Helmdon Presents: Live Performances

Live Performances - Programme and News

QUINT STARKIE AND DORIE JACKSON - Evening of intimate acoustic-based music and storytelling
Helmdon Reading Room, Saturday 26 Aug 2023, 7:30pm.

Together with Dorie Jackson, Quint is doing a small number of 'house' concerts in August.

Originally from Accrington, singer songwriter Quint Starkie has been in the music business for many years, working as a session musician, composer, producer and live performer.

In 2001 he signed a publishing deal with EMI Music Publishing and wrote and produced over 150 songs. The song "Always You" composed by Quint, is on the soundtrack to "My Best Friends Wedding".

Dorie is the daughter of David Jackson of Van der Graaf Generator fame. She started her professional singing career as a backing vocalist for Francis Dunnery. Francis introduced Dorie to many great musicians and writers, one of which was Chris Difford (Squeeze) and she has sung backing vocals on several albums with other great artists including William Topley, and Marti Pellow. She also has a solo album The Courting Ground.

The duo will perform songs from Quint's albums Ghost in my Heart and Quintessential.

Here's Spotify links to Quint's albums.

And YouTube clips from a recent concert.

I really hope you can support this, so we can maybe make concerts a regular happening...there are many talented artists doing smaller intimate venues.

Contact: Steve Wheeler, helmdonfilmandmusic@gmail.com Please reserve tickets ASAP.

Budapest Café Orchestra

Budapest Café Orchestra

The Budapest Café Orchestra is playing live at Helmdon Reading Room on Friday July 2nd 2021 at 7.30pm

The Budapest Café Orchestra will kick off the Helmdon Festival with an evening of eclectic music. They are a four-piece band touring extensively around Great Britain and we are the second venue on their tour! The BCO redeliver Balkan and Russian traditional gypsy and folk music in their own fresh surprising way. Admired for their artful distillations of masterpieces by the great Romantic composers. "The music is magic in their hands." Sean Rafferty, BBC Radio 3.

Tickets £16 from Morag: morag@msn.com

Andy Lawrenson Trio "Golden Age of the Silver Screen" - posted 13 Aug 2019

Fun for all….evening of music in Helmdon Reading Room

Friday October 4th 2019 at 7:45pm. Tickets £10

Phone: 01295 760523 or 768922
Mail: morag@msn.com or collect from Old Hall Bookshop, Market Place, Brackley

Drinks and snacks available to purchase.

Venue: Reading Room
Contact: Morag Underwood

Click on link below to download poster


A Fabulous evening of music in Helmdon Reading Room brought to you by Helmdon Presents...

November 16th at 7:45

Tickets £10 and are available from Morag Underwood:

Phone: 01295 768922 or 760523

Mail: morag@msn.com

or Old Hall Bookshop, Market Place, Brackley.

-Drinks and snacks available to purchase-


A Fabulous evening of music in Helmdon Reading Room brought to you by Helmdon Presents...

November 16th at 7:45

Tickets £10 and are available from Morag Underwood:

Phone: 01295 768922 or 760523

Mail: morag@msn.com

or Old Hall Bookshop, Market Place, Brackley.

-Drinks and snacks available to purchase-

Some Tickets Left For The Sara Spade Evening- posted 20 September 2017

Appearing at Helmdon Reading Room on October 6th at 7:30.
Tickets from Old Hall Bookshop or Chrissie Bridger £10

A fun evening of music and song. Sara Spade is an accomplished ukelele player and teacher and has appeared – with her noisy boys - on the Jools Holland show. Jools says : "Fantastic voice.. magical …makes me want to dance"

Coming Next: Sara Spade & The Noisy Boys - posted 28 August 2017

poster (on www.helmdonhistory.com)

Celebrated Writer Is Coming To Helmdon Presents' Next Production - posted 11 November 2016

poster (on www.helmdonhistory.com)

All theatre lovers who have bought tickets for our latest production - OH WHISTLE AND I'LL COME TO YOU (based on the classic ghost story by M. R. James) are in for a treat.

Widely regarded as the father of the modern ghost story, M. R. James' eerie tale is re-imagined by David Rudkin, described by the Observer as 'Britain's greatest living dramatic poet' into this new Christmas chiller.

This is a brand new production performed by New Perspectives Theatre and subsidised by Northants Touring Arts. We are delighted that the writer David Rudkin will be joining us in Helmdon to watch the performance and to mingle with our audience. If you check out David's website www.davidrudkin.com you will see what an honour it is for us to host such a celebrated stage, TV dramatist and screen writer here in the Reading Room. We look forward to a memorable evening.

This event is now sold out.
Helmdon Presents Committee

Mark Wilkinson, Acclaimed Singer & Songwriter, To Make A Return Visit To Weedon Lois - posted 21 June 2016

Mark Wilkinson, acclaimed Australian singer and songwriter, will be making an eagerly anticipated return visit to Weedon Lois on Friday 1st July 2016 (7.30pm).

