On 13th September 9 2018 U3A members joined a FORD’s trip to Ickworth House and Gardens. It was a beautiful sunny day for our outing. The house was a unique insight into “the upstairs, downstairs” world of a country estate, with fascinating details and artefacts in every room. A cooking demonstration in the kitchens was of particular interest.
On 19th September 10 2018 U3A members made their way by train to the Drury Lane Theatre for a matinee performance of 42nd Street staring Bonnie Langford. With stunning costumes, scenery, music and polished tap dance routines it was a spectacular show and exceptional value. It was a shame more members were unable to join us.
Ten Pin Bowling and IZUMI – 23rd February 2018
This was our second visit to Madison Heights. Ten Pin Bowling has proved to be so popular with members that we have decided to make it an annual Autumn and Winter event. Twenty members attended on the day. Teams were sorted and bowling commenced. Each team managed to play between two or three games in the time available. Cheers and clapping could be heard as players achieved strikes or spares knocking down ten pins with gusto. Whilst commiserations to those who managed to bowl their bowling ball in the gutter instead of down the bowling lane to hit the pins. It was excellent fun. We followed this with an all you can eat buffet at IZUMI. Thank you to everyone who supported this event.
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Beverly and Brian Hunt
Royal Opera House Production Workshop- Purfleet Thurrock.
On Friday 16th March seventeen U3A members and friends boarded the FORDs coach at the Village Hall for a trip to the Royal Opera House Production Workshops in Purfleet. It was a beautifully sunny day and the traffic was very light so we arrived at the site in plenty of time to have a coffee before our tour started.
The 14-acre site is part of urban regeneration and within the landscaped Production Park, the Grade II listed 16th-century High House farm buildings, including a dovecote, orchard and walled gardens have been renovated to provide a range of uses, including public areas for events and exhibitions and spaces for craft activity. The Backstage Centre offers technical training in backstage skills and the High House Artist Studios are affordable spaces for local artists to work and live.
Our guide, Graham with the help of two volunteer guides escorted us on a tour that lasted one and a half hours. We discovered that High House Production Park in Thurrock is home to the Bob and Tamar Manoukian purpose-built Production Workshops and Costume Centre.
In the Production Workshops we were able to see the sets and scenery being built and painted by teams of highly-skilled scenic artists, carpenters, draughtsman, and metalworkers creating the many different sets that appear in the ballets and operas performed on the stage of the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. We watched a video where the Head of Scenic Art, explained some of the processes, including transporting the finished sets to London.
Next, we visited the Costume Centre, which opened in October 2015, and houses more than 20,000 costumes for current Royal Opera House productions, as well as historic costumes, wigs, musical instruments and furniture from the archive collection. We were fortunate to see tutus being made for a production of Swan Lake. One of the staff involved in the making of the costumes was able to explain how long it took to make the costumes and answer our many questions.
After a very informative and entertaining tour we left our guide and made our way to the Coachman’s Café for a light lunch and a walk around the gardens, before we made our way home.
Members expressed interest in visiting the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden for a Tour and perhaps this is something we can do next year.
Many thanks to those who supported this trip and to those who filled places at short notice.
Beverly and Brian Hunt
Visit to Moot Hall Thursday 19th October 2017
Fifteen members attended an afternoon tour of Maldon’s historic Moot Hall. Our informative guide, Paul, told us about the history of the Hall which is the oldest brick built building still in use in the UK. The building has been used for many things over the years including a Police Station, Prison, Magistrates Court, Town Council Chamber and recently a Wedding venue. The tour concluded with a visit to the roof of the building, accessed by narrow winding stairways, which gave stunning panoramic views over the town and river and surrounding countryside.
Visit to Wipers Times 12th October 2017
A big thank you to all the members who supported us on this first Social Event that we have organised. Thirty-one members went to see this play at The Palace Theatre, Southend. The play was based on a true story of a Newspaper produced and distributed by soldiers on the front line in the trenches during the First World War by British soldiers fighting in the Ypres Salient.
Positive feedback showed that this was trip was a great success.
Beverly and Brian Hunt