Rome's invasion of Britain—wind through Imogen on their way to being audaciously tied up in Shakespeare's deftest denouement. By titling her adaptation Imogen , Charlie Marie McGrath, who also directed, is setting the record straight, a starting point for not only honing the play's focus on Imogen but also revisiting Shakespeare's tragicomedy through a woman's lens.

The Dance Loft on 14 is a complex of dance studios plus a small theater upstairs in a building housing a mattress showroom on 14th Street in Northwest Washington, D. Pointless Theatre uses this space to stage its production of Imogen , an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Cymbeline. As McGrath is doing with her retitled version of Cymbeline , the Women's Voices Theater Festival is intended to highlight the too-often-downplayed role of women in theater, what McGrath calls in her Imogen program notes, "a correction of a deficit, a need, a desperate need to put women's voices at the forefront of 21st century American theater.

With Imogen , the nine-year-old Pointless Theatre is making its first foray into Shakespeare. Our getting to the company's current space, The Dance Loft on 14, is a foray in itself, though it's only 30 miles from our house. We give up on our confounded GPS to find street parking in a two-block business district of 14th Street that traverses this midth century Northwest D. We park in front of a mattress store housed in a drab-yellow Mediterranean-style building. Across the street is the bus barn, resembling a gothic fortress, for the Washington Metro Area Transit Authority.

Pointless Theatre productions merge live action with shadow puppetry while layering scripts with heavy doses of music and movement. McGrath, a product of Chicago's rich theater scene and assistant director for several productions at the Shakespeare Theatre Company in D.

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In addition to casting Cymbeline as a hand puppet, she uses shadow puppetry to illustrate off-stage elements of the plot, such as Leonatus, on his way to banishment, fighting with Cloten, and Guiderius, represented as a bear, knocking off Cloten's head in the Welsh woods. The production begins in a fairy tale world with the medieval look of a children's book but transforms into modern dress as the play progresses. Two musicians sitting in the corner of the stage provide a constant soundtrack of music and environmental sounds composed by one of the musicians, Pointless Company Music Director Michael Winch.

Choreographer Ryan Sellers creates mime and dance sequences for Fidele's funeral, the battle between the Britons and Romans including strapping on body armor and then, locked and loaded, crouching with bent elbows to represent bearing rifles , and Imogen's disguising herself as Fidele, a nightmarish trip for the woman as the ensemble strips and re-dresses her on stage. Think about that: for Katelyn Manfre's determined and intelligent Imogen, becoming a man is a bad dream.

Her father is a peevish blowhard. Her stepbrother is a crude lout with a violent temper. Her husband has accused her of adultery and wants to kill her for it. Iachimo is a slimy self-styled stud which comes across to women as, simply, a slimy jerk. Emerging from the trunk in Imogen's bed chamber and wearing gloves with elongated fingers, Iachimo does more than just note her bed chamber, take her bracelet, and inspect her body: he slips those elongated fingers up Imogen's nightdress for his own private climax.

Not all men are bad. The two princes are pure honor and adorably played by Renaldo McClinton as Guiderius who sheds real tears as he dances Fidele's funeral and Kevin Thorne II as Arviragus who sings the funeral dirge, the production's most moving moment, spurring those tears in Guiderius and some in the audience, too. But, then, living with their supposed father out in the Welsh woods, they don't bear society's imprint nor has Imogen met them yet. And in this production, it's not their supposed father but their supposed mother: Belarius Lee Gerstenhaber has been re-gendered, as has Leonatus' trusty servant working for Imogen, Pisanio Acacia Danielson.

That alone infuses the play with female perspectives as the lines they speak or are threatened with take on MeToo and Children's Health Insurance Program significance. McGrath's adaptation remains relatively true to Shakespeare's text, though many lines are transplanted within the play and from other plays. She also transfers passages to a different character to suit her thematic purpose. It is Imogen, not Leonatus, who forgives and pardons Iachimo at the end but, then, Leonatus doesn't seem capable of doing that , and it is Guiderius who pardons the Romans.

Cymbeline has retired, a la Lear, leaving the princes and princess to rule in equipollence. A fairy tale ending, perhaps, but not pointless. It wasn't that I miscounted, I just didn't recount. For more than a week, my upcoming trip to Connecticut would take me to my th staged William Shakespeare production.

