Living Southampton

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1st December 2015

Dragons, friendship and spells. Come and join the mythical adventure of Merlin!

In collaboration with Royal & Derngate, Northampton, Southampton'sNuffield Theatre is host to the enchanting story created by Ollie Birch and Ella Hickson.

As people were taking their seats to what would be a full theatre children were helping the lovable librarian place books back on the shelves that continued to fall off much to the children's delight,a laughter that would continuethroughout the show.

Set Designer Yannis Thavoris's ingenious set of the 'forbidden library'consists of towering bookcases that were visually impressive and cleverly equipped with hidden passages assisting smooth transitions of props between scenes.

Posing as an amateur production, the story is told by spirited librarians. Andy Purves' creative lighting production transports the audience to traditionalkingdom of Camelot, commencingthe refreshing perspective of a classic tale. Adam Welsh convincingly plays the clumsy Merlin, alongside fiesty Gwen (Kayla Meikle)and the honourable Prince Arthur(Fred Lancaster). Each triumph over individual struggles of duty, gender restrictions and the feeling of belonging going on a heartwarming journey of loyalty and self discovery.

The eight person cast demonstrate exceptional talent each playing multiple characters, singing and contributing musically with BAFTA nominee Rob Castell.Sophie Reid'smesmerizingcall as The Lady of the Lake was haunting and holds the crucial secret of the story. Another stand out performance was that of the humorous bunnies posing as bouncers, whose song, 'Give It A Go' was upbeat and contained an uplifting message.

Director Liam Steel's attention to detail was undeniable from a frightening red eyed dragon to the interval music including Take That’s 'Could if be Magic' and Queen's hit 'It’s a Kind of Magic'which enhanced the mysticalexperience.

Perfect for all ages, the narrative is easy to follow as well as being embedded with one-liners and innuendos -  particularly when protecting the crown jewels!

Excellently executed and entertaining this is a perfect alternative to traditional pantomime. Let the beauty of friendship, and power of magic awaken your imagination and cast its charm on your this Christmas.

The Dragon was so cool! - James 9

Perfect for the whole family, I think I laughed as much as my kids! - Karen 39

Prices range from £10.00 - £22.00

For more information and to book your ticket visit

    • Merlin the knight

    Merlin the knight - Photo Credit: Nuffield Theatre

    • Merlin cast singing

    Merlin cast singing - Photo Credit: Nuffield Theatre

    • Merlin

    Merlin - Photo Credit: Nuffield Theatre

    • Merlin and the wand

    Merlin and the wand - Photo Credit: Nuffield Theatre

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    • Kelly Young

    Kelly Young

24th November 2015
The Boulangerie Victor Hugo opens a French Wine Bar

To celebrate the new management of the French cake shop in Southampton, the Victor Hugo Boulangerie had a wine tasting night, along with some charcuterie and their homemade bread. They hosted some musicians to entertain their guests, whom could also enjoy the art in the newly made mezzazine. All the art on display, by Genesis Khan and Giaco, is for saleand the exhibition is meant to stay in the café for another few weeks.

The Boulangerie, which had been opened by ex-pat friends from France a few years ago, had decided to keep the event on even after the Paris events to show its support from Southampton. They refused to give in to fear and they were right to as the Boulangerie was full and quite cheerful. The Unity 101 Community, a Southampton located radio, came to give their help to the Boulangerie staff, all wearing a Paris support sticker on their chests.

Their main intent now is to create a centre of French culture inside Southampton.A large crowd gathered on Thursday, probably announcing a success in that way.

The live piano and accordion as well as the elegant décor created a welcoming atmosphere, it felt much like entering the France of the movies. The interior resembled the inside of a French film set somewhere in the 50s, the only things missing would be the berets and the stripe shirts.

The Boulangerie offered a glass of Beaujolais Nouveau, a type of red wine available every year from November on, and a selection of French appetizers and cheeses. A nice treat for only £5 and a great event to introduce the French culture of good cooking and fresh wine into Southampton.

Still available are the delicious French cakes, bread and coffee served everyday, alongside now also lunches and dinners, which will be served on the mezzazine, not without some refreshing wine!

    • The Boulangerie Victor Hugo

    The Boulangerie Victor Hugo - Photo Credit: Jack Robertson

    • The Boulangerie Victor Hugo

    The Boulangerie Victor Hugo - Photo Credit: Jack Robertson

    • The Boulangerie Victor Hugo

    The Boulangerie Victor Hugo - Photo Credit: Jack Robertson

    • The Boulangerie Victor Hugo

    The Boulangerie Victor Hugo - Photo Credit: Jack Robertson

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    • Evangela Fischer

    Evangela Fischer

9th November 2015
Mayflower Park Firework Show Dazzles Southampton
Mayflower Park was home to an extravagant fireworks display on Saturday night (7th Nov) as a late celebration for the 5th November.
Organized by local radio station Wave 105, the festivities kicked off at 3pm with a fun fair. Although the weather was less than ideal, that did not dampen the spirits as families arrived in droves to Mayflower Park for the belated bonfire night celebrations. From 6pm there was live entertainment hosted by Wave 105’s Andy Jackson. The crowds were treated to performances from dance troupes and local entertainment acts to begin the evening’s fun.
At 7.45pm the fireworks display began to a vast crowd of eager revelers.
Crowds of people lined the streets outside of the event hoping to catch the display, with huge amounts of people using the famous castle walls to have a good view of the fireworks.
Roads were also blocked for the duration of the firework display as motorists stopped to enjoy the exhibition.
Inside the event there was an air of excited anticipation amongst the large crowd as they waited for the show to begin. Punters were not disappointed as they were treated to a very impressive 15-minute display.
The fireworks were a great spectacle that was well choreographed, with giant smiley faces and love hearts lighting up the sky to the viewer’s delight. The 15-minute display spectacularly set the sky ablaze with magnificent colours, which dazzled the thousands of people who had come to the event.
Laborer and Southampton resident Josh Kemp was at the event and described it as “The best firework display I’ve seen in my life, it was seriously good.”
The large crowds were also treated to the added thrill of getting to witness the MS Queen Elizabeth sounding it’s horn during the display and sailing from the port.
The fun did not stop after the fireworks display as the event ran until 10pm, with music, fun fair games and amusement rides continuing for the crowd to enjoy. Bettie Sodipo, a university student, had high praise for the night: “The event was very well organised and would be a great family day out. I hope it’s this good every year!”
The event, run and organized by dedicated volunteers for week’s prior, was a huge success. The proceeds of the event help to raise vital funds for various charities across the South.
    • Mayflower Park Fireworks 2015

    Mayflower Park Fireworks 2015 - Photo Credit: James Chance

    • Mayflower Park Fireworks 2015

    Mayflower Park Fireworks 2015 - Photo Credit: James Chance

    • Mayflower Park Fireworks 2015

    Mayflower Park Fireworks 2015 - Photo Credit: James Chance

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    • Ryan Cook

    Ryan Cook

    • James Chance

    James Chance

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1st May 2015
The 20th anniversary of the Million Man March
Southampton Solent University was the setting for a very prestigious musical eventlast night, as Studio Solent played host to a liverecording to be featured on a forthcoming film to celebrate the 20th year anniversary of the Million Man March, the legendary African-American civil rights event that coincidentally falls on Black history month later this year in October.
The song featured a 30 strong musical ensemble from the local Southampton community, including the Million Man choir on vocals supported by a group of local musicians known as the Million Man Funk band.Whilst the intention of this project is to shed light on some rather serious matters in current affairs, there was such a positive vibe in the room as I watched, everyone entirely focussed on musical creativity with room for jovial antics in between filming.
The project was organised and funded by Black History month South which founder Don John describes as‘an organisation that has been operating for 10 years in the region and is primarily responsible for highlighting issues that reflect the Black experience historically and in the here and now’. 
The recent regretful events that have unfolded in Baltimore, USA after the death of Freddie Gray are on everyone’s mind and is sadly not confined to America with our own British history left contemplating on the untimely deaths of Stephen Lawrence and Mark Duggan.This recorded live performance is part of a greater unique opportunity to raise the issues like this in a positive and powerful light.Don is creator and director of the film and the intention is to add this live recording to the completed project which will be shown in Southampton Film Festival later this year.
The live performance was recorded entirely by Solent University students who not only shared the experience but gained invaluable industry experience and Don had positive things to say:
“Staff and students from Southampton Solent University provided their technical expertise; and their professionalism and co-operation were essential in making this a great success.”
The Million Man March
For those that may not be aware the Million Man March was a huge event held in Washington DC on 16th October 1995 bringing unity to the African-American community and became an iconic event, bringing the ideals of equality and civil rights further into contemporary western culture creating a legacy for future generations.
For further information on the celebration of Black History Month you can check their website directly. 
    • Million Man March singers

    Million Man March singers - Photo Credit: Solent Creatives

    • Million Man March band

    Million Man March band - Photo Credit: Solent Creatives

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    • Solent Creatives - Lewis MacLean blog biography

    Solent Creatives - Lewis MacLean blog biography

10th April 2015
Make sure to pay St. Mary’s a visit should you ever find yourself in Southampton!

