This modern classic tells of a hairdresser who decides to take up an Open University course in English. The play involves only two actors - Rita the hairdresser come student and Frank the lecturer.
It covers some interesting themes including the value of education and whether some students are simply not suited for very academic courses. It contains like My Fair Lady various spoonerisms from Rita.
Rita genuinely wants to better herself, not to become an academic genius. Rita though academically not that bright is very observant and quite streetwise, qualities which many highly able students do not possess. Rita is aware to a certain extent of her own limitations, she says at one point 'My mind's full of junk isn't it. It needs a good cleaning out.'
The Lowry have done a good job of staging this play. Frank's study is very well portrayed. Frank and Rita are likewise well portrayed by actors Philip Bretherton and Gillian Kearney.
The play throws up many controversial issues on how people should be educated, for instance whether there should be an academic vocational divide and at what age. In this politically correct era of equality it is quite a controversial play. One feels a certain degree of pity for Rita.
The play however ends on an uplifting note with Frank the lecturer, although threatened with the sack, is not given it, and instead he is given a two year job in Australia.
A number of our clients who attend the START Art project have had their pictures displayed at an exhibition at Bury Art Gallery.
3. David - Untitled.
5. Brian - Still Live.
9. Jav - Elephant.
13. Martin - Untitled.
14. Susan - Teatime.
16. Antony - French Coast.
22. Billy - Untitled.
25. Marilyn - Crocodile.
26. Jo - Bowl.
27. Peter - Mannequin.
28. Peter - Phrenology.
32. Simon - Time.
33. Adam - Roses.
39. Alan - Cat.
40. Kendel - Untitled.
43. John - Red Chair.
47. Dan - Barbeque.
50. Keiran - Car.
Evita is one of my all time favourite musicals. Yet I found the Lowry's version a little disappointing. It tells, if you are not familiar with the story, of a woman called Eva who goes from rags to riches, becoming Peron's, the Argentinian President, second wife and as such his first lady.
It is one of Andrew Lloyd Webber's earlier musicals when he was still working with Tim Rice, and in my view it was not until they teamed up with Cameron Mackintosh to produce Les Miserables that he produced a musical of this quality.
The staging of the show is good and the acting very commendable. It is though, I feel let down by the singing which, especially in the case of the actress playing Eva is only adequate. Marti Pellow, from 80's pop group Wet Wet Wet fame puts in some excellent performances and he manages to hold the show together.
All in all not a too disappointing afternoons entertainment.
I would like to thank Adam, Kieran and the two Alans for their help in setting up the show and for their hard work on the day.
Adam and his brother for taking the photos for the website.
Kieran for doing such a good job directing people in parking their cars in the car park - over 1,500 cars on the day.
Alan J for selling programs and being helpful to the public and Alan L for making sure the VIPs had refreshments in the VIP tent.
Once again a big thank you to you all from all the committee members.
Showing off your painted toe nails
Until the clouds appear
Mellow air between your toes
Making the most of the sunshine
Enjoying the freedom
Relaxing with not a care in the world
Sunshine through the bright blue skies
Umbrellas in the sun
Mighty loads of sand and sea
Maybe get you swimsuit on
Every day a new day
Really hot summers day
Staying out in the summer heat
Under the parasol avoiding the sunshine
My birthday in July
My arms getting red in the heat
Empty beach too early
Running into the sea
Hot too hot
Empty space on the beach
A game of badminton or kicking the beach ball
Taking my time making sandcastles
A day at Blackpool
Turned out just right
Oh what a day
Not too many people
Get my sunglasses on
Beach ball out
Sun shining down
Fish and chips followed by ice cream
Going to go to pleasure beach
Going up the tower
Buy some rock, candyfloss
Stay until late what a great day
Captured on camera
So I'll never forget!
Season of joy
Season of fun
Season of the blazing sun
The sizzling of sausages on the barbeque
The shimmering of the aircraft fuel in the unrelenting sun
A plethora of passenger aircraft taking people abroad
Why go so far if that's all you can afford
In these heady sweaty days of global warming
A season for letting your hair down
A season for relaxing bathing and dining
Of cricket at Edgbaston
Tennis at Wimbledon
But like all good things it has to come to an end
Staff and residents gave us a lovely memento of a picture of the house with a special 25 years anniversary message on it which is in the hall at Sunny Bank.
Below are some of the comments that we received from clients.
Congratulations to Mary & Cliff on your 25th anniversary of running Sunny Bank. It entails a lot of hard work and organisation. The residents are well looked after. The outings, pub lunches and theatre / cinema visits are appreciated. A big effort is made at Christmas regarding the food and presents.
I thank Sunny Bank for a good start to my recovery of a mental illness and a good social life and trips out and helping me to go to college and letting me go home at the weekends. They also take me and other residents to shows at Christmas, and thanks for a nice home to live in at Green Mount.
Thanks for all the nice food and interesting trips, congratulations on providing a wonderful service for the mentally ill without which I could have been homeless.
I've enjoyed living at Sunny Bank for 21 years. Thanks for giving me a home and congratulations for 25 years of service.
I have been looked after since 1992 and they have got me better. They have made a different person out of me. It's the best care and support you can get. Congratulations to Mary and Cliff for all the hard work you have done over the past 25 years.
Congratulations and thank you.
I've enjoyed living at Sunny Bank and love the food. Thank you Mary and Cliff for looking after me and giving me a home.
They're good at their job and have given me a home for many years. I can be myself. So congratulations on achieving 25 years, all the best for the future.
Congratulations - good home, good hospitality and nice people. Food is good - and everyone is friendly, I like living here.
Thank you - nice house, nice friends, well looked after. It's a bit like a hotel. It's nice to get out the independence you have given me.
I have been at Sunny Bank for about 6 years and it's been good, and the food is excellent. Also I have a nice private room. I appreciate the help and it has kept me out of hospital.
Job well done. Thanks for looking after everyone. You've helped a lot of people getting back on their feet.
Sunny Bank is a residential home situated in an idyllic spot in Tottington, Bury. The staff are excellent - always very approachable, the food is excellent too and the home organises many different outings e.g. to Blackpool, along the Manchester Ship Canal barge trips etc. I have thoroughly enjoyed my stay here and recommend it to anyone with mental health problems / difficulties looking for a place in a care home.