I was at , and a production of Coriolanus by Brave Spirits in Alexandria, Virginia, was coming up on this Saturday night, but not as part of the Canon Project. Brave Spirits had originially been the representative theater for Coriolanus , but when late this week I inserted Pointless Theatre's Imogen into the matrix, my need to spread out the Canon Project's geography trumped my desire to profile Brave Spirits.

That was a hard call for me, too, as this company is one of my favorites, and it plans to stage the entire Shakespeare history cycle as a repertoire in , a sequential staging of the eight War of the Roses plays reflecting on current political conditions. That's exactly something I've envisioned since I was in college in every age of man, "current" political conditions are always fraught, it seems , and I want to give Brave Spirit's ambitious "History Is " project wider notice. Nevertheless, I had another Coriolanus glowing on the matrix, a Stratford Festival production in Ontario already generating buzz before opening.

Stratford was my initial choice to see Julius Caesar , but there always comes such another Caesar. So, Brave Spirits dropped off the Canon Project itinerary. Still, this production was a significant one in my lifelong Shakespearean trek. By inserting Imogen and seeing it this afternoon, tonight's Coriolanus is now my th Shakespeare production. That doesn't occur to me as I wait in the theater lobby wondering why, five minutes before showtime, the theater has yet to open for seating. Then something more significant than a benchmark number happens: The plebeians start uprising—in the lobby.

The small room barely has enough space for patrons, and now the first scene of Coriolanus is playing among us. I jerk as a firm hand clasps my shoulder from behind. It's Menenius, and he moves on into the room to address the rabble. Ian Blackwell Rogers, a longtime fave of ours, is playing Menenius, and he chooses the target for his entrance knowing he would not get punched or sued. Things really get intense in that little room when Caius Martius himself later to become Coriolanus arrives.

Looking around the room, I notice that the nonactors are worried: they might have to choose sides if a real riot breaks out. But, no, the action is moving to the capitol, Martius bids us follow, and we do—except in the hallway to the theater, the newly elected tribunes, Sicinius and Brutus, waylay us to worry openly about Martius. Only then, for the play's second scene, do we enter the theater, its 52 seats arranged in a square.

A couple of seats already are occupied. I sit next to a woman stitching a pair of pants. This turns out to be Virgilia Renea S. Brown , wife of Martius. The play continues in the same manner as what we experienced in the lobby, scenes exploding from behind and among us into the center of the play space. Virgilia doesn't leave her seat as she plays her entire scene with Martius's mother, Volumnia Jessica Lefkow. The knife fight between Martius and Aufidius Robert Pike takes place on the floor a couple of feet from us. For the second half of the play, Aufidius takes the seat next to me where Virgilia had been sitting.

Pike plays Aufidius as a coiled cobra, and I spend much of the rest of the play wondering when he would snap my head off at the mere memory of a fight he lost to Martius some years back. Fourth-wall-shattering theater is no longer a novel concept, though the large number of companies that still strictly adhere to proscenium arch conventions might make you think otherwise. Fourth-wall-shattering was standard practice in Shakespeare's time, but these days it's often treated as theatrical calisthenics—gimmickry. Smith, who helms this production of Coriolanus , does not indulge in gimmickry.

She explores Shakespeare's texts with both a trust and openness that results in some of the most stimulating Shakespeariences I've known. She does so again with this Coriolanus. This is a play of the people. Literally: the word people is spoken more than 80 times. It's used with both positive and negative connotations, as a badge of honor and an entity to scorn.

Nevertheless, this play is peopled with equal representation from all classes and different countries, too. Coriolanus has famously been staged as an exemplar for political positions across the entire spectrum of ideologies, from communism to fascism. Smith doesn't assign any person or party as righteous or villainous, nor does she assign us, the audience, to any particular faction.

She integrates us into the whole of Roman and Volscian society. In that opening scene in the lobby, the rabble direct their distrust at us, Menenius directs his parable at us, Martius directs his scorn at us, and the two Tribunes engage us in their concerns. Which side are we on? O Martius, Martius! Would that this production represented you in the Shakespeare Canon Project. A domino effect later this year would make this so. Wisely or not, I am not restricting my theater attendance this year just to the Canon Project itinerary.