The modern stadium, built in 2001, is the home ground of the Saints who have enjoyed a meteoric rise up the English footballing divisions in recent years. 

The club hit a massive low-point in their history when they were deducted 10 points for declaring bankruptcy and were consequently relegated to the English third tier.
Since then, the club has rebuilt and gone from strength to strength, currently rubbing shoulders with the elite of the Premier League and establishing themselves as genuine European contenders.
stadium is well worth a visit on match-day should you be able to get your hands on some tickets and the 32,000 strong crowd often produces the atmosphere the Premier League is so famous for. With Southampton being a one-club city, there are few greater senses of community spirit on the South Coast than the entire population proudly supporting its team in unison.
New manager Ronald Koeman has enjoyed an exceptionally successful first season in charge so far, disproving many critics who predicted a tough season ahead for the club. However with some astute dealings in the transfer market, Koeman has implemented stars such as GrazianoPelle, Saido Mane and DusanTadic into a team that boasts the best defensive record in the league.
With the season approaching its climax at the business end of the season, get yourself down to St. Mary’s and cheer for the Saints as they go marching on!
    • Jake Evans - Solent Creatives

    Jake Evans - Solent Creatives

2nd April 2015
Solent Showcase presents - the city of Southampton as a muse
I attended a local art exhibition hosted by Solent Showcase last week to witness the bringing together of an art collection from four local Southampton artists hosted at our very own Southampton Solent University SJR building.
It was a varied mixture in form and content but all were gathered under the theme of inspiration from our fair city, an illustrated view of Southampton from various perspectives. 
The exhibition itself illustrated a longstanding centrality of Southampton. All works of art were strangely at odds with the description provided by Philip Hoare, describing the city as a place where ’people only come here to leave’.
[This was quoted in his essay ‘the Lost City’ which was printed in the exhibition programme.]
The four artistes on display were:
Jilly Evans
The most immediately prominent display is the wall of knitwear from Jilly Evans. An impressive site in any context but this display had a sub textual thread sewn into its meaning. Knitting is a seemingly dated craft facing trendy revival. In essence Jilly’s work is a woolly homage to the strength of traditional feminine resolve in bygone, modernist world war eras.
Aly Scott Hawkins
A series of sketches from Bus journeys throughout the city but presented on an interesting scale.Aly’s contribution dominated the entire right wall of the room and curved around from the door. The artist’s use of space made it a physical necessity to adapt the viewer’s physical comfort zone to grasp the images visually. Using the entirety of the Solent showcase exhibition wall meant it was likely the sketches were close to a 1:1 scale, closer to their natural context.
Greg Moss
There were several large colourful photographic portraits around the room, captured images of people working in an industrial environment. An interesting angle on the city’s history, after all the industrial industry represents the bulk of contemporary Southampton life and ties into our city’s growth all the way back to the medieval past. As anyone who has visited our Tudor House museum will know.
Greg Gibert.
Towards the end corner of the room was a compact gallery of modestly displayed framed sketches. The interesting feature of Gilbert’s art is his use of biro sketching to bring slices of the past alive with the modern. It has become his trademark feature. The second noteworthy feature is his dedication to the local past. The images initially uncompleted, are taken from his family archives and are represented running along un-established continuations of the past. Free range historicism gone mad. The images are instantly euphoric with an almost ghostly quality, which may have been an intention of the creator as he explores’ the overlapping of epochs’.
All of the offerings bring an individual perspective to the history of Southampton life, observational but offering chances to experience what it means to live here.
    • Solent Creatives - Lewis Maclean blog biography

    Solent Creatives - Lewis Maclean blog biography

31st March 2015
Urban Sketchers Southampton Celebrates 50 years of city status

Sponsored kindly by Southampton Solent, Urban Sketchers Southampton opened an exhibition on Saturday 28th March to celebrate 50 years of the city status in the Southampton City Art Gallery Foyer.

The event attracted attention from all around, even from the city's Mayor, Councillor Sue Blatchford.

The exhibition took place on the ground floor of the Southampton Art Gallery and featured original sketch books and sketch books from the group’s members, now running since February last year. 
There were around 10 or 20 volunteers who attended meetings for Urban Sketchers on a Saturday evening once a month. Names shortlisted include Kay Brown, Darren Shorter, Pete Jarvis, Elaine Freezer, Heather Butler, Barns Furr (A Solent student who produced the poster for Southampton’s 50th year anniversary), Alison Bates, Mark Ellison, HavardSkeide Glad (also studying at Southampton Solent University), Yasmine Gyford, David Jones, Max Kerly, Ruth Lewis, Debra Madden (who exclusively talks to us), Jean Oxley, Helen Palmer Stote, Darren Penfold (Another Solent student), Si Newell who has contributed some wonderful sketches to the collection, Alys Scott Hawkins, David Shorter, Warwick Smith, Stewart Waite Davidson, Alexander Watts and Matt Wooding who began because of his wife!
Debra Madden had her sketchbook viewed by the public and sketchers alike for the first time at the gallery. Alongside sketching, she has a passion for shorthand, which she has been doing since 1981. She has been drawing since she was just two. She said, “The sketches use simplistic colours and concentrate on shape and form. There is no detail.”
Watching her at work, she moved as fast as the wind. 
“The trick is to not draw what the brain thinks you see, do what you see.”
She added: “Things I know are going to move I do an outline and things that stand there I know are going to be there.”
“You have to be quick to get an outline. I have sketches that took three seconds.”
Jean Oxley moved to Southampton just one year ago and has already been an inspiration. She said: “It makes me feel proud to be associated with it.”
On Facebook the group are growing very popular in recognition of the exhibition. It is an inspiration for people as young as Debra but even up to the age of 80 joining the Sketchers club.
Its main goal was to show people through sketches why people should value the city and it looks like it has taken off with a storm. Congratulations Urban Sketchers and a huge happy 50th birthday Southampton!
    • Christian Bird - Solent Creatives

    Christian Bird - Solent Creatives - Photo Credit: Solent Creatives

9th February 2015 
Nuffield Theatre Of The Year Award

And the award for Regional Theatre of The Year goes to… Nuffield Theatre, Southampton! 