To Mary and Cliff, thank you for looking after me and for keeping this place open for 25 years and helping us to get on top of things.
Mary and Cliff my thoughts are full of appreciation for everything you both do for me, your love and devotion, your warm and understanding way and for everything that makes you who you are. I hope the next 25 years are as good.
OUT SINCERE THANKS TO EVERYONE FOR YOUR COMMENTS - THEY ARE VERY MUCH APPRECIATED, CLIFF AND MARY.
For readers appreciation factor I know last Christmas was not white but the Lowry put on an excellent spectacle with this production of White Christmas - very little expense was spared in the staging - in either the costumes or the scenery.
The show is frivolous and has therefore little serious messages but the dancing is spectacularly done and both the scenery and costumes lavish. It is a feel good musical which tells of how people caught up in the Second World War decide that after the war they will take up singing and dancing.
There were some excellent performances, in particular by Steven Houghton as Bob Wallace and Ken Kercheval as General Waverly.
All in all it made for a very good afternoons entertainment and put us in good spirit and cheer got Christmas.
I enjoy practising guitar in the workshop as it gives me practise time. The people are friendly and I play for 1 1/2 hours. I also get time to improvise and read music. I feel good after I've been and it's stressless.
I started playing guitar when I was 11 years old, I wanted to do it instinctively - I practised hard. I enjoyed playing the Shadows. I made an album when I was 13 and recorded it myself. I got my grade 8 when I was 15. I stopped playing for 10 years, Mary introduced me to the workshop at the MET in Bury. It is £15 a time and worth every penny.
I enjoy going to toning tables, I have met with other people from Bury who I have conversations with.
I have strengthened my muscles which is due to regular attendance which I am committed to and find this important. I feel stronger and fitter after a session and would recommend people to give it a go.
Scribble is a quarterly magazine produced by Tell Us Another One (TUAO). TUAO is a three year creative writing project, run by Cartwheel Arts in Heywood. They run monthly creative writing groups for adults which are open to everyone – no previous experience of creative writing is needed.
Although none of the poems from our Creative Writing Group made the final selection for publication in the magazine, the panel of judges did give some favourable feedback. Pete's poem entitled 'Working Together' received a lot of praise and just missed out on a place in the publication. They commented that they enjoyed reading all the work and are looking forward to their entries on 'Space' for the next competition.
Our thanks to Lisa for her work with the 'Write Direction' ceative writing group, to which Adam and Peter belong, in helping everyone to achieve such a high standard of work.
Below are the poems submitted by our clients:
Cooperation by Peter.
Careful to be kind and honest
Operate your skills together
Open your mind to better ideas
Patient and always willing
Everything is alright with you when you try
Respect each other and never argue
Always look on the bright side of life
Terror is a word to avoid
Incline to wander but stay on straight and narrow
Onward Christian soldiers
Never give in
Acting Together by Adam.
In times of crisis acting together is better than action alone
Acting as a community is better than solitary action
Do not be oblivious to the effects that your actions are having on other people
even though you may not be able to act in a super human way ordinary efforts are better than none
It is essential to maintain a gentile friendly personality
As every little effort helps
Do not rail too much over difficult tasks
Ask for help if situations become to difficult or complex
Do not become to obsessed or introverted
Always try obvious solutions even though they might not appear to be
Do not give in to anger in the face of adversity when you are close to agreement
Acceptance by Peter.
I believe in sharing together
It helps to share ideas
It helps to see things clearly
Day by day year after year
If u just accept things
It won’t appear so bad
It will bring u a smile
It won’t seem quite so sad
Everyone needs a good friend
Whatever they maybe
It would just open your eyes
You will clearly see
Working Together by Peter.
We were set a mission
Clean and prepare the garden
But we had to make a decision
Where to start!
Cut back the garden leaves
We need tools
To trim the garden trees
Now we can start
Oh it should be a breeze
We worked hard
raking and digging
everyone had ideas
and all very willing
to give this a go
and maybe have some fun
whilst trying to set up
the chicken run
towards this aim
We worked really hard
Tired and all feeling the same
But congratulated each other
On the fine job we had all done
The players are from all walks of life
Not necessary thinking the same
Different customs and traditions
Various beliefs but they all have a general aim
It is their dreams, goals, and ambitions
They crave the feeling of achievement
To accomplish this there are some conditions
To agree, include, respond and accommodate
Allow, negotiate and not to suffocate
They pass the ball to each other and score
They respect the referee and all his decisions
This encourages them to aim for more
They co operate with each other
And they play inside the parameter of the pitch
Opportunities are there and just waiting for another
The midfielder runs quickly defending his position
The defender curls the ball to hopefully pass
They tackle to get past the opposition
The pressure is on to get in the possession
of this precious distinctive accolade
The next 90 minutes becomes their obsession
They have worked so hard to have the ownership
To pass to the striker who in turn scores with all his soul
He smashes the ball into the net.
It’s a Goal!
Everyone played their part in the game
To achieve the goal
Everyone aiming for the same
All their differences are put aside
As if there were none
It has worked and paid off
To all play as one
Thoughts are like trees
Lift you high or bring you down to your knees
Forgive and forget
Let your mind be set
No thorn on a branch of thoughts
Free to sing and to dance
Maybe only get one chance
Wisdom and truth teach the
young of today to sing,
love and pray for each other
Todays the beginning just as in past
of the Good Lord winning
Long may he last.
Keiran, Adam, Alan and Allan all completed the walk along with our member of staff Mick and between them they raised a total of £260.
Alfie is a Bill Naughton play set in the 1960s. Bill the playwright grew up in Bolton during the 1960s. The play touches on issues of sexuality and women’s rights and abortion, all very prevalent in 1960s Britain.
Alfie himself is very much aware of sexuality and women’s attitude towards it. He is very well performed by actor David Ricardo-Pearce of amongst others Eastenders fame. In the story Alfie discovers he has contracted a lung disease and goes into hospital.
A large part of the play is devoted to a hospital ward, Of course at this time people were only just becoming aware of the dangers of smoking. The nurse is also well performed by actress Francesca Ryan of Holby City and Brookside fame.
Alfie is quite a serious play, a social commentary on 1960s Britain but is not meant to be taken too seriously - it is something of a black comedy. There are many jokes at the expense of women’s and men’s sexuality.