Weedon Lois and Weston have been fortunate in the past in securing Mark for gigs at Weston Chapel and Weedon Lois Village Hall. This is due in no small part to his family connections in the area - Frank and Maralynn Hunter. Mark regularly sells out shows across Australia, New Zealand, Europe and the US, so securing his appearance at Lois Weedon Church is particularly special. The event will be a fundraiser for the Church and tickets are available either through Mark's website or from Frank Hunter.

Obviously because of the size of the venue, tickets (excellent value at £15 each) are selling fast so buy yours now to avoid disappointment.

Look forward to seeing you there.
Morag Underwood

July Coming Event- posted 12 June 2016

Our next live theatre production is on Saturday, July 30th 7.30 in the Reading Room - Tickets £8

We are in for a Tudor treat - get ready for a fun packed performance filled with historical factlets when we enjoy AN AUDIENCE WITH HENRY VIII

"His Majesty does not have syphilis. He wants to make that quite clear. And as for the wives – there were perfectly good reasons why they had to go. And if we're asking the awkward questions, Henry has one for us where is God? Henry has been waiting 468 years to meet God and he's running out of patience. The 16th century King meets a 21st Century audience. Heads will roll. This new show from a multi-award-winning team was a sell out with added dates at Brighton Fringe and won a standing ovation for every performance at Kansas City International Theatre Festival".

This promises to be very entertaining so book early to make sure you get a ticket! Just reply to this email or call Viv or Morag

Christmas Screening Of "Into The Woods"- posted 30 November 2016 2013

Now is a good time to draw your attention to our special Christmas screening. On Wednesday 30th December at 2:30 we are showing a family film (PG) "Into the Woods". The idea is that families will come along to watch a fun, fairy story film together. We can offer the "big screen" and surround sound experience and will be offering some refreshments and nibbles to suit all tastes. The film has an all star cast including Meryl Streep, James Corden, Johnny Depp, Anna Kendirick, Emily Blunt, Simon Russell Beale etc. There will be a £1 charge for non-members and we promise the Reading Room will be welcoming and warm!

Morag Underwood

On The Edge (Theatre Comedy Show) Comes To Helmdon - posted 18 September 2015

"On the Edge!"
Comedy Theatre Show

Starring Kevin Tomlinson and Abi Hood (The Bill TV)
5-star reviews at the Edinburgh Festival

Friday 23 October
At the
Reading Room
7.30 p.m.
Tickets £8 from Viv or Morag

"...a must see show!" - THE TIMES
"...magical comedy theatre" - EDINBURGH HERALD
Presented under the auspices of Northants Touring Arts

The Budapest Cafe Orchestra

The Budapest Cafe Orchestra

The Budapest Cafe Orchestra Provided An Exhilarating Evening - posted 18 February 2015

We were promised "blistering czardas, grief stricken ballads and rousing dances performed by exciting and inspiring musicians", and that was what a packed out audience at the Reading Room on Friday 13th got! The Budapest Café Orchestra, on their second visit to Helmdon, certainly didn't disappoint. The musicians were enthusiastic, accomplished and highly skilled, capturing their audience from the very start.

The performance was brought to Helmdon by way of Northants Touring Arts. This is the rural and community touring scheme for Northamptonshire and it exists to provide communities with access to high quality arts events by supporting volunteer promoters to host performances and workshops by professional artists in their community. Each year they present a programme of events that take place across Northamptonshire, the work made possible through the funding they receive from Arts Council England and the county and district councils of Northamptonshire.

The "volunteer promoters" in this case were Helmdon Presents …. Helmdon's own arts organisation which brings cultural events to the village, and the committee, led by Morag Underwood and Christine Bridger, had worked hard to make this a very successful, enjoyable evening. Audrey Forgham

Return Visit Of The Exciting Budapest Cafe Orchestra- posted 22 January 2015

Tickets at £8 are already selling fast for the return visit of The Budapest Café Orchestra who will be presenting their exciting show once again in the Reading Room on Friday 13 February.

Many of you will remember their last wonderful performance when we all enjoyed blistering czardas, grief stricken ballads and rousing dances performed by exciting and inspiring musicians. Having looked at their current reviews online we think we can expect another evening of high class performance.

Contact Morag or Viv as soon as possible – the event is likely to be sold out. Sorry, sold out.

Morgan & West - Parlour Tricks- posted 28 September 2014

From the Edinburgh Fringe, Morgan & West - Parlour Tricks. "Top Victorian Magicians". In the Reading Room, Friday 7th November. 7.45 p.m. Tickets £8. Box Office: Morag or Viv.

Time travelling magic duo Morgan & West present a brand new show chock full of jaw dropping, brain bursting, gasp eliciting feats of magic. The dashing chaps offer up a plateful of illusion and impossibility all served with wit, charm and no small amount of panache. Be sure to wear a hat - Morgan & West might just blow your mind!