The city’s well loved producing theatre has been presented this prestigious title at the annual Stage Awards, held in London’s Theatre Royal on Friday 30th January. Launched in 2010, The Stage Awards recognise the most successful organisations working in theatre today. 
Clearly providing something above and beyond other theatre powerhouses, Nuffield beat names such as Leicester’s Curve, and Ustinov Studio at Bath Theatre Royal to the prize.
Speaking on behalf of the theatre Nuffield’s Director, Sam Hodges, said “To be awarded Regional Theatre of the Year is a wonderful endorsement of all the hard work the company has put in over the last year. From pop-up football stadiums to locking actors in glass cubes, it was a year of trying things out, of adventure, ambition and risk, and to be recognised for it by The Stage is very important to us.”
The theatre was recognised particularly by judges for the work it has produced over the last year. Particular praise was paid to the ambitious Tonight at 8.30: a mammoth staging of Noel Coward’s entire cycle of nine one-act plays, and Southampton FC pop-up drama The Saints. 
Of the evening’s winners, Alistair Smith, editor of The Stage (UK entertainment and performing arts newspaper) and chair of the judging panel said “After another hard-fought year, the judges were hugely impressed by the quality on show across all eight categories […] Any of our shortlisted organisations would have made worthy winners, but the panel’s choice were the best of the best and represent another superlative 12 months for theatre (and theatres) created in the UK.”
Smith’s group of judges remarked that, although now in it’s 50th year of production, the Nuffield is “undergoing something of a renaissance”. 
Mr Hodges continued that this year is “a pivotal moment for Southampton as it develops a burgeoning Cultural Quarter with the creation of a new Arts Complex in 2016,” explaining that Nuffield will “look forward to playing an important role in the city’s growth.”
2015 looks set to continue Nuffield’s success, with a range of top performances and events already in the calendar. The world premiere of The Hudsucker Proxy, the first ever stage adaption of the 1994 Coen brothers’ film, produced in Southampton will come to the stage in May before transferring to Liverpool. Nuffield Theatre’s full scale production of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials in starts in June, and the London transfer of the hit production A Number is being staged at the Young Vic over the summer before returning to Nuffield in August 
A massive congratulations goes out to Nuffield on this latest achievement… Take a bow!
    • Solent Press - Alannah Croach

    Solent Press - Alannah Croach

27th January 2015

Tom Hiddleston set to grace the stage

Hollywood Actor Tom Hiddleston will be making his first on-stage appearance at Southampton’s Nuffield Theatre next month. 
Appearing at an exclusive Friends’ and Members’ event which takes place at 7pm on Sunday 22nd February, the star will be speaking about his work on stage and on the screen, as well as answering questions straight from the audience. 
Hiddleston is most famously recognised for his breakthrough role as Loki in the Marvel Studio films Thor and The Avengers, as well as appearing in the box office releases of War Horse, Midnight in Paris and The Deep Blue Sea. His work on television includes appearances in Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, The Hollow Crown, Wallander, and Cranford. 
Tom is also no stranger to the stage. His recent stage appearances have included performances in Coriolanus, Ivanov, Othello and Cymbeline. 
This unique evening event follows the actors recent appointment as one of the The Nuffield’s team of Associate Actors. 
Taking up this role alongside Celia Imrie (Bridget Jones’s Diary and Calander Girls), Samantha Bond (Die Another Day, Tomorrow Never Dies and Golden Eye) and Laura Carmichael (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy and Madame Bovary), Tom will be acting as an ambassador for the company. The Associate Actors will work to support The Nuffield’s vision as the leading producing theatre company in Southampton. 
Tickets for this special event are exclusively available now to Nuffield Friends and Members for £25. They can be purchased from the box office, or by phoning 02380 671771. 
Information about joining the theatre’s membership schemes can be found on the members section of The Nuffield Theatre website. Memberships can be purchased at anytime online, or when purchasing tickets. 
    • Solent Press - Alannah Croach

    Solent Press - Alannah Croach

18th December 2014

Parkrun has legs in the city

Southampton parkrunorganiser Gareth Painting is delighted with the response that his 5K run is getting.
Painting believes that the simplicity of the event plays a big role into why the run has become so popular on the south coast. He said: “I think the reason why, Parkrun as a whole is popular is because of the simplicity of it. Anyone can take part from kids right up their grandads they can literally run together.
“It is a good distance to run as its not too simple, but it is still a challenge and obviously its free as well which is great. The big emphasis is on having fun, it is completely run by volunteers who help out and it’s a lot of fun.”
Last week the event had over 500 participants and course designer Gareth Jones is delighted of the attraction the run has gotten in recent weeks, he said: “We started about two and half years ago with 250 people, now we regularly get over 500 and one month we got over 700 which was fantastic. One reason why it is so popular is because it’s free, all you have to do is register on the website, but you don’t have to pay anything at all, just download a barcode, bring it with you and run.
“It’s here on everyone’s doorstep and right in the middle of Southampton, you can roll out of bed at 8:30 in the morning and go on a run. The course is good and we have had some really top athletes here, some people come just to make sure that they exercise for the week, whilst some people come here just to lose weight, but the best part about it is that it has really taken off and I’m very pleased about it.”
The running organisation has already got over 200 5k events established around the UK and aims to continue its growth by getting other small communities to join the fun. Southampton’s Parkrun is located on the common near Hill Lane and there are other runs located in Eastleigh and Winchester too. For more info visit:

Have at look at presenter Dan Church’s effort last Saturday on the Southampton parkrun: "
    • Gareth Painting, parkrun organiser

    Gareth Painting, parkrun organiser - Photo Credit: Solent Creatives

    • Southampton parkrun in full flow last saturday

    Southampton parkrun in full flow last saturday - Photo Credit: Solent Creatives

    • Solent Press - Dan Church biography

    Solent Press - Dan Church biography

Wednesday 17th December

The Snow Queen at the Nuffield Theatre

The Snow Queen is a tale from Hans Christian Andersen, where two children’s friendships are tested. This modern interpretation at the Nuffield is a must see this Christmas!
Even before the show started the audience was buzzing with anticipation for this little Christmas show. 
The musicals are enough to make your heart melt and want to sing along. The Snow Queen does not stop there and even has a rock Ballard. This show definitely has something for everyone. From children and adults alike.
The adult humour will have you in stiches. Make sure you watch out for the reindeer, he is hilarious. This modern twist is laugh out loud funny. Don’t worry about the kids not getting it because the show has a few surprises from other fairy tales. 
    • The Snow Queen

    The Snow Queen - Photo Credit: Mark Douet

The cast bounced off each other and the energy enough alone to get you in the Christmas spirit.  Natasha Jayetieke (The Snow Queen) has a beautiful voice and a real wicked character. Rob Castell (Rudolph, The Prince, Ensemble) was absolutely hilarious in his role and did a fantastic camp American accent. Jack Shalloo (Raven) put the gangster into this character, which gave it a real added depth. 
Paul Dempsey, 58, a member of the public said: “My two grandkids are 8 and nine and although this is not a traditional Christmas play, they really love it.”
    • Solent Press - Lily Anderson biography

    Solent Press - Lily Anderson biography

Wednesday 19th November

A ‘Wacky’ Evening With Noel Fielding

I had absolutely no expectations on Sunday night when I arrived at Southampton’s beautiful Mayflower Theatre to see ‘An Evening With Noel Fielding’. And quite rightly so!
I’ve been to see the big name comedians, Lee Evans. I’ve been to see what I previously thought was the wacky and wild stand-ups, Milton Jones. But Noel Fielding’s set was like nothing I’ve ever witnessed before.
Embarking on his first tour in over five years since The Mighty Boosh’s extravaganza, Noel is back with a quirky pantomime-like show including some starring characters from his comedic past.
I think I am right in saying; his comedy show is the most offbeat production out there by a long stretch of imagination.
Arriving at the Mayflower, it was great to see a whole spectrum of audiences turning up for Noel Fielding’s set, from young to old, male to female, and of course the truly devoted ‘gothic’ styled personnel who shadow the comedian’s dark presence.
However, it was surprising to see a fair amount of seats unattended for the evening, with tickets still being available right up until 8pm. It deserved a sell-out crowd in all honesty.
The ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’ captain began the first-half of his set in traditional comedic style, with the closest array of stand-up comedy from Noel Fielding as you’ll get.
Whether they were actually jokes or concepts, Noel would explain his horrific dreams of being aherbal teabag and how his wife cheated on him with a triangle. Yes, the geometric shape.
But what really got the audience giggling in their seats was his display of being a chicken man, squawking around the stage as what I could only describe like a mad man.
That’s what you get with Noel. I realise some of the content I am trying to explain to you is difficult to portray in your own minds, but you’ll just have to try and see him yourself to get even a slight hint of the wonderful and weird mind-set of the 41 year-old.
Noel even brought tennis’s technological line judge ‘Hawkeye’ to life, his brother Michael, as he bizarrely danced around on stage to decide whether his material was a joke or a concept.
Other additions to the stage included the ever-popular simple-minded Moon, with his dirty and mischievous Dark Side 
creating a great on-going battle between the two in the sky of the theatre.
But funniest of all was the much appreciated NYPD officer Raymond Boombox.
Returning from the interval, we were told of Noel’s kidnapping with each member of the audience being held as a suspect. 
The plump cop would weave his way through and around the stalls talking to eye-catching onlookers with Hawkeye at hand with a live camera for everyone to watch, interrogating people in his own fanatical fashion.
The middle-aged comic, as he would repeatedly murmur on stage whilst at one point holding a gigantic model of a gentleman’s sexual organs, always engaged with the audience with the highest class, either making light work of calls coming down from the top two tiers of the theatre and adjusting his set to cater for the city of Southampton.
But none more so then when he returned to the stage as the brilliantly eccentric Fantasy Man before starting his grand finale.
His aim was simple, find a member of the Southampton audience that was named Steve. 
Nope. Not one person of Noel Fielding’s largely unique fans was named Steve, leaving Fantasy Man and Big Chief WoolabumBoomalackaway hilariously urging someone to be named differently for the rest of the night.
This left the crowd in stitches as he frantically rushed up and down the stalls shouting “Why is no one here called Steve?! You’ve let me down Southampton.”
Eventually a young gentleman climbed up on the stage having Steve as his middle name, quite literally the best the Mayflower audience had to offer, for his final adventure in saving Noel Fielding from his capturers.
Described by his opposite number in ‘Never Mind The Buzzcocks’, Phil Jupitus, as “A gothic George Best”, Noel didn’t put a foot wrong as his quirky stand-up material was excellent with the grand intention of half of it being completely off the cuff at times.
Even at middle-age, as he continually pointed out, Noel Fielding has much to offer. 
It’s not easy to understand the pure magnitude of his outlandish comedy without seeing it first hand, so you will just have to enjoy the experience yourself.
    • Solent Press - Dan Church biography