We have subscriptions to Brave Spirits and other theaters in the region, and while visiting a company on the Canon Project itinerary, I intend to see as many of their productions as I can fit in. This means a few more scheduling headaches and a lot more work, as I plan to review for Shakespeareances. Just six weeks into the year, in addition to four Canon Project plays, I've attended a Hamlet American Shakespeare Center that is among the best theater experiences I've ever had, and now I've seen Brave Spirits' scintillating Coriolanus. That Hamlet was Shakespeare stage production number in my lifelong tally, and this Coriolanus is The benchmark doesn't mean nearly as much as the ongoing proof that you can never see enough Shakespeare.

So what? She was in the Air Force. I'm a journalist. For the first dozen years of our courtship and marriage, we didn't spend a single Valentine's Day together. She was deployed or doing distant duty somewhere, or I was traveling on assignments. For many of the past half dozen years, my dad-care duties had me away from home on Valentine's Day, too.

Full text of "Malchi Martin's Windswept House"

Even when we do happen to be home together on February 14, we treat it as just another day—probably because we approach every day of the year as our Valentine's Day. The play by Ann Fraistat and Shawn Fraistat and William Shakespeare, of course stops at three points for the audience to vote on the fate of the young lovers, starting with whether Romeo should pursue Juliet or stay true to Rosaline.

That means a total of eight different potential endings—a one-hour show with a page script. For a one-night-only performance, Simonetti and the actors have to rehearse each track. Just the logistics of keeping the blocking straight is mind-blowing, and seven-eighths of what they are working on today will not see the public light of day. Turns out I have a lot at stake in the audience's votes tomorrow night, too.

I've seen all the endings, and one stands out for its brilliant hilarity: the flurple ending. I saw it once in rehearsal today, and I want to see it again. I get my chance at the end of the day. For their single run-through at the end of a nine-hour rehearsal, I serve as the audience, voting on which turn the play would take. It's a lot of responsibility, especially as the script includes direct-address reminders to the audience that characters' fates are in their hands so don't [screw] it up. This is an adult-language play, so it's disconcerting to have actors level the f-word with the full force of a glare directly at me.

Though I knew which conclusion I wanted, I hadn't figured out how all the tracks pieced together as I said, the logistics are mind-blowing, and I'm not playing in or directing it. My choices led to the one happy ending for Romeo and Juliet and Rosaline and Mercutio and Tybalt, too. The only one here not happy was me: I didn't get to see the flurple ending again. So, on this Valentine's Day night, my loving energy goes out to tomorrow's sold-out audience at Tavern ; may your votes lead us all to a flurple ending.

Tom Simonetti is from The Valley, a cluster of small cities and large towns along the Naugatuck River. Its population is mostly working-class people, resiliently powering through the economic ebbs and flows of the past several decades and dedicated to their community, which, though comprising the municipalities of Seymour, Derby, Ansonia, and Shelton, they consider collectively as The Valley.

Though located in southwest Connecticut almost equidistance between New York City and Hartford, The Valley is isolated from a mass transit perspective. Valley residents might have an appreciation for culture but no convenient access to the cultural institutions of the Northeast Corridor. Simonetti is a theater artist, an actor and director who honed his craft in New York.

He also has Valley DNA. From the time he was in college he dreamed of bringing a Shakespeare festival to The Valley. Even if he didn't sense a demand, he knew the need, and as he was nearing his 30th birthday, he founded the Valley Shakespeare Festival and staged its first free play, The Comedy of Errors , for one weekend in the summer of in downtown Shelton's Veterans Memorial Park.

Simonetti estimates a hundred people showed up that first night. Each night, the crowds grew. They continue to grow, now averaging to per show, even in rain. One person who attended that first year was Mark S. Holden, an insurance agent and chairman of the Shelton Public Schools. Growing up in nearby Trumbull, he remembers a Shakespeare acting troupe visiting his school with "gorgeous costumes and props and absolutely horrid actors, people who knew their lines but didn't know what they meant. This played right into Simonetti's dream. He didn't just want to do free Shakespeare in the park of his hometown.

He wanted to build a local institution, one with a professional i. And bars, too. Valley Shakespeare Company will do one or two plays in taverns during the winter. Simonetti and company believe the plays are a perfect fit for such an environment. One establishment, in fact, begged out of future shows because the crowds overwhelmed operations. Tonight, Holden is sharing a high table with me at Tavern We are among the plus people who have filled to capacity the restaurant's upstairs banquet room with a bar to see Romeo and Juliet: Choose Your Own Ending , a one-hour adaptation of Shakespeare's play by Ann Fraistat and Shawn Fraistat.

