Saturday, 14 October 2017

London came to Dartmouth

On Friday the 13th of October, The Flavel audience enjoyed a very unique cinema screening.

Introduced by director Alex Barrett (who attended the screening in-person), London Symphony enthralled its large audience from the opening frame to the last - and in the post-film Q&A hosted by cinema coordinator Sam Love, Barrett enthralled the audience with tales of the film's 4-year production before answering many insightful questions.

This was a very special evening for The Flavel, and we're grateful that Barrett stopped by The Flavel on his exhaustive UK tour.

For more details about the film and where to see it next, see here.

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Interview: Peter Snow and Ann McMillan

What gave you the idea to write a book together?
 We have always wanted to write a book together especially since we have worked as a team on Peter's other books. When our editor ask Peter for another book about military history we came up with the idea of the two of us writing personal stories about people who had extraordinary  experiences in wartime. 

What method did you adopt - did you write the stories together or separately? 
We did a great deal of research and came up with a long list of potential subjects. Each of us chose the men or women we found most interesting and when we had each written our account, we handed it over to the other for suggestions and corrections. It worked very well although there was the odd argument - usually friendly! 

There are already many published war stories - what is different about these accounts?
What makes these stories different is that each one is uniquely memorable.  Most importantly we chose individuals who had written first hand accounts of their experiences in diaries or letters from the battlefield. A few of our subjects - for example a refugee from war-torn Syria,  a veteran of the ST Nazaire harbour raid in 1942 and an SAS navigator in the North African desert -  are still alive so we interviewed them personally.  

What do you find fascinating about people caught up in war?
We are both journalists who have covered many conflicts but we have never fought a war. Telling the story about people who have had that life changing experience has been enormously rewarding. We haven't just gone for heroes, there are villains in our book too?  And one of the most astonishing stories is the tale of the captured German Luftwaffe pilot who made several escapes from British POW camps and finally made it home to lGermany

The stories span four centuries - how did you select the subjects, and research their stories?
We hope that readers will find each of the stories unforgettable. We include brave soldiers like Edward Seager who survived the charge of the Light Brigade in the Crimea. And we've gone behind the battle lines as well.  We write about doctors like Norman Bethune who invented mobile blood transfusions in the Spanish Civil War. Women play a large part too: spies like the incredibly brave and beautiful Krystyna Skarbek, Winston Churchill's favourite operative in the Second World War and Belgian/ Congolese nurse Augusta Chiwy who risked her life to save American soldiers in the Battle of the Bulge. 

Are you planning to write together again?
We are so pleased with our book that we are already collecting stories for War Stories Two. Any suggestions greatly welcome!

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Yuila Chaplina and Jonathan Deakin

Yulia Chaplina and Jonathan Deakin

We were treated to wonderful performances by husband and wife team, Yulia Chaplina and Jonathan Deakin on Saturday 12 August.

The programme was predominantly Slavic, with pieces by Prokofiev, Khachaturyan and Sviridov. However, there was also a 'surprise' piece - Three Caprices by Phil Watson - a piano duet commissioned by the Flavel Arts Centre with funds from the Michael Emms legacy, and this marked its debut performance.

Yulia and Jonathan frequently perform together as piano duellists, as cellist and pianist and in two piano recitals, and we are very lucky that they performed for our delight at the Flavel Centre.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

News: We are sorry to see you go!

The Flavel Team, would like to thank Daryl Whitehead, our Programme Manager, for all her enthusiasm and hard work at the Flavel. She has made some very positive changes in the relatively short time that she has been with us.
Daryl is moving to a job in Chippenham, near Bath, and we wish her well in her new role. 

Guest Review: David Starkey, Tuesday 11th July

David Starkey - English constitutional historian and radio and television presenter

David Starkey spoke at The Flavel on Tuesday 11th July. Many thanks to Emily Jade Love for sending in this thoughtful review.