    Solent Press - Dan Church biography

Monday 3rd November

Jamie T returns to Southampton

A new album and a new tour is what many Jamie T fans have been waiting for years and he didn’t look like he’d been away when he smashed the Southampton Guildhall. 
The set opened with ‘Limits Lie’, which is also the first track on the new album ‘Carry on the Grudge’. New material takes a while for most bands to get settled into their back catalogue but the fans have really took to the latest songs. 
Fresh music was rolled out very early in the set until ‘British Intelligence’ started get the nostalgia factor back. The vocals of ‘Salvador’ and ‘Emily’s heart’ echoed through the Guildhall brilliantly. 
 ‘368’ saw Jamie get right in the face of the crowd with a more dynamic roll without his guitar. A noticeable gear had been notched up just before the encore. 
It being Halloween the choice of clothing amongst the fans was spectacular and helped the party atmosphere rock Southampton. The penultimate song “zombie’ was not only fitting for the occasion but saw the passion for Jamie T come back from the dead. 
Final classic “Sticks ‘N’ Stones’ sent the crowd front and back into a frenzy for one last sing-a-long. Lets hope the wait is not as long as before because Jamie T still has a lot more to give!
    • Solent Creatives - Peter Davies

    Solent Creatives - Peter Davies

Thursday 23rd October

Strange Folk at Southampton Solent Showcase

In the centre of this beautiful city, is a warm art gallery, Southampton Solent Show case gallery. It is currently filled with the weird and wonderful minds of Peter Lloyd and Jonny Hannah.

Peter Lloyd has a highly impressive fan base, which includes David Bowie, Missy Elliot and Holly Johnson. His screen-prints are based on an investigation into 'Lucha Libre', a Mexican form of masked wrestling. As the Head of Southampton Solent School of Art and Design he added, “Here I am, warts and all. I just want my art to provoke some sort of discussion. Whether people like it or not doesn’t really matter.” Lloyd started his career as a mature student and noted, “It’s never too late for people to appreciate or to become involved in art.”

    • Southampton Solent Showcase Gallery

    Southampton Solent Showcase Gallery - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by Anastassia Spirkina

    • Southampton Solent Showcase Gallery

    Southampton Solent Showcase Gallery - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by Anastassia Spirkina

    • Southampton Solent Showcase Gallery

    Southampton Solent Showcase Gallery - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by Anastassia Spirkina

    • Southampton Solent Showcase Gallery

    Southampton Solent Showcase Gallery - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by Anastassia Spirkina

    • Southampton Solent Showcase Gallery

    Southampton Solent Showcase Gallery - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by Anastassia Spirkina

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Jonny Hannah is the Course Leader for BA (Hons) Illustration at Southampton Solent and his some of his artistic accomplishments include featuring in pages of Vogue and The New York Times. A fictional ‘Dark Town’ inspires his art. Hannah created this dark town within the depth of his imagination but said he was inspired by the places he has lived, including Southampton’s very own Shirley High Street. He said, “Dark town is something I have created, its somewhere I can leave the bits of life I don’t like and include the bits I do. But everyone has a dark town, it isn’t always good, it isn’t some sort of utopia but it should be a place of inspiration.”

Take a moment to add some colour to your life and head on into the Southampton Solent Showcase Gallery located in Southampton’s Cultural Quarter in the Sir James Matthews building. A place of magnificent illustrations and prints, vibrancy and warm welcoming faces.  

    • Solent Press - Hannah Carroll biography

    Solent Press - Hannah Carroll biography

    • Solent Press - Anastassia Spirkina biography

    Solent Press - Anastassia Spirkina biography

Wednesday 15th October 2014

New Burger Restaurant set to open in style!

Handmade Burger Co does everything that it says on the tin by serving up delicious burgers that are freshly made just for you. This family run company will have you feeling like you’re just at home from the moment you arrive.

Handmade Burger Co first opened its doors in Birmingham in 2006 and has not looked back since and now boasts 21 restaurants across the UK. What makes this grand opening in Southampton so special is that customers had requested a restaurant opening here – and it’s a good job they did too.

The restaurant showcases 40 different varieties of burger whether it’s a classic beef burger you fancy, chicken, lamb or vegetarian Handmade Burger Co have it all. It doesn’t just stop there because if you are not in the mood for burgers they also dish up incredible skewers and salads. But be warned there is so much choice you might take a while just choosing your meal!

Want to try something a little bit different? You must have a stuffed burger. Whether you fancy a kick with the cheddar and chilli or want a more traditional mozzarella and sun blushed tomatoes. This burger will definitely leave sensations oozing from your taste buds.

Chris Sargeant is the owner and founder of Handmade Burgers Co alongside his two brothers. Chris said: “As we are a family run company we get to make all the decisions - it’s a great responsibility. We want to make sure that our restaurants provide something for the community and make sure that it gives lots of opportunities back to local people.”

Chris and his two brothers don’t just stop there… they incorporate community across all areas of their company using local farmers and bakers. Even in the restaurant there were bags of local potatoes that were to be used - it that great authentic touch.

He then went on to add: “We make sure we buy from the best sources, the freshest ingredients and do it the way it all should be done. Our values are about respect. Buy the best, create the best and be the best!”

The service was everything you would expect from an establishment: they were helpful, friendly, and knowledgeable. Chris also said: “Handmade Burger Co are obsessed about getting the team to flourish and to be themselves.” You could tell that this was a shared effort from every member of staff. Everyone just wanted to keep you well looked after.

    • Chris, Owner of Handmade Burger Co., being interviewed by Lily Anderson

    Chris, Owner of Handmade Burger Co., being interviewed by Lily Anderson - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by James Wilkinson

    • Handmade Burger Co.

    Handmade Burger Co. - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by James Wilkinson

    • Handmade Burger Co.

    Handmade Burger Co. - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by James Wilkinson

    • Handmade Burger Co.

    Handmade Burger Co. - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by James Wilkinson

    • Handmade Burger Co.

    Handmade Burger Co. - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by James Wilkinson

    • Handmade Burger Co.

    Handmade Burger Co. - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by James Wilkinson

    • Handmade Burger Co.

    Handmade Burger Co. - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by James Wilkinson

    • Handmade Burger Co.

    Handmade Burger Co. - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by James Wilkinson

    • Handmade Burger Co.

    Handmade Burger Co. - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by James Wilkinson

    • Handmade Burger Co.

    Handmade Burger Co. - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by James Wilkinson

    • Handmade Burger Co.