David Thacker's production of Macbeth at the Bolton Octagon is praiseworthy as a commendable effort. Macbeth in case you didn't know is one of Shakespeare's tragedies. It tells of Macbeth, a royal soldier who along with his wife, Lady Macbeth, plot to and eventually succeeds in killing Duncan King of Scotland so he himself can take the title. All of this is prophesised by the three witches or Weird Sisters.
The play uses traditional attire for the main characters. The stage has a round pit instead of a cauldron which is extremely effective. Having recently seen an RSC version of the same play the thing that struck me the most was how easy it was to follow in comparison. The lines though are not as eloquently delivered, yet that could not be expected. The hero or anti-hero Macbeth is well performed by Robert Cavanah of Kavanagh QC and Eastenders fame, so too Suzan Sylvester puts a good performance as Lady Macbeth.
The story tells of the battle between good and evil. Macbeth epitomised evil, as Banquo says "Not even in the legions of horrid hell can come a devil more damned in evil to top Macbeth". It is obvious though from the play that Shakespeare is a determinist i.e. he does not believe in too much free will and that our fates to a large extent are in the lap of the gods. The witches’ prophecy that a sure sign Macbeth's fate will be sealed is when Birnam Wood comes to Dunsinane Hill. The audience is made to feel some pity as well as disgust towards Macbeth and his co-conspirator Lady Macbeth.
Macbeth is a memorable Shakespeare play and works well because it is compact, and not overlong and drawn out. As is expected the story ends tragically with both Macbeth and Lady Macbeth dying.
One of the contaversial aspects of society which Shakespeare may have been questioning in this play is the right of succession to the throne, which at the time was based partly on merit and not just inheritance.
We went to Radcliffe Civic Centre for a 3 course meal which I enjoyed very much. After the meal was a disco and live entertainment with singers playing pop music. Everyone enjoyed it, and Claire and Tony looked after us all. Hopefully I can go again next year.
It was an old fashioned theatre production by Jane Austin.
The dresses were really nice, wonderful. The old fashioned dresses seemed nice, especially if you've got the figure for them.
It was a lively and nice story with a happy ending as one of the sisters got married. They had good singing voices and a nice band was playing at the front of the stage.
There is a place called Barnabus
Please show your face and place your trust in us
God's work we do, God bless us and God bless you
Feel free to come and chat over a cup of tea
Tell your friends and let the hell end
Cold nights, sleeping rough
This just ain't good enough
A place to rent, a meal or two, a bath or shower
What people go through, dread and fear and loneliness
Life on the streets, be glad it ain't you
At our centre there you can eat and get a hot drink
We are friendly folk who want to make people think
Onward Christian Soldiers fighting for a cause
Lighting the way
Please come and join us, please pray.
Thanks to all who donated towards this appeal. Myself, Leanne, Julie and Kendel went along on Saturday. It was an open day and they had set up a display of the work that is being done. The number of people using the facility is continually growing.
I spoke to a man who had lived on the streets for 9 years, thankfully today he has a roof over his head. I asked him what Barnabus had meant to him.
"It's been a lifeline, I probably would not be alive today. The people here are very sincere."
Barnabus depends on ordinary people like you and me to keep their doors open.
Please continue to support.
Somebody there for you,
that makes you feel at ease.
It reassures you especially if your not having a good day.
It means a lot to me.
The play was a brave choice for the Octagon. It is the first time in 13 years that they have done an Alan Bennett play, though they were in the not too distant past quite fond of that particular playwright.
Set in Brighton in the early 1970s it is basically a situation comedy. It tells of the holiday makers and the residents and their various sexual exploits. The play is at times quite witty with lines such as "Is Mr Clarke present" and comparing heaven to Matlock with the line "that little Matlock in the sky" and "the bra, the straps of which I am unable and unwilling to suit down and untie".
David Thacker for this production chose to have the characters all appear from behind chalet doors, the set is good though at times can be a little distracting.
The Doctor Arthur Wickstead is very well performed by actor Rob Edwards, he moves well and delivers his lines well on the whole. The story takes on some, especially at the time it is set, taboo subjects, such as sexual orientation and sexually transmitted infections and the degree of choice in it all.
All in all it makes for a good afternoons entertainment and I laughed out loud at times at some of Alan Bennett's witticisms. This though is not thought of as being his best play yet it was witty and entertaining and I thought the second half was better than the first.
Many congratulations to the following people who have had their art work selected to be put on display at the gallery:
John C - Still Life - Watercolour.
John W - Still Life - Pencil / crayon.
Keiren - Still Life - Watercolour / pencil.
Alan B - Stripes - Pastel.
Julie - Untitled - Watercolour.
Jav - Something Snooker - Mixed media.
Anthony - Boats - Felt tip
Dan - Flower Stand - Mixed media.
Simon - Poem - The Beach.
Tom - Untitled - Acrylic.
Allan - Untitled - Acrylic.
Billy - Flying Car - Pen / pencil.
Anna - Folk Art - Felt tip.
Shagufta - Man - Pencil / pencil crayon.
Marilyn - Girl - Pencil.
Kendel - Woman - Mixed media.
We have known Sylvia for nearly 16 years, as part of our ‘extended family’ at Sunny Bank.
During that time we have had the honour of knowing a lady who has shown great personal fortitude and strength of character in facing any difficulties that she faced.
To those who knew Sylvia well, she had a dry sense of humour, and equally enjoyed ‘receiving as good as she gave!’
Sylvia especially enjoyed going on her infamous shopping trips to Bolton and Bury with Leanne, and going out in the local countryside, and on holidays with us, but she equally enjoyed her home life. Sylvia loved animals, especially dogs and still remembered her beloved pet, Max.
Sylvia valued her sister and family, and the regular contact and friendship over the years that she had with Margaret. For the last 10 years, Sylvia has been great friends with Leanne and we know that both of them greatly appreciated and valued the friendship and companionship that the 2 of them had found in each other.
Sylvia was an excellent poet, and was readily able to put into words her thoughts and give others insight into her experiences and feelings.
It is particularly relevant, as Sylvia often expressed in poetry for all of us at Sunny Bank our feelings on a bereavement, but now that tribute is provided by Leanne to both her and our very special friend - Sylvia.