On Tuesday night, the renowned historian David Starkey took to the stage to discuss the correlation between Henry VIII's English reformation and the recent Brexit referendum. With intellectual wit and a plethora of knowledge, Starkey presented the Tudor King's reasoning for the break with the See of Rome with clarity and created interesting parallels between the modern day and five hundred years ago, highlighting the many ways in which we have not changed. 
The intimacy of the venue added to the presentation, by allowing every audience member to feel personally addressed and drawn in to the in-depth, flowing lecture.  Although his style depends on your prior knowledge of the subject being discussed, there was a simplicity to the format that allowed even those with a passing interest to be engrossed, and most likely develop an enthusiasm for the 16th century. The odd chuckle and continual nods from the audience showed that his facts were indeed compelling and well grounded. 
By taking prompts from the Tudor monarch's famous painting by Hans Holbein, Starkey fleshed out Henry as both a romantic and a tyrant, a man and a king. Each new point of interest was studied in great depth as to how many different aspects lead to the ultimate decision to break with the Catholic church, including the King's 'Great Matter' in desiring a divorce from Catherine of Aragon and his relentless pursuing of Anne Boleyn. 
The proximity to the speaker, allowed every audience member to share in the passion of Starkey about, not just the Tudor King, but also the fundamental values of history. A juicy Q&A followed the talk, allowing a more in-depth discussion of the vital players of the time and how they reflect on the modern day. It was soon was over and left the patrons with a torrent of topics to discuss and theorise amongst themselves, which many did as they left The Flavel. 

Whether Henry VIII was indeed the original 'Brexiteer' or not is up for debate, but he was certainly a bold, turbulent and intriguing ruler who is still the subject of many discussions today and looks set to be for many years to come.

Emily Jade Love

Monday, 1 May 2017

Film Review: Mad to be Normal

David Tennant and Elisabeth Moss

Mad To Be Normal reveals the story of R.D. Laing, the famous psychiatrist and one of Scotland's greatest ever minds. Working at Kingsley Hall in East London throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Laing performed various daring experiments on people who were diagnosed as mentally disturbed. His revolutionary methods involved experimenting with LSD on his patients and practicing a form of self-healing known as metanoia, causing outrage and controversy in the medical profession and radically changing attitudes and perceptions of mental health around the world.

David Tennant plays Laing and Elisabeth Moss his girlfriend in this fascinating insight into Laing's controversial work. The two have a convincing on-screen chemistry. As the story unfolds, it proves difficult to sustain a relationship when boundaries between personal lives and work have become blurred.

News: Interview with Sam Love

Welcome to the Flavel team, Sam!
Sam Love has been helping us with social media, marketing and publicity for a while now; and we are delighted that he has recently joined the staff. Read what Sam has to say below.

Could you tell me about your background?
Of course! After finishing college in 2013, I decided against university and opted to pursue a career as an online content creator. With lots of hard work and perseverance, I had created my own company - SML Creative - and was supplying a variety of clients with all kinds of work. While journalistic pieces such as film reviews and festival coverage were my forte, I was always adding new skills to my repertoire and began helping clients with social media management, marketing and publicity. This initially brought me to The Flavel, as I started out by helping with the centre's social media and in-house advertisements.

What attracted you to your new job at the Flavel?
As soon as I started helping The Flavel with the above tasks, I felt passionate for this beautiful little place. I wanted to be part of it officially, in any capacity. When a role came up that included cinema coordination - an area I was extremely interested in - I could not resist throwing my name in the hat. A few weeks later, I had the job! 

What do you like to do in your free time?
When I'm not working, you'll usually find me hypnotised by the spell of classic cinema, buried in a book or getting lost in the sounds of my eclectic vinyl collection - my most treasured album being a copy of The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds signed by Brian Wilson, after meeting him on his current tour. I'm a huge music and film enthusiast but still find plenty of time for the outdoors - and our two cocker spaniels are very grateful! 

Where do you live?
I currently live with my parents and sister here in beautiful Dartmouth. After spending almost our entire lives in Shrewsbury (Shropshire), we decided it was time to finally move to the town that we always considered home. We've been here for almost 8 months, and we've loved every second.