Three times in the play, the audience votes on a decision Romeo must make. The play continues with the audience directing Romeo into one of eight endings, ranging from everybody living and happy to everybody dying and angry. The Fraistats supplement Shakespeare's verse mostly from Romeo and Juliet , but other plays, too with some modern applications of thou and thine. Nurse identifies Juliet to Romeo or Benvolio depending on the track with "Marry, bachelor, her mother is the lady of the house, and a good lady, and a wise and virtuous.

I nursed her daughter that you talked withal. So whate're you're thinking, Montague, hands off! I've been in The Valley for three days and hanging out with Simonetti and his cast for rehearsals. I've been exposed to three things: a Valley-wide spirit of community fealty and generosity; a Valley-wide admiration for Simonetti and Company Manager Cheryl O'Brien; and the talent of this cast, all of whom welcome the challenge of playing Shakespeare in a bar. Martin, playing workout wonk Paris and an arrogant Tybalt, leave their fellow actors in stitches.

The cast comprises New York—based actors most originally from The Valley except one: year-old Valley resident Killian Meehan playing Romeo with only three years of stage experience and learning stage combat for the first time in this production. Meehan nevertheless leads the charge for the entire production with a commanding presence in a character who, in this version, is more straight man than blubbering lover.

Certainly, some in the audience are friends and family of company members, but the majority are Valley Shakespeare Festival fans generating a cult-following buzz. Rosaline is played by Jessica Breda, identified in the production's flier not by any of the many roles she's played but as "VSF Audience Favorite! As Romeo, having to choose between Rosaline and Juliet Ella Smith, channeling year-old essence , introduces the two women for the first time, Breda gets an especially enthusiastic greeting.

Then, too, the audience has already shouted for Romeo to stick with Rosaline. This evening, with just a couple days to rehearse and only Smith off book the other actors carry scripts , the cast not only embraces the wacky, it embraces the atmosphere and the audience, too. Funke's Mercutio switches "lawyer" to "architect" in the Queen Mab speech as he addresses a man who, based on audience reaction, is a known architect in The Valley.

Patrons also get many of the play's Shakespeare insider jokes. As the audience chooses Romeo to stick with Rosaline, Benvolio Sam Plattus playing an awkward teen hits on Juliet with "rub a dub dub, it's time for some love.

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This works in getting Juliet worked up, but Benvolio doesn't know what to do with her replies, so she ends up taking over both sides of the play's famous meet-up sonnet, a sly piece of verse humor many patrons get into even before Benvolio's payoff line: "Wait, I'm sorry, lips are doing what now? The audience's votes send the plot to the most tragic and hilarious of the play's eight endings. Romeo and Benvolio see the dead-like girls in the Capulet monument and poison themselves. Juliet and Rosaline wake up, see the actually dead boys, and fatally stab themselves. Tybalt and Mercutio arrive, start arguing over trivialities, and stab each other in a snit.

As they fall to the floor, Mercutio tells Tybalt he'll see him in hell. Everybody in the play is dead, but everybody else in the room is laughing, and I'm especially happy: I got to see the flurple ending again. To read review of this production, click here.

About to depart on my next trip, this one to Palisades, New York, to see the Children's Shakespeare Theater's production of The Merchant of Venice —a perfect production for this time as teens have a lot to say on social issues right now. In my mind, though, I'm grousing about the summer and, specifically, an addition to the itinerary for the Shakespeare Canon Project. This story begins three years ago. At Christmas, my wife and I each state a dream wish tied to one of our favorite passions, and we set out to achieve that dream together.

I began booking rooms and looking into getting tickets, but just ahead of that baseball season, the Washington Nationals were named host of the All-Star Game. We changed our strategy. Abandoning efforts to make the Cincinnati game, we instead upgraded our partial season ticket plan with the Nationals to half-season tickets so that we would get guaranteed first crack at tickets to this year's All-Star Game. In fact, I paid the first installment on our All-Star tickets just last week, and we're one row back and over a few numbers from our usual seats.