It is called:
REST IN PEACE
For when I sleep
Do not weep
For then I see
That I am free
And your love is the power
To send me above
After the witching hour,
My soul for
God to keep
Rest in peace as I sleep.
I thank you for
Your love and may
It be the same as
God calls your name.
The following poem was written by Sylvia and was on display as a public art work in Prestwich:
My world, if it were possible, would be a happy place, where everyone was full of joy, smiles on their face.
There would be clean fresh air. The sky would be blue. No clouds in sight. The sun beaming down on you.
The would be no fighting. No pollution or cars. If you were lucky, there would be free trips to Mars.
There would be freedom of speech, more give than take. There'd be music and laughter. Boat rides on the lake. Little lambs gamboling in the fields outside. Donkeys on the beaches, sand castles and rides.
Everyone's in good heart, and warm with the sun. Out in the fresh air, all having fun.
Cycle along a country lane, or read an interesating book. Take your dog for a walk, its well worth a look.
Birds in the sky, all chirping along. Summer is here, what could there be wrong?
Being positive to me is
keep going even if things look bleak.
If you are positive you may be an inspiration to others as well.
Also it helps my thoughts.
It's always good to know that there's always hope for the future.
It's the best thing going, charismatic, something to live for, something to keep you going.
It's there for everyone. Don't give up because there's always HOPE.
Things could be better. It's a positive way of looking forward.
The Octagon have just about cut the mustard for me with this production. Sweeney Todd, in case you are not familiar with the plot, tells of a barber in the unsalubrious streets of London who kills his customers by slitting their throats. His accomplace Mrs Lovett, well performed by actress Ruth Rubin of Waterloo Road and Coronation Street fame amongst others, devices the cunning and sinister idea of disposing of the bodies by turning their parts into pies and selling them in a shop below the barbers. It is only when residents complain about strange odours coming from the chimney of Mrs Lovett's pie shop that an environmental health officer investigates and Sweeney Todd is found out and in the end shot dead.
One of the main themes of the show is the excessive powers of judges over the ordinary members of the general public, favouring wealthy middle class defendants over the ordinary man and woman in the street. The musical in this sense is a sort of personality show, depicting the hypocrisy of people playing lip service to altruistic values and saying one thing yet doing the opposite. The plot for a concept musical is a good one - it is a Sondheim Classic.
The version is well acted with very good character performances by Tobias Beer, of RSC ilk, as Sweeney Todd and Ruth Rubin as Mrs Lovett. Despite that though it is not very well sung, Beer as Sweeney Todd goes off key on several occasions. The Octagon's performance does not fully do justice to the show, either with the staging which is sparse - the theatre being a small theatre-in-the-round is severely restricted in what it can do to stage the musical.
As a political / social commentary of life in nineteenth century London the show works well, but as a musical the Octagon's version is not outstanding - it is not well sung enough to be, nor is the staging good enough. It was a good choice of musical for a theatre like the Octagon to put on and judging by the audience reaction they are certainly doing something right. Overall I would say it is a very commendable effort by the Octagon without being anything superb.
Scene 1 is Fred descending a ladder, this is also for his ascent to heaven. At the bottom he meets another engineer Isambard Brunel, he appears at different times.
The female lead is a blond women with plaits, she is his third wife. Her dress is varied while Fred just wears overalls. I think the wife is called Shelia.
There is only one set which was a workplace, there was three mates working and at times they would argue with each other.
There was also a green phone, this gave news of illness, of his wife's mother's illness and details of Fred's own illness.
The final scene was Fred in a shroud climbing the ladder to heaven.
It was like being on Safari, only we were on the coach.
There were wild animals everywhere.
Firstly the lions. They were like great big cuddly toys, roaming and sitting around in the sun.
There were two tigers lay on wooden benches.
Two zebras with very distinctive markings, seemed happy enough in a field.
Lots of monkeys running along like mad, in a big crowd of them, babies and grown-ups alike.
Ostriches, deer, giraffes were also happy enough in their surroundings. The giraffes were so tall that we had to climb steps to see them eye to eye.
A wild boar was there, looking a bit scary.
Pigs, and two week old piglets, six of them, were there.
Cockerels and hens and peacocks showing their feathers, the cockerels giving us a wakeup call, and a camel.
The elephants were there, feeding with long trunks, on the hay.
Some meercats were there, looking cool.
The sealions did a nice show too. They were lovely and very well trained.
Altogether a fantastic day out.
Thank you Sunny Bank.
Blood Brothers has to be in my opinion one of the very best, if not the best of concept musicals. Concept musicals are basically musicals with more dialogue than usual.
Set in the working class suburbs of Liverpool, Blood Brothers tells of the Johnstone twins – two brothers who are separated at birth only to meet again with tragic consequences. There are some excellent performances especially by Niki Evans as Mrs Johnstone, Sean Jones as Mickey, Paul Davies as Eddie and Tracey Spencer as Mrs Jones.
The musical provides a very revealing insight into life in the suburbs of Liverpool in the 1980’s. It shows the true grit of the people to overcome the adversity of Liverpudlian life in Thatcher’s Britain.
The musical was controversial as it implies that the environment as well as people’s genes is important in determining a person’s character. The staging of the show is very good and differs from previous versions I have seen. The staging in the first half depicts a Merseyside street on which the Johnstone twins are brought up. It is extremely effective. On the walls of one of the partitions is graffiti saying ‘Everton’.
One of the best features of Blood Brothers has to be the music, it is a very tuneful musical and 2 days after seeing this performance I can still hear many of the main songs in my head.
The best feature of this particular version of Blood Brothers though is the acting. The actress Niki Evans does a brilliant performance as Mrs Johnstone with much grit and realism. Sean Jones of Emmerdale fame amongst others s quite exceptional as one of the two Johnstone twins – Mickey.
The plot basically tells how two boys are separated at birth and brought up in two very different households. The two meet again whilst playing out. It emerges that they both were born on exactly the same day. They then both realise that they are probably twins and make a pact, both draw blood hence the name Blood Brothers. The show ends tragically when one of the twins commits a murder in a botched robbery attempt.
This play is a classic ‘who dun it’ with excellent performances by Peter Gibson as Doctor Watson and Chris Moore as Sherlock Holmes. Holmes is presented with a mystery that took place hundreds of miles away in Scotland – the murder of Sir Howard Latham. The play grips and the mystery of who did the murder is an engrossing feature.
