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The Hunters Grimm – immerse yourself into a world of fantasy!

I didn’t know what I was letting myself in for when I joined the audience of The Hunters Grimm promenade performance in Valentines Park today, but boy was it fun, I didn’t stop smiling (even when I should have been sad!!)

Our hosts, Dot and the Brothers Grimm wanted us to help them in their quest to find stories… stories with a happy ending as one of the brothers was very sad and needed cheering up!


The cast greet the audience

As we were led off around the Mansions walled gardens we became part of lots of little stories, firstly bumping into a seemingly harmless wolf lying on the ground; he chatted to us while moving menacingly ever nearer. Then we heard a cry for help and it was a young woman wanting help to fit into the shoe of her dreams!! Next we were serenaded by a band of animals who taught us a dance. Completely bonkers but a lot of fun on a lovely sunny day!! Finally we met a prince who had fallen on hard times searching for the woman of his dreams… would this be our happy ending? You simply must bring the family along to find out.

Animal band

The animal musicians of Breman

This show has universal appeal to old and young alike and can’t help but engage you as the cast draw you into their fantasy world. Children will simply adore this show as you can completely immerse yourself in it and become as involved as you want which makes it feel very personal.

The cast of Teatro Vivo were amazing and incorporated The Community Chorus, regular people like you or I that had signed up as supporting cast members and they blended in perfectly.

With only one day left to run, I urge you to go along on Saturday 2 August. There are 2 performances to choose from; 3pm or 6pm. I promise you, you won’t be sorry!

You can either buy your tickets online at Teatro Vivo or on the day at the box office to the rear of the Gardener’s Cottage Café.  Car parking available.

More information on the Redbridge-i website

Post Author: Cathy Pace


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The Very Successful Labyrinth Theatre Festival Ends With A Magical Performance Of A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Picnic baskets, blankets and brollies were out in full force on Sunday evening as an audience gathered in the beautiful gardens of Valentines Mansion, awaiting Oddsocks’ 25th anniversary performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.

I had barely entered the gates of Valentines Park, yet it was instantly clear to me that spirits had not been dampened, despite the rain. The crowd was being entertained by some fantastic live music that echoed throughout the park, building anticipation for the imminent performance. As I settled on the grass, I didn’t even have time to worry about it being damp as I was immediately drawn to the stage. The backdrop of the wondrous Valentines Mansion and the gardens that encircled the audience, created a truly mesmerising atmosphere.

When the bellows from the director began, all sounds of chatting, shuffling and eating ceased – it was time to begin. As the actors were introduced, the liveliness of the show was immediately established. Each of them announced the trio of characters they would be playing and once this was done, the story of ‘love, magic and fairies’ ensued.

The plot of this performance, for those unfamiliar with the Shakespearean play, is centred around four lovers. Demetrius is set to marry Hermia at the request of her father, however, Hermia is in love with Lysander (who broke out into song every now and then, serenading the audience with his bright red guitar) and finally there’s Helena or ‘the queen of whining’ as her actress described her – she is besotted with Demetrius who wants nothing to do with her. That is of course until the fairies cunningly intercept these wires of crossed love. Oberon, the king of the fairies was in the most impressive costume. It gave him the height to accompany his domineering character that causes havoc when Lysander and Hermia run off to the woods in the hope that they can be together and escape the wrath of those who disapprove.

Armed with a wild flower that causes the wrong people to fall in love with each other, the fairies thoroughly stir the pot of trouble and mischief. Among all of this exhilarating drama, that was heavily lined with comedy, are the actors or mechanicals who are also in the woods preparing for a play to perform for the Duke of Athens. These scenes of the play were full of audience interaction and comic relief as the characters weaved in and out of the audience, grabbed some food along the way and stumbled over umbrellas.

Oddsocks cast Midsummer Nights Dream

The four lovers provided the perfect amount of high-energy drama, the mystical fairies in their vibrant costumes that dazzled the audience with neon reds and pinks were the source of all mischief, while the ‘mechanicals’ generated the most laughs. Physical action and comedy were not scarce at all – it was carried out flawlessly and was complemented by the abundance of jokes on stage.

The whole show was just excellent with its perfectly timed wit and engaging performances by the actors who oozed enthusiasm during every part that they played. Laughs, gasps and applause rippled throughout the audience from the hilarious hunting dogs being brought out to the magical moment that the skies above, that had only sent rain down upon us, became brighter as if it was directly responding to Helena’s dramatic plea to the skies for some comfort. The magic of the play was kept alive and burning until the final bows were taken – even though I’m sure many people including myself took the magic home with them as the performance was so memorable.