    Handmade Burger Co. - Photo Credit: Solent Press - Photography by James Wilkinson

After all this amazing food if you can squeeze in a bit more the Sundae’s will hit the spot, especially those who have a sweet tooth. They have a little something for everyone whether it is the brownie and waffle or the strawberry cheesecake you will not be disappointed.  If you can’t quite fit it in you can always indulge yourself in one of the amazing variety of milkshakes that they have to offer.

Ruth Rankin who attended one of the pre-opening dining session, said: “I had never tried Handmade Burger Co before but it was lovely. I would recommend the Sundae’s as they were amazing.”

Judy Palmer also attended this session and added: “This restaurant is without a doubt somewhere you would go on a special occasion like a birthday celebration.”

And if this hasn’t convinced you enough to give it ago, if you’re a student you will get 15% off food and drinks every day and on Monday nights it’s double discount.

    • Solent Press - Lily Anderson biography

    Solent Press - Lily Anderson biography

    • Solent Press - James Wilkinson biography

    Solent Press - James Wilkinson biography

Monday 14th July

A Room with a View

It has to be the best view in the city – and an invited group of Southampton’s finest got to check out the panoramic vista from Admiral’s Quay this week.
From Business South’s offices in the nearby Ocean Village Innovation Centre we’ve been fascinated for nearly two years as we’ve watched the city’s tallest residential tower take shape – so the opportunity to take a peek inside was just too good to miss.
While completion is still some months away – developers Bouygues took the inspired decision to invite business leaders and civic dignitaries to come see for themselves what all the fuss was about.
(I must admit to a slight feeling of trepidation as the lift swept up to the top floor but the glass of bubbly and soothing tones of a quartet playing classical music helped to quell any nerves).
And I can reveal the views are quite simply stunning ...
    • View from Admiral’s Quay

    View from Admiral’s Quay

    • View from Admiral’s Quay

    View from Admiral’s Quay

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Southampton is laid before you in all its glory – with Southampton docks and the Itchen waterfront offering a fascinating backdrop for the future owners of the best penthouse address in the city.
You can indeed just spot the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth – and if the new owner is a Saints fan (or maybe even a player) they should be able to hear the roar of the crowd on matchdays.
    • Kate Thompson blog biography

    Kate Thompson blog biography

Thursday 26th June

50 Reasons to Love Southampton

Passengers arriving at Southampton Airport can get a clear picture of what’s best about Southampton thanks to a new photo wall in the arrivals lounge.

From heritage and museums to the busy port and other eye catching aspects of Southampton, ’Fifty’ conveys the vibrancy of the south coast city in images.

And you’ve got to admire photographer James Robinson – the man behind the lens.

Just when he was coming to the end of his degree course at Southampton Solent  University, the stylish young snapper was offered the chance to capture the essence of Southampton in 50 images to help celebrate half a century of city status.

Faced with a daunting workload  to graduate in style – and a high profile project that has culminated in his photos greeting passengers at Southampton Airport – James found the way to do both.

And with his ambitions to get into editorial photography, James couldn’t have a better example of his work to include in his portfolio.
    • James Robinson

    James Robinson

Businesses and organisation have been asked to make a pledge during the 50th anniversary celebrations and the photo wall is Southampton Airport’s contribution to the festivities.

Let’s hope the project can be just the start and other public buildings can be used to showcase the work of our talented graduates.

It’s pleasing to see how Solent University use their walls as a gallery for their students’ work – and it would be great to see other businesses and organisations following suit.
Not only does it brighten up a corporate space – it helps artists and designers to build an audience and spread a little colour throughout the city.
    • Kate Thompson blog biography

    Kate Thompson blog biography

Wednesday 14th May

Roll up! Roll up! The Moscow State Circus has arrived in town!

“Its latest and greatest production to date Moscow State Circus arrived in our fair Mayflower Park for 5 days before it continued its European tour.
Southampton City Council calls the show “undoubtedly the most famous and greatest circus on earth,” so I was eager to see for myself how this aging entertainment stands up in modern times. So I went along. . . 
They were correct, there were impressive physical feats on display, seeing acrobats & ballerinas suspend themselves from mid air holding on by only their neck! It was very impressive.
Add the theatrics of the razor sharp timing of sound and beautiful costumes and you have yourself quite a show indeed, sir. The whole decoration of the event seemed thickly shrouded in history almost transporting you to another time that you know without remembering. The stage backdrop was quite quaint in its cartoonified, depiction of a stereotypical Kremlin view complete with multi coloured onion domes that were a symbolic illustration of the mystical ‘Gorky Park, Russian cultural quarter.
When I entered the big top I was like a child in awe of leaving my home in to a brand new world for the first ever time. My mind was cast back to my first favourite childhood book ‘Alex the Amazing Juggler’ by Gianni Pegg, a comic panel illustrated the tale of a talented ginger child juggler who fell in love with the circus and ran away to join it. I guess the cultural programming of the circus is instilled at a young age, well maybe just for anyone born before the 1990s.
Nonetheless the Moscow State Circus production was very influential in setting the mood. As soon are you are seated by the helpful and unequivocally Russian ushers, complete with unequivocally Russian military looking uniform you seem transported to a place that is synonymous with the ages old craft of the Circus.

And this is my point; one of the oldest and seemingly extinct art forms of live entertainment is at our doorstep in a fleeting five days.

Yet generations far, far younger than me were enjoying the sound and spectacular spectacle of the flying Aliev white birds trapeze artists whizzing through the air and the Yakolev pole jugglers performing so high up in the air it will make you dizzy, how they balanced on giant footballs I will never know.
Authentically traditional the show is certainly not dated with musical scores like Led-Zep’s Kashmir blaring over the action re-recorded in traditional instrumental Russian folk. 
It’s amazing in such a hi-tech, internet dependent society there are still pockets of age –old magic in this world.
The clichés of good clean family fun is alive and remeniscent in this place. Children, adults and grandparents all laugh in sync with the idiotic muted trappings of the circus clown/muted narrator.
Although he didn’t look like a clown, dressed in Parisian stripped top and beret, being routinely disciplined and suppressingly chaperoned by stern stage hands in Russian uniforms (make what you will of that socio-political subtext).
Between two intervals of what must have been about 50 minutes each I as transfixed on the acting inside the magic circle. There was something to be said for the thrill of live entertainment, old cloches like ‘the roar from the rafters’ and 'the show must go on‘ sprung to mind.
The Moscow State Circus is more than fancy costumes and dazzling rhetoric though. In this day and age they represent a means of motivation to pull yourself away from YouTube and The X-Factor or E4.

Sighs, sounds and smells all contribute to a pedigree experience of live entertainment that many generations sadly miss out on these days.
There is definitely a fun time to be had for all ages! 
“Fully enjoyable for everyone.... trapeze was breath taking.... recommend to anyone”
Katie Mccarthy, 27, Carer

"I liked it, was constantly go go go. None of the acts were boring and they had a wide variety of acts too. It was really good because the kids enjoyed it obviously and parents and older people could too”
Chloe Ingram, 20, Student

"This was my first time at the circus and I wasn't dissapointed! The breath taking tricks, bright colours and pretty girls had me captivated for the whole show. I was even humming the music on the way home!"
Alan Banks, 32, Business Owner
    • Moscow State Circus

    Moscow State Circus - Photo Credit: Chloe Ingram, Solent Creatives

    • Moscow State Circus

    Moscow State Circus - Photo Credit: Chloe Ingram, Solent Creatives

    • Moscow State Circus

    Moscow State Circus - Photo Credit: Chloe Ingram, Solent Creatives

    • Moscow State Circus

    Moscow State Circus - Photo Credit: Chloe Ingram, Solent Creatives

    • Moscow State Circus

    Moscow State Circus - Photo Credit: Chloe Ingram, Solent Creatives

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    • Solent Creatives - Chloe Ingram blog biography

