Friday, 5 February 2016

A Rural Review 2016: Week 5!

Hello to everyone and welcome back to ‘A Rural Review’.  If you are reading this you will know why this has been such a fantastically exciting week for us here at Rural Arts. Our brand new (and also quite beautiful if we do say so ourselves) website has been launched and we are so pleased with the outcome. For those of you who do not normally read this blog and have stumbled upon it after giving our new website a peruse, A Rural Review usually consists of us recapping what has happened at Rural Arts this week and also what we have coming up in the near future. Please do make sure you pop back every Friday to read about what we have been up to - it's good fun we promise! However, with such a humoungous week in the Rural Arts calendar we have decided to do away with the format for a week, and instead will tell you about all our favourite new features of our brand new site.  

Buying products from the Gallery online!
Our gallery has always been the one of the most popular features here at The Courthouse, and now it has made the jump to online! Instead of having to get up off your sofa and venture into whatever storm we are battling through this week to get to Rural Arts, you can now purchase beautiful jewellery, paintings and and other artworks from the comfort of your own home. All our products have been photographed using high quality equipment, so that you can really see what  you are buying before you click the all important ‘checkout’.

Landing Pages
One of the comments we get most frequently when we chat to our customers is they are surprised at just how much we do - Rural Arts has many fingers in many pies and sometimes even we can struggle to keep tabs on all of our activities - which is what makes this blog such essential literature! We wanted to make sure everyone can appreciate the varied and unique work we do all over North Yorkshire so if you click on 'ON Tour' 'Visit Us' or 'Community Art' on the top banner or the homepage you will be taken through to what is known as a 'Landing Page.' These give you all the information about three of our key teams,  our Outreach Team, our ON Tour scheme and our venue The Courthouse. Not only do these pages give you a better sense of what we do but also can direct you to the specific areas you are looking for - useful eh?!

Talking of Landing Pages, here's one we made earlier...

Gift Vouchers
We know how much you love Rural Arts (if you didn’t you wouldn’t be reading this blog I imagine!) and so why not reward the people you love by giving them a gift voucher to spend either at The Courthouse or on any other lovely activities online. With three different amounts (£10, £25 or £50) it is the perfect gift for any occasion. Now, all you need to do is head over to Shop Online and choose your amount and we will send you your gift voucher code via e-mail instantly - Valentines day is coming up after all?


As you can probably tell we are pretty darn excited about where Rural Arts is heading and we hope you are too – but the only reason we are able to keep moving forward is down to you and your continued support (oh lord it has all gone a bit X-Factor hasn't it?) Like every charity, donations are integral to the future of Rural Arts and we have added a feature on our website to make the whole process of donating much easier. All you need to do is click on the little button on the right hand side of the page - the little bluey/greeney one (one staff member has just suggested it may be aqua but the jury is still out on that..) This button takes you through to a page where you can make a donation to help Rural Arts continue to do our work. Joking aside, we have blown away by all your support so far and any donation, big or small, is greatly appreciated.

Now is the time to be a little self indulgent. With there being so many fantastic features on the site we could spend hours and many pages showing you everything we've done- but why not have an explore yourself to see what treasures our new website holds. However, we will leave you with this. Whilst change rages all around us (in a good way) I can confirm that your favourite arts-charity-review based blog will continue, albeit in it's new updated home. To get your Rural Review fix either head to the Blog on 'About Us' on the top menu or at the bottom of the site. 

This concludes this weeks blog! We want to thank you very much for reading and hope you enjoy using our brand new site. It will be business as usual next week for us at Rural Review HQ where we will be recapping all that has happened and whilst looking forward to what we have coming up - see you then.

Friday, 29 January 2016

A Rural Review 2016: Week 4!

Happy Friday one and all and welcome back to 'A Rural Review', the weekly blog series recapping everything that has happened in the Rural Arts world and what we have coming up in the near future. This week it has got all blustery in North Yorkshire, which has unfortunately affected our week somewhat (more on that later) but we have still been blown away by all the fun we have had this week, and so it is time to throw caution to the wind and get on with this weeks blog post! (starting as we mean to go on this week...)