Guest Author: Raeesa Mukhtar

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A High Street Odyssey – An experience like no other!

Well, I have just enjoyed one of my funniest half hours ever! Joined by my colleagues and some members of the public we embarked on our High Street Odyssey journey through Ilford Town Centre.

Issued with our ‘shopping bags’ we found our instructions inside telling us to don our headphones (also inside) and follow direction via the headset. Suddenly we became immersed in our own whacky world looking out for our narrator who appeared from a phone box with a wireless headset instructing us from afar to take a good look around and drink in our surroundings. Suddenly he was gone only to appear a few moments later as a litter picker and we were to follow him.

High St OdysseyHigh St Odyssey binoculars

People who we thought were members of the public at large suddenly became characters in our own personal street performance; a man with a pram, a lady eating a burger, a man selling phone contracts. We drew many peculiar glances from shoppers as we laughed and looked and listened to a whistle stop history lesson of the buildings around us.

We began observing shoppers when a lady on her phone caught our narrator’s eye; and then the fun really began as we followed her and watched her interact with many of the characters we had seen; throwing water at a street seller, stealing a bracelet, dancing in a shop window. What was real and what was not, was for us to decide, but it was all so bizarre whilst at the same time being laugh out loud funny.

If you are in Ilford over the weekend, do spare half an hour of your time to join this quirky but thought-provoking FREE street theatre performance, I guarantee that you will not be disappointed. It is an experience that you will remember for a long long time. Be sure to bring someone along to giggle with!

Performances take place at 10.30am, 12noon, 2pm and 3.30pm on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 June. Sign up at the steps to Ilford Town Hall, 128-142 High Road.

The performance is part of the Labyrinth Theatre Festival and is performed by the brilliant cast of Inspector Sands

For more information about the Festival, which ends on Sunday 29 June, visit the website.

Post Author: Cathy Pace


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Ilford Welcomes Summer With Fantastic Outdoor Performances In The Sun

Shoppers in Ilford Town Centre on Saturday were in for a right treat as Redbridge Music Lounge was set up right at the heart of the hustle and bustle which offered a chance to sit down and enjoy some great music in the sunshine. If people hadn’t quite made it to the music, then they were being greeted by the illustrious Nutkhut stilt performers that were mingling with the shoppers and proving to be a great addition to the usual sights of Ilford.

It was the wonderful sounds of the talented musicians performing at Redbridge Music Lounge that perfectly complemented the glorious sunshine that had graced Ilford Town Centre on Saturday. Plenty of people stopped in their tracks to enjoy the music that echoed throughout the High Road.

One of the performers was 17 year old Ryan Green from Essex who treated his audience to a wonderful selection of songs. His final song was ‘Don’t Go’ by Josh Kumra, which he had previously sung for the likes of Kylie Minogue and Tom Jones when he was a contestant on the third series of BBC’s singing competition The Voice.

His soulful voice captured the attention of passers by who were then stunned by his musical talent as he not only sang but he showed off his skills on the keyboard. After his set, many people rushed over to congratulate him on a great performance. After he thanked and posed for photos with his admirers, I had the chance to ask him a few questions.

Wowed by this young man’s talent I had to ask him how long he had been performing.

“I’ve been performing since I was 12 years old. I started off with Redbridge Music Lounge, I like to get back to my roots to perform whenever I can”

Ryan truly means this as he also performed at the Christmas Light’s Switch on at Redbridge Town Hall!

After hearing Ryan’s covers of Frank Ocean and Example I was keen to know who his other musical influences are.

“Originally James Morrisson was a big influence on me and on my voice. But now, Frank Ocean is definitely a big influence, so they are my two main influences.”

Ryan also told me that he is currently at The Brit School, so I am sure that he will continue to excel at music and performing as he certainly put on a great show for the people of Ilford!

For more information on this exceptionally talented young man you can go to his website

RMSStilt walker

As I continued on my way through the High Road it was then that I saw the magnificent stilt performers, who were part of the Labyrinth Theatre Festival street entertainment. It was a sight you could not miss as they stood tall and proud, high above everyone else. Firstly it was the majestic maharajah who was causing many of the shoppers to avert their gaze upwards as they craned their necks to take in his full gloriousness. He was draped in a mesmerising blue gown and had a very golden turban to suit his attire that was clearly fit for royalty. As he walked confidently down the street he attempted to include passersby into the world of a maharajah and make them part of his performance! His charming demeanour enticed many people, children especially who wanted to stop for a chat and a photo!