Him With His Foot In His Mouth- posted 01 February 2014

A hilarious one man show about saying the wrong thing...
By Saul Bellow
Adapted and directed by Jack McNamara

Helmdon Reading Room, Friday March 21st, at 7.30 pm, Tickets £8

Completing their season of world premieres by major artists, the East Midlands' leading touring theatre producer, New Perspectives, will present the first ever stage adaptation of Him With His Foot in His Mouth by acclaimed American writer Saul Bellow.

This hilarious one man show will play at Helmdon Reading Room on Friday March 21st as part of a national rural tour, following the show opening at Greenwich Theatre, London in February. The production is part of New Perspectives' mission to bring ground breaking, culturally significant work to rural locations. It is adapted and directed by New Perspectives' Artistic Director Jack McNamara following their acclaimed productions of David Rudkin's The Lovesong of Alfred J Hitchcock (Leicester Curve/ National Tour) and Lars Von Trier's The Boss of it All (Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2013).

Him With His Foot In His Mouth tells the story of Harry Shawmut; a man who often says things he shouldn't. He once made an unkind comment to a lady in passing and now, years later, he has decided to apologise. But saying sorry isn't always that straightforward... Harry uses the theatre audience to help rehearse the most elaborate apology in history, taking us through the contours of his hilarious, shocking and uniquely moving life story

Helmdon Presents Annual General Meeting - posted 09 November 2013

The AGM will take place before the film showing of "Untouchable" on Friday November 22nd. We will start at 7:30pm. A free glass of wine or other refreshment will be available to all our members. Guests welcome as usual and subscription for the year is only £15 lasting until August 2014. Suggestions for films, touring theatre/ music and outings will be warmly welcomed by the committee.

The Codfathers Of Croon- posted 03 April 2013

Our next production is The Codfathers of Croon on Saturday 25 May.

click for poster (on www.helmdonhistory.com)

AGM And Film Midnight In Paris- posted 11 December 2012

On Friday we are having the AGM of Helmdon Presents... at 7:15pm. This will be a fairly informal affair but we shall be grateful for any suggestions for future films and activities. We will outline our plans for the future. A free glass of wine or soft drink will be served to help us celebrate the Christmas season.

At 7:45 we will be screening our monthly film. Midnight in Paris 2011 (94 mins 12A) Directed by Woody Allen , it stars Owen Wilson; Kathy Bates; Rachel Mcadams and a number of other familiar faces. I think it is a delightful film which transcends reality ...see what you think.

"A family travel to the French capital for business. The party includes a young engaged couple who are forced to confront their differing views of a perfect life."

Two Excellent Productions- posted 22 November 2012

How fortunate we are to have Helmdon Presents ... the village organisation has just brought us two excellent productions.

The first was A Christmas Carol, on Wednesday 7 November, presented by New Perspectives Theatre Company, with Kern Falconer (you may have seen him on TV in Band of Gold, Taggart or Hope Springs). His one man characterisation riveted the audience from beginning to end in the original, heartwarming, spine tingling Christmas story from perhaps the greatest storyteller ever to have written in the English language.

On Saturday 17 November we had The Blue Orange Theatre production of Stephen King's award winning novel Misery. Here the two characters, played by Toni Griffiths and Darren Haywood, led us through a powerful psychological drama which left us all somewhat chilled but intensely moved. Never has a Reading Room audience been carried away to such a dark and twisted place in the company of such fine actors.

Thank you Morag Underwood, Chris Bridger, Vivien Watson, Julie Crouch and Alex Corrin for all your hard work in bringing theatre to Helmdon and, of course, for running the successful Film Club.

Helmdon Presents ... is having its AGM on Friday, 14 December at 7.15 pm prompt (doors open for drinks at 6.45) before the film Midnight in Paris which begins after the meeting at 7.45 pm. All are welcome to come and bring suggestions to further enhance the enjoyment of participants at future events.

Audrey Forgham

"A Christmas Carol" & The Play "Misery"- Tickets Available Now - posted 31 October 2012


"Scrooge - another scene"

Please don't forget to order your tickets for "A Christmas Carol" by Dickens performed by New Perspectives Theatre in Helmdon Reading Room on Wednesday 7th November at 7:30pm.

Photos of the event in rehearsal are above. To mark the bicentenary of Charles Dickens' birth, New Perspectives are delighted to present the original heart-warming, spine-tingling Christmas story from the greatest storyteller ever to have written in the English language. Tickets just £8 from Viv or Morag

AND also

"Misery" by Simon Moore performed by Blue Orange Theatre in Helmdon Reading Room on Saturday 17th November at 7:45pm. Tickets £8 from Viv or Morag on

Adapted from the novel by Stephen King . "Popular romance novelist Paul Sheldon retires to Colorado to write the final work in a successful series featuring his heroine Misery Chastain. Driving whilst inebriated he loses control of his car. He regains consciousness in a dilapidated farmhouse which is cut off from the outside world in a blizzard. His legs crushed, he can only rely on the woman who saved him, Annie, his number one fan. Misery is a dark and twisting tale which enthrals the audience from the very beginning to its climactic and unexpected end." Contains: strong language and scenes of a violent nature.