What's been happening

Kids Art Club
This week the Thursday Art Club really put the 'visual' into 'visual arts' by experimenting with some filming on a green screen! The session was a huge success, with everyone involved transporting us to different places and magical lands. We would love to show you all the examples, all wonderful in their own way, but we don't have enough blog space- so see below for an example courtesy of right honourable Princess Alesha (played to perfection by Charlotte). If you like what you see of art club, we still have a few places available for our thursday sessions, which run from 4-5:15, so if you want to get involved give us a call on 01845 526536. 

Chef Showcase
Talking of transporting us to magical lands, this week The Courthouse was transformed into a bustling curry house for the afternoon! Since 2015, the ON Tour team have been working with Ragged Edge Productions, helping them while they create a show specifically to rurally tour. This Thursday, Rural Arts, Ragged Edge Productions and some ON Tour promoters got to see the fruit of their labours (this pun will make more sense soon) as we saw a thirty minute showcase of the show and then took part in a Q&A to give feedback to the company. The showcase even included complimentary indian food, prepared live by the fantastic chefs at The Banyan Tree - which was a particular highlight for the Rural Arts staff (get the pun now?!) It was a fantastic day with a lot of wonderful feedback, and we want to thank Ragged Edge Productions and The Banyan Tree for such a great day - and equally great curry! 
Prepare to see much more from Ragged Edge Productions in the future...

Cafe Assistant Required ***HIRING OPPORTUNITY***
We are counting this as 'What's been happening' because the vacancy has come out this week, even though the start date falls as 'What's Coming Up'. Our award winning (and totally amazing) cafe has an opening for a new assistant for Saturdays and you should totally get involved. I will leave it at that and let our lovely leaflet do the talking! (If you want to quote A Rural Review as the place you heard about the job that would not go amiss though!)

Whats coming up

Les Liaisons Dangereuses... (Again)
It may be the hardest word to say according to Elton, but it is time for us to say it. Due to pesky Gertrude causing Rural Arts all sort of damage on Tuesday night (just to confirm this was Gertrude the storm not Gertrude a woman you  know - but let's be fair you don't meet a lot of Gertrudes do you?) our live streaming of National Theatre Live had to be re-arranged. The wind and rain damaged our satellite, meaning we were not able to receive the stream. We genuinely are so sorry about this, as we were so excited to host the event and try out our new equipment - and we cannot apologise enough to anyone who bought a ticket to the event. We have organised another showing of the performance for the 11th February, and will be doing our first live streamed event, As You Like It,  on the 25th February. Tickets for both shows can be bought HERE

Observational Drawing
Another one of our fantastic one off workshops is taking place on February 19th  and you are invited! Our observational drawing workshops are always incredibly popular, and spaces for this one are already filling up very quickly indeed. If you want to spend a morning honing your skills, learning new drawing techniques or mastering new styles, whilst meeting new people and enjoying a nice hot drink (or three!) book onto the course by giving us a call or online by clicking HERE. There really is limited places left, so do it fast!

This brings us to the end of a whirlwind week here at Rural Arts (yes we are still on those puns) and we want to thank you very much for reading this weeks blog. Next week is a special one, because we should (fingers crossed) be able to tell you about an incredibly exciting development for Rural Arts. It was mentioned briefly in a Rural Review many moons again and is finally nearly ready to show you all. Hold onto your hats (and not just because of the breeze) because we are incredibly excited about it and we think you should be too. See you next week!

Friday, 22 January 2016

A Rural Review 2016: Week 3!

Hello one and all and welcome back to 'A Rural Review'. We would like to begin by congratulating you, as this week began with 'Blue Monday' - widely considered to be the most depressing day of the year in the UK, and you have managed to get through it! Although 'Blue Monday' was made up by a holiday company as a marketing ploy in 2005 with no real facts and statistics supporting their assertion that the third Monday in January was the most depressing day of the year, we still think surviving it is something to be proud of. Therefore, to celebrate we will do a blog post recapping all that has happened at Rural Arts this week and what is coming up next week - aren't you all lucky?!

