Want to be in GSC production?

Round & About


Guildford Shakespeare Company issues a community casting call for its outdoor Romeo & Juliet, application deadline March 1st

This summer Guildford Shakespeare Company are staging their most ambitious project to date and are looking for an ensemble of community performers to be part of it.

The company are taking to the streets of Guildford for a multi-venue, promenade production of Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet.

Swapping the streets of Verona for the streets of Surrey’s county town, the production will feature iconic landmarks including the Guildhall balcony, Holy Trinity Church, Tunsgate, the historic High Street and Guildford Castle. Audiences will move with the action, from one location to another, following the fateful story of the star-cross’d lovers.

Alongside the professional cast, GSC are recruiting a youth ensemble from local schools and their own drama clubs, and forming an adult community ensemble, to bring the play as fully to life as possible.

Matt Pinches, GSC Co-Founder and Director says: “We really want our 18th birthday summer season to celebrate everything that’s positive about Guildford. Our community is at the heart of everything GSC does, whether on stage or in our huge range of outreach and education programmes. This is an opportunity for so many elements of Guildford to come together and be part of something special.”

The Community Ensemble will help bring to life the pivotal scene of the Capulet ball, where Juliet and Romeo meet for the first time. This is a high society party where the movers and the shakers of Verona strut their stuff and where the Capulets are showing off the best they can. Performing will involve some dancing/movement, and possibly a little dialogue.

“If you love performing, or dancing, or just want to be part of something special, we would love to hear from you. No experience is necessary, just a desire to take part and buckets of energy.”

Casting will take place across two dates, 23rd and 25th March, with rehearsals beginning on Saturday 25th May. Deadline for applications is 1st March. Please note this is an unpaid participation opportunity.

Full details of all dates, times and how to register are on the GSC website.

Romeo & Juliet runs June 21st to July 13th.

Booking opens later in the spring. More details here.

Maestro Matthew Taylor of Farnham Sinfonia

Round & About


Diana Martin tells us more about Matthew Taylor, the man behind Farnham Sinfonia

There really couldn’t be a better time to write an article on local composer and conductor Matthew Taylor, for the Oscar nominated Leonard Bernstein biopic Maestro is due to show at Farnham Maltings in February…Matthew was one of Bernstein’s protégées! 

Bernstein, who is known for composing one of the most successful musicals ever, West Side Story, had an inspired conducting style which led to his big break conducting the New York Philharmonic in 1943. He was one of the first American-born conductors to lead world-class orchestras and achieve success globally. Maestro tells the audience of Bernstein’s complex life, his musical fame and his marriage.

During his twenties Matthew was selected by Bernstein as one of three conductors to attend the Schleswig Holstein Musik Festival – when young musicians from all over the world are given the opportunity to study and perform great works from the orchestral literature with famous conductors.   During the summer Matthew continued to conduct concerts with Bernstein in Northern Germany. Matthew was a friend of Bernstein’s until his death in 1990.  He recalls with amusement Bernstein’s ability to put young musicians at ease by reciting limericks, some of which were quite risqué.

Matthew felt a passion for music at a very young age when his father would play Beethoven to keep him amused rather than playing nursery rhymes.  This led to his lifelong enthusiasm with music as he became both a conductor and composer.  He says, ‘Beethoven has always been central to all my thought processes as a composer.  I still find more life force in his work than in any living composer.’

Over the years, Matthew has appeared as Guest Conductor with many renowned orchestras both at home and abroad and which included many first performance pieces by Robert Simpson, Vagn Holmboe, David Matthews and James Francis Brown.  Matthew has also held significant roles such as Artistic Directorships, Composer in Residence and Lecturer in Composition at the Royal Academy of Music.  He currently works at the Yehudi Menuhin School, supporting the development of his students.

Matthew’s recent work includes his 6th Symphony which was commissioned by the family of Malcom Arnold for the composer’s centenary celebrations. Matthew has long been an advocate for Malcolm Arnold’s music. This work will be broadcast later this year with Matthew conducting the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Having moved to Farnham in 2010, a town that he considered home to many artistic people, Matthew decided to form an orchestra and the Farnham Sinfonia was born. Over time, his vision became a reality, and the orchestra nurtures the next generation of musical talent by inviting young aspiring musicians to perform solo with a professional orchestra. This is a unique proposition for the students and graduates alike and underlines Matthew’s enthusiasm to promote young talent.

