Arts, Culture, Education

Rising Brook Writers celebrated this year's National Poetry Day in the presence of Staffordshire's Laureate Poet, Mal Dewhirst. The meeting took place at Rising Brook Community Fire Station, a good opportunity for the members and guests to read their poems or discuss about them.
Rising Brook Writers is a voluntary charitable trust offering creative opportunities for over the 50s. Some of these are library creative writing workshops, websites - e - publishing, on-line workshops or live performance poetry.

Below pictures of Stephanie Spiers, Mal Dewhirst and members of the Club

Artist Graham Felstead painting in his usual spot in the Guildhall Shopping Centre

Stafford Art Festival, 7th September

Music, dance, poetry, crafts, painting, photography, performers, bubbles, they all met on the streets and in different venues in Stafford for one reason: Stafford Art Festival, the third edition. See below a selection of these moments ...

The Stafford Morris Men (below) performing a dance in the Market Square

African Gandinis 

Rehearsal ...

The sound of music

The Stafford Summer Singing Project in front of St. Chad's Church

Poetry at the Gatehouse Theatre 
( first picture showing the Poet Laureate Mal Dewhirst reading the Stafford poem composed by him. The poem considered the people's descriptions of Stafford, wrote on the picture wall inside the Shire Gallery).

The renowned Stafford photographer Derek Tamea presenting his favourite photographic memories captured in over 50 years. A selection of 30 colour images found at The Ancient High House under the name "Rainy afternoons" (below)

Stafford's 1,100 anniversary seen and exposed by members of the Stafford Photographic Society (below)

 Stafford Camera Club picture display in the Guildhall Shopping Centre

Artist David Winters - watercolour painting display and demonstrations in the Ancient High House

Guys and Dolls performing in the Market Square

The Guiness World Record holder and textile artist/designer Ingrid Wagner showing Stafford how to knit big with her huge needles (below)

Portrait drawing in The Guildhall 


Art Brasil

Artist Peter Farrier at work (below)


Smile in the street :)

Stafford College Open Day, 30th August

In the last Friday of August, Stafford College opened its doors and welcomed a big number of possible students interested in finding a course. 
A few hours of browsing through leaflets and talking to the staff, all trying to find out as much as possible about their options. 
I remember when I was 16. For some reason, around this age everybody starts asking you: "So what do you want to do/become when you grow up?"
I now know that sometimes the answer you give then, might not stay the same as the  years go by, or you might find different variations of the same answer. But it's still good if you have an idea about were to start ...

A giant photo-collage and Stafford's own poem

On 20th July, at the Shire Hall Gallery, the photographer Eleanor Babb and Staffordshire's poet laureate Mal Dewhirst put together images and words in a giant photo-montage of Stafford and a series of people's words describing the town.  
When thinking about Stafford people came up with words like: "The Ancient House", "friendly", "Cannock Chase", "The Red Lion", "joyful, welcoming", Stafford Park and Castle", "people", "community spirit" and many others.
Mal will use these words to create a new poem to be performed at Stafford Arts Festival on 7th September.

Stafford Gatehouse Theatre

You can find it in the heart of the town, in the building that once hosted the Stafford Borough Council.
A place that brings together the public and the fascinating worlds put on the stage by actors, singers or other artists.
"Since opening, the venue has experienced great success, both with touring professional shows and amateur productions (...) Stafford Gatehouse Theatre is an accessible, thriving venue, which offers a wide range of modern facilities in the heart of Stafford. From conference facilities to studio theatre, recording space to Theatre Coffee Shop, Stafford Gatehouse is one of the best equipped and most versatile venues in the region" ( 

Stafford Festival Shakespeare - A midsummer's Night Dream

A wonderful play produced by Derrick Gask, directed by Peter Rowe and presented by Stafford Gatehouse Theatre and Stafford Borough Council Leisure and Culture. 
Everything took place during 27th June - 13th July, in a fairy tale setting at the Stafford Castle and with thousands of people in the audience every evening.
Humour and wit, love and confusion, music and dance. Just like in life - "All the world is a stage and all men and women are merely players" (William Shakespeare). 
The pictures below capture about an hour in the life of the actors before playing on the stage and some of the settings or their cabins. 
Thank you Derrick, Michael, Phil and of course the actors who put up with me being "nosy".
Congratulations to all of you!

50 years anniversary at Blessed William Howard Catholic High School, Stafford

On 1st May, over 800 pupils, staff or parents attended the special Mass "timed to be exactly 50 years to the hour since the first Mass was celebrated in May1963" (quote from the school's website).
The Mass was performed by Bishop David McGough with Canon Michael Neylon, Fr James Mealy, Fr Petroc Howell and Fr Michael Dolman.
"Following the Mass, a special rededication service was performed by Bishop McGough to mark the completion of the re-ordering of the school chapel. This anniversary project was undertaken to ensure that the chapel better meets the needs of the students by improving accessibility and providing a suitable environment for worship and quiet reflection" (

King Edward School


A display of colour and emotion captured in paintings by the artists from the Stafford Art Group and exhibited at The Ancient High House in May. The exhibition marked the 50th anniversary of the group and was presented to the public until May 25 (photo below). 

May was also the month for the 12th edition of the Stafford Music Festival (below)

Music of all styles and for all ages could be heard in churches, theatre, street, schools or pubs, bringing the public under the same wand: that of the sound.

Unfortunately I didn't make it to many of the concerts included in the Festival, but I didn't totally miss it. I have had the pleasure to listen to Patrick Park and Nigel Stubbs playing the violins in St. Chad's Church in Stafford and I took the moment to snap a couple of pictures.

Shire Hall Gallery

Set in the heart of the town, Shire Hall Gallery is a contemporary visual art gallery hosting numerous exhibitions, events or workshops throughout the year. 
From paintings, drawings, to a colourful gift shop, a very welcoming and warm coffee shop (my new favourite coffee place) to a Victorian Crown Court and a library, you can all find it under one roof.

The Shire Hall Library 

The Court Room inside The Shire Hall

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