"Thrilling, moving and heartbreaking all at the same time, it seems wrong to say it, but Misery was a complete joy to watch."

"The actors take the whole audience on an incredible journey to some very dark and twisted places"

Early Showing Of Film This Week - posted 09 May 2012

Prior to showing the film we will show an 8 minute DVD of the Snapshot Photo Project documenting a week in the life of Helmdon last November.

In order to accommodate this we will start 5 minutes early at 7:40. Doors open for refreshments at 7:15

On Friday evening 11th May we are showing "The Adjustment Bureau".

Do we control our destiny, or do unseen forces manipulate us? A man glimpses the future Fate has planned for him and realizes he wants something else. To get it, he must pursue across, under and through the streets of modern-day New York the only woman he's ever loved. On the brink of winning a seat in the U.S. Senate, ambitious politician David Norris (Matt Damon) meets beautiful contemporary ballet dancer Elise Sellas (Emily Blunt) - a woman like none he's ever known. But just as he realises he's falling for her, mysterious men conspire to keep the two apart. David learns he is up against the agents of Fate itself - the men of The Adjustment Bureau - who will do everything in their considerable power to prevent David and Elise from being together. In the face of overwhelming odds, he must either let her go and accept a predetermined path...or risk everything to defy Fate and be with her.

The film is rated 12 and last 106 minutes.

Hoagy, Hornpipes, Handel and Hoedown - posted 11 January 2012

Tickets will be available for our night of musical fun in the Reading Room on February 24th at a cost of £8 or £20 for a family ticket. Hilary James and Simon Mayor will be performing a witty and captivating mix of folk, blues, swing and classical showstoppers spiced with a unique brand of off-beat humour. This entertaining duo have travelled the world from Vancouver to Singapore. Simon is one of the world's leading mandolin virtuosos as well as a fine guitarist and fiddle player. Hilary James' elegant singing easily crosses the great musical divides from British ballads to blues and Berlioz. She is also famed for an unusual taste in bass instruments including the giant mandobass and slimline acoustic bass! We present this in conjunction with Northants Touring Arts - Professional performances on your doorstep. This will be a very popular evening so don't leave it till the last minute to buy your tickets.

More details on www.mandolin.co.uk
sorry, sold out

How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers Won The FA Cup - posted 18 October 2011

To be presented by the New Perspectives Theatre Group in the Reading Room on 12th November.

click for poster (on www.helmdonhistory.com)

Discounted Tickets For 'The Taming Of The Shrew' - posted 29 September 2011

The Towcester Teatre Club (which is anxious to include villages in the nearby area) has reserved group best discounted stalls seats at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford on Avon, to see "The Taming of the Shrew'. This is for a 7.15 p.m. performance on Thursday, 16 February 2012. The cost, including bus travel and driver's tip, will be £45.

Payment needs to be made by 5 December, but early booking is recommended to
avoid disappointment. If anyone would like to go, he/she should send a cheque and a self-addressed envelope to our Secretary.

'Made In Dagenham' Provides Great Entertainment - posted 8 June 2011

Don't forget that film club is this Friday 10th June (rescheduled from 17th June so as not to clash with Friends of the church event). We are showing 'Made in Dagenham' a 2010 release which takes you back to the sixties.

A dramatization of the 1968 strike at the Ford Dagenham car plant, where female workers walked out in protest against sexual discrimination.

The factually based story of how the Dagenham women brought Ford to a standstill makes for surprising film material.But it works. The film is authentic to the late 60s down to the tea cups and kitchen cabinets, the clothes and make up.

Very well acted, it provides great entertainment for just under 2 hours. Rated 15.

Hope to see you there on Friday. Visitors are very welcome.
Helmdon Presents committee

New Sound Equipment Installed In Time For the Film "Salt" - posted 7 April 2011

The new sound equipment is installed in the Reading Room and we shall be able to benefit from it on Friday when we show the all-action film "Salt" starring Angelina Jolie.

"Evelyn Salt is a CIA agent and highly respected by all, including her boss, Ted Winter. Out of the blue, a Russian spy walks into their offices and offers a vital piece of information: the President of Russia will be assassinated during his forthcoming visit to New York City to attend the funeral of the recently deceased U.S. Vice President. The name of the assassin: Evelyn Salt. Concerned about the safety of her husband, who she cannot contact, she goes on the run. Winter refuses to accept that she is a mole or a double agent but her actions begin to raise doubts. Just who is Evelyn Salt and what is she planning?"

100 minutes of edge-of-the-seat drama (rated 15) will allow us to test out the new equipment to the full. Start time 7:45 with doors open for refreshments at 7:15. Bring a friend for only £2.50. All welcome. This promises to be a good evening!