Sinfonia’s Outreach programme includes Matthew and Lead Violinist Elizabeth Cooney visiting local schools and colleges to fill the gaps in musical education. Matthew is keen to impart his musical abilities with the rising stars of the future as well as nurturing the orchestra to its full potential.

The next concert is on Saturday, 23 March at 7.30pm at St Andrew’s Farnham.

Mahler – (theme from Death in Venice)

Beethoven – Piano Concerto No. 2 and Two Romances

Schumann – Fairytale (for Viola)

Hindemith – Trauermusik

Piazzolla – Spring

For further information on Farnham Sinfonia (CIO), please go to their website

Big Balloon Build raises over £10,000

Round & About


Local charities’ funds inflated by colourful display of more than 125,000 balloons with the help of Surrey’s Peanut Balloons

Surrey balloon artist Amy Brown has raised more than £10,000 for charity with her Big Balloon Build, an incredible festive display of creativity in December.

More than 1,000 people visited the Big Balloon Build created out of 125,000+ balloons and built in just under four days.

“I’ve seen such wonderful achievements from all the artists involved and incredible possibilities of what can be created out of the humble latex balloon on my journey with the Big Balloon Build,” said Amy, who owns and runs Peanut Balloons in Thursley. “Since my first build in 2017, I have wanted to bring this impressive world to the people in my area, so by bringing it home, I have not only been able to do this, but also help local charities within the community too.”

As a certified balloon artist, Amy has more than 15 years of balloon industry experience and loves the new challenges that balloon decorating brings. This was her sixth Big Balloon Build.

Seventy five of the best balloon artists were selected from around the world to come to the UK and transform the Charterhouse Club at Charterhouse School into a unique, walk-through balloon world, filling the 12,500 square foot Sports Hall.

The impressive display was created in just three and a half days although Amy worked for months behind the scenes with designers and organizers from the Big Balloon Build to bring this incredible event to Surrey.

Visitors were taken on a journey from London to the North Pole made entirely out of biodegradable, natural latex balloons and saw Big Ben, shops, enchanting elf villages, a ski slope with a skiing bunny, life-size reindeer ushering Santa’s sleigh across the winter sky and so much more. Paddington was certainly very popular.

One of those which benefitted was Meath Epilepsy Charity., Lucy Miguda, head of fundraising said: “This was incredible, it totally blew my mind!”

A VIP launch party was held with more than 80 guests including The Mayor of Waverley Cllr Penny Rivers, The Mayor of Godalming Cllr Adam Druce and The Mayor of Guildford Cllr Masuk Miah. Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt, and his family joined in on the fun stopping by for a look when the build opened to the public Friday 15th to Sunday, 17th December.

“We had a lovely time at the balloon event, we have never seen anything like it and had to go around twice,” said Kimberley Burmingham, an associate at Phyllis Tuckwell.

“We are so very happy to receive this wonderful donation, which we will use to provide vital play and leisure opportunities to local disabled young people across the South East, so they can have fun and enjoy new activities with their friends,” said Becky Cox from Disability Challengers.

All profits from ticket sales have been donated in an equal split between the five charity partners: Disability Challengers, Action for Children, The Meath Epilepsy Charity, Phyllis Tuckwell and Farnham Youth Choir. The five charities will split the $10,000 raised to help children in the greater Surrey area.

“The funds raised from the Big Balloon Build could support up to 380 children by paying for soft furnishings for a young person moving into care, helping them to make their room feel like their own,” said Sam Jones, regional manager at Action for Children.

Generous sponsorships were also given from Brewers Decorator Centres and Dominos Pizza Guildford-Stoughton branch who provided a group trip for the delegates to Wisley Glow and evening pizzas for them too. “We are extremely grateful as without the delegates, these fundraising events don’t happen!” said Brown.

Gemar Balloons, a leading manufacturer of 100% bio-based rubber balloons, donated all 125,000+ balloons to the cause and PremiumConwin, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality balloon  inflators and ecofriendly balloon accessories, provided all equipment to inflate the Christmas Wonderland.

