Arcola Theatre today announces the full programme of productions in the 2021 Grimeborn Opera Festival, which is
returning for its 14th year.

Grimeborn 2021 opens with a new staging of Die Walküre for three performances at Hackney Empire, 291 Mare St, London E8 1EJ, from Wednesday 4 – Saturday 7 August. Following Julia Burbach and Peter Selwyn’s thrilling version of Wagner’s ‘Das Rheingold’ in 2019, Arcola is producing the first London performances of Jonathan Dove’s acclaimed reduction of
‘Die Walküre’ since its Birmingham premiere in the 1990s, when it caused a sensation.

It features an exceptional cast of singers, led by Mark Stone, who will be singing Wotan in this country for the first time, Finnur Bjarnason (Siegmund), Natasha Jouhl (Sieglinde), Simon Wilding (Hunding), Harriet Williams (Fricka), Laure Meloy (Brünnhilde), Elizabeth Karani (Helmwige), Bethan Langford (Waltraute), Katie Stevenson (Rossweisse). With 18 live
musicians from the Orpheus Sinfonia. Julia Burbach (Director), Peter Selwyn (Conductor).

The other Grimeborn productions at Arcola Outside are:

25 – 29 August Alcina, Music by George Friedrich Handel

1- 4 September Hopes & Fears, Music by Claude Debussy

5 – 8 September Orfeo ed Euridice / Zanetto, Music by Christoph Willibald Gluck and Pietro Mascagi

11 September The Tango Collective: The Piazzolla Project

Tickets can be booked at

Dr Brian Hick BA(Hons) MA PHD

Brian sadly died on 30th May 2021. It is difficult to summarise such a full and active life as his. Here is a little about him.

Brian was born in Shrewsbury in 1945, but the family soon moved to Fulham where he lived until he married Sally in 1966 and went to live in Camden Town. Then he was working in the BBC Music Department near Broadcasting House, and soon after starting with the BBC commenced an Hons English Degree at Birkbeck College which led to post-graduate training as a Director at The Drama Centre. He worked briefly in the theatre and then moved to Redhill and taught drama. He says, “The two essential professional strands of my lengthy career evolve at this point. In Education I taught drama and English, while running numerous drama and music groups. I ran the local Arts Festival and was invited to write as arts correspondent for the Surrey Mirror”.

In 1980 the family moved to Hastings. Brian held a number of senior educational posts, while becoming increasingly involved working with Special Education Needs Students – a field only just opening up in its own right. After work based in particular schools he started a long association with Russell Education Trust as their Senior Special Needs Consultant, travelling widely, covering schools across the South of England and into South Wales.

In Hastings he met up with Denby Richards, Editor of the oldest international music magazine Musical Opinion. He started to write regularly for the magazine and was soon acting as Deputy Editor. In 1992 he was invited to become Editor of The Organ which he happily took on – significantly updating and broadening the scope of the publication. He remained Editor for 15 years and then became Editor Emeritus.

With a local group of interested musicians, led by Denby Richards, he helped run the early St Leonards Arts Festival. He was invited to become a member of the Critics Circle – “I had waited many years for this and it was a real honour as they invite you, and you have no idea who has proposed you”.

He was involved in Glyndbourne’s community Opera on the Pier and was also invited to direct and conduct with different local groups on a fairly regular basis. This included working with BLODS in Bexhill and directing the world premiere of Kenneth Roberts Quel weekend for Hastings Opera (now Opera SouthEast). He directed a number of plays for the Stables Theatre, and formed a small company to set up an open-air summer theatre at Batemans.

He has written intermittently for Hastings Observer over the years and recently, during the time of Covid wrote a weekly column which was well read and appreciated by many. In it he talked about the frustrations and difficulties for musicians but also some of the pleasures and creativity to be found online. He also featured many reminiscences of past musical experiences.

He founded Lark Reviews website in 2012. It has grown to be well used as a source of information and a promotional tool by individuals and groups with the more local 1066 sections as well as covering a diverse range of musical activity in other parts of the country   and now also online. CD and occasional DVD reviews also appear regularly with releases from many of the major producers as well as some produced on a smaller scale.

Brian wrote and published a number of books – including the detailed rebuilding of the 1763 Hastings Snetzler organ, a three volume survey of all the Organs of 1066 Country, and the biography of Edward Wyon, architect and poet who built and designed St John’s Hollington. There is also a range of personal publications A Lark on …..which are essentially autobiographical poems. He had a number of poems featured in Wild Goose Publications from the Iona Community.

