Sunday, 22 January 2017

Visit Bath and Learn the Art of Calligraphy

If you’re living in or have come to visit Bath for the first weekend in February, why not take some time out to learn the art of calligraphy? The subtle stroke of a pen nib brushing across parchment is amazingly therapeutic!  

A new independent shop has recently opened in Abbey Green Square, and it’s the sort of shop that
does everything! It has everything from crocheted blankets to butler’s gloves, and from specialist barbecue sauce to crispbread. When you think of an artisan shop, this shop surely has to be it, and it’s one that with departments from ‘Drinks and Bar’ to ‘Utility Room’ and ‘Stationary’ and ‘Glassware’, has all bases covered. So much so that it’s branching out even further. 

Recently The Foodie Bugle Shop at 2 Abbey Street, Abbey Green has started to host artisan workshops. Upcoming workshops include:

  • A photography workshop with award-winning photographer Jason Ingram on the 10th of March, which will cover everything from shooting flowers and products and rooms to shooting the landmarks and beautiful streets of Bath.

  • And a floristry workshop on February 17th, with professional florist and shop owner Lucy Simon who will teach the art of creating living spring wreaths, large flower arrangements for halls or mantelpieces, and dinner party jam jar posies.

However, the one that really caught our eye was the upcoming calligraphy workshop with Suzie Dicker, founder of the luxury London stationary and leather goods brand A L’Laise. On both Saturday February 4th and Sunday February 5th, Suzie will be hosting her workshop twice (10am-12:30pm and 2pm-4:30pm), and it will teach participants in a relaxed and friendly environment how to enhance their own natural hand writing style to create really beautiful, modern lettering which can be used on tags, cards, letters, party and wedding invitations. 

The workshop, which has an absolute maximum class size of 12 people, is suitable for all ages and abilities, including complete beginners, and promises to give those taking part the knowledge and confidence to go home and practice your new lettering with skill and poise. It also gives those taking part the tools to do this with, as all of the equipment that you’ll need during the class is free for you to take home: nib, nib holder, ink, calligraphy guide and practice sheets. We’re also tempted by the fact that the workshop includes hot and cold drinks, artisan pastries, homemade cakes and biscuits. Although this might mean that dropping crumbs onto our work might be a hazard…

The cost of the workshop is £60, and it sounded to us like an enjoyable and unique way to spend a morning in Bath if you were coming to visit Bath for the weekend. More information and tickets are available from, or via phone on 07762 330519.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Visit Bath and Discover A Brief History of Bath Theatre Royal

Bath Theatre Royal - it seems as if it’s always been there.

Bath Theatre Royal, at least the incarnation of it that we’re all familiar with today, isn’t as old as it may appear.

The main entrance to Theatre Royal in Sawclose was built in 1720 by Thomas Greenway (one of the top architects for Bath before John Wood came along) and used to be Beau Nash’s house. However the theatre itself is a little newer, built in 1805, and extensively renovated in 1982 and 1999 to give the auditorium it has today; full of ornate plasterwork and red velvet seats and gold gilt decoration. The Theatre Royal wasn’t the first theatre in Bath though.

In 1705 Bath’s first theatre was built in Trim Street by wealthy clothier George Trim. It was cramped though and made hardly any profit. It was demolished in 1738 to make room for the royal Mineral Hospital.

Next The New Theatre in Kingsmead Street opened in 1723, and was visited by Prince Frederick and Princess Augusta of Wales shortly before it shut in 1751. 

The theatre that first held the title of Theatre Royal, the first theatre outside of London to be granted royal patronage, was the one opened in Orchard Street on the 27th of October 1750. Its royal grant was given in 1768 and the reputation grew quickly.

The season in Bath soon became as important for actors as the season in London. As its popularity grew the theatre needed to expand and in 1805 the Orchard Street Theatre closed, becoming a Catholic Church in 1809. (Now it’s the Masonic Hall.) It was then that the current Theatre Royal opened, on the 12th of October, with a performance of Richard III.

It wasn’t all plain sailing though. Between 1820 and 1850 ticket sales declined and the theatre almost closed several times - not helped by the rise in popularity of seaside resorts and the spa towns such as Bath going out of fashion.

Thankfully it survived this, the fire which destroyed much of it in 1862, the extensive bombing of Bath during the Bath Blitz, and in 1982 the Theatre Royal which we know now was opened on November 30th with a gala performance of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which Princess Margaret attended.  

Today it’s lucky enough to host some of the top West-End shows and innovative new and touring productions from across the UK and around the world. It hasn’t lost its past entirely though. The building is Grade II listed and is a excellent example of Georgian architecture.

In addition to this, the main auditorium is said to be haunted by the ghost The Grey Lady, who was an actress from centuries ago. According to the legend, The Grey Lady watches productions from the so-called Grey Lady Box and leaves the scent of jasmine behind where she has been.  So if you smell jasmine while watching a performance there, that may be why!

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Visit Bath and Visit Bath Theatre Royal

A fantastic thing to do when you visit Bath is to visit Bath Theatre Royal, and this month it has some fantastic shows on offer.

The first performance is one not to be missed for any fans of comedy. Goodness knows that in the dark and cold days of January, and given some of the recent news headlines, we all need to relax and have a good laugh. The Play That Goes Wrong will be showing at Bath Theatre Royal from January 10th – January 15th and is “starring No one famous”. However, that doesn’t really matter as it’s won the 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Comedy, the Broadway World UK award for Best New Play 2014, and have named it the winner for Best New Comedy. It sees Fawlty Towers meeting Noises Off as the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society do their best to stage a 1920s murder mystery, but as the name suggests, everything that can go wrong, does go wrong.
“roused even a staid matinee audience to hysterics” – The Times

After The Play That Goes Wrong comes a wonderful stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Bath has strong links to the author as not only did Miss Austen live in the city from 1801 – 1806, but she also sets two of her novels partially in Bath and mentions Bath in all of her novels. This production from Regent’s Park Theatre sees Matthew Kelly and Felicity Montagu in the roles of Mr and Mrs Bennet and has been specifically recommended by Classic FM. It runs from January 17th – January 21st.

Next on at Bath Theatre Royal are two productions for ballet fans. Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet will be performing two of Tchaikovsky’s most famous ballets - first Swan Lake from January 23rd – January 25th, and then The Nutcracker from January 26th – January 28th. Under the direction of Marina Medvetskaya, Saint Petersburg Classic Ballet has won acclaim from critics around the world, and its soloist Natalia Romanova has been described as “breath-taking. Her dancing is fluid, mesmerising and technically astounding.”

Our final mention however is for a performance which is taking place in Bath Theatre Royal’s Ustinov Studio. Part performance-lecture, part deconstructed showbiz (and part astounding magic tricks), This is not a Magic Show sees award-winning magician Vincent Gambini presenting close-up magic in such a way that invites his audience to question how enchantment and wonder are produced. Fans of Derren Brown are sure to enjoy this one, and anyone who enjoys seeing what goes into performances behind the scenes as well. “This thoughtful, playful and multi-layered piece will make you question how we watch and what we see” – The Guardian.

If you’re looking to stay for a weekend and want a nice night out while you’re in Bath, or if you’d like to come specifically for a theatre break in Bath this year, then this is a great month to come. We’re certainly not going to be stuck for things to watch!