A career in caring

Round & About


If you or a loved one benefit from care whether on a daily or occasional basis you’ll value the importance of the carer in your life

Rewarding is the word most often used to describe what it means to be a carer, whether it’s just playing cards, a trip to the shops or attending to medical needs, what you do as a carer can make a real difference to someone’s life.

As the population grows and we live to a greater age – there are now more over 65s than under 5s – there is an increasing need for carers in all sectors. Whether you are enabling someone to continue living in their own home or supporting an older person with greater care needs in a nursing home, as one carer puts it “you’re not just a care professional, you become part of a family”.

No two days are the same and while it may sound like a cliché, the constantly changing needs of those you care for make each day one of discovery as you learn more about them and make connections. You’ll soon find many have interesting stories to tell.

Caring is more of a vocation than a job, which is why Dianne Downard has developed a keen instinct when it comes to interviewing potential new recruits at Goring Care. She has worked with the family care business, owned and directed by the Northeys, for more than 25 years, covering caring, cooking and leading the specialist team.

“You are called to this work and have to care about it and be committed, otherwise it won’t work,” says Dianne. “We offer personal care for those who need it, whether that’s help with bathing, showering, managing continence, food or mobility. We also offer palliative care, so we can meet clients’ needs right to the end.”

Families make contact with the Goring Care team to see whether they can meet the needs of an older person, who is assessed to find out whether dementia is a factor and plan the earliest possible support. “I love working with residents with dementia,” adds Dianne, who lives in Didcot. “It’s about making them feel they’re still important and valued as human beings. Whether they remember your name or to say thank you doesn’t matter. You’ve done something to improve their quality of life. We call them ‘butterfly moments’. Everyone deserves to feel safe and loved all the way through their life, as you’d want for your parents or grandparents.”

Having worked in reablement, learning disabilities, end-of-life care, and dementia specialist roles, Susie Long chose to join BelleVie Care which operates across Oxfordshire, bringing two decades of experience to a rewarding role. She was drawn to BelleVie’s person-centric approach and commitment to exceptional care.

The team, carefully selected for their passion and alignment with BelleVie’s values, reflects a diverse range of interests, from studying environmental studies to participating in local drama groups, singing, dancing, cooking, personal development, and travel.

Susie emphasises the importance of recruiting caregivers exclusively from the communities served, fostering a strong local connection.

She envisions BelleVie Care as a beacon of hope, not only for those they support but for those aspiring to work in the care sector and aims to transform the perception of care roles by advocating for excellent working conditions, providing support and training, and ensuring fair wages.

For Susie, BelleVie is not just a care provider; it’s a community where caregivers go the extra mile to ensure the well-being and happiness of those they serve. The emphasis on quality mentoring, coaching, and training reflects the commitment to delivering first-class support and enabling caregivers to thrive.

This month sees You Can Care Week, an annual event dedicated to raising awareness about careers in social care and inspiring others to consider getting involved in the social care sector and embarking on a fulfilling and rewarding role.

The week-long campaign shines a light on the essential work carers do day in, day out and the immense influence they have on not just the lives of those they care for but on their families and communities too. There is a growing demand for care workers and the week aims to attract more to the profession and explore the career opportunities it presents not just as a care assistant but also as support workers and social workers.

Ring the changes with your wedding

Round & About


Celebrate your big day, your way, your wedding day should reflect who you are and with these trends for 2024 it shows you can ‘rip up the rule book’ and surprise your guests

Congratulations! You’ve celebrated your engagement and now’s where the fun / hard work starts. Planning a wedding is exciting and sometimes overwhelming. Why not take some inspiration from the trends for 2024 to kick start those plans for your ‘big day’…

Sustainability is a key consideration for many brides and grooms this year with couples becoming increasingly aware of the impact on the environment of ‘throw away’ items. Many will opt for biodegradable, recycled and upcycled decorations with ‘pre-loved’ dresses ticking both the eco and cost boxes. Charity shops are a great source of beautiful bargain dresses and Oxfam has a website dedicated to them, onlineshop.oxfam.org.uk/bridal

Hiring is growing in popularity too for all the reasons above, older readers will remember fondly popping into high street stores for tails and top hats. Searches for ‘wedding dress hire’ have increased with specialist shops offering the opportunity to rent designer or vintage dresses. It’s only worn for one day and if you’re on a budget or are trying not to splash too much cash on one item, it gives you funds to use elsewhere. One of the key dress trends for this year is colour, expect blush or champagne hues, bold brides may even try blue or peach.