The All-Star Game on July 17 will be part of a five-day festival for the city. When the dates for this year were set last August, I booked a room in a hotel across the street from Nationals Park for the duration of the festivities. This was before the Canon Project took root. My strategic plan for the Project dictated that I should take some enforced "oblivion breaks" during the year to recharge my brain and spirit, and the five-day All-Star block in the middle of July seemed perfect for that purpose. Also supplied refurbished Allrefurbishedtothehigheststandard Collectionanddeliveryservice availableuponrequest.

Garden furniture. Motorcycle parts. Alloy wheels. Groups and local voluntary organisations can use this valuable facility to reach over 2, webpage visitors each month. Submitting an event is simple with the easy to use online form at www. Just some of the events taking place over the next few weeks include a summer holiday club, fantasy fun day, animal themed arts and crafts workshops, music in the square, play days and more at various locations across the borough.

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For information on these and hundreds of other events and activities or to submit your own event visit www. Corbett knows that when the protocol for videoing the council meetings was placed before the council Labour Members tried to amend it to include video streaming but this was rejected by him and his group on grounds of expense. How many times have the Tories told us that. Well, according to papers released under the 30 year rule, not quite true. Proposals also considered by her cabinet included compulsory charges for schooling and a massive scaling back of other public services, just like today.

Thatcher, policy of bringing the market into the NHS was disastrous. She changed totally the NHS from a vocation of caring and responsibility towards the patient, paid for by the people, to an ethos of cost-cutting and income generation. I say to Thomas Pearson and his likes, if they were born in hospital, be thankful, had Thatcher and Howes plans gone through, their mothers may well have had to pay a doctor to deliver them at home, as it was before the NHS was born. Ken Moreton, Draycott.

NGLF E. Pavingareareliablefamilyownedandrun businessspecialisinginblockpaving,walling, tarmacadam,brickwork,peashingling,fencingand generalhardlandscaping. Allourworkisguaranteedagainstnormalwearand tear,andwedonottakepaymentuntiltheprojectis completedtoyourtotalsatisfaction.

Wearehappytopoint youinthedirectionof drivewayswehave alreadydone,sothat youcanseefirsthand thequalityofourwork. Councillor Alex Phillips, who proposed at a recent Council meeting that councillors should keep their claims on the public purse to a minimum, turns out to be one of the main offenders. I am amazed at the support that Angela and Nigel received for their wonderful efforts from so many kind-hearted organizations and also anybody and everybody who turned up on the day.

I would like to say a huge and heartfelt thank you to everybody involved. I, for one am incredibly proud to be a resident of Borrowash! Photo: Angela and Nigel Shortland. This summer 17 year old Annabel Redgate from Weston-on-Trent will be treading the well worn boards of the world-leading youth arts organization, as part of a two week introductory course. Mine was held in a rehearsal space in the Mac Theatre in Birmingham. It will be fantastic working in a huge group to produce something amazing.

Ockbrook School is currently an independent school for girls aged years and will welcome boys in Year 7 from September For further details visit our websites www. Tel www. H Freenoobligation estimates. Redundancy, illness, benefit delay, domestic violence, debt, family breakdown and high increases in energy bills are just some of the reasons why people go hungry. The current economic situation means that times are tough for many. In some cases parents are skipping meals to feed their children and even considering stealing to stop them going to bed hungry. You can contact it on , or email: info longeatonsawley.

The Barefoot Walk is set in the stunning surroundings of Wollaton Park. GEM and the dancing hamster are supporting and attending the event. The walk starts at 11am till 1pm. The first entrants will receive a free pair of butterfly twist shoes. Every participant will receive a goody bag filled with discounts and a certificate for crossing the finish line. To register, find out more information or sponsor the event log onto www.

We specifically chose the distances as they are achievable for all. To set a Guinness World Record in the process for Nottingham would be brilliant. By taking part in the Barefoot Walk, you ll be raising money to enhance patient care at Nottingham s hospitals, helping patients from across the region. We d love people in Nottingham to get behind this event and help us break that world record! So why not make this a great family day out, support two fantastic charities and most of all have lots of fun!

This has been put towards more chairs which are now needed due to the extra space which has been created. We can now accommodate - people which is ideal for wedding receptions and large parties. The hall has always been popular with a variety of groups etc using it every day, but bookings now go well into If you would like to book this venue for your event or club please contact Lynn on for details. The East Midlands in Bloom is a voluntary, non profit making organisation and covers the six counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Rutland.