The story adapts well to the stage and in my view better seen on the stage than on the screen. The plot has many twists as suspicion falls on initially all the characters, especially Miss Emily Latham, who is acted with a great deal of realism by Marion Rowbottom. The manner of Sir Latham’s death of a heart attack and a cloth with wine stains are the only real clues as to who committed the murder. In a final twist the story the irony of it is that the inspector – Inspector George Wilkes did it.
All in all it made for an enjoyable evening’s entertainment and it is difficult to tell it is an amateur production.
David Copperfield is semi-autobiographical book. The show however is a concept musical, i.e. embracing a mixture of dialogue and music but with more dialogue than most musicals.
It tells of the central character (David Copperfield) who dislikes and frequently falls out with his step-father. He is a very stern man and often thrashes David.
After one of his thrashings David is sent away to boarding school. At boarding school David has a ruthless headmaster called Mr Creakle, who in the show is extremely well portrayed.
Salem House (the name of the boarding school) is a typical Dickensian establishment. In a further development David returns home for his holidays to find his mother has given birth to a baby boy. Shortly after returning to Salem House both his mother and the baby die. The plot reflects the grim realities of life in nineteenth century England.
The musical is extremely well staged with models of boats and the actors are all dressed in appropriated nineteenth century attire. Showing at the Octagon at what is a hard time for many thousands of people amidst yet another recession it is an apt time and perhaps its message is not to give up hope in times of adversity.
The adventures of David Copperfield continue as he finds work in a factory in London. Unfortunately once again for David the factory after working for a considerable time goes bankrupt. David then has nobody left to care for him so he flees and eventually ends up in Dover where he finds his sole living relative – Miss Betsy.
She eventually agrees to bring David up. The rest of the story tells of David’s life story into adulthood.
Dickens is probably partly commentating on methods of control used by parents and guardians and alike and saying that extreme sternness is not always the best policy.
A light has gone out in Sunny Bank
The mood is quiet and low
For what it means to lose you Mike
Only grieving hearts will know
You supported Manchester United
You wore your badge with pride
You made a mean curry
And could never worry
You made lovely strawberry jam
Which makes you just the man
A heart of gold stopped beating
We all knew you'd slipped away
The angels came to take you home
And we all knew you couldn't stay
So please god, and the angels
Put Mike's tired eyes at rest
Put our faith back in human nature
Because God only takes the best
From all at Sunny Bank
Goodnight. God bless.
On Saturday the 8th January Mike Hayton our catering housekeeper died at his mother's house in his sleep with his family present. Mike has been at Sunny Bank for over 4 years, and during that time he has become a good friend to all of us.
It is testiment to Mike's commitment and caring nature that he was determined to plan all the menus for the special days over Christmas and New Year, despite undergoing both radiotherapy and chemotherapy. For all of us who knew Mike that summed up the person - he always went that extra mile in everything he did, and for everyone. We will all greatly miss his humour, ready smile and his ability to always see the positive things in life despite difficulties.
The last week was very precious as it has given us the chance to say thank you to Mike and to tell him how much we will miss him, and how much we all valued his friendship.
Mike was deeply touched by all the pictures and comments that clients of Sunny Bank sent him. He said "And I just thought I was the person who came in and cooked the food, I never realised that they thought these things about me."
That was never the case for any of us at Sunny Bank. Mike was unique - someone who everyone he met got on with, and who found him very genuine, happy, caring and a "really nice man."
Mike was tremendously proud of his son Bradley, and the young man he is turning into, and our thoughts are with him and the rest of his family at this time and in the future.
To quote Simon from the book of pictures and words done by clients:-
"We love you man."
And from Kieron who sent a quote from a song:-
"There is a light that never goes out."
The two Community Support Officers who came to visit Sunny Bank to talk about personal safety were found to be very knowlegable and helpful to all of us.
They were very friendly and didn't make us panic at all, except when they demonstrated the personal alarms which did give us a shock! We were very greatful for their time and help.
The Crisis at Christams charity works with the homeless at Christmas, by providing Christmas meals, but it offers more than just one hot meal. They can offer anything from a new set of clothes, a haircut and a dental treatment to education, employment and housing advice.
For each person that comes to Crisis for Christmas dinner, it can be a chance to receive the one thing they need most to begin to turn their lives around.
The exhibition was opened by the Major of Bury, Councillor John Byrne, and 17 people from Sunny Bank currently have their pictures on display at the gallery.
If you would like to see their work, the exhibiton runs until 29th January 2011.
I enjoyed Guys and Dolls, all together there were about ten male actors and ten female actresses. I thought the acting was very good and the singing and dancing was excellent.
A musical feast paying homage to great artists such as the Supremes, Martha Reeves, The Drifters, The Temptations, Jimmy Ruffin, Stevie Wonder, Smokie Robinson, all of whose music is etched on your soul. As well as many more foot tapping classics.
Not one person was sat in their seat when "Dancing in the Street" was sung. The concert was up everyones street and a good night was had by all.
This was an apt choice for the Octagon, with yet another recession on and the government possibly deciding on a work fair style programme.
Set amidst the great depression in Hankley Park Lancashire it tells of a family trying to make ends meet and with uncertain futures.
It was well performed and acted and held my attention reasonably well.
Though not a particularly uplifting story it is not too depressing either. There is much dialog in the play about the troubled economic situation. Harry, one of the main characters, faces a possible means test.
The play is extremely well performed with some excellent performances by the actors playing Harry, Sally and Larry. It raises some interesting questions about the role of government during recessions.
Harry, Sally and Larry towards the end of the play join an anti-government protest equivalent to the people’s march for jobs in the 1980s. Unfortunately for Sally she gets hit by a police truncheon and is badly wounded.
Although nothing outstanding Love on The Dole is very well acted and directed and is an appropriate choice for the Octagon given the current political and economic situation
The play is set in contemporary America during the 1980s. It touches on controversial subjects such as the spiralling costs and difficulty of access to health care in the US.
The first half begins with the most important character Willy receiving a knock on the door from his brother Ben. This part of the play is mostly a discussion between Willy and Ben on amongst other things modern American society.
Later it emerges that Ben and Willy were once professional actors. Ben asks Willy whether he would like to go on TV as a once in a lifetime experience before he dies.