Mission Improbable: Opera Dudes For February -posted 15 January 2011

click for poster (on www.helmdonhistory.com)

Two Productions Coming Your Way - posted 11 September 2010

On 8th October we have New Perspectives Theatre (fresh from the Edinburgh fringe and rave reviews) performing "Farm Boy" - the sequel to Michael Morpurgo's War Horse. It is devised as a children's show for ages 7+ and tickets are £5 from any member of the committee.

click for poster (on www.helmdonhistory.com)

On November 12th we have an evening with the Budapest cafe orchestra who will be playing blistering czardas, grief-stricken ballads and rousing dances for us...cafe-style... in the Reading Room. Tickets only £8.

click for poster (on Helmdon.com)

Attention Theatre Going Musical Lovers - posted 26 May 2010

Attention theatre going musical lovers! I have arranged a feast for you later in the year – 2 productions at the Royal and Derngate, Northampton.

September 14 – the touring production of Chess by Tim Rice and the boys from ABBA – the first time a production has toured. Tickets are £26.

September 30 – the hilarious Spamalot by the naughty Monty Python lads. Tickets are £23.50.

Please let me know as soon as you can if you would like to come to one or both productions.
Alex Corrin

'Dancing From Ramayana' Raised £273 For Reading Room Refurbishment Fund - posted19 May 2010

In March we were lucky enough to host an evening of Indian food and dancing in the Reading Room. The four entertainers from 'Dancing the Ramayana' told us the story of Rama and Sita in the form of dance, song, music and the spoken word. The elegance and athleticism of the dancer were added to by the beauty of her costume and everyone was impressed by her stamina as she maintained her poise and composure during a performance that lasted nearly 90 minutes. She was well supported by the musicians who brought to life this story that is so important to their faith. As always it was a pleasure to see the enjoyment the performers derived from playing in front of an appreciative audience.

After the performance we all enjoyed an delicious Indian meal, kindly delivered and supplied at cost, by the charming chaps from Tiffins in Brackley, who went to great pains to make sure the food would be enjoyed at its best.

The evening raised £273.50 which Helmdon Presents... have donated to the Reading Room refurbishment fund.

For information about Helmdon Presents... and our film club or any of our other activities, please feel free to contact Chris or Morag.

The Liberty Tree - posted 15 February 2010

Nick Hennessy

Nick Hennessy

The Liberty Tree was presented in the Reading Room on Friday 5 February in front of an appreciative audience. For more than six hundred years stories of Robin Hood have held sway in the English imagination, and in The Liberty Tree Hugh Lupton and Nick Hennessey sang and told their way into the secret dappled way of Sherwood and at the same time narrated the true stories of English Dissent. Hugh and Nick's storytelling was vivid and thought provoking, and not for nothing have they been said to have spearheaded the revival of story telling in this country. Yet another enjoyable occasion arranged by Helmdon Presents

The cast receiving their deserved applause

The cast receiving their deserved applause

Faith Healer - posted 29 December 2009

Helmdon Presents... hosted the play Faith Healer in the Church on 27th November.

Staged against the backdrop of the bell tower, it lived up to the expectations of the excellent reviews which preceded it, and kept the audience riveted to the last moment.

Helmdon is fortunate to have such excellent productions come to the village, and Helmdon Presents invites you to watch out for the next event. It won't disappoint!

Faith Healer - Great Reviews, Don't Miss The Opportunity To See It In Helmdon - posted 23 November 2009

Published Monday 9 November 2009 at 10:15 by Pat Ashworth From "The Stage"

"New Perspectives is touring Brian Friel's hypnotic drama to village halls, and it's right and proper to see this play about an itinerant faith healer in just the kind of place where such an entertainer would have operated. But it goes further than that, and in recreating a shabby hall and stage within that setting, makes us forget we are watchers at a play.

Rather, it draws us into close encounters - eye contact even - that are sometimes almost too painful to bear. The structure of four monologues makes extraordinary demands on the three actors, Martin Jenkins (Frank, the healer), Angela McGowan (Grace, his wife) and Stephen Ley (Teddy, the tour manager). Each responds magnificently to their turn to command the stage.

They tell the same story from their different perspectives of the 20-year relationship, a catalogue of remote place names charged with meaning. There's something fanatical and disturbing about Jenkins' Frank, a man who admits that his rare successes could have been down to chance, skill, illusion or delusion. The heart goes out to Grace, seconds away from a breakdown, it seems, in a beautifully controlled interpretation from McGowan.

Ley's cockney character is the most delightful. He is familiar and intimate with his audience, a narrator who holds a story in suspense as he slowly fills and refills his glass. Tall tales of a bagpipe-playing whippet marry with accounts of tragic events that almost overcome himself and us. Respect for the acting profession grows every minute with such performances.

Tickets for performance at Helmdon Church on Friday 27th November at 7.30pm. Only £7.50.