The aim of the competition is to encourage the improvement of our surroundings through the imaginative use of trees, shrubs, flowers and landscaping. It also aims to achieve a litter free and sustainable environment. Exhibitors began arriving with buckets, tubs, and containers of all kinds, eager to display their flowers and plants. Soon the hall was buzzing with activity, resulting in a dazzling array of colour, with flowers of all kinds, tiny ones, tall ones, foliage, a mouth-watering selection of vegetables and soft fruits, and pot plants of every size and shape imaginable, all this making a wonderful panorama of all the horticultural.

Outside, the plant stalls were very busy selling all kinds of plants, giving advice, and answering queries. The entries for the schools competition were exquisite, with models of fairy grottos, playgrounds , and mini allotments. Once all was in place, and judging finished, the visitors came in and took time to admire the blooms and produce, and absorb the scent from the many sweet peas and roses, that mingled and wafted through the hall.

The show finished with the awards to winners, and the draw of the raffle. Wonderfulweather, wonderfulflowershow! Just Come Along! Are you struggling with loose dentures? Experience the freedom of dentures that feel secure and stable. As little as two implants in your lower jaw are proven to significantly overcome the social and physical limitations experienced by complete denture wearers.

The majority are unintentional and caused by lack of concentration. People cycle for different reasons. Some because they simply can no longer afford to fill up their cars with petrol others because they see it as a part of a personal health regime. Recommendations include replacing the existing roundabout with signalized junctions. Advance Stop Boxes for cyclists and some new cycle lanes. The improved facilities will link to the existing wider cycle network with access to West Park and other leisure and sport venues. Planstoreducecycleaccidentson TheGreen Flatsorcarehome? The council was carrying out a consultation on the future of the home, with plans for residential care to be replaced by approximately sixty two bedroom self-contained flats.

The current consultation has now been placed on hold. But local councillors want the County Council to be clear about what the future holds for the Cotmanhay home. Local Cllr. If the County Council removes residential care from Hazelwood then there would be no other County Council residential care provision in the Ilkeston area. I would like to see a mixed provision on the site with 50 or so flats and 10 beds available for residential care. This way we have the best of both worlds giving independence to some residents and more specialized care to others.

It would also be a great opportunity to clear up the persistent eye-sore of the former Jolly Farmers Pub. Across the country every authority is facing an old age time bomb and we feel that there needs to be an element of residential care in any future plan for the site, to help with those people suffering with illnesses such as Dementia. These houses in Broxtowe are a perfect example. The properties were incorrectly underpinned and not inspected before being irretrievably damaged.

The buildings partially collapsed before this was discovered and were subsequently demolished. A new planning application to erect a replacement pair of semi-detached houses has been now approved. Without one, the sale will be delayed and could fall through. The team have good local knowledge, are efficient and cost effective, checking building plans and visiting regularly throughout the work to ensure it is carried out correctly and meets the Building Regulations. For our new shop in Bilborough. Collections for donated furniture are FREE.

Thank you. Call or For more information visit www. Catherine was selected following an all member hustings meeting which was held in Long Eaton. Catherine, 32, lives in Sandiacre and currently works as a barrister. As someone who has worked as a local charity volunteer, a former councillor and as a lawyer representing some of the most vulnerable in our society, Catherine is determined to put her experience to good use in fighting for the best for Erewash and its hard working families.

Catherine got married last month to Dan who is an Army Reservist who deployed to Afghanistan last year. We need an MP that will stand up for them and who will put Erewash first, not someone who will support the failed policies of David Cameron and George Osborne. The Friesland school students were not put off by this and showed strong commitment by turning up to athletics practice on a weekly basis, constantly striving to better their own performance.

As they arrived at Moorways athletics stadium for the District competition, the sun was shining and it looked as though it was going to be a perfect day. The school knew that winning this year was more important than ever and the support from every single member of staff on sportsday and in preparing for district, assisted with selecting the right team to take.

Although individual performances were important, the success of the school at this event for the past 19 years had been the result of a team effort, with staff always encouraging the students to go out there and enjoy the day. By the lunch time break, the scores were very close between a number of schools but Friesland had faith in their sprinters, who could always perform under pressure, in both their individual events and in their relay events. The end of the day proved to be very tense with a number of schools performing particularly well and as the results were about to be announced, there was a level of uncertainty as to whether Friesland school had done enough to make it their 20th consecutive year.

