Sunday, 8 January 2017

News: Lunch With Friends - An Exclusive Flavel Friends Event!

What could be more enjoyable than an exclusive two course lunch at the Flavel - with your Flavel Friends!


Catered by Dartmouth Fine Foods

Tickets: £25 from the box office – includes a glass of sparkling wine

Box Office Tel: 01803 839530

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Comment: I, Daniel Blake

I, Daniel Blake was screened at the Flavel recently, and one of our cinema-goers sent in a comment after seeing it

"So pleased I got to see 'I, Daniel Blake'.  Certainly a disturbing and thought provoking film on many levels.  Do get to see it if you possibly can.

The main problem to me seems to be that nobody (or very few) actually listens.
Dan was entitled to help - there would have been money for him - but bureaucracy got in the way, and an inability to think outside the box.
For example, this poor man who had never had anything to do with computers in his life, kept getting told to 'go on line'.  I totally related to that!!
He couldn't fill in his forms.  He wrote out a CV by hand - that wouldn't do.  He was told to look for jobs.  He spent the whole week going round doing just that - but they asked for proof.  There must surely be somebody who could pick up people like Dan who had paid his contributions all his life and wanted to work, and help him.  Enough said!!"

News: Flavel Staff Visit the National Theatre

Behind the Scenes at the National Theatre 

Deb Penn and Dan Nichols (Duty Managers), were invited to a behind the scenes tour of the National Theatre (NT) recently, and reported their experience.

 As one of 900 venues that now take part in live to screen theatre, it was an opportunity to talk with other exhibitors, as well as appreciate the huge amount of work that goes into screening each live performance.

Along with the Royal Opera House and others,The Flavel has a contract with the National Theatre, which means we agree to screen a number of their plays and we buy this as a whole package. Sometimes this includes some lesser known plays, and we are part of a national drive to reach out to wider audiences. and this helps us to fulfil the requirements of our charitable trust status.

A presentation from camera director Tim van Someren, made Deb and Dan appreciate how privileged we are to be the recipients of the huge amount of technicality and expertise needed to provide us with this unique view of a play, not witnessed by members of the audience sitting in the NT, who have often paid in excess of £100. Apparently, the world’s best camera men and directors work on NT Live performances and it is a very special evening for the actors and crew. We also get the benefit of behind the scenes interviews with some of the actors that help our understanding of setting the play in a particular context.

When a play has the go ahead to be screened live, a new production team move in and often rearrange the set, wigs, make up and rebuild the set. They also take out 300 seats. The challenge for the director is to capture the right person at the right time delivering the right line. It’s the small things that the camera focuses on, that make the live broadcasts so extraordinary, and all for a fraction of the cost. As in a film experience, the NT Live’s camera director has huge power over what he/she chooses to focus on. This will give us a different perspective from a member of the public viewing the same performance during that evening.  

On the night of the live broadcast, although there are still people in the NT who are aware that the 8 cameras are present, their experience is more one of being in a live studio. The production team literally call the shots like a conductor, turning the feed from all the cameras into a seamless live broadcast. Mistakes do happen, as obviously none of it is edited.

Due to the success of NT Live, they now have partnerships with other theatres so that is why we sometimes have productions from The Donmar Warehouse and Mice and Men etc from Broadway.

The most successful selling broadcast to date has been Hamlet with Benedict Cumberbatch, closely followed by The Audience with Helen Mirren.

Many people remark on the lack of young people in our audience for classic plays. As NT Live on demand has been released exclusively to secondary schools as a free teaching aid, this might be an explanation, and is such a fantastic resource.

The Director of the NT Rufus Norris, gave a presentation on upcoming events and warned that the only way people would be able to see these almost sold out productions would be in their local venues.

Upcoming productions include:

·        15 December - No Man’s Land (Pinter) from Broadway – Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. This is sold out and will include a post production question and answer session.
·        2 February - Amadeus is almost sold out. This is a classical musical crossover. Dan and I watched the understudy rehearsal which we found to be rich and mesmerising.
·        9 March - Hedda Gabler will be a bold and new retelling of this classic tale starring the brilliant Ruth Wilson of Jane Eyre and The Affair fame. Will definitely sell out. 
·        6th April - Twelfth Night - will be a different take, set in the Mediterranean modern day
·        The Salome - music and nudity
·        Angels in America
 This is a unique way of seeing these wonderful productions, so if you haven’t yet experienced a live screening, do make sure you get your tickets in good time. 