Following not too far behind were the more mischievous looking casual but cool DJ stilt performers wearing their baseball caps and jerseys who looked like they could cause some trouble for the maharajah! They walked down the street with not a care in the world, as if they were just blending in with the crowds.

I stopped to watch the stilt performers continue on their way, weaving remarkably comfortably through the busyness of the street and I waited until they had become just tiny dots above the heads of shoppers. I could still hear shrieks of laughter in the distance of each person who had just been caught by surprise at the sight of the tall figures.

The Labyrinth Theatre Festival continues until Sunday 29 June with performances all over Redbridge.  So don’t miss out, for more information visit the website.

Guest Post: Raeesa Mukhtar 

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Call Out for Arts and Craft stalls – Handmade items only  

Fairlop Fair – Saturday 5th July 2014 – 11.00 – 6.00pm

Set in the beautiful backdrop of Fairlop Waters Country Park, situated in Redbridge, Essex, Fairlop Fair returns for its 3rd year, after a successful year we are facilitating an arts and crafts marquee. Last year footfall was between 3000-4000 people. The event is free to the public and the program consists of family entertainment throughout the day.

If you are interested in exhibiting a stall please contact

Stall unit space is 2m x1m – with table and 2 chairs plus 1 paragraph of business description and jpeg image placed on the Redbridgei website.

The cost for the stall unit space is £35.00 before Friday 28th March 2014 thereafter will be £45.00.


 Please print and complete our application form here

Redbridge i

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Coming Soon… A Midsummer Night’s Dream

A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Sunday 29 June, 6pm

Oddsocks return in their 25th Anniversary year with another high-energy, feel-good, family theatre show and this summer it’s the magical, spectacular “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, performed with live music, exhilarating circus skills and some outrageous hunting dogs! Four lovers run-off to the countryside where mysterious woodland creatures play tricks on them with hilarious results and when a troupe of amateur actors decide to rehearse in the woods the fairies intervention leads to bizarre and outrageous comedy that’s perfect for the open air. If there’s one show you see this summer, if there’s one outdoor event you go to, make it this one! Don’t miss out – Catch the Dream!

 Without doubt the performance was among the best productions that I have seen…’ Jersey Evening Post

Adult £12 (in advance) /£14 (on the day)

Concession/Child £9.50 (in advance) / £10.50 (on the day)

Family Ticket £35 (in advance) / £40 (on the day) 2 Adults & 2 Children or 1 Adult & 3 Children only

Valentines Mansion Gardens, Valentines Park, Emerson Road entrance, Ilford IG1 4XA

Enquiries email:

Visit: for further information and details of how to book. Booking line opens on Tuesday 1 April.

Oddsocks – A Midsummer Night’s Dream

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The Lamp of Memory

Ana Čavić   Helmut Lemke   Psykick Dancehall   Melissa Bugarella    Agnieszka Polska & Tomasz Kowalski   Wouter Van der Hallen

The Lamp of Memory is a contemporary exhibition that takes its title and inspiration from the book by 19th century English theorist John Ruskin. This name was also chosen as it reflects the importance of architecture as container of memories and meaning, and the urgency to conserve it.

In this exhibition, the contemporary encompass historic spaces – parlours, bedchambers and the heart of the kitchen. Floors and walls become spaces of meditation and reflection in which artists came to sketch and plan installations.

The exhibition will open on Sunday 2nd March with a performance running from 3pm to 7pm.

There will be a tour around Valentines Mansion to discuss the special features of its architecture and the works that are presented in the exhibition. Please keep an eye on for further dates and information.

The exhibition is curated by Cristina Ramos & Anne Sellers, students of the MA Curating the Contemporary at The Sir John Cass Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design in collaboration with Whitechapel Gallery. This exhibition has been possible with the help of Valentines Mansion and Vision Redbridge Culture & Leisure.

The nearest tube station to Valentines Mansion is Gants Hill on the Central Line, just a five-minute walk away, and only 30 minutes from Central London.

Venue: Valentines Mansion & Gardens, Emerson Road, Ilford, Essex

Opening Reception: Sunday, March 2nd from 3 – 7pm

Opening times: Tuesday (10am – 5pm) Sunday (11am – 5pm)

Exhibition closes on the 30th of March 2014

Admission free.


Post author: Jane Leighton

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