Alongside alternative colours and styles are a move towards alternative venues allowing couples to be more creative and often offering a more personal choice – beaches, barns, vineyards and even industrial spaces are becoming increasingly popular as are outdoor options. During the pandemic many couples wishing to continue with their nuptials had no alternative but to say “I do” in the open air and this is continuing especially with brides and grooms wishing to get up close to nature and celebrate in the great outdoors.

Ideally positioned within the heart of the charming historic village of Crondall, Crondall Village Hall offers a perfect setting for your magical day. Opening onto the village green and able to seat 150 guests comfortably, offering a further smaller room which can act as a bar, buffet space or a further entertaining area, a large well-equipped kitchen, parking and competitive packages, making it suitable for all requirements. Please contact [email protected]

Hand in hand with the venue will go the choice of food and again, there is an increasing trend towards less formal fare with couples reflecting their personalities with sharing platters and grazing menus. Both provide a great way for guests to mingle and break the ice, chatting over the charcuterie and cheese, wandering among warm bread and olives. Dessert bars are an original alternative to the traditional cake, choose a variety of mini options that are sure to please even the pickiest of guests, bear in mind you’ll need to cater for different diets but the possibilities are endless.

After the day-long celebration comes that precious time for the two of you to be together and reflect but don’t despair if that bucket-list once-in-a-lifetime trip isn’t possible right now, opt for a minimoon instead. Choose a nearby location and enjoy just recharging and relaxing after the hectic past few months, perhaps extend your stay at your wedding venue and enjoy what that has to offer.

Explore a delightful array of wedding gifts at Culinary Concepts, crafted to capture the hearts of the newlyweds and be treasured for years to come. Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift or a stunning centerpiece, from beautiful barware to charming token gifts, our collection has you covered. Visit culinaryconcepts.co.uk for ideas.

Art & soul

Liz Nicholls


John Vardon raises a toast to Arts’ Society Farnham Evening who have been meeting for 20 years this month

Venice was the subject of the inaugural lecture given by Douglas Skeggs to the Cobbett’s Wey Decorative and Fine Arts Society on 14th January 2004. 

Eight months earlier, in April 2003, a group of like-minded ladies got together with a view to setting up a Decorative and Fine Arts Society (DFAS) that would meet in the evening, complementing the existing society meeting in the daytime, and giving an opportunity for working Farnham people to attend lectures.  There was much to do, from finding a suitable venue, through procuring audio visual equipment, creating a programme of lectures, finding a name for the nascent society, drafting a constitution and preparing publicity material to establishing a membership.  In the intervening period, the steering committee worked hard and with success; the society was born.

From the beginning, refreshments were served before the lectures, allowing members and their guests to socialise and the society’s meetings rapidly gained a reputation as friendly as well as informative events.  In the beginning, nine lectures were presented each year but, after only two years, this was increased to ten. The range of lectures has been extremely wide; topics covered have been as diverse as gardens, silver, furniture, tromp l’oeil, architecture, music, bricks and much else.

The society also arranges visits and study days for members, often related to a the subject of a lecture. Members have also been active participants as Church Recorders and Heritage volunteers. Church Recorders ensure that the contents of a church are meticulously described and fully recorded whilst Heritage Volunteers work to conserve artefacts in museums, archives, gardens and historic houses.  Another aspect of the society’s activities was the Young Arts Bursary designed to assist promising young students in their studies to support artists of the future; more recently, the Society has provided financial support to the Woodlarks Centre, specifically in support of the on-site Activity Centre.

In 2017, the National Association of Decorative and Fine Arts Societies rebranded as The Arts Society so, as an affiliated organisation, Cobbett’s Wey DFAS became The Arts’ Society, Farnham Evening (ASFE) but it still retained its reputation as a welcoming and friendly society offering an excellent series of lectures.  The COVID pandemic presented further challenges to the Society which went on-line enabling its programme of lectures to continue with only minor interruptions.  However, it was a real joy for Members to reconvene to socialise over a drink and listen to excellent lectures. Over the years, a hard working and cohesive committee supported by enthusiastic volunteers has ensured the success of the Society.  And so at the end of 2023, the Society celebrates the completion of twenty years with the return of Douglas Skeggs, speaking this time on the topic of James Whistler: The Gentle Art of Making Enemies

New members are most welcome or come to a talk as a visitor. Free parking and a glass of wine are included! For further information visit theartssocietyfarnhamevening.org.uk

Grayson Perry at The Lightbox

Round & About


Grayson’s tapestries visit Surrey for the first time. For those with good taste. Possibly.