Calling All Theatre Goers ..- posted 21 November 2009

I have booked 12 group tickets for each of the following productions at Milton Keynes theatre:

By Alan Bennett featuring Alison Steadman and David Troughton
Row P in the stalls - £21 each. Thursday 15 April 2010 at 7.30pm

Enjoy is set in Alan Bennett's home town of Leeds where an ageing couple are living in the city's last back-to-back. With the demolition of the area in progress, Wilf and Connie are soon to be re-housed in a brand new maisonette with a waste disposal unit and non-slip vinyl flooring. When a sociologist comes to observe them in their daily life, normality takes a decidedly atypical turn.

"A rich and wondrous play. A joyous production" says the Guardian...and I agree


By Alan Bennett directed by Christopher Luscombe
Row P in the Stalls - £21 each. Thursday 20 May 2010 at 7.30pm

The History Boys is set in a school in the North of England where a boisterous bunch of bright, funny sixth form boys are attempting to gain entrance to Oxford and Cambridge whilst fending off the distractions of sport and sex. In Alan Bennett's much loved play, staffroom battles and the anarchy of adolescence provide a rich vein of comedy.

"One of the finest plays Alan Bennett has ever written-a wonderful evening, as heart-catching as it is hilarious" says the Daily Telegraph... and I haven't seen it yet!

Payment is due 1 month prior to the date of each show. So, if you would like to attend one or both shows please do the following:

  1. Send me an email saying how many tickets you would like for each play.
  2. Let me have a cheque at least one month before the earliest show date, ie 15 March 2010 for Enjoy or 20 April for History Boys.
  3. Nearer the time we will organise car sharing.

Morag Underwood

Annual General Meeting - 11th November 2009

The Helmdon Presents AGM will be held at 5 Wrighton's Hill on Wednesday 18th November at 7.45 pm. All are invited to attend.

Touring Production Of "Faith Healer" in Church - 18th September 2009

Here's another date for your diary - on November 27th we are promoting a touring production of "Faith Healer", a play by Brian Friel being performed by New Perspectives Theatre - who are highly acclaimed. We shall be turning the church into a theatre for this production which is being advertised throughout the county...book your tickets NOW. Only £7.50 for high quality theatre on your doorstep.

click here for poster (on www.helmdonhistory.com)

Last Film Of Year 'Beautifully Portrayed' - 15th August 2009

Our last film of this Film Club membership year (Wednesday August 19th) is in French with subtitles. It is a lovely story, beautifully portrayed and wonderfully photographed. The music is lovely too! It lasts 96 mins and is rated 12A.

Why not come along and have a taster of the film club programme and this will lead you, maybe, to becoming a film club member for the coming session.

The programme for the next 6 months will be available and membership for the coming year remains at the bargain price of £15.

Chris, Morag, Alex and Viv

Film Club Subscription News - 18th February 2009

The subscription to the film club is £15 for the year (£7.50 after February 2009). Expiry date: end August 2009. Member's guests may attend one film per year at a charge of £2.50.

Film Club News - 6th January 2009

We shall be showing the film which we cancelled in December on January 30th in the Reading Room at the usual time. Please put the date in your diary NOW as it does not appear on your membership card.

Please let us know of any films you would like to be included in the next programme which will be published next month and also tell us of any improvements you would like us to make to the club - do you want nibbles, or a break half way through the film, or a discussion session afterwards ...or anything else to improve your film enjoyment. Anything is possible...

Notice of Annual General Meeting - (posted) 8th December 2008

Helmdon Presents will hold their AGM on Wednesday 10th December at Alex Corrin's house in Wrightons Hill - straight ahead of you as you enter Wrightons Hill.

The meeting will begin at 7.30. All are welcome and there will be a glass of wine.

Outing to the Opera Martha - 24th October 2008

MARTHA is an opera being performed by Northampton Festival Opera at Derngate between the 15th and 17th January 2009. This is a new production, co-produced with opera South, of Flowtow's opera set in Richmond in the early years of Queen Victoria's reign. It is full of sumptuous melodies including 2 famous arias – the Last Rose of Summer and M'Appari Please send me an email ASAP if you would like to be included in a group booking advising which date(s) would suit you best. Tickets are likely to be around £25. I will only make a booking if I get enough interest.

Film Club News - 9th August 2008

Next film showing: Monday 11th August. We have prepared the membership cards for next year which includes a list of films we will be showing in the first 6 months - September to February. Membership remains at £15 for the year (12 films) and guest charges have increased to £2.50 per film. This is FANTASTIC VALUE and we hope you will all take advantage of the club and keep giving us your feedback. The dates of film showings are on the Helmdon Presents' film club programme and on the village diary.

Visit Of A Group of Zimbabwean Singers - 17th July 2008

Helmdon Presents has booked a group of Zimbabwean singers to perform in Helmdon on October 10th. Umdumo Wesizwe (meaning sound of the nation) hail from Zimbabwe's townships and sing songs of love, hope, courtship, hardship and African social commentary. The group have carved a name for themselves on the World music circuit during their debut tour in 2007. They return this year as a 10-piece acappella group, touring the UK and parts of Europe to launch their new show and new CD "Qo".