    Solent Creatives - Chloe Ingram blog biography

    • Solent Creatives - Lewis MacLean blog biography

    Solent Creatives - Lewis MacLean blog biography

Wednesday 16th April

Fashion Management with Marketing Course Presents: Fashion Conference

On the 3rd April the quirky and wonderfully unique Grand Café played host to Solent Fashion Day ‘14, organised by Southampton Solent University ‘Fashion Management with Marketing’ students. The mornings B2B Fashion Conference saw an eclectic bunch of industry professionals take to the stage, hereby sharing their pearls of wisdom with an attentive and knowledge-hungry audience. For those not familiar, Solent Fashion Day’s overall goal is to bring the fashion industry closer to both students and local businesses situated in and around the Southampton area. 
Team members Alice-Nicole Springthorpe and Daniella Cheval successfully brought together nine experts in their fields, all giving rich and varied advice on how to grow and succeed within the current retail market. Anyone who works in the hectic fashion industry will agree with me when I say this was no mean feat. In the luxurious Grand Café setting, each speaker delivered their knowledge and expertise through lively presentations and relevant panel discussion. Topics up for deliberation included Retail Management, The key to e-commerce, Retail Trends and The importance of visual merchandising. 
Retail guru Thierry Bayle emphasising the need to forward plan in a volatile sales environment, followed by charismatic Joel Adebayo talking us through his journey from Law Graduate to Utter Couture founder were personal highlights of the morning. Notable points also came from Founding Partner of Superrb Matt Pilkington, who stressed that we should be listening twice as much as we talk when it comes to social media, and finally,Solent Honorary Doctor of Fashion and self-proclaimed hippy Ted Polhemus entertained with humorous anecdotes from his latest book ‘Boom!-A Baby Boomer Memoir.’ 
In true fashion nature, the only downfall of the event was the slight delay in proceedings getting underway. However, the fashionably late start was soon forgotten with endearing and multi-talented presenter Fabienne Hebrard ensuring the remainder of the conference stayed firmly on track. 
Overall, the event exceeded itself in terms of its aim to create a relaxed environment and atmosphere where students and businesses could meet, interact and network. Guests left feeling inspired and motivated at the prospect of beginning their own careers in the fast-paced fashion and retail industries, as well as excitedly anticipating that evening’s entertainment; Solent Fashion Day ’14, The Structured Runway.
For further information on Solent Fashion Day ‘14 please visit:
    • Solent Creatives - Jasmine Najib blog biography

    Solent Creatives - Jasmine Najib blog biography

Monday 7th April

The Perform Centre

Hampshire Cricket have built a brand new facility at the Ageas Bowl called the Perform Centre.
The centre is used by the cricket team, but is also open to the public. There are a range of services offered, including:
  • Physiotherapy
    -  Sports Massage Therapy
    -  Sports & Exercise Medicine Consultancy
  • Sports Injury Rehabilitation
  • Acupuncture
  • Prehabilitation Programmes
  • Sports Nutrition
  • Podiatry
  • Sports Psychology
The centre is run by Dan Young, who is also Head of Sports Medicine at the Ageas Bowl.
Dan is a chartered physiotherapist with more than ten years experience and believes the centre is a great addition to the cricket club and the community, “Anyone can use the centre from elite athletes to someone who takes part in sport during the weekend!”  
He continued, “We are about the wellbeing of people in general. Anyone who has picked up an injury either through playing sport, an operation or even an illness, then we want to be seeing them here to help them get back to their full fitness.”
    • Solent Creatives - Gracie Foster blog biography

    Solent Creatives - Gracie Foster blog biography

Thursday 3rd April

Are you a football fan and visiting Southampton? 

Then why not come and watch a match at St Mary’s Stadium? You won’t be disappointed!!

• 90 minutes of Premier League football with plenty of English talent on show.
• 32,500 fans under one roof means only one thing? An electric atmosphere. 
• Great views wherever you sit.
• Family orientated and friendly.
• Top quality refreshments for sale, including delicious burgers, hotdogs, and pies.
• A bar to quench your thirst including the club’s very own ‘Saints Ale’.
• Fancy a souvenir? The club has its very own mega-store selling a variety of merchandise at a range of different prices.
• Only a 15 minute walk from the city centre so plenty of time to shop before or after.
Make sure you are “in that number” for the next match!!
    • Southampton Football Club

    Southampton Football Club

    • Southampton Football Club

    Southampton Football Club

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    • Solent Creatives - Matt Tilbury blog biography

    Solent Creatives - Matt Tilbury blog biography

Monday 1st April 

Southampton goes the distance for Sport Relief

Thursday 27th March

The Aspire Fashion Show at The Soul Cellar

A fashion orientated careers event combining entrepreneurial tips from industry professionals, with a kitsch vintage pop up shop. Aspire 2014 was held on Thursday March 20that ‘The Soul Cellar’. 

Visitors and students were able to feast on complimentary bar snacks of blue, pink and green pasta with asparagus, hummus and peppers, and brightly coloured popcorn. 
Stephanie Taylor delivered an enthusiastic and engaging presentation on lifestyle enhancement, including a number of techniques on how to feel confident in interviews, and how to beat stress by tailoring your body language. 
    • Stephanie Taylor (Lifestyle Enhancement) with Tomasz Dyl (Managing Director of GottaBe!)

    Stephanie Taylor (Lifestyle Enhancement) with Tomasz Dyl (Managing Director of GottaBe!)

Tomasz Dyl, Marketing Company Director of his business Gottabe! whohas been awarded an array of entrepreneurial prizes, talked abouthow he pursued his business. He provided guidelines on how to write a CV and the importance of social media presence, as well as interviews tips. Amusing anecdotes from his career path had visitors in stitches, and made for an entertaining and informative talk.
Printmaker Rosie Hearne had a collection of affordable vintage clothing, jewellery and shoes on sale. Lace dresses, roll neck t-shirts, distressed denim as well as designer Nicole Farhi samples were all up for sale.
    • Rosie Hearne’s vintage pop up shop at the back of The Cellar

    Rosie Hearne’s vintage pop up shop at the back of The Cellar

Tiffany Roberts talked about her ethical fashion brand TIFF UK. She discussed how sustainable fashion is still a fairly unknown concept, yet can benefit the environment, economy and the wearer. She offered an insight into her business and revealed what is next for her, including opening her own stores.
The event concluded with Lydia Hayward and Solent Writing Fashion & Culture graduate Beth Terry, discussing their experiences as stylist and visual merchandiser for Marks & Spencer. There was also a networking opportunity for students to mingle and exchange business cards with the industry professionals. 
Aspire made for a fun and informative afternoon. With vintage clothing and free snacks thrown in, it made for a worthwhile visit. Look out for future events at The Soul Cellar:
    • Solent Creatives - Rose Adams blog biography

    Solent Creatives - Rose Adams blog biography

Thursday 20th March 2014

International DJ, Marc Kinchen

On Saturday night hundreds of students queued up outside Southampton’s Mo Club eagerly anticipating a performance from international DJ, Marc Kinchen.

Kinchen, referred to as ‘MK’, is a house music DJ that has topped the US Billboard charts on a number of occasions in the past, and recently reached number one in the UK top 40 with a remix of ‘Storm Queen - Look Right Through’.

And it was no surprise that the event was to be the fastest selling in Warehouse party history with the fifteen pounds early bird tickets being completely gone in just half an hour.

Just a couple days after all tickets had been released the event was a sell-out.

Days before the event people were paying up to fifty pounds to attend what was widely expected to be one of the best nights of the year.

Despite MK not performing until the early hours of the morning, people were arriving at the venue as early at 10.30pm to secure their place inside and undoubtedly hit the bar.

As midnight came the building was rammed from wall to wall.

Waves of people surrounded the bar area, with hundreds of people squeezed together down towards the stage.

Prior to MK, rising star Hannah Smith, known as Hannah Wants, kicked things off at about half past midnight.

The self-taught DJ from Birmingham did more than warm up the crowd with her hard hitting remixes provinga success with the screaming and cheering fans beneath.

But as 2.20am came you could feel the tension and anticipation grow within the club.

And when the lights went down, followed by one direct beam of light a large roar echoed from the floor as MK stepped out.

The entire club went from one level to another when the American hit the decks with his number 1 track ‘Look Right Through’.

He continued pleasing the electric crowd with his deep remixes of Sam Smith’s ‘Money On My Mind’ and Wankelmut’s ‘My Head Is A Jungle’.

MK certainly nailed it and for the duration of his set the burger van outside had never been quieter.

As he called an end to the night a chant sounding ‘one more song’ elevated from the jam-packed dance floor, which he of course responded to with an absolute belter.