He was involved in a number of organisations, musical and otherwise. He was for a number of years a trustee of the Seaview Project, working with homeless and other vulnerable people in St Leonards. Brian would often speak to other organisations about the work of Seaview. He was more recently invited to become a trustee of the newly organised Hastings Philharmonic Orchestra. Locally he was a particular champion of the Hastings Philharmonic Choir, Hastings Sinfonia and the Opus Theatre. He was also connected with Garsington Opera, English National Opera and the Oxford Lieder Festival.

He championed the restoration of the Snetzler organ in Hastings Unitarian church and was very supportive of young organists beginning a professional career. One of these, Tom Bell, now a successful concert organist and teacher for the Royal College of Organists writes this,

Brian was a lovely man with a refreshingly broad interest in and love of music. I first met him in connection with a recital I was awarded as a teenager, in the 1999 Three Choirs Festival (in Worcester). Five young organists were invited to give recitals during the festival, following a Royal College of Organists event earlier that year. Brian featured all five performers, and some reflections on their programmes, in The Organ. This was wonderfully kind, encouraging, and the reviews themselves were pitched just right given the age of the performers. Since that time my meetings with Brian have usually been in connection with recitals at All Saints Hastings, where I have played several times. It was also a very great pleasure to perform at Hastings Unitarian Chapel at Brian’s behest, both before and after the little Snetzler organ there was restored. Brian invited me to give those concerts when I was a student and it was a real thrill to reopen a restored historic organ. I am grateful to Brian for that opportunity and for plenty of other encouragement over the years.

We send our love to Sally and the family at this time and are thankful for Brian and his many legacies.



The 32nd series of these popular organ concerts begin on 5th July at All Saints Church in Hastings Old Town. Many distinguishged organists have taken part in these concerts over the years and have said how much they enjoy playing this particular instrument, tonally unchanged since its construction almost 150 years ago. As with previous years there is an impressive lineup of cathedral, church and concert organists.

Concerts take place on Monday evenings until the final concert, which as with the first in this year’s programme will be given by series favourite Gordon Stewart.

All concerts begin at 7.30pm

Further information available from
Malcolm Lock – Mobile: 0780 106 8156

The Hastings Sinfonia

The Hastings Sinfonia will be celebrating 10 years of a very successful and uninterrupted existence next year. This exciting orchestra is well known for its strong commitment to the community as well as for its accessible concerts with popular music both old and new being performed.

The friendly orchestra, founded includes in its ranks both professional and good standard amateur players is now looking to include even more members to join them – as well as with guest soloists!

Having prepared well to avoid any risks caused by the covid pandemic, the Hastings Sinfonia is restarting rehearsals every Wednesday evenings at St John’s in Pevensey Road.

The Hastings Sinfonia was founded in 2012 by local composer Polo Piatti who remains as its Artistic Director and has been conducted for most of its existence by London maestro Derek Carden, who travels regularly to Hastings to hold rehearsals every week.

And there is some more exciting news! Due to the pandemic’s lockdown, the Sinfonia had to remain silent and unable to rehearse for over a year. Nevertheless, always inventive, the organisation has managed to create one very positive outcome from the situation. Lead by David Bottom, one of their clarinettists, they have formed a brand new, associated ensemble, the ‘Hastings Sinfonia Wind Quintet’. The new group has started rehearsing together on zoom and then together as soon as Covid rules have permitted. Members of the new and very promising ensemble are Annabel Noton (flute), Gail Taylor (oboe), Adam Rawlinson (bassoon) and Tim Egan (French horn). Their first public performance will take place on Sunday 22nd August at 2pm at the bandstand in Hastings’s Alexandra Park. Why not come along, listen to beautiful music and meet the musicians!?

If you are interested in joining the very welcoming Hastings Sinfonia Orchestra please email its chair Sandra Goodsell on: [email protected]

Faiths in Tune World Music Day 20/21st June

Celebrate World Music Day 2021. Experience music and dance by artists and groups from 13 different faith backgrounds and more than 15 different countries at this global online live concert event!

Faiths In Tune is the largest interfaith music initiative in Europe, reaching over 20,000 people of over 20 different faiths every year with its Interfaith Music Festivals and events in the UK, Germany, Italy and beyond. It promotes respect and dialogue through music and personal encounters that can be experienced in the safe spaces of the festivals.