Tickets will be available soon from Morag or Chris at £8 for adults and £6 concessions – reserve NOW so as not to be disappointed and reserve the date in your diary. Start time will be 7.30pm at the school and it should be finished by 9.20pm.

A "Trailblazing" Film - 27th May 2008

With only two more films after the May offering, the Film Club is coming to the end of the first year of its programme, and very varied and enjoyable the films have been, too.

We are not allowed to publicise to the general public the names of the films screened, but it is interesting to note that the film on May 30th appeared in the top quarter of The Times Top 100 Films of All Time. Called "trailblazing", it is tantalizing not to be able to reveal more.

Why not come along?

To find out more about the film club click here

Wedding Story - 17th April 2008

Any of you who have young children or grandchildren aged between 4 and 9 will want to book tickets for "Wedding Story". This is being staged in the school hall on Friday 25 April. Using magic, music, animation and laughter Wedding Story tells of a child who sets out on an imaginary journey to solve his problems. He journeys into a world of castles, colossal wedding cakes and fearsome pickled onions where the Queen is imprisoned by a fearful Giant. Is it all his fault? Can he rescue her in time? Will he be able to come out from underneath the table and celebrate with his mum and his new step-dad?

The show starts at 7pm and lasts for an hour. Family tickets £20 or adults £8 and children £6. Refreshments available. Please book your tickets in advance from Morag or Chris.

Also don't forget to polish up those dancing shoes to attend our ballroom dancing class on Friday 27 June.

Phil Smith, writer

Phil Smith, writer

In Search Of Pontiflunk - 1st April 2008

Helmdon Presents... hosted a very unusual evening of theatre in the Church on 28 March - In Search of Pontiflunk. This is a new play written by Phil Smith and staged as a one man show by New Perspectives Theatre Company.

The one man in question is Josh Darcy and he played the role of the author, Phil Smith retracing the footsteps of an Edwardian Industrialist Charles Hurst, who worrying about his contribution to pollution in the early 2Oth Century, undertakes a walk from Manchester across England to Lincolnshire, with pockets full of acorns that he planted as he travelled. Phil Smith discovered the account of the journey that Hurst wrote and set out to see if, after a hundred years, any of the oak trees remained.

There were moments of laugh out loud humour and poignant moments and triumphant moments when some of Hurst's trees are discovered. The second half of the play is largely that of Hurst's journey. A tweedy and hearty gentleman who is accompanied by his dog...Pontiflunk. Hurst left home for many weeks to undertake this adventure and not, it seems, with his family's blessing. However he and Pontiflunk are undaunted and have many interesting encounters along the way.

Josh Darcy was completely convincing in both the roles and coupled with the back drop of the photos of Smith's walk, conjured up a real sense of the pleasures and hardships of both Smith's and Hurst's journeys.

Sadly, Pontiflunk, whilst taking a nap in a Lincolnshire village street, became an early victim of the motor car. Still, he was a free range dog and had enjoyed a good life, so we shouldn't feel too bad about that. He was buried in the Blacksmith's garden and it was the search for his grave that gave the play its title.

We were very fortunate that Phil Smith, came all the way from Exeter on the bus to see the production and was able to chat to some of the audience at the end of the play. The actor and his roadie came from Nottinghamshire and watching them heave a van load of equipment into the church, it struck me that this is a very hard way to earn a living. Not something you would do unless you had a passion for it. This clearly is the secret of these wonderful theatrical performances that we are privileged to enjoy. To see a talented actor in a very interesting and quirky production was an unexpected delight.

Up-date on In Search Of Pontiflunk - 20th March 2008

Helmdon Presents …. has just learned that Phil Smith (who conceived the idea, did the walk and wrote the play) will be in the audience and is happy to answer your questions during the interval or at the end of the performance. This is a really excellent opportunity to see a great production and discover how it came about and what aspects of his experiences the author decided to script and those he left out!

In Search of Pontiflunk is a lovely insight into the changing countryside of Britain, its people and oneself. Quality drama by an award winning group of professionals. Tickets still available (or turn up on the night) - see below

Helmdon Presents ... In Search Of Pontiflunk - 28th February 2008

Helmdon Presents is now selling tickets for In Search Of Pontiflunk. This is a show by New Perspectives Theatre – the regional rural touring company for the East Midlands. For over 30 years they have commissioned and produced new work that tours to rural communities in local venues.

The show will take place in Helmdon Church on Friday 28 March at 7.30pm. Refreshments will be available prior to the performance and during the interval. The production lasts about 90 minutes plus an interval.