What's been happening

A Taste Of... Evening Sessions
We speak a lot in our blog posts about our adult art club 'A Taste Of...' on a Wednesday morning, so you probably don't need us to tell you how popular it has been/how much we enjoy doing it/where you can reserve or book places (just to confirm: that place is HERE). What you may not know is that the we have launched a brand new evening session of 'A Taste Of...', and the first session happened this Thursday! The theme was porcelain beads, buttons and pendants and the results were equally as fantastic as the turnout - and we want thank everyone who got involved for such a lovely evening. If you wanted to book onto February's session (these sessions are monthly) which is Indigo type Shibori printing on the 11th February, you can by clicking HERE

Bringing home the bacon!
Since opening, The Courthouse Cafe has become one of the best places to drink coffee in Thirsk (and that is not just us being biased and self aggrandising- we actually won an award and everything) and it seemed more likely that pigs would fly than us find a way to improve your drinking and dining experience. Well Rural Arts don't only make pigs fly, they now make them fry aswell! (Yes this was a very long set up for a pretty poor payoff but we had to do a pig pun didn't we?!) Motuhwatering bacon butties are now on the Courthouse Cafe menu for only £2.95, giving you even more reason to come down and see all that Rural Arts has to offer. We are open Monday to Saturday 10am-4:00pm. Seriously what are you waiting for?!

Even the sign makes us hungry...

What's coming up

National Theatre Live: Les Liasons Dangereuses
It's approaching fast! We spoke last week about this critically acclaimed version of the story that got everyone in France exclaiming 'Sacreau Bleu' in 1782 and there are still a few places available for our  showing of Les Liaisons Dangereuses on Thursday 28th January. Starring theatre superstars Dominic West, Janet McAteer and Elaine Cassidy, the performance is being streamed live from the Donmar Theatre around the world, including at Rural Arts. If you need some 'joie de vivre' back in your life this is the event for you!  The show starts at 7, with doors opening at 6:30, and you can book your tickets HERE- merci beaucoup! (Just to confirm the performance is fully in English and we have run out of French idioms to describe the show. Ah well, je ne regret rien...)
Look how intriguing they all look!

Silkscreen Printing
Its our first stand-alone workshop of the year, and it promises to be a good'un! If you want to give your bag, item of clothing, or even curtains (slightly more far fetched this example) a personal touch - come and learn how to do some Silk Screen Printing with Angela Hall. This workshop runs from 9 until 4:30 and is sure to be a fun filled day with some exciting results at the end - which may even feature in a certain blog series in the near future! I can imagine that you are now desperate to book on at the thought of potentially featuring on here over the coming weeks, so I will appease you all by leaving the link to do just that HERE.

That concludes this weeks blog. Make sure you keep checking back to a Rural Review,  as there may be some pretty large (and pretty darn exciting) changes surrounding the link and the way to find us at Rural Review HQ in the coming weeks. That's all I can say at the moment, but keep your eyes peeled as there are some pretty big announcements coming up and we promise to tell you all about them in an equally silly way. See you all next week! 

Friday, 15 January 2016

A Rural Review 2016: Week 2!

It's Friday which can only mean one thing... it is time for another 'Rural Review'! Even though this has been the week the British Weather has finally woken up and realised that winter is supposed to be cold and snowy rather than mild and wet - Rural Arts has still put on a whole host of fun activities and have even more fun things planned coming up. Come rain or shine (or sleet which is definietley  the worst type of weather isn't it?!) we at The Courthouse will continue to deliver activities for everyone to enjoy - and that, my blog reading friends, is a promise. With that rather passionate pledge out of the way, lets move on to....

What's been happening

National Theatre Live: Jane Eyre
We spoke about this last week as something to look out for, and now, due to the form of Rural Review, we can tell you how it went! (It is a like well oiled machine at Rural Review HQ at the moment.) We were really excited to see this fabulous production of a well loved literary classic and it is fair to say it didn't disappoint. A co-production with Bristol Old Vic - this was a hugely inventive production that created a visually stunning interpretation of the text whilst honouring the traditions of the story - as you can tell we were pretty impressed with the whole thing, as were everyone who attended. Our National Theatre live repertoire will continue to grow and keep reading to find out about our next performance- which is a landmark moment for us...