Grayson Perry’s The Vanity of Small Differences – six large-scale tapestries exploring the British fascination with social class, created by the Turner Prize-winning artist as a result of his acclaimed TV series – go on display at The Lightbox this January. The tapestries, which are part of the Arts Council Collection, are touring the country and this will be their first public display in Surrey.

Inspired by the characters, incidents and objects the artist encountered during the making of his Channel 4 documentary series, All in the Best Possible Taste, the tapestries evolved from drawings and photography Perry made whilst travelling around England in search of what is – or isn’t – deemed to be ‘good taste’. 

Grayson Perry is one of Britain’s most celebrated artists and cultural figures.  He is recognised as a great chronicler of contemporary life, tackling subjects that are universally human: social status, identity, sexuality, religion and more.

In The Vanity of Small Differences, Perry shares a story of 21st century social mobility. The tapestries chart the life of a fictional character, Tim Rakewell, whose ‘class journey’ has parallels with that of his 18th century namesake, Tom Rakewell – the central figure in William Hogarth’s A Rake’s Progress (1732-34). 

As Hogarth told his tale in a series of eight paintings, Grayson Perry shares the rise and demise of Tim Rakewell in this series of six, 2m x 4m tapestries – an art form traditionally associated with grand houses for the depiction of great historical, religious and military scenes.  In The Vanity of Small Differences, Perry plays with the idea of using this ancient allegorical art to elevate the commonplace dramas of contemporary British life.

Art historical references within contemporary scenes feature throughout the series.  In The Adoration of the Cage Fighters,in which the infant Tim reaches for his mother’s smartphone, there are echoes of Mantegna’s Adoration of the Shepherds (c.1450), and Perry’s second tapestry, Agony in the Car Park, is described by the artist as a “distant relative” of Bellini’s Agony in the Garden (c.1465).

The Annunciation of the Virgin Deal shows Tim as a wealthy man having sold his business to Richard Branson, with the convex mirror and discarded shoes recalling the famous Arnofilni Portrait (1434) by Jan van Eyck; and in The Upper Class at Bay, Tim and his wife, now owners of a mansion in the Cotswolds, resemble Mr and Mrs Andrews walking through their estate in Thomas Gainsborough’s celebrated painting.

But the story ends in tragedy.  In Perry’s final, dramatic tapestry, Lamentation – which takes inspiration from The Lamentation (c.1441) by Rogier van der Weyden – Tim’s life comes to an end following a car accident.  This image also reconnects the series with Hogarth, whose final painting in A Rake’s Progress records Tom Rakewell’s death.

Grayson Perry said: “The tapestries tell the story of class mobility, for I think nothing has as strong an influence on our aesthetic taste as the social class in which we grow up. I am interested in the politics of consumerism and the history of popular design but for this project I focus on the emotional investment we make in the things we choose to live with, wear, eat, read or drive. Class and taste run deep in our character – we care. This emotional charge is what draws me to a subject”.

Sarah Brown, Director of The Lightbox, said: “We are thrilled that The Lightbox will host this exhibition, which marks Grayson Perry’s first solo exhibition in Surrey and is also the first time that The Vanity of Small Differences have been on public display in the county.  Creating local opportunities to experience the best contemporary and modern art is at the heart of what we do, and through our exhibitions, activities and community events we work hard to ensure that as many people as possible can benefit.”

“We share with Grayson a firm belief that “art is good for you”, and never have we needed it more. This exhibition will provide inspiration for the New Year and we look forward to welcoming visitors.”

Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences opens at The Lightbox, Woking on 27 January (until 2 June). A programme of events for visitors, schools and community groups accompanies the exhibition.  For further information: lightbox.org.uk

Image credit: GraysonPerry: The Adoration of the Cage Fighters 2012, Arts Council Collection, Southbank Centre, London ©GraysonPerry Gift of the artist and Victoria Miro Gallery with the support of Channel 4 Television, The Art Fund and Sfumato Foundation with additional support from Alix Partners

Festive cheer with local beer!

