Strode autumn season has it all

GARDENING, eating, laughing – entertaining  – Strode Theatre’s autumn season has it all.

The theatre is celebrating 55 years of serving the communities of Street, Glastonbury and Mendip district, and the programme is packed with comedy, drama, music, films, exhibitions and event cinema.

Big names coming to Street include Carol Klein of Gardeners’ World’s and actor and singer Jason Donovan, in September; and food critic, writer and presenter of BBC Radio 4’s Kitchen Cabinet, Jay Rayner, award-winning author Dame Margaret Drabble and impressionists Rory Bremner and Jan Ravens, in November.

Local theatre companies have always had a vital role in the Strode year, and this autumn, Street Theatre Company will be staging the heart-warming American comedy Steel Magnolias – book your appointment for Truvy’s salon!

The Christmas show, staged just after the festive holiday, brings Glastonbury and Street Musical Comedy Society in the traditional pantomime, which this year is Goldilocks and the Three Amazing Bears.

Local organisations raising funds with live events include Somerset Wildlife Trust, which has organised the evening with the distinguished author and critic Dame Margaret Drabble; Street Baptist Church, with a Variety Fundraiser Concert; and a quiz night in the bar with the Friends of Strode Theatre.

There’s pop nostalgia with Cliff Richard tribute artist Jimmy Jermain, 60s bands The Salvos, New Amen Corner and Union Gap, and ABBA tribute Sensation. And for Cliff Richard fans there is an evening with the man himself on the Strode screen in mid-October.

There is folk and roots music with the superb Finnish fiddles of Frigg, and the guitar and stories of Mark Harrison and his band. And on the classical front, Mid-Somerset Orchestra will be playing Beethoven’s 7th Symphony in their  December concert, and the new seasons of screenings from the Royal Opera and the Met in New York will include Verdi’s Aida and La Traviata, and Wagner’s Die Walküre.

Dance and ballet fans will enjoy satellite screenings from the Royal Ballet and the Bolshoi, and Vienna Festival Ballet will be on the Strode stage with the perennial Christmas favourite, The Nutcracker. For those who like more edgy and contemporary dance, the Rosie Kay Dance Company will bring MK Ultra to Street in October. Local dancers have a showcase in South West School of Dance’s Time of Our Lives in December.

Live by satellite theatre productions from the National Theatre, the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Globe and the West End include Shakespeare’s King Lear with Ian McKellen, and Antony and Cleopatra with Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo, Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest and the musical Funny Girl with Sheridan Smith.

As always, Strode Theatre has a full programme of films, from new releases to the best in world cinema, family favourites and classics. Check out our film page, Moving Pictures, for regular updates.

Pick up a brochure at the arts centre or visit the website www.strodetheatre.org.uk

Pictured: Rory Bremner and Jan Ravens, Carol Klein and Jay Rayner.