Here is the fabulous Madeline Worrall as Jane Eyre

Kezy Feaster Exhibition
We have a brand new exhibition in our Courthouse and it is really worth a look! Kezy captures the dramatic beauty and changing moods of the North Yorkshire Landscape through mixed media paintings. We have had a lot of interest in Kezy's work already so you might want to come down or some of it may have disappeared. These are a range of paintings made by a truly fabulous artist so if you are interested pop into our Courthouse between 10-4:30pm  - why not come into our lovely Cafe and have a drink and a slice of cake while you are at it?!
One of Kezy Feaster's fantastic pieces

Thirsk Hour
As many of you know, Rural Arts is one of the 4 hosts of 'Thirsk Hour'. Created in 2015, Thirsk Hour runs every Thursday between 7-8 and is an hour dedicated to local business - all you need to do is get on Twitter between those times to find out about all the fun stuff going on in our lovely town! In this way it is like a town-wide Rural Review and if that does not sell it to you nothing will.. As always, our Rural Arts hosts Imogen Shaw and Angela Hall managed the evening with aplomb and it was a rip roaring success. To get involved yourself, be on Twitter next Thursday between 7-8pm and if you wanted to to give Rural Arts a 'cheeky follow' that also be wouldn't go amiss - that can be done HERE 

What's Coming Up

Fresh Exhibition - WE NEED YOU!
An exciting opportunity is fast approaching at Rural Arts - and expect to hear (and eventually see) a lot more about this in the future. If you read about Kezy's exhibition and thought 'I would love to have a go at that' then make sure you keep reading! (To be honest even if this does not apply please also make sure you keep reading anyway, because... well I don't think we really need to explain why!) We are looking for current graduates from the last 3 years to exhibit their work in our fantastic gallery space, free of charge as part of our 'Fresh' scheme. Applications are now open - if you want to apply send 3 high quality JPG's of your work including an 'artist working' image together with contact details and artist statement (which only needs to be around 50-100 words) to The deadline is Friday 19th February at 5pm. Who knows - in a couple of months time your work could be featuring in A Rural Review (please all try and contain your excitement...)

National Theatre Live: Les Liasons Dangereuses
Get ready for the monumental moment spoken about in Jane Eyre - on Thursday 28th November, we having the fabulous production of Les Liaisons Dangereuses at 7:00pm. No monumental moment yet...But! This show is our first show that is being streamed, live, directly from inside the National Theatre! On this night, those that will see Dominic West, Elaine Cassidy and Janet McAteer in the flesh perform the 5 star show critics are calling "theatre at it's most seductive" will be joined by 200 cinemas across the world doing the same; and we are one of them! To book your tickets for what promises to be a fabulous night - click HERE. Also, it wouldn't be a post about a National Theatre screening without a beautifully made trailer - so see below for that!

A Taste Of... Thursday Evening Sessions
Since our adult art club, 'A Taste Of...' has been such a huge success - we have decided to be all generous in 2016 and not only bring it back for another term - but add in extra, brand new sessions on a Thursday night! If you can't attend 'A Taste Of...' on a  Wednesday morning but want to try out some brand new art forms, want a fun activity to relax with after finishing work, or even a valid excuse to not join your slightly irritatingly friends pub quiz team - these are the sessions for you!  These sessions start next week with Porcelain Beads, Buttons and Pendants, and are very similar in style to 'A Taste Of..' but run for a little longer to give you the chance to really explore the art form. These sessions start 7:00pm and run for 2 hours. To book click HERE - you won't regret it!

So we have reached the end of another Rural Review - now grab yourselves a duvet, get a fire going and count the days until your summer holiday...Thank you very much for reading, and we will see you all next week!

Friday, 8 January 2016

A Rural Review 2016: Week 1!