Karen Neville


Hogs Back Brewery gears up for Christmas with new beer and parties at its Tap

Hogs Back Brewery is getting ready for Christmas! The Tongham brewery has a trio of festive beers, available from the Brewery Shop and Tap as well as local pubs. For anyone after some festive fun in the brewery, ‘Winter Wonderland’ nights in December offer delicious food, drink and a crowd-pleasing disco.

Newly brewed for this Christmas is Fairy Tale of New Pork, a 4% ABV amber ale available on draught. Brewed with authentic beechwood smoked German malt, English pale and crystal malts, it has flavours of cinder toffee, caramel, biscuit and warm smokiness.

Fairy Tale of New Pork joins two returning seasonal favourites: Mistletoe & Swine, a 4.2% ABV, full-bodied cask ale with subtle hints of sultana, peppery ginger, warm cinnamon and orange zest and Advent Ale, a 4.4% deep chestnut ale with notes of sweet liquorice and rich dark chocolate aftertaste, which is available in bottle as well as on draught – making the perfect stocking filler for a beer lover! 

Fun on Tap

The brewery’s Tap has become a destination for great beer, food and regular performances from local bands when it becomes a party space every Friday and Saturday night, offering a range of menus – including vegan options – and drinks packages to suit every taste and budget. And with a DJ playing all the hits through til midnight, it’s a great way to celebrate the party season with friends or work colleagues. Book your table and dust off your dancing shoes now!

Other festive events at the Tap include a special family-friendly charity quiz on Thursday 21st December. Or just book a Tap table with friends for any night and enjoy a Snorter – a refillable glass flagon containing 31/2 pints of any of Hogs Back’s festive or year-round favourites, fresh from the brewery.

And for designated drivers or those wanting to take a break from drinking, Hogs Back’s Little Swine 0.5% is a full-bodied, flavourful pale ale. Brewed with speciality malts and three hop varieties including Cascade from Hogs Back’s hop garden, Little Swine allows offers all the taste of a full-strength beer, without the alcohol. Available in 330ml bottles from the Tap or Brewery Shop.

Managing director Rupert Thompson said: “The run up to Christmas is always a busy time for us: we’re brewing flat out to meet demand from pubs and customers in our Shop, and at the same time we’re hosting parties and other events in the Tap. There’s always a great atmosphere with many of our regular drinkers popping in to pick up supplies for their celebrations at home, or to meet friends for a drink.”

For more details on events at the Hogs Back Tap, go here. The Brewery Shop will be open for extended hours from December, for details go here.

Guildford Fringe’s adult panto is back

Round & About


The sell-out professional adult panto Sleeping Beauty Felt A Little Prick is at The Back Room of the Star Inn, Guildford, from November 23rd to January 6th

Guildford Fringe Adult Panto returns for its 12th year, with Sleeping Beauty Felt A Little Prick the Adult Panto running from 23rd November – 6th January 2024 at the Back Room of the Star Inn.

The show is delivered by the creative team behind the company’s recent hit adult pantos Sinders, D!CK, Pinocchio, Aladdin One Rub Too Many and Throbbin’ Hood & his Little John. The production has a brand new script, written by Director James Chalmers with Assistant Director and Choreographer Charlotte Wyschna.

Charlotte Wyschna and Nick Wyschna of Guildford Fringe said: “Prepare for an uproarious spectacle as our yearly adult panto returns, promising laughter, mischief, and a stellar cast that will leave you in stitches. With a history of sold-out success, this year’s production is set to be a comedic masterpiece that’ll have audiences talking long after the final curtain falls.”

The professional cast (with character names kept clean here…) is:

Ciara-Alexandra Booker (Fairy): Ciara-Alexandra trained in Musical Theatre at Bird College of Performing Arts. Theatre includes:  Aladdin (DK Productions), Shakespeare In Love (Altrincham Garrick Playhouse) and Aladdin (The Empty Space).

Rosy Carr (Baddy): Rosy recently graduated from Performance Preparation Academy in Guildford.Theatre includes: Throbbin Hood and His Little John (Guildford Fringe Theatre Company) and RENT (Performance Preparation Academy).