Make Music Day on Monday 21 June Brighton Dome

Monday 21 June sees the return of Make Music Day; a worldwide celebration of music in person, online and beyond. Brighton & Hove Music & Arts (BHMA) and East Sussex Music (ESM) will be celebrating in style with an all-day virtual event that everyone can be a part of.

Giving music-makers a platform to showcase their work, BHMA and ESM are inviting everyone, from beginner to expert, to submit videos of their own performances, which will be shared on social media throughout the day, as well as showcasing videos from their talented teachers, learners and more. On top of this, there will be competitions and giveaways, live streams with free teachings and performances, messages from special guests and awards for the best performers, all to be announced soon.

To submit your videos, visit and to stay up to date with announcements, join the official Facebook event page at

Make Music Day began in France as Fête de la Musique in 1982 when the Ministry of Culture imagined a great popular event that would allow all musicians to express themselves and make themselves known. This worldwide phenomenon first came to the UK in 2012 and the number of gigs taking place has been growing year on year. 2017 was the first UK-wide coordinated event with support and funding from national organisations resulting in 147 performances. In 2020, there were 1,739 performances live and online and it’s still growing. This is an opportunity to get involved in the world’s largest grassroots music movement – it’s a wonderful way to celebrate the longest day of the year.

The Royal Opera House announces full details of the 2021/22 Season

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The Royal Opera House today confirms details for its 2021/22 Season, the first full Season since 2019. Opening on Monday 13 September, the Season includes five world premieres from The Royal Ballet and The Royal Opera, classic revivals and an exciting roster of international and UK talent performing across the two stages of the Royal Opera House.

In its 90th anniversary year, The Royal Ballet presents a Season that respects the past and heralds the future. Three world premieres, including Wayne McGregor’s The Dante Project, Christopher Wheeldon’s Like Water for Chocolate and a new work by American choreographer Kyle Abraham, are performed alongside much-loved 19th-century classics and heritage ballets by Frederick Ashton and Kenneth MacMillan. The Linbury Theatre hosts a raft of partnerships and co-productions including with Ballet Black, Alessandra Ferri, Yorke Dance Project and a world premiere from Company Wayne McGregor. Creative opportunities for emerging talent will also feature with Draft Works and the Next Generation Festival. The Season culminates in July 2022 with The Royal Ballet making a welcome return to international touring with a three-week tour of Japan where the Company will perform Kenneth MacMillan’s Manon and Peter Wright’s Giselle.

The Royal Opera Season will open with a new production of Verdi’s Rigoletto, directed by Oliver Mears – his first production since becoming The Royal Opera’s Director of Opera in 2017. This new production will receive its premiere in September 2021, with Royal Opera Music Director Antonio Pappano conducting the Orchestra of the Royal Opera House. In its 75th year, The Royal Opera strengthens its commitment to the works of Benjamin Britten, George Frideric Handel and Leoš Janá?ek with new productions of Peter Grimes, Theodora and the long-awaited premiere of Jen?fa. Also given its premiere this Season is a new production of Camille Saint-Saëns’s grand-opera Samson et Dalila, while international and British talent are cast in repertory favourites including Tosca, La traviata and Così fan tutte.

The Linbury Theatre presents two opera world premieres: Laura Bowler’s The Blue Woman, directed by Katie Mitchell, and Wolf Witch Giant Fairy – a magical new family show in collaboration with Little Bulb opening in time for Christmas. Spring 2022 will see director Adele Thomas bring Vivaldi’s Bajazet to life in a new production – the first Vivaldi opera to be staged at the Royal Opera House. In June 2022 Tom Coult’s Violet will be presented off site at the Hackney Empire with co-producers Music Theatre Wales and Britten Pears Arts.

The 20th Oxford Lieder Festival: Nature’s Songbook

The Oxford Lieder Festival (8 – 23 October 2021) will celebrate its 20th anniversary this autumn.The broad focus of the Festival is on nature, at a time when it has played an increasingly important part in many people’s lives, exploring how poets and composers have so often been inspired by nature and used it as a metaphor for every aspect of life.

As well as in-person attendance, the Festival will be live-streamed, allowing audiences around the world to enjoy this thrilling and immersive fortnight of exploration, discovery and inspiration.image001.jpg

Rye Creative Centre launches new events programme

Developments have recently been taking place at Rye Creative Centre ( Whist the building will still function as artist studio space, the site has recently undergone major renovation, bringing to life the former ‘Old Gym’ into an auditorium, creating a new, flexible and modern performance venue for Rye.
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We launch our events programme with a concert in collaboration with Oxford Lieder ( next Friday 21st May @ 7.30pm