Click on the link below to find out more and to book tickets:

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Young Guest Reviewer: Kubo and the Two Strings

Our young guest reviewer, Eliot Ely, aged 11, has sent us his comments about this exciting film.

'Kubo and the Two Strings' is about a young boy named Kubo who must locate a magical suit of armour worn by his late father in order to defeat a vengeful spirit from the past.
It is a very exciting film but a bit scary in places! I really enjoyed it though because of the action genre and the fact that all most all of it was stop motion animation. I would give this film a 4/5 because I thought it was a great but there could have been some more story. I would recomend this film to ages 10 and above, due to the fact it was quite scary. I would definitely see it in the cinima again. 

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Interview: Martin Turner ex-Wishbone Ash

Martin Turner gives us an insight into his long career in the music business ahead of his concert Written in the Stars on Friday 11th November at 20.00

Your career with Wishbone Ash spans 40 years. What changes have you seen in the music industry over that time, as a musician and a producer?

MT:  Changes have been huge -  many creative people worked in the music biz back in the late 60s and 70s, now everything is much more corporate and run by accountants looking for instant revenue generation it seems. The creativity of bands and song writers was quite incredible during this period as our post war generation came of age and set about changing the world, or at least trying to.
Recording back in those days could only really be done in a commercial recording studio which was expensive.  Over the last few decades tape has gradually been replaced by computer based systems recording to hard drives and can to some extent be achieved in back rooms and garages, so massive numbers of smaller home studios have sprung up wherein it is now possible to get decent recordings and continue to own the equipment. Obviously the results do vary and in the end are down to skill, music making craft, etc.

You are a prolific song writer, bringing out 10 studio albums in 10 years from 1970-80. This is an amazing feat, since other artists tend to have gaps between albums. Where does your inspiration come from?

MT:  Most of the songs I have written come from personal experience and require emotional involvement but I also have an ability to tune into the cosmos or whatever you want to call it and write stuff that is more instinctive and a less cerebral process. I cannot profess to have a great deal of control over this but when it happens from time to time the results are usually very strong.
I also enjoy reading, been getting into Oscar Wilde's writing in recent years.
One looks for inspiration all around,  especially in other people, the human condition, etc.

Have you ever experienced a period when you were ‘blocked’?

MT:   I never see it as "blocked",  more just emotionally exhausted sometimes and needing to recharge the creative batteries.

Do you have a particular album that is very meaningful for you?

MT:   Not sure if we are talking Wishbone Ash here or other artists.  My tastes in music are pretty varied - I have always listened to Classical music right from when I was a child, particularly fond of Russian composers - Tchaikovsky,  Rachmaninov, Shostakovitch. I am also fond of he music from the Cirque de Soleil shows which blends many musical styles. I have an album that I use to relax, chill out and it has even fixed me on occasion when I have been crazy - that is Dakshina by Deva Premal - Hindu music.
Talking Wishbone Ash music, obviously I love 'em all because so much of my energy went into them.  I should mention two albums that made me cry - one was Locked In (1976) where I had a vocal cord problem and I was very unhappy with how the album ended up sounding. Tom Dowd the producer was not in good shape at the time and neither were we.It was a huge disappointment and I felt at the time that my career in music may be finished, so down was I. 
Way back in 1972 after working for nine months to put the material together for the Argus album, I finally sat in the studio control room and listened back to the whole album and it reduced me to tears. I thought it sounded wonderful, although I wasn't sure how much of a "commercial" success it would be. It was a huge release after working for so long and hard wrestling mentally with very big themes which had been with me for a while. Wonderful moment, and that album is much loved and probably has sold pretty much as many copies as the rest of the Wishbone Ash catalogue put together.

You have formed other bands and experimented with different styles of music. How would you describe your music now?

