Following on from Julu’s impressive programme of events August has lots on offer too.
The Doncastrian Chalk Circle
Presented in partnership with National Theatre Public Acts, this August bank holiday weekend the Doncaster community will perform a new, immersive show at Cast, Doncaster.
This is part of the National Theatre’s ongoing nationwide initiative to create extraordinary acts of theatre and community. It is a searing and celebratory new version of Brecht’s classic The Caucasian Chalk Circle, adapted for this project by Chris Bush, with music by Ruth Chan, directed by James Blakey, Associate Director Public Acts.
A heartrending and gripping tale of the families we choose filled with passion, hope and plenty of Yorkshire grit and humour.
In a divided community, our reluctant hero, Grusha, risks everything to rescue an abandoned baby and raise him as her own. When the child’s aristocratic mother returns to claim him, a rogue judge devises a unique test to determine their fate and who will be the rightful mother.
The Doncastrian Chalk Circle sees the National Theatre join forces with the people of Doncaster as part of its Public Acts programme to create a community musical on an epic scale, featuring a cast of over 100 local performers, including b:friend, Conversation Club, Edlington Community Organisation (ECO), Creative Directions, Young Company, Changing Lives and Peoples Group alongside a cast of professional actors: Benjamin Armstrong, Daisy Ann Fletcher, Beth Hinton-Lever, Charlotte Mills and John Partridge and live band.
CAST’s director and chief executive, Deborah Rees, said: “After four years, eighty meetings and one pandemic we are delighted to be at last steering this epic company towards a production that we hope will go a long way towards reminding local audiences about the power and impact of live theatre, coming to Cast and helping to heal us all after such a tumultuous last three years.
CAST, Doncaster DN1 3BU
Main Space – tickets available from CAST, £15
Saturday 27 th August Performance 7pm
Sunday 28 th August Performance 7pm
Monday 29 th August Performance 2pm matinee and 7pm
Doncaster Minster Organ recitals
Audiences were able to shelter from the summer heat whilst enjoying two more satisfying recitals.
On 8 July veteran David Price was the visiting organist. He began with Fanfare and Procession by the recently deceased Francis Jackson, an appropriate and rousing gesture, following this with some cheerful J. S. Bach – the popular Fugue a la Gigue and Franck’s Pastorale Opus 19. His main work was the so-called 6th Sonata by Mendelssohn: the composer did not conceive this and its five companions as sonatas and they are in fact collections by his publishers of pieces grouped by key.
Mr. Price concluded his recital with two contrasting and – to me – unfamiliar, shortish movements, Douglas Steele’s gentle chorale prelude on Gibbons’s Angel Song and the lovely Toccata (1912) by Gaston Berlier, in the French style.
The summer series was concluded in excellent fashion on 22 July, with a recital by the former Organ Scholar at the Minster, Elli-Mae McGlone, two years after she would normally have given her closing recital as Organ Scholar but delayed due to Covid. This gap was beneficial both to Elli-Mae and to us because of her no doubt greater maturity, confidence and experience than if it had taken place in, say, 2020. She has just completed her first year of organ study at the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and this has clearly helped her blossom as a performer.
Her programme, chosen with intelligence and care, was a mixture of the fairly familiar and the less familiar. Instead of J. S. Bach she began with an authoritative account of Buxtehude’s Praeludium in C major, following this in stimulating contrast with one of Brahms’s late Chorale Preludes and César Franck’s Prélude, Fugue & Variation in B minor, perhaps the recital’s main work and delivered with confidence.
This acted as a bridge to the more modern French repertoire which concluded this impressive recital – made up of Chant de Mai by Jongen (a Belgian) and a movement from Messiaen’s La Nativité du Seigneur, an enterprising yet not unfamiliar choice. The recital ended with two contrasting movements by Messiaen’s near contemporary Langlais, one of his Poèmes Evangéliques and one of his Paraphrases Grégoriennes, which latter rousingly showed off so much of this marvellous instrument’s capabilities.
Delighted audience members hope it will not be too long before Elli-Mae is invited back to give a further recital.
A wonderful way to pass an hour in the beautiful setting of the minster and we eagerly look forward to the organ recital series continuing from September.
Sprotbrough Music Society
Once again the audience were entertained on Thursday 21 July, with an amazing, accomplished performance by two brilliant, young musicians! Scottish tenor, Michael Gibson, has a powerful voice and he sang with expression, sensitivity and crisp diction. He had the audience spellbound and moved throughout.
The first half of the concert comprised of the Vaughan Williams ‘Songs of Travel’ which was a wonderful choice to celebrate the 150 th anniversary of the composer’s birth.
The second half comprised of nine superbly performed songs from all four nations of the UK including an extremely amusing encore about Scotland and the dreaded midges!
Michael Davies accompanied beautifully and sensitively. A wonderful partnership!
The concert series will resume again in September and we look forward to another rich and engaging programme.
FLASH MOB EXTRODINAIRE!
On Friday 15 th July the Beechfield Youth Orchestra, along with Doncaster School’s Senior Orchestra and the Senior Brass Group gave the final concert of the term. The young musicians thrilled and delighted the audience by playing music by Eric Coates, Bizet and Beethoven.
But the pièce de résistance was the final piece, Beethoven’s overture The Creatures of Prometheus, when former members of the orchestra were invited to bring their instruments along and join in with the performance.
This was an exciting, albeit emotional way to bid both David Tonkin and Charlotte Pinder a fond farewell as they both leave their roles as conductors after 10 years musical leadership of the Youth Orchestra.
Mr. Tonkin said ‘It was lovely to see familiar faces and to hear accounts of what a special place the orchestra has in their hearts.’
Some music was also conducted by the orchestra’s new director, Holly-Rayne Bennet and whilst this is the end of an era in some respects it is also an exciting new beginning for the Orchestra and we look forward to seeing more students perform and develop their musicianship through the Doncaster Music Service in the years to come.