In Search of Pontiflunk is the story of two walks separated by 100 years – Charles Hurst in the early years of the twentieth century crossing the East Midlands with his pockets full of acorns and writer Phil Smith last year in pursuit of the man behind 'The Book of The English Oak' and in search of a deeper understanding of the changes afoot in the English countryside today.

Phil Smith, as played with great charm and curiosity by actor Josh Darcy, is our guide through his sixteen day odyssey from Manchester, over the peaks, down through Nottinghamshire (via Sherwood Forest) to Lincolshire and Leicestershire and, eventually, the village of Morcott, the last resting place of Pontiflunk (Hurst's dog whose untimely death cut short his adventure).

This is a classic one-man show – funny, touching storytelling, accompanied by projected images of the sights and recordings of the sounds that Phil encountered on his travels – plus other theatrical touches you'd expect from the region's favourite rural touring company.
Prices are £8 or £6 for concessions.

Group Georgianna

Group Georgianna

Lovely Ladies End A Successful Year - 22nd December 2007

"The Triumphs of Georgianna" was Helmdon Presents' … latest promotion in the village on November 23rd. A trio of lovely ladies clad in regency bustles kept us truly entertained with singing and poetry from Georgian England. They unfurled a tale of love, disappointment

and revenge whilst we all partook of some mulled wine and mince pies. It all added up to a very enjoyable trip to past times in merrie England.

It has been a busy autumn for Helmdon Presents… with a touring drama production On the Black Hill being staged by AJTC theatre in the church on October 28th. The story was of twin brothers who inherited the family farm on the border of Wales and England. Spanning almost the whole of the last century, it provided us with a fascinating insight into the changing values of rural family life through times of war and peace and a story full of pathos.

Helmdon Presents…is now also running a film club for members. The subscription is £15 for the year (renewable in August 2008). Members are treated to one film show each month and drinks are available. We try to screen a variety of films both old and new, American and British and might possibly include a foreign language film in our programme if there is sufficient demand.

Theatre outings are organised when we find something that we think would be popular with a group of people.

Film Club Launched - 10th September 2007

A successful evening in August saw the launch of the Film Club. Dates for future films are published on the programme.

Doors open at 7.30 p.m. and the film begins at 8 p.m. Drinks are available.

Subscriptions are £15 per annum (£7.50 after February 2008). Members' guests may attend one film per year at a charge of £2.

Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte

Charlotte Bronte Evening - 4th May 2007

When we booked Alison Neil to bring her one woman show, Truly Yours C.B. to Helmdon, we really didn't know what to expect. We had just heard that she was good. Alison is a historical researcher and has made an extensive study of Charlotte Bronte which she has used as material for an entertainment that held the audience spell bound.

She told the story of Charlotte's life and that of her brother and sisters and although it was a one woman show we were treated to a performance of many characters, scenarios and nuances of feeling that at times had the audience seemingly holding their breath at what was unfolding. And all this even though I imagine most of us knew pretty much how it was going to end. She really is a most accomplished actress and many who saw her commented on this as well as being impressed at feat of her being able to remember all her lines as she was on stage for just short of two hours. Miss Neil has other one woman plays in her repertoire, all written by her, Richmal Crompton, Katherine Parr and Mrs Beeton are some of her subjects. Certainly if Helmdon Presents... get another opportunity to book her we will. It was a memorable event.

Please keep a look out for future events, on 19 October we have a performance of 'On Black Hill' by Bruce Chatwin and in December we will hold a musical event in the church. 'Lady Georgiana' a musical quartet will be performing music from the Regency period and come to us highly recommended.

We are hoping to get our film club started very soon as we have been able to go ahead and purchase the necessary equipment thanks to donations from HYHO and a grant that we have been able to obtain.

If anyone wants more information about any of the events we have planned or ideas about what they would like us to organise or would like to join our small committee then please feel free to contact me, Christine Bridger.

Whispering Dragons - 24th February 2007

The Reading Room was the venue for an enchanting evening of Chinese story telling and music. Helmdon Presents... invited story teller Nicky Rafferty and musician Ling Peng to entertain us with their rendition of traditional stories and music from China. The set and costumes were splendid but it was the musical instruments that created the atmosphere most authentically. Admittedly, I have never been to China, but one felt one was getting a real flavour of Chinese culture. The audience certainly showed their appreciation and everyone, including the children who were entranced in the front row, enjoyed the chance to talk to the performers and ask questions about the stories and the instruments.

The performers were equally impressed with the audience's facility with language when we learnt a few phrases in Mandarin. Sadly, I have since forgotten them.

The whole evening was a delightful diversion from anything else we might have been doing on a night in February and the Chinese buffet and a glass of well chosen wine all added to the enjoyment.

Coming up...

On Friday 4 May Helmdon Presents... Truly Yours C.B. The C.B. in this case being Charlotte Bronte, this is a one woman show starring Alison Neil who, using many of Charlotte's own words, gives a fascinating account of her life and work and her unusual family.

We are taking reservations for this event now and if you would like tickets please call Morag or Christine.