MT:   In my early days in the 1960s, I did my apprenticeship playing other popular music of the day, very enjoyable.
In the early 1980s when Wishbone Ash had left me I got very into studio production and eventually recorded the basis of an album which a bunch of talented guys I was working with at the time.  We did do a few gigs as Wolfgang (Mozart's Christian name), but it was pretty apparent that the audience was not ready for a band which included a synth - they wanted Wishbone Ash type music, two lead guitars etc, so basically it ended up "not proceeded with".Those recordings did however form the basis of my solo album "Walking the Reeperbahn"
which was released later in the 90s.
I also got into doing gigs with the Blue Bishops during the 90s which got me back into live playing after quite an absence. They were a good band and I have stayed good mates with them, we get together now and again.

Are you going to continue touring with your band?

MT:   Yes, last year we recorded an album together - "Written in the Stars"  and that has given us the appetite to do more which I hope will happen next year. Obviously we have a good camaraderie in the band, they are wonderful characters and we will continue on both fronts, recording and also playing the old 1970s WA music, I might add with the spirit and in the way it was originally intended.

For more information and to book tickets click on the link:

Saturday, 1 October 2016

News: Welcome Daryl!

A very warm welcome to Daryl Whitehead, who has taken over the post of Programme Manager.

She has worked in the arts for fifteen years, having re-directed her career as a senior manager in the private sector. She has held programming and general/operations management roles in both performance venues and visual art galleries in the UK and Australia. She has been based in Devon for a few years now and most recent have worked at the Burton Gallery and Museum in Bideford and The Maltings in Farnham.

Daryl says: "I am interested in how art holds up a mirror to society and challenges our thinking as well as its ability to allow us to experience beauty and fun - which of course is different for everyone."

Daryl is enjoying living near the water again, having lived in Malta as a child, and grown up in Portsmouth.

We are very pleased that she has joined the staff at the Flavel, and hope that she enjoys working in our small, but perfectly formed Arts Centre!

Friday, 9 September 2016

Interview: Jo Harman

An Intimate Evening with Jo Harman - Voice and Piano Tour

Find out more about this talented, award-winning vocalist ahead of her performance on 15th September.

Growing up in rural Devon, were you exposed to a wide variety of different genres of music through your family and friends?

I was, not least the secondary school I went to (South Dartmoor) had a great arts tradition (comedian Josh Widdecombe and music artist Rosie Lowe are other alumni) but most of all I think I was influenced by my late father's record collection which was wide ranging but I particularly remember Cat Stevens, Beatles, Moody Blues and other 60s and 70s timeless artists. I also had a classical music education, playing bassoon during my teenage years. All that, together with my love of African/American music has no doubt shaped the artist I am today.

After the tragic loss of your father, you have said that you turned to music as a way of communicating your feelings. Did you have other plans before this sad event?

More than anything, his death made me determined to chase my dreams, or, perhaps it's more accurate to say to live in the reality of being true to myself. It's very possible I wouldn't have pursued a career in music otherwise. 

In what ways did your travels in India inspire you musically?

I taught myself guitar during that period but largely it helped me widen my outlook on life and explore myself; both fundamental to being a rounded artist and, more importantly, rounded person, perhaps.  

You have said that you do not consider yourself a blues singer, and perhaps we try to pigeon-hole artists too much, but is there any particular direction in which your music might develop?

I see all music as music so I set no particular bounds or parameters. As long as it's natural and sincere and not contrived it could develop any which way. My voice is my voice and there is no doubt it has a soulful and bluesy vibe, both by design and nature. The blues community adopted me which is something I'm very grateful of, of course. Happily my supporters seem to put up with my diversity which I'm very happy about. I just want to continue to make 'Jo Harman' records rather than records described by genre(s). 

You have said, ‘I want to tell my story’. Do you find connecting with your audience easier in smaller, more intimate venues?

Er, yeah I guess so but sometimes that mutual connection with large Festival audiences can be uplifting and empowering too. As long as my music reaches and connects, at some level, I'm happy, regardless of size or circumstance. 

To find out more and to book tickets, click on the link