Hello one and all and welcome back to the Rural Arts blog! Since August 2015, we have been doing a weekly blog series called 'A Rural Review' which recaps all that we have gotten up to during the week and more events we are running in the near future to look out for. For the New Year, we have given Rural Review a new start - we have reset the week counter so it now actually matches up with the week of the year (which makes a lot more sense and is probably something we should have thought about last year...) and our blogging New Years resolution is to try and make less terrible puns. Lets see how we do...

What's been happening

'A Taste Of...' Returns
Along with A Rural Review, another brand new Rural Arts venture in the summer of 2015 was an adults art club. 'A Taste Of...' gives everyone the chance to try out some brand new art styles in our studio regardless of ability or experience - and was a huge success! Now it is back by very, very popular demand for spring 2016. The first session took place on Wednesday and went down a storm, with our fabulous participants taking to porcelain beads, buttons and pendants like ducks to water. If you are looking for a fun, achievable New Years resolution that will not make you miserable - why not join us on a wednesday from 10:30-12 and get your creative juices flowing. Places can be reserved online HERE or by calling 01845 526536 (it's the first plug of the New Year! What a momentous moment!)

These are just a few of the lovely things you could be creating if you join 'A Taste Of...' this year!

Pocket Panto at Meadowfield
Our Outreach team have also been busy at the start of 2016- as part of their fantastic Innovation Project they thought it would be great to have a performance at one of the care homes they worked in... well they did not need a genie and a magical lamp to get this wish granted! (Damn, our no pun resolution is in tatters already. We should have just joined 'A Taste Of' instead...) Pocket Panto, who have already done a fantastic run of shows throughout the Christmas period as part of our ON Tour scheme, came to Meadowfield with their brilliant version of Aladdin to make sure 2016 kicked off with some song singing, villain booing, thigh slapping fun. It was a show enjoyed by all, and a couple of our staff members even participated in a little dancing! Now we could not possibly share that video on this blog, but maybe if you were to click on our Facebook HERE and scroll to videos on the left hand side... In all seriousness we want to thank Pocket Panto for their show and also tell you to keep eyes peeled for more from the Outreach Team, who have loads of exciting projects lined up for the year. 

What's coming up 

National Theatre Live: Jane Eyre
This is our first Courthouse performance of the year and it is an exciting one! Jane Eyre, the classic  Charlotte Bronte novel, has been a adapted for the stage and is being shown in our Courthouse on Tuesday 12th January at 7:00pm. It has received huge critical acclaim since its premiere with 5 star reviews from The Observer which calls it 'Aflame with passion - a picture of exultant feminism' and the Daily Mail, which praised it as 'Enchanting. Magnificent. Theatre at it's most imaginative.' You can come and see this show, on your doorstep, for only £10 - so why not! Book HERE to see what all the fuss is about.

It doesn't look half bad does it?!

Thursday and Saturday Art Club
While 'A Taste Of..' was new for 2015 - our kids art club is one of the staples of the Rural Arts calendar! After a winter break, Art Club returns this Saturday morning (9th) and next Thursday evening (14th) with a whole new term of exciting activities for kids to get stuck into. We always have huge demand for these groups, so if you want to get a name down - do it quick! You can book on through our website by clicking HERE or by giving us a call. The first week is clay fish - but don't worry, this does not mean art club is 'scaling' back in anyway - and we promise they will have a 'whale' of a time! (It's getting worse - we promise no more puns until the end of the blog especially about fish. In other words the puns are completed. Over. Fin.)

Ipad Troubleshooting Workshops
Lets get back on track shall we? On Saturday the 16th January, iPad extroadinare Clare Ford is back to help you out with all your iPad based needs. This is a one to one session designed to help you individually work through any issues you might be having - perfect for trying to get to grips with a brand new christmas present you have not fully figured out, if you want to learn how to do something specific or  if you just generally want to feel more comfortable on a tablet then this is the session for you. To book a half an hour slot for only £15 call us or you can book online by clicking HERE

This concludes this weeks Rural Review - although we have failed our no pun resolution miserably, we do solemnly swear to keep blogging anyway. Happy New Year to you all, we are incredibly excited about what this year has in store - it promises to be our biggest and best year yet at Rural Arts with some amazing events and activities coming up. The best way to find out about them?  Make sure you keep reading a Rural Review of course! See you next week!