After much argument in the end Willy submits, then it emerges Ben knew someone called Al from CBS. The 3 men make a short play for CBS set in a doctor’s surgery. The Play they make shows a corrupt doctor simply in his profession for the money.
At the end of the show Willy is bedridden and receives a community care nurse.
The play is particularly topical in the wake of the Obama health care reforms.
There are some excellent performances in the show by all actors, especially Robert Pickarana as Willy, Dominic Gotil as Ben and David Fielder as Al. The Coliseum has scored well with this play, the acting good, although it was perhaps a little to drawn out in my opinion.
On the 26th September, after a very brief illness, Marjorie died peacefully in her sleep aged 91.
Marjorie came to Sunny Bank in February 1988, and was one of our very first residents having lived all her life in Tottington.
She was an active member of St Anne's Church having taught at the Sunday school, served on the church council and been a member of the Mother's Union. She also worked for 35 years at British Railway Offices at Hunts Bank by Victoria Station.
Unfortunately Marjorie had no family locally, and as she became older it became increasingly important to Marjorie and us, to ensure she could stay in her home and with her friends, i.e. her "new family", for as long as possible - this was achieved.
Marjorie's funeral was held at St Anne's Church in Tottington with about 140 people attending, and Marjorie's coffin received a guard of honour from the Mother's Union. Our sincere thanks to the Reverend Hugh Beam for conducting the service, and Bridget Park for a thoughtful (and witty!) contribution to the homily.
Afterwards we had a buffet lunch in the newly refurbished Church Hall. Marjorie would have been extremely touched to have seen so many people there, and would have thoroughly enjoyed the buffet and everyone's company afterwards!
Chris and his team at the Cottage Loaf, where Marjorie regularly called for tea, etc, did the buffet and Helen of Helen's Flowers (where Marjorie also regularly called) did a beautiful floral display for her coffin. Our personal thanks to Glynn and Shirley Roberts for all the support they gave, both prior to, and at the funeral.
Our sincere thanks to everyone concerned with the funeral, for helping to give Marjorie the "send off" she deserved, and for all the kind and complimentary messages we have received regarding Marjorie's life with us all at Sunny Bank - your kind thoughts are greatly appreciated by both ourselves and all the staff.
The interment of Marjorie's ashes in St Anne's Garden of Remembrance will take place at 11:45am on Wednesday 20th October.
The following is our contribution to the Homily at Marjorie's funeral:
This is from Cliff and Mary Freeman, and as Marjorie would say, “all her friends on The Bower”.
Marjorie first came into our lives in 1988, and 22 years on we feel today as if a member of our family has died. In those 22 years, as with any family and group of friends, Marjorie has seen sad times, and very happy, fun times and achievements with us.
We are sure Marjorie would have wanted to thank all those friends and people in the village who have helped her stay in her home of 22 years, and helped her have such a valued and happy time.
Throughout that time, it has been a pleasure to know and love a very special lady – and a lady in the true sense of the word.
Marjorie had a strong set of values and principles which shone through in her daily life. She genuinely cared about people, whether that be people in Tottington, or the daughter or son of a friend, to people in the wider world.
Marjorie greatly valued friendships with both those she lived with and those in the local community. She lived going out and meeting people in the village, and having regular visitors to her home, and catching up on the latest village news. She also was a great letter writer, and maintained contact with distant family and friends. Special events and dates were not forgotten, and many of you here today would be surprised to see the little notes she kept reminding herself of all the important people and events in your lives.
For us, going into the village was like going out with a celebrity or royalty – so many people stopped to say “hello” and took the time to have a chat – but then after all she was the “Queen of Sunny Bank”!
Marjorie truly loved her community and the surrounding countryside and villages. She liked nothing better than going out for a car drive, especially in the springtime and seeing the first daffodils and lambs – so long as the car drive involved stopping somewhere for a “nice cup of tea or a homemade ice cream at Edgeworth”!
She equally loved going into Bury shopping and never lost her love of clothes, and having her hair done.
Marjorie has always been very well organised, and today is a testament to that, as she has chosen and planned everything down to the last detail, including the music.
Marjorie has taken a lot in her stride over the years, and has never dwelt on the past or on lost opportunities, but always looked forward, whilst valuing those around her.
That is the “serious” Marjorie, but we also appreciated and loved the “fun Marjorie” – who had a cracking sense of humour, and who loved having her leg pulled, for which you were usually ‘reprimanded’ with “You are a one”, accompanied by a great smile and twinkly eyes.
Lastly, there are so many people, too numerous to mention, but you know who you are, who we would like to sincerely thank (and also those who cannot be with us today), for their friendship, care and love and affection shown to Marjorie.
As her friends would say to her at night, “God Bless Marjorie”, and as Marjorie would say “You are a one”.
Well Marjorie, you certainly were – thank you for bringing so much into our lives.
This tour of Manchester City Centre showed the main sites. We started at Urbis which we were told was built shortly after the IRA bomb in 1996, it is soon to become the national football museum.
We then went on to look at the Cathedral. The Cathedral is a grandiose looking building complete during Henry IV reign. It is a cathedral church dedicated to St. George, St. Mary and St Gilbert. Manchester Cathedral was designed to attract people and businesses to the city centre.
We also saw the John Rylands Library Building, built at the end of Queen Victoria’s reign in 1901. It contains some fascinating manuscripts and books mostly about religious/theological matters. Marx and Engels are said to have visited the building.
The tour gave us a very revealing insight into the conditions of the working classes in Manchester during the industrial revolution. Squalid conditions existed such as back to back houses and people being made to work long hours in the factories. The conditions inspired Marx to write his 1848 Communist Manifesto.
The tour offered a fascinating insight into Manchester of yesteryear and the present day.
One of my favourite places
Shame about the building works they have done
Nice weather, lovely pier
Nice refreshing drink and disco
Fish and chips in Harry Ramsdens
A brew on the prom
Good day, unforgettable
Sea breeze, very windy in places
Good shopping centre
Nice groups of people
We were exceptionally lucky with the weather, and Tottington faced a deluge of rain, whilst we had brilliant weather.
We would like to thank all the staff for their hard work with their holiday preparation, those who went on holiday with us and those who "manned the fort" at home.
It was lovely to see everyone having such a good time.
