that was the
pearl of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it.‘


R.S. Thomas ‘ poem ‘The Bright Field’ encourages us not to hurry through life to an imagined future but rather to take the time to turn aside to notice the ‘pearl of great price’ that might  be right before our eyes. This term’s Arts offerings hope to help us to enable to do that, and it is no accident that the exhibition, which borrows Thomas title, encourages us to consider our relationship between the landscapes we inhabit and our own selves.  We are delighted to welcome our resident Artist, Rosemary Powell, who  hopes to construct a piece of collaborative art involving the whole Tonbridge community, whilst the community exhibition Diversity which opens the year reminds us of how varied life can be in Tonbridge.

We are delighted to continue our showings of NT Live which began in the summer of 2015, with the much awaited performance of Benedict Cumberbatch as Hamlet, following acclaimed productions of Coriolanus and The Beaux Stratagem.

On the stage before us we welcome back the Propeller Company for a production of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice, whilst the music events will follow a series of Shakespeare-inspired concerts exploring different genres.

The heady days of McEnroe and Borg may be fading in the memory of some, but the era of bad losers and angst are wittily recreated by Jamie Wood in his successful show Beating McEnroe whilst the theatre season finishes with the eagerly anticipated school production of Hamlet.

For younger lovers of drama we have a fantastic programme: those aged 3+ will want to come and see Marvellous Imaginary Menagerie and The Snow Dragon early in term before preparing for the Christmas celebration with Blunderbus’ production of Santa’s Little Helper.


We are also privileged to be welcoming a wide range of speakers from Costa poetry prizewinning poet Jonathan Edwards, to Cambridge Fellow Dr Mark Wormald looking at the work of Ted Hughes. Photographer Gina Glover, multi media artist Jessica Rayner and Social Scientist Geof Rayner  will discuss their new book The Metabolic Landscape and Tonbridge’s own Toby Duncan will reflect on the development of his ideas and practice, with particular reference to the works in the exhibition The Bright Field.    

Sitting in the middle of the hottest July day on record, it is difficult to foresee how one will feel in December by which stage the current programme outlined in the ensuing pages will be over. However, the Arts committee is confident that the content will help to maintain a sense of summer optimism in the minds of audiences and that there is variety and innovation aplenty to cater for a wide range of tastes.


John Bleakley


Chair of The Arts Committee