Individual year group honours were shared between a number of schools, however, it was Friesland who came away with the most victories resulting in the school being crowned overall District Athletics Champions for , their 20th consecutive year. Well done to all that took part! The sportsmanship of all students at the event was something that the partnership should be proud of. Thank you to all the schools that took part and to the PE departments for their hard work. This is an opportunity for those with dementia and those that care for them to come together, share experiences and take part in memory based activities.

Please sign up to your local Argos collection on Saturday 27 July visit - www. The staff at Firfield ask if any former pupils could send photos or funny stories to either andrewc48 firfield. Further info: Trish The club plays every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoons and welcomes new members. Croquet is a great game for all ages and we play friendly games between club members and also against other local clubs.

Do come along and give it a try. Please contact Chris or Sue on for further details. For more information please contact Mrs Sheila Hickingbotham on Each session includes healthy snacks, a craft session and singing time. For further information, contact Sue Harris on Entrance is free, but donations are welcome to help cover the costs of heating and lighting. The association members are always looking to recruit new volunteers to help run the initiative when the cottages are open.

The Assocation meet at their headquarters on the third Thursday in every month except August with meetings starting at 7. Volunteers wishing to join Friday work parties at Langley Mill should phone Mick Golds on For other general information, contact Shirley Cornwell on The Club embraces all media except performing arts we not only paint using traditional materials but any crafts, sewing arts, digital arts and any 3D art, also Jewellery making.

We hold a monthly raffle and often have plants for sale. For more information please contact: Jayne Daykin secretary Tel: Email: jayne. The policy of the Branch is to enable members to enjoy an afternoon of togetherness, chatting, listening to interesting talks, parties and days out during the year, to enhance their lives also that of their Carers. The show will open at 3pm - admission is free but all children must be accompanied by a parent or adult. This event is organised by the Association but is not restricted to members - anyone can enter as many exhibits of flowers, fruit and vegetables as they wish, just as long as those exhibits have been grown by the person entering the show.

There are also sections for cookery, crafts and photography as well as a special section for children under 12 years of age. There is a 10p entry fee for each exhibit entered. Trophies will be presented to the winners by the Mayor or Erewash, after which all of the vegetables, fruit and flowers will be sold by auction. Exhibits can be entered at the school on Friday evening, 6th September 7.

All welcome. Children welcome during school holidays. Every Thursday Prayer Lunch 12 noon — 1 pm. Just come along! Chris Smedley Tel: Email:smedley7 btinternet. Currently they are enjoying a good run of success in competitions. The principal of the school is Helen Cannon who confirmed that in another local competition they took first place in every section where a pupil had been entered.

Now she is looking to recruit more competitors. The interview consists of questions on what Flight Sergeant Liam Osbiston could bring to the Wing and what his future aspirations are within in the wing before he turns the age of 20 and has to choose different paths.

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After the interview Flight Sergeant walked out the office feeling confident he had earned the promotion. Members made a summertime onslaught against the unwelcome and invasive Himalayan plant that is growing profusely in the Long Eaton park. Organized by the Friends of West Park group, the event took place on Thursday 18 July at 7pm when those taking part aimed to pull up as much of the unwanted Himalayan Balsam as possible in a bid to prevent it from spreading further afield. It is a mammoth task. Tuntum housing is a nonprofit making organisation formed to provide housing and support services for people on low income from the East Midlands.

I would urge residents to support it. In Long Eaton activists spoke to passengers and rail staff about fares. The Government has put the wrong people first by caving in to pressure from the private train companies and letting them hike rail fares. Rural entrepreneurs are already hampered by having low, or in some cases, no broadband speeds — and now this comes on top of all the problems we have in the rural economy already.

West park sundial now has a domain. Go to www. Uranus has now been planted, funded by East Midland airport community fund, some other planets will be planted soon. Their business has been built on quality service, food and drink. They group wanted to raise awareness of homelessness within the local community. The tree represents the shelter that Canaan has provided to many young men. The words within the picture have been written by residents and describe their experiences of homelessness. Partially hidden words within the flowerbeds are used to remind us that homelessness is all around us but often out of sight.

