‘Last year is dead they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh’

Philip Larkin ‘The Trees’


Fresh beginnings are often associated with New Year and if your decision is to take more of an active role in engaging with the world of the Arts, can I commend you on your decision. The Arts Committee are more than confident that the range, choice and quality of our Lent Term programme will more than meet your needs and we will be delighted to welcome you to the EM Forster Theatre.

Larkin’s poem seems to suggest that not all changes are as clean cut as may seem on the surface and just as the Michaelmas Term ended with a pantomime, our New Year programme opens with Aladdin, which will surely help the joy of the festive season linger on a little longer. Elsewhere on stage, it is our pleasure to offer you more NT Live productions than last year, with No Man’s Land, St Joan, Hedda Gabler Amadeus all being played at the theatre. In the spirit of collecting quality products, our Art programme and exhibitions features a talk from Valerie Woodgate, from Tate Modern exploring why we collect in ‘The Art of Collecting’ which prefaces our major exhibition this term ‘Recollection’ in OBS which explores the power of the object in our modern digital world.

Jay Rayner, acclaimed food critic of The Observer, visits us in January to deliver his 10 (Food) Commandments which will include a Q&A session and book signing, whilst Dr Sean McEvoy will offer us in an insight into the mind of arguably Shakespeare’s greatest character in a talk, Hamlet (in) Action. Musically the programme builds over the term starting with the Allan Bunney concert before the excellent school symphony orchestra performs Brahms Symphony Number 2 in D Major, in what is ever a popular event in the school calendar. These are soon followed by New Sussex Opera who will perform A Village Romeo and Juliet: Delius, in the original English before the season ends in a whirl of movement and grace as we once more welcome Ballet Central in early April. Our popular Comedy nights, our Children’s shows in Room on the Broom and Christopher Nibble, are not to be missed either, so please do book early to avoid disappointment.

It is impossible to cover all the content of a jam-packed programme in this welcome page, so please do read on and discover what delights we have in store for you. I look forward to seeing you.

John Bleakley, Chair Tonbridge Arts Committee