Friday, 18 December 2015

A Festive Rural Review: Week 15!

Welcome back to A Rural Review - the weekly blog series which gives a recap of all that has been going on at Rural Arts and also what is coming up in the near future. Now you might not have heard it mentioned, as people have kept pretty quiet about the whole thing, but it is actually only a week till Christmas! (I know I couldn't believe it either - you would think it would have been advertised more really wouldn't you...) At the end of last weeks blog we promised something slightly different than the norm to tie in with the festivities... and as we have already mentioned we do love a poem at Rural Arts...can you see where this is going? But wait! Before we start we want to point you in the direction of Thirsk Writers Group - which was spoken about way back in our blog in 2011. As of December 2015 this group is not only still going, but flourishing. If you want to attend, meetings are now held at The Golden Fleece Hotel, Market Place, Thirsk, in the Rydale Room, every second Tuesday. There is even chance to go before Christmas - with the last meeting of 2015 on the 22nd December and the first meeting of 2016 on the 5th January. This is for adults only but all newcomers are welcome.

 Now its time to buckle up, strap yourself in and prepare for a slightly different take on 'Twas the night before Christmas - Rural Arts style.

'Twas the week before Christmas...

Twas the week before Christmas, and all through the Courthouse
the staff were still working, with keyboard and mouse.
But the cafe had been decorated with love and with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.

There were children running around, all hungry for grub
proudly showing their new creations made at our art club
And after they ate, sat and laughed , and were sent on their way,
The Rural Arts team thought they may close for the day.

When out on in the car park there arose such a clatter,
They flew to the windows to see what was the matter .
Cafe, gallery, and office staff were there in a flash,
(but slower in the workshop so no porcelain xmas decorations were smashed)

 The security light on the breast of the non existent snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to their wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature red sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
They knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
With 8 reindeers who have so much individual fame,
It seemed almost arbitrary when he called them by name!

"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid on Donner and Blitzen!
Please listen for heavens sake, I've asked you to stop!
As if I'm not mistaken, this is our spot!"

All at Rural Arts couldn't believe what they saw,
When he hopped from his sleigh and sprinted to the door.
They heard a knock, then another, and were even more surprised,
When St Nick rushed in, a tear in his eye.

"I've missed everything haven't I?!" St Nicholas exclaimed
His great booming voice filled with sadness and pain.
"This was the thing that I most feared
I didn't attend one of your activities this year!"

"I've been so busy planning for this years advent,
I missed every single one of your amazing events"
I know they've been amazing, I know that that's true
Because every week I sit and read your 'Rural Review!' (Is this a little arrogant? Meh..) 

"I thought if we were quick, I could get here to catch
National Theatres Hamlet starring lovely Cumberbatch
But now I've missed it, thats it, I've nothing to live for,
Christmas is cancelled, I can be Santa no more!"

Now the Rural Arts staff sprang to their feet,
And told St Nick all about their next week
They were open till christmas eve, the work never stopped
With the everything open and even workshops!

They told him about Sunday, when he could see Pocket Panto,
Or  in the cafe Monday and Tuesday he could make meringue men of snow
And when he turned to view the items on our gallery shelf,
 I saw him laugh, in spite of himself!

But what really turned the tables, made Santa's eyes gleam,
is when they said whats in store for 2016
More workshops, more open days and loads more shows
And told Santa he would be welcome at any of those!

Now his eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
And with a smile he was out, saying his goodbyes,
As he readied his team for their flight in the sky.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘as he disappeared into fog
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good blog!" 

We want to say a huge thank you for anyone who has attended any of Rural Arts many activities over 2015 - it has been a truly wonderful year and it has been an upmost pleasure to spend it with you all. We at Rural Review will be taking a week off between Christmas and New Year (I hope Santa can cope...) but will be back in January 2016 to continue making bad puns and spending too much time sat on Thank you so much for reading and we hope you have a wonderful christmas and fantastic New Year. See you soon.