Cliff and Mary.
We had a great time, the weather was glorious. The first half of the holiday we went to the beach and we took the road tram to Fantasy Island - it was cool.
In the second half Mal and I went into Skegness with Janet and Helen - they walked us for miles (well it seemed like it)!
The entertainment was really good, everyone seemed to let their hair down on the dance floor, including Mary!
After being initially apprehensive I had a fabulous time in Skegness. The accommodation was good and there was on-site entertainment - most nights we were at the nightclub called "Reds".
We went on several outings - stockcar racing for one and to an aquatic centre. The weather was good - the South East fared well this July.
All in all it proved to be a good summer break and apart from a few hiccups it was a grand holiday.
First half of the holiday - Time with Julie P.
Little rain along Skegness promenade towards the fair.
A refreshing drink at an outdoor cafe.
Out to the nightclub.
The young girls screaming for the dishy Redcoats.
The Redcoats were energetically doing the can-can.
Cheese and onion pie in the chalet.
Second half of the holiday - Time with Janet.
Tropical weather on the soft, sandy beach with a cool ice-cream.
Deck chairs galore.
Down on the beach the next day.
Saw some of the Redcoats.
The waves were coming in.
We all had a dance, a drink and a fish and chip tea.
It was a laugh.
We were happy.
We let our hair down and enjoyed ourselves.
The accommodation was posh.
What a smashing holiday.
A lovely place to go, especially in the summer.
We were there!
"Enjoyed the entertainment, nice beach.
Sea lion centre was interesting."
"Enjoyed watching the stock car racing.
The weather and food were good.
Enjoyed singing to the tribute Beatles group."
"Enjoyed getting up and having a dance.
Butlins has changed lots since the 1960s.
Had a nice afternoon sat on the beach having an ice cream."
"Enjoyed singing along to the Beatles.
Had a lovely cup of tea and cream scone in Skegness."
"Enjoyed the holiday, especially going out at night."
"Enjoyed the holiday, chalets were lovely.
Had a good dance every evening with staff and friends."
Living in Bury, Sir Robert Peel, a local MP, established the police force in 1829. I know the importance of the police but the museum gave us a fascinating insight into the work of the greater Manchester police over the years.
The tour guide showed us many of the police helmets and handcuffs used over the years. We were also shown the cells which were very claustrophobic. In addition to that we saw a mock-up of whipping that took place in the police cells.
Times were harsh in the 19th and 20th centuries particularly for the young. Stealing a loaf of bread would be punished by 8 months imprisonment.
The conditions in 19th Century Britain were terrible and that fuelled crime. Nowadays though too much, not too little affluence is blamed for serious crime, and punishment in many parts of the world after becoming relaxed, has become harsher again.
Sunnybank certainly was as they arranged a trip to the Manchester Masters competition at Northenden Tennis Club.
The first exhibition match was between Richard Krajeck and Jeremy Bates. Krajeck won the first set 6-1, Bates the second 6-2, Krajeck won the tie-break. The play was fast and furious compared to our amateur play but was not as good as Wimbledon! Although Krajeck had won the mens title at Wimbledon.
The womens game was between Amy Askew an up and coming British teenager and the 29 year old veteran Martine Henges, whose class showed with an emphatic 6-1 6-0 victory. The play was slower but an excellent standard, and to add to the relaxed nature of the game Krajeck was the umpire.
The tennis was then halted and everyone was invited by the club president to enter the corporate hospitality area to watch the England vs Slovenia game. A fine day ended with an enjoyable England victory.
An impressive performance. Good tap dancing by all. Nice costumes, a happy show. The actors were energetic and full of life.
It was about a lady - Lena Lamont who had a terrible voice which made everyone laugh. She wanted to be a singer, however she was only successful while she mimed the words and a girl sang at the back of her. In the end the curtains came down and everyone knew then.
There was a romance in the show with Dan, the main man and the young girl who had a good voice. Dan also did a few numbers with another lad called Cosmo. They danced well together with the same moves, and so did Cath - Dan's fiancée.
There were a few scenes with lots of people on stage. It was also an old fashioned production, about when there was no television, and apparently it had just came out. There wore nice old fashioned dresses and head wear.
A few elderly people in the audience were dancing about dressed to the nines. A nice talkative lady, explained about what was going on and expressed herself now and then. There was also a loud band too.
Overall an entertaining show.
On Monday 17th May 2010 a party from Sunny Bank went on a fascinating tour around Manchester Town Hall. We were given an excellent tour guide and commentary.
The Town Hall was completed in 1877 and is also known as the Waters Building. At the start of the tour we were shown various statues which included one of Worsley, Manchester’s first MP.
Manchester was one of the most important cities in England during the Industrial Revolution, especially with its port facilities and railway connections.
We saw inside the figure busts of John Dalton, a former scientist and Worsley Manchester’s first MP and various others.
Inside the building is extremely impressive and gothic in style. The courtyard is very impressive but and is often filmed for television.
The height of the main bell tower was extremely evident from the courtyard as well as the perfect symmetry of the architecture.
Later we saw the council chamber where the council actually meets. It is arranged not in an adversarial manner like the House of Commons for Lords but in a horseshoe type dome like the European Parliament.
We were reminded of the decisions Manchester City Council makes including the perhaps most controversial, ‘never again to elect a Tory/Conservative Lord Mayor’.
I saw a giant tortoise and it was very old. I saw also the Elephants and the Orang-utans, they were picking bugs off each others fur.
I liked it very much, it was a really nice day and there were a lot of people there. The parrots were talking, the Sea Lions were jumping for fish.
I have also been to Chester Zoo with Sunny Bank and I liked it there as well. My favourites are the monkeys, Chimpanzees and the Orang-utans.
The Octagon have performed well this season with “And Did Those Feet”. The play tells of Bolton Wanderer’s first win in 1923 in the FA Cup, the first cup final at Wembley.
It is about more than just football. It is also a realistic portrayal of life in Bolton in the 1920’s and 1930’s and shows that for many families football was the only escapism from the hard reality of life between the war and the economic depression.
The play was very good on the whole with some excellent performance by Mark Setheisen as Bob and Chris Flinch as Billy.
The play begins with all six of the main characters present. In it Bob, Billy and Ted are shown attending Wanderers matches. Billy is initially expelled from Bob and Ted’s house for attending a communist party rally.