It is hoped that the artwork will be displayed in a number of public venues across the area. July has been a busy month for Official Visits as on the 11th July the Mayor of Erewash, Cllr Val Clare witnessed a mass bicycle repair and maintenance session going on at Jordan House. Bikes are a vital lifeline for many of our residents who need to get around.

The Trust is grateful to so many kind benefactors who have donated bikes to the Project. Our repair session was led by Graham Reeves, a volunteer who happens to work for Sustrans, the national charity which helps to maintain our cycle paths many of our residents are looking to volunteer and help Graham in his own work clearing and maintaining the area s cycle ways.

The Mayor was also one of the first to see the magnificent work of art which the residents have produced conveying what homelessness means to them. Produced in a mosaic style the individual pieces were random cuttings from some glossy magazines. So impressed with the finished piece the Mayor Cllr Clare subsequently helped arrange for the piece to shortly go on display in both the Council Office Reception Areas and also in Erewash Museum.

Such support makes the support which the Trust provides to our local homeless so rewarding. Erewash Eddie will visit schools across the borough, attend sporting events and young ambassador sessions being run by Erewash School Sport Partnership. The partnership ran a competition asking all schools in Erewash to come up with a design which could be turned into a life-size mascot. They met Erewash Eddie for the first time during an assembly and all the pupils said they felt very proud to have won the competition.

We wanted to make him look really bright and we are all really proud to have won. He divided the audience into three parts and insisted they call him Sir Francis! All are welcome. Come and join us. On the 14th September. Schedules are already out in various local establishments eg. Library, Post Offices etc. The project will include an access road and car parking. As well as having the opportunity to talk with funders, there will be funding workshops during the morning further details to follow once confirmed.

The lakes or lagoons as they are known are a product of the former pit site. The lakes have recently been stocked with carp and all this hot weather means not enough oxygen was getting into the water — meaning the carp were at risk of dying. Firemen came out to the lakes last night and pumped oxygen into the lakes to give the fish a fighting chance of surviving the heatwave. Notts residents are reminded to make sure their garden ponds are well aerated in this hot weather. Bubblers or aerators can be bought to introduce oxygen.

Waterfalls are a good idea to oxygenate water and people should look out for a build-up of algae and check the PH level in ponds to ensure the right environment for their fish. Richard Guise followed the line that divides those rivers flowing west from those flowing east all the way from Chesil Beach in Dorset to Kinder Scout in Derbyshire on foot and by bike.

Richard expects the printed book to be available through all booksellers and via Amazon later this summer. Various local Organisations were invited to an informal event. The onboard camera contained over two and a half hours of footage. Below is a selection of stills taken from the journey. The data recorder showed that the highest point of the flight was 24, meters or 78, feet. Commercial airliners typically cruise at a maximum altitude of 12, meters or 39, feet.

They provided their expertise and the materials needed to build and launch the vehicle. They also applied for the permissions needed to launch it to such a high altitude. This was important because aircraft in the area needed to know what the school were planning to do. However, there is another boundary known as the Armstrong line. Any altitude above this would not be survivable by a human being unless they were wearing a space suit!

The aim was to travel above the Armstrong line into an environment that for a human being is the same as being in space. The Armstrong line can be found at approximately 19, meters and our craft travelled meters higher than this. Our temperature sensor showed that the lowest temperature reached outside was For advice on launching your own high altitude balloon visit the Sent Into Space website: www. Chris and Alex from Sent Into Space. Miss Rowell for guiding us through the construction. Ready to start construction. Testing the fit. Ready to fly! Wednesday 10th July was the launch day, there was some wind and a lot of cloud but the team were confident they could get the balloon into the air and reach the targets.

Above: Filling the balloon with helium. The team all waited patiently and were able to track the progress of the balloon using an online tracker. The tracker provided real-time updates on the speed, altitude and location of the balloon. Waiting patiently to be picked up. The curvature of the earth at 24, meters. The balloon has burst! The quiz has a theme of aliases and features puzzles and questions on general knowledge, sport, literature, films and music with answers related to people, places and things that have more than one name.

Closing date for entries is 12th September To obtain a copy please send an s. Sandiacre Parish Councillors have decided to remove the youth shelter on Doncaster Avenue Recreation Ground after repeated acts of vandalism to the structure and displays of offensive graffiti.