Portsmouth Festivities: One week to go!

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Ports Fest LogoPortsmouth Festivities 2016 kicks off next Friday with Britain’s brightest beacons for new music, the London Contemporary Orchestra. From Friday 17 to Sunday 26 June, Portsmouth plays host to one of the most vibrant summer festivals on the south coast

Opening the Festivities this year will be winner of the ensemble category at the Royal Philharmonic Society Music Awards 2015, the wonderful LONDON CONTEMPORARY ORCHESTRA. LCO have established itself as one of the UK’s most innovative and respected ensembles, promoting new music and cross-arts collaborations to a wide audience.

The first Saturday of our Festivities will hold in store a unique multi projection, open-air light display spectacular ELECTRIC LUMIERE inspired by this year’s electric theme created by Luxmuralis, incorporating sound and illuminations onto two of Portsmouth’s most historic venues, the Royal Garrison Church and Portsmouth Cathedral. Luxmuralis are a collaborative team combining artists from different backgrounds and artistic disciplines. The primary purpose of Luxmuralis is to take art onto the streets and provide access to visual artwork in public as well as unexpected places.


Sunday 19 June will see dynamic duo INDIA ELECTRIC CO. perform at Old Portsmouth’s historic Square Tower. At the same time at Portsmouth Cathedral will be the prestigious MERTON COLLEGE OXFORD CHAPEL CHOIR, who will be performing a stunning programme of choral music including Bairstow, Esenvalds and Duruflé’s sublime Requiem.

To commemorate the 400th anniversary of the death of William Shakespeare, Monday 20 June holds DR NICK WALTON from the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust, joining us for a lecture on ‘Shakespeare: not of an age, but for all time’.

Tuesday 21 June features another commemorative talk, this time to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme. We have one of the UK’s most exciting military historians and authors, Andy Robertshaw, who with a unique hands-on approach to history combines archaeological and experimental techniques with unparalleled archival research and crowd-sourcing to reveal what it was really like to be on the front line of history.

JIM AL KHALILI webAn event directly tying in with our Electric theme this year is British physicist, author, and broadcaster Professor JIM AL-KHALILI’s talk on Michael Faraday’s 1832 paper on electromagnetic induction and its almost immediate effect in transforming our world. Jim is returning to Festivities after having given a fascinating talk about time travel in our 2011 programme.

Thursday night plays host to local Chamber Choir, THE NELSON CONSORT. The eight singer ensemble; with a programme and performance that’s bound to inspire, this is set to be a very special evening.

The highlight of the night of Friday 17 June will be the Silent Movie showing of the German vampire classic, NOSFERATU at Portsmouth Cathedral; with live organ improvisation from Jonathan Eyre we doubt you will ever see a horror in a more appropriate setting or atmosphere.

Mugenkyo Taiko webSaturday 25 June sees the UK’s longest established taiko ensemble, and Europe's only professional touring company of its kind, the MUGENKYO TAIKO DRUMMERS perform a newly devised show at the New Theatre Royal. Mugenkyo's main work is touring a full-length theatre concert, performing at prestigious venues across the country.
Thundering rhythms on huge taiko drums, mysterious masked choreography with inventive lighting, muscular synchronisation timed to perfection, post-apocalyptic martial imagery & infectious belly laugh humour - all in a spellbinding display of sheer athleticism. Feel the energy & experience the power of this unique performance at the New Theatre Royal.

The final day of Festivities has something for all the family in the form of the VEGETABLE ORCHESTRA, where you can learn how to make carrot flutes, courgette castanets, pepper shakers, and much more. Closing the Sunday 26 June will be final of the third annual songwriting competition ALL ABOUT THE SONG in association with Express FM, Portsmouth News and Wedgewood Rooms.

Chairman of Portsmouth Festivities, James Priory had this to say: “I am really excited by this year’s Portsmouth Festivities, especially our Electric theme which has sparked some brilliant ideas for the programme in June. We also have a brand new look this year and are hoping to see even more people attending events and getting involved.”

Festivities Director Erica Smith said: “We have a great line up for 2016 and with the Electric theme to boot it will be a fantastic year in our history. 17 years on, Festivities is going from strength to strength and our passion for placing great events for all in Portsmouth is only growing. No year is ever the same but I think we are striking the right balance with more events than last year.”

So, as you can see we have plenty of events for you to bring along your family and friends and join in the fun as Portsmouth bursts into life with arts and culture this summer!

Discover more about the events taking place during Portsmouth Festivities 2016 at


Double celebration for Portsmouth International Port and Brittany Ferries [Interviews]

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The French Ambassador, Sylvie Bermann, was among a host of special guests at Portsmouth International Port yesterday, 8th June. She joined celebrations to mark 40 years of cross channel ferries from Portsmouth, and 30 years of the popular route to the French port, and Portsmouth’s twin city, of Caen.

The ambassador came from London to join other French dignitaries for a celebratory lunch on board Brittany Ferries “Bretagne”. They had arrived on two overnight Brittany Ferries crossing from Caen and St Malo, and spent the morning taking a tour of the Spinnaker Tower and HMS Victory. In total 125 guests, including local Councillors from Portsmouth and Port staff, sat down to a special menu prepared by Brittany Ferries’ French chefs. Before the lunch there was a reception in the passenger terminal building at Portsmouth International Port.

Brittany 1L to R: Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire Nigel Atkinson; Romain Bail, Mayor of Ouistreham; Lord Mayor of Portsmouth Cllr David Fuller; French Ambassador Sylvie Bermann; Port Manager Martin Putman; Lady Mayoress; President of Brittany Ferries Christophe Matheiu; President of Conseil de Serveillance BF Jean-Marc Roue; Leader of of PCC Donna Jones

The stunning glass and steel terminal demonstrates just how far ferry travel has come in the last 40 years. Inside the light and spacious building guests were able to view a special exhibition. The displays chart the last 40 years of ferry travel from Portsmouth International Port, with an early 1970s mini parked in the middle of the exhibition to show just how much family life and holidays have changed since 1976.

Brittany Ferries was among the first operators to sail from Portsmouth back in 1976, starting with crossings to St Malo on “Armorique”. It is the only ferry company to have offered a continuous service from the Port since it first opened for business. On 6 June 1986 Brittany Ferries began its service to Caen, a route that now accounts for 38% of the 2.6 million passengers the company carries each year on all of its services to France, Spain and Ireland.

Mike Bevens, Group Commercial Director for Brittany Ferries, said, “In the last 40 years Portsmouth International Port has become our hub, serving four destinations in Normandy and Brittany, but our Caen route holds a special place for Brittany Ferries staff and our passengers. It’s our most popular service, carrying by far the most traffic and is gateway to some of France’s most beautiful holiday destinations.”

Brittany 2L to R: Lord Mayor, Romain Bail, Donna Jones, Christophe Mathieu, Lord Lieutenant, Martin Putman

The City of Portsmouth owns and operates Portsmouth International Port, with £70 million of profits ploughed back into public services since it first opened. Portsmouth and Caen are now officially twinned, a sign of the strong links that have been built between the two cities since the ferry route opened thirty years ago.

Martin Putman, Port Manager at Portsmouth International Port, said “Brittany