Molly King (Princess):  Molly is training with Identity School of Acting, and is a 2022 Bird College graduate.Theatre includes:  One Week in Magaluf (Edinburgh Fringe Festival), The Business of Love (The Hope Theatre, London), Pippin (Doreen Bird Foundation Theatre) and Aladdin (Theatre Royal, Bath).Molly is the Founder and Director of Reclaim Productions (.).

Finan McKinney (Prince):  Finan trained at Arts Educational Schools London followed by the Performance Preparation Academy. Theatre includes: Viking Cruise Vocalist, Aladdin (Redhill), and In Pieces Workshop. Finan is delighted to be spending this Christmas making rude jokes in Guildford, a town in which he trained at drama school! 

David Scotland (Dame): David trained at Bird College. David is delighted to be working with Guildford Fringe again after appearing in Dick! – The Adult Panto previously. In 2022, David was selected for the Traverse Theatre’s Breakthrough Writers: Launchpad programme. His first play, I’ve Never Met Anyone Quite Like You Before debuted at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2023, receiving fantastic reviews and a nomination for an OffFest Award. 

To book for Sleeping Beauty Felt A Little Prick the Adult Panto, strictly for over 18s only, visit www.GuildfordFringe.com or telephone the Box Office on 01483 361101. The show runs at approx. 1 hour (no interval). Strictly for 18+ audiences.

Tickets: £20-£21.50. www.GuildfordFringe.com / 01483 361101

Age Guidance: strictly 18+ only

Access: There is no step-free access to the venue. There are no disabled toilets at the venue.

 The most English Scotsman?

Round & About


Robbie James shares his love of his ‘homeland’ in his new TV show and invites you to join the journey up north

I’ve lived all but two years of my life in the south of England. I grew up near Winchester. Winchester! It doesn’t get much more English than middle class, oat milk flat white, Schoffel wearing Winchester. I’ve since moved to Farnham. Farnham! Middle class, oat milk flat white, Schoffel wearing Farnham.

Ok so maybe I’ve had a fairly English life so far, but at heart, I feel very, very Scottish. I know, you’re rolling your eyes as you await me to tell you about my great aunt’s, cousin’s, labrador’s, dressing table’s Scottish heritage, but let me explain.

My grandparents on my mum’s side came down to Aldershot from Glasgow when my grandad (Papi as we call him) was in the parachute regiment. Ever since, my family has been settled down south, but they’ve never lost their love and impassionment for Scotland, and that’s rubbed off on me. 

Watching Scotland play in the Six Nations from their south coast home has formed the nucleus of all major family events. Hearing stories of Jack & Betty’s less than glamorous upbringings in the Glaswegian tenements has humbled us through the years, and near enough everything I have in my life is thanks to their relentless hard graft. But anyway, we’ve always been brought up to be aware of our Scottish roots, and to feel them.

So when Travelxp asked me if I’d like to host a TV show taking you around Scotland for 10 days, I immediately said yes. We filmed it at the back end of the summer and it was the most fun. It felt like a form of homecoming, which even I struggle to comprehend given I’ve only ever lived in Scotland to study at Heriot Watt University for two years, but I feel at my most content in Scotland. 

Every country has a mixed bag of people; but the self-deprecating, warm, charming and often downright mischievous sense of humour from Scottish people is something I can really get on board with. The landscape is also just beautiful to the point where I feel drained from the emotion it somehow brings out in me. So romantic, curiously personable, and yes really cold, but that’s fine.

I think the show covers all bases when it comes to exploring the country. We of course take you through some of the most emotive landscape the UK (and in my opinion, the world) has to offer, but we also head into cities, touch on Scotland’s often traumatic history, and you bet we learn the bagpipes (which by the way is one of the hardest things to do, lots of blowing, to the extent I nearly passed out).

I think it’s important not to force any kind of #content down anyone’s throat. No one trusts a sales rep, so we wanted to give you some ideas of things to do if you’re visiting Scotland, but they’re only ideas. You’re grown up and can plan your own trip, you don’t need me to tell you how brilliant every single cafe or walk in Scotland is, because it’s not. That’s not the case anywhere, except maybe Farnham…or Winchester. Uh oh.

Watch Robbie James in 10 Days Scotland, which airs from 25th November exclusively on Travelxp.