Leaving on a high at 4am, the night wasn’t over for many people as they made their way over the after party at Unit nightclub which went on until 8am!

As ever, a Warehouse event did not disappoint and MK certainly lived up to the hype.

    • Solent Creatives - Luke Osborne blog biography

    Solent Creatives - Luke Osborne blog biography

Wednesday 19th March 2014

A Student’s Night Out Guide

Students are perhaps more notorious for their wild nights out than their studying.
Partying and socialising are all part of the university experience so here is a tried and tested guide, written by a student, of which places make for the best nights out.
So it’s been another one of ‘those’ Monday’s or maybe you haven’t stopped from the weekend, either way, you fancy a good night out.
Jesters in Portswood is the obvious choice; with 50p a pint and 50p a shot,it’s a guaranteed good night!
There is music for everybody and the dance floor is crowded however be sure not to wear your favourite shoes as the floor can get sticky.
Also whilst you are there try the Jesticle, a unique drink with a secret recipe! 
If you fancy a quieter night then The Royal Oak on Houndwell Place has comedy every other Monday so call ahead to make sure it is on. 
Tuesday is a busy night out in Southampton. There are several place to go; Sobar in Portswood, Orange Rooms on Bedford Place, 90 degrees on Bedford Place, and Oceana near to the city centre and the docks. 
Sobar is a similar night to Jesters and definitely not for the faint hearted. The dance floor is extremely crowded so personal space is limited. 
The drinks are again, extremely cheap; £1 double vodka mixers and 50p for shots. If you are looking for a memorable night then Sobar is the place to go, however if you don’t enjoy big crowds then somewhere else might be better for you. 
Every Tuesday Orange Rooms puts on ‘Rogue Tuesdays’. There is guest list entry and the drinks are £1 all night. 
Orange Rooms has good music and the dance floor isn’t over-crowded so it is always a good night with your friends.
Another option for tonight is ‘Ninetysdegrees’. Every Tuesday they have ‘90s Gone Nuts’. This involves 90p drinks and 90p shots with free entry for guest list before 10:30pm.
Oceana is also a popular choice with ‘OMG’ Tuesdays. There is free entry before 11:30pm and it is the latest club in town staying open until 4am!
The only place in town tonight really is Oceana for their ‘Student Therapy’ night so make sure you remember your student card!
It is socials night at Solent University and you can guarantee that’s where everyone is headed. You will see several of the societies in fancy dress and other people get glammed up for possibly the biggest club night of the week.
Again the club is open until 4am and drinks start at £1.50 all night to keep you going. 
There is also music to keep everyone entertained as there are two rooms open; the Ice Room which plays the more chart and dance music and then the Disco room that plays the old classics. 
Thursday is another popular night out in Southampton. Yates on the high street has a big night with ‘£1 a pint.’ It is £1 entry at 8pm however the fee does go up to £2 later in the night. 
It’s an excellent and a good chance to meet with your friends with extremely cheap pints!
After Yates, Popworld is the place to go. Free entry with your Yates stamp and you can get a free bus from outside Yates.There are also good drinks deals with 2-4-1 on cocktails. 
Popworld plays the best of the old school hits with the DJ taking requests. It’s a fantastic night out where you can dance with your friends to your favourite classic tunes.
Café Parfait also boasts a good night out with their ‘Chocolate Factory’. Drinks are just 79p with free chocolate and a chocolate fountain.  With guest-list you can also get entry for just £3.
If you don’t fancy a packed night out then The Royal Oak is the place to go! Thursday is quiz night with chances to win lots of prizes. The quiz is £1 entry and starts at 9pm. 
There are many drink deals for £1.50 including vodka mixers and bottles of selected beers. Food is also severed between 6pm-9pm.
The quiz is always good fun and includes ‘disco bingo’, a ‘challenge’ round and the chance to ‘catch the ace’ to win a cash prize. 
Friday is a big night out for the locals with the chance to unwind after a stressful week at work.
One of the popular places to go on a Friday is Propaganda night at Myth nightclub on the high street. Even with your name on the guest list, entry can be a pricey £3-£4 however it is a great night with £1.50 drink deals. 
There are several types of music with an upstairs bar and another downstairs. Upstairs plays more conventional club music whilst downstairs has a more Rock and Indie theme. 
ID is essential at Myth no matter how old so make sure you don’t forget it!
Another popular place to go is ‘Voodoo’ for their ‘Juiced’ night. It’s a popular spot in town so get there early to avoid the queues.
Drinks are £1.50 and Jagerbombs are £1.00 making it a big night out!
Another locals night out, and again Myth is a popular choice.
Their Saturday boasts an ‘Angels & Demons’ night. They split into 2 clubs with 5 bars. Heaven is the R’N’B & ‘Old Skool’ whereas Hell has house and chart music. 
Oceana is also popular with locals on a Saturday. ‘The Sound of Saturday’ is a big night with the club being open till 4am. The guest list offer is £3 entry before 11pm. 
Again there is two rooms open with different music so no matter what you want to dance to, Oceana will have it all!
It’s a Sunday night and you want one last party before going back to work the next day. Café Parfait is Sunday’s ‘place to go’. 
Entry is slightly expensive at £4/£5 but drinks start at £1.50 with cocktails being £6.
No matter which night you choose to go out on, Southampton has enough bars and clubs to cater for everyone’s taste.
There are always cheap guest-list entries which you can sign up to via Facebook but just remember to drink responsibly.
    • Solent Creatives - Freya Penny blog biography

    Solent Creatives - Freya Penny blog biography

Friday 14th March 2014

War Horse steals the show at The Mayflower Theatre

War Horse the play is based around the 1982 novel written by Michael Morpurgo and has been adapted for stage by Nick Stafford. 
Based in the World War 1 period,it is a story of love, loss and devotion that will take the audience through an array of emotions.
When a young boy named AlbertNarracott is given a horse by his father, he must prove that he can teach it to plough in order to win a bet and keep him for good.
He names the horse Joey and from the beginning they form an unbreakable bond however they are separated by the outbreak of the War.
The play shows the turmoil’s of the war and follows both Joey and his owner Albert’s journey throughout this difficult period and documents their attempts to find each other.
The World Premiere was at the National Theatre on 9th October 2007 and it has since gone on to tour world-wide including Broadway and various stages across America, Australia and Europe. 
Since the success of the play, famous director Steven Spielberg has turned the story into a bestselling film starring actors such as Jeremy Irvine and Benedict Cumberbatch.
War Horse has won a broad range of world-wide achievements with the set design being internationally recognised.
Rae Smith, the production’s designer explained how “as horses live outdoors most of the time, we wanted to create an outside environment on the state, an environment without lines, rather than a room with architectural realities.”
He achieved this and more thanks to the help of producer Tom Morris. 
Morris was initially approached by Nick Hytner, the National Theatre director, about creating ideas for large scale shows that would appeal to a mixed audience of adults and children.
He decided to combine this opportunity with his desire to work with Handspring Puppets, and after researching several children’s authors, he came across Michael Morpurgo and his novel War Horse. 
Award winner Morris explained how “even though the book is narrated by a horse, that if we were making a show which was going to engage with adults and children in a serious way, then we shouldn’t have a talking horse.”
He acknowledged the seriousness of the subject of war stating “If we were going to make a show, we wanted to treat the subject with the seriousness that it deserved.”
The puppets are the main stars of the show and co-director Marianne Elliott reveals how difficult the puppets were to master; 
“There were a lot of books to read, there was finding out about Handspring and then we had three or more workshops of three weeks each.   And through those workshops the puppets were developed and polished until we got to the final prototype which made the rehearsals.  But even now the puppets are being perfected.”
    • War Horse

    War Horse - Photo Credit: The National Theatre

    • War Horse

    War Horse - Photo Credit: The National Theatre

    • War Horse

    War Horse - Photo Credit: The National Theatre

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So how do the puppets work? Elliott revealed some of the secrets surrounding the most famous puppets in the theatre; 
“At each workshop, Handspring would bring a form of a horse.  It started with a ladder and then it became a head and two people.  Then it became legs that were very stiff and wooden.   At one point it had a skirt!  Then the body became more moulded, and the legs became more articulate as well as the ears and eyes. “
She adds “It’s not to be underestimated what a huge a show it is.”
Overall, the show has 23 incredible puppets ranging from horses to smaller animals such a goose, two swallows and two crows.  
Not only is the puppetry exceptional, but they also have an incredible cast.  Main star Lee Armstrong plays young boy Albert Narracottand has been involved in the theatre for a number of years as well as television appearances. 
The cast that act out of the puppets have also not gone unnoticed, it takes three puppeteers to act out each horse as they form the Head, the Heart and the Hind for which they have to train eight week prior to the show. 
With audiences raving about the show world-wide this really is a must see. 
Michael Morpurgo’s originalstory has come a long way from meeting with members of World War One and researching the relationship between humans and their horses to now, where his story has been played out to over four million people world-wide thanks to producer Tom Morris. 
Morpurgo reflects upon this; “I must say I really don’t know another play which has transformed puppetry and theatre so radically. The innovation is quite extraordinary.”
Don’t miss out on your chance to go see this at Mayflower Theatre Southampton. You can book tickets online or via the box office for viewings up until the last show on Saturday 15th March.
    • Solent Creatives - Freya Penny blog biography

    Solent Creatives - Freya Penny blog biography

Thursday 13th March 2014

International Creative Heartbeat event proves to be a great success

Friday saw Southampton's 02 Guildhall come alive with the arrival of the International Creative Heartbeat event.

The sun came out for the midday start and the rain held off throughout the day helping to draw bigger crowds to the city centre.

The event included 'flash mobs' every half hour, raffles, routines performed by Southampton Solent University's Raven cheerleaders and much more.

The event's primary aims were to raise awareness for culture here in the city as well as fundraise for the Rose Road Association.

The Rose Road Association was founded in 1952 and despite originally being set up in Southampton; they now support children and young adults across the Hampshire County.

The local charity works with children and young adults with complex disabilities. The association provides overnight care in their rest bite centre. They are also involved in a lot of community outreach such as trips to the zoo and cinema as well as after school and holiday clubs. 

Tiffany Bryant, a worker at the charity, explained how the money raised from this event will help to facilitate all their work, “providing equipment, short breaks and days out.”

Martin Okoroego, creator of the event, describes how he came up with the idea;

“Southampton wants to promote creativity in the city. Here at the Guildhall Square it’s the heart of the culture quarter.

“The Heartbeat event should represent a human heart, in the shape of a flash mob of people representing and supporting Southampton in its creative projects.”

He describes the aims of the days as “The big picture. Get the big picture, be in the big picture.”

A photograph was taken from the roof of a nearby building of the midday flash mob where people stood within the heart outline.

The culture quarter is constantly developing in Southampton and will soon feature a new art complex directly opposite the 02 Guildhall.

Local food businesses were also at the event to give everybody a taste of their cultures and get involved within the community.

    • International Creative Heartbeat

    International Creative Heartbeat

    • International Creative Heartbeat

    International Creative Heartbeat

    • International Creative Heartbeat

    International Creative Heartbeat

    • International Creative Heartbeat

    International Creative Heartbeat

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The main entertainment for the day was the Solent Raven cheerleaders who performed their routines throughout the event.

Cheerleader Abigail Murray-Jackmandescribed the day as “a success.”She went on to explain that there was a lot of interest in the flash mobs and ourroutines.”

As well as perform; the squad also enjoyed teaching the local children different routines and moves. Murray-Jackman said that “although some children were not initially interested, they soon all became involved and enjoyed learning the dance.”

When asked about their initial involvement, the Raven explained, “the Rose Road is an exceptional charity, one the Ravens have supported before and hope to do so again.

It is a good chance for us to help out within the local community and show our support.”

Second year ‘Events Management’ students at Solent University organised the event, after being approached by creator Okoroego.

Events student Daniela Ribeiro explained; “there was a lot of planning and sleepless nights involved to pull off this major project.”

Everybody’s efforts paid off as the day came together. Awareness was raised for the Rose Road Association as well as £437.65 that was made up through donations and the raffle.

The day gave the community a good chance to come together and celebrate the different cultures that are here in Southampton. 

    • Solent Creatives - Freya Penny blog biography

    Solent Creatives - Freya Penny blog biography

Monday 3rd March 2014

Southampton gets a taste of Jack Whitehall 

Comedian Jack Whitehall brought his new raw performance to the 02 Guildhall Southampton, showing why he’s one of the best on the national circuit. 
Southampton was a warm up to the big stadium tour that starts in March, but that didn’t stop Whitehall bringing out loads of colourful material.  
He announced himself on stage by saying “I’m too poor to hire an announcer so here’s me”
The set began with a routine front row grilling that continued throughout the night. 
He then asked the crowd if they were here to “just to get drunk” then head out to the city’s nightclubs “Oceana and Kelly’s bar”, it was then clear to see that Whitehall already had the crowd in the palm of his hand. 
He announced that he hated his friend’s girlfriend that introducers herself as “Lucy (with a Y)” because she hated the Lion King and asked members of the audience to die if they felt the same. 
The Lion King theme would run throughout the show, but the usual anecdotes about his parents, especially his Dad (made famous by BBC3 show Backchat) were still one of the main highlights. 
After the interval the venue’s sound system boomed Tyga’s “Rack City” while the posh comedian dressed as a boxer blundered through the crowd to get onto the stage.
A ridiculously camp reenactment of a boxer preparing to fight was acted out before Whitehall revealed his T-shirt saying “#pray4theking” referring to Mufasa of the Lion King. 
Inappropriate quotes after sex, death by free Lufthansa cheese strudel and the poor marketing strategies of poker sites were all discussed that night. 
An encore that typified his strange love for the Lion King had the old public school boy prancing around the stage as a poorly dressed lion.
He later found out the tail was back-to-front and covered his foible with the boxing robe left from the previous gag and went on to tell his last joke. 
Despite forgetting the punch line and failing to do an Irish accent, Whitehall still managed to have most people in fits even though it was obvious he had made a huge blunder. 
If this was just a warm up, the properly rehearsed stadium tour will be a major hit and will propel Whitehall even further into the comedy stratosphere. 
    • Solent Creatives - Peter Davies

    Solent Creatives - Peter Davies

Monday 24th February 2014

Kerrang tour takes over Southampton's O2 Guildhall

The new and improved O2 Guildhall Southampton encountered early millennium rap metal as American rock band Limp Bizkit visited the south coast on Thursday 20th February.
Controversial but successful in their own genre Limp Bizkit headlined the Kerrang tour 2014 like it was a welcome back party. 
The lead up to the headliners saw three upcoming bands perform in front of a lively audience who were ready to party all night. 
Opening band Baby Godzilla didn’t have the full capacity on their side but it didn’t stop them from throwing guitars and rampaging around the stage. 
The only British band on the bill were vey much a wall of sound than a lyrically gifted outfit, much of their performance was trying to make as much havoc as possible. 
A green goblin then bizarrely took centre stage, by the name of “John”, to introduce his band Nekrogoblikon who were an acquired taste. 
Having a jumping Goblin as an MC did distract you from the poor quality of Goblin Screamo music that echoed through the building. 
Japanese electro–metal band Crossfaith hit the stage creating a real party atmosphere to the venue by creating several mosh pits. 
A cover of Prodigy’s “Omen” was a real crowd pleaser that got everybody singing, while projections of the band’s album art was a nice touch too. 
Then it was time for the main act as Limp Bizkit brought the roof off with their greatest hits set. 
Guitarist Wes Borland yet again wore ridiculous clothing, this time opting for Speedos and a blazer matched with stockings. 
Lead vocalist Fred Durst commanded the stage with ease interacting with the crowd like they were mates down the pub. 
After starting off with a rare track called “stalemate”, Limp Bizkit rifled through their biggest hits, which had everyone singing along. 
Covers of Guns and Roses, Nirvana and Metallica were also part of the set list and didn’t disgrace the true values of the originals. 
Bizkit’s departing song was “break stuff” that was made famous by the riots of Woodstock, however there was no such behaviour in Southampton as everybody went back home with tunes of their guilty pleasure in their head. 
    • Solent Creatives - Peter Davies

    Solent Creatives - Peter Davies