Bolton was against some tough opponents including Huddersfield, Norwich and Sheffield United.
Martha, the main woman in the play is due to marry on the day of the big match – the FA Cup Final. She says that she agreed to getting married and going to Bolton Wanderers football match on the day was incompatible but was in the end inevitable.
The play is typical with Bolton Wanderers having acquired a new manager recently – Owen Coyleand talk was in the 1903’s and 1940’s labour creating a New Jerusalem was in the words of Blake in the hymn:- “And did those Feet” in ancient times walk upon Englands green and pleasant land, and they will not cease until, we have built Jerusalem in England’s green and pleasant land.
It all goes to show perhaps that football as well as politics is an equally important outlet for expressing people’s feelings on issues of the day as well as castings votes in elections, both create interest and excitement.
Bob Scott walks and is shown in the play walking the 250 miles from the Town Hall in Bolton to the twin towers in Wembley, meets with his friends to watch the very first match at Wembley with an estimated crowd of 180,000 people, the famous White Horse with the policemen on board moved the crowds back to the touchline and the game was on and Bob saw Bolton triumph, along with the other characters.
I went to see Billy Liar. I went on a coach to the collesium and there were about 15 of us.
I enjoyed it because he had 3 girlfriends who he lied about, each one being his girlfriend, he gave one of his girlfriends a ring for her finger, but he asked her for it back, because he had already proposed to the other two which she did not know about but it all came out in the end.
His grandmother passed away in her bed.
He said he was going to london to get a job, but really he was running away with one of his girlfriends. His dad kept telling him how lazy he was and he never did a stroke of work in his whole life. His dad said he would not survive in london for a minute. His mum did not want him to leave home.
Half way through we got a drink from the bar, there were two breaks in the whole episode of Billy Liar.
It all ended when everyone cheered and them taking a bow then the curtains went down.
Visited Green Booth, 3 Sisters Reservoir, Norden, a place I discovered approx 10 years ago and last visited approx 4 years ago, but couldn’t do the walk due to construction which has now been finished. Turbine Wind Towers plus new reservoir infrastructure.
Kieron informed me he used to walk his dog (Kit) there when he was young and that a village had been flooded to make the reservoirs.
Decision to do the shorter walk due to bad weather (the rain ceased later) which takes in the 3 reservoirs and lasted approx 50 minutes. Group split on what we thought of the Wind Turbines, some said benefit, others mixed view.
I asked the people to make comments on the walk.
‘Quite interesting scenery with all the wind turbines and sheep.’ – Kieron
‘Very peaceful get away from it all kind of walk.’ – Tom
‘The bracing weather should have done us good and good for our lungs. The place is very exposed to the elements and the wind turbines made their presence strongly felt.’ – Adrian
Tom’s earliest memory of a match at United was his first game in 1983 when they played Watford. He used to walk to the ground from Stretford and enjoyed seeing MUFC winning trophies.
Alison had never been to Old Trafford before, but had always taken an interest in MUFC.
Brian used to stand in the Stretford End and George Best was his favourite player.
Kieron and Anthony have never been before, but have an interest in football.
The tour took in a visit to the museum and then we were then shown different parts of the ground, plus we visited the players’ lounge, changing rooms, sat in the dug out and had our photos taken. The guide gave us all kinds of information, ticket prices, history, gate capacity etc.
“Superb ground.” Brian
“Quite interesting.” Kieron
“I had a season ticket for the Reebok Stadium with brother. Also, I did a turnstile inspection at St James Park.” Anthony
“I can remember the Busby Babes and the Munich disaster. I have never been before and thought it was impressive, vast and interesting.” Alison
Happy Birthday to Jav, Jonathon, John C , Alan L and Carole from all the staff and residents at Sunny Bank.
A very warm welcome to Adrian from all the staff and residents at Sunny Bank.
In August & September 2009, several of our residents had the opportunity to exhibit their art at the Bury Art Gallery.
Start is an organisation that assists people with mental health issues to develop their creativity and confidence through the visual arts. The exhibition by members of Start has become a regular feature in the programme at Bury Art gallery.
A very warm welcome to Tom from all the staff and residents at Sunny Bank.
Happy Birthday to Tom and Kendel from all the staff and residents at Sunny Bank.
We encourage healthy eating, and have a monthly award for "The Sunny Bank Healthy Eater" which can be awarded to any of the clients who are taking an active role in eating a healthy diet, losing or gaining weight as appropriate.
We encourage healthy eating, and have a monthly award for "The Sunny Bank Healthy Eater" which can be awarded to any of the clients who are taking an active role in eating a healthy diet, losing or gaining weight as appropriate.
Just for fun
Cos summer’s here
Goes on for hours
Cos you’re my friend
A sweet song
Cos everyone’s singing along
The BBC has been in Manchester for a great many years. They are set to move soon to a new building in Salford Quays, which looks much more impressive than the old one, and perhaps from the exterior at least even puts Granada to shame.
The tour was very interesting and gave us a fascinating insight into broadcasting at Oxford Road. Programmes that come from the Oxford Road centre include “North West Tonight”, BBC Radio Manchester, “Mastermind”, “Question of Sport”, “Dragons Den”. Radio drama, etc is also based there, as is the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra.
At the start we saw the room where the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra plays from. Facts I ascertained from the tour include that the producer controls the content of a TV programme and the Director the look of a programme.
We saw the room where Gordon Burns (newsreader on North West Tonight) reads the news and interviews people. Tony (member of staff) managed to get himself on the set doing a “weather forecast”, and I got to introduce a radio play. When we went around Radio Manchester we were told what the lights above the microphone meant – green means on air, blue means someone famous has died, and red means there has been a disaster somewhere.
All in all it was an enjoyable morning.
Please be careful if you can
Don’t trust anyone – you can’t do that
It’s a dangerous game, no time to chat.
On television we can’t help but see
The endless coffins – age 18, 19, 23...
Draped over the coffins the Union Jack
Bringing them home, bringing them back.
The war in Afghanistan goes on and on
Swallowing up our boys in the hot sun
We leave behind our husbands and sons
The chosen ones who drop the bombs.
They claim to be friendly, but it’s not true
The people we trusted don’t trust you
They smile at you then blow you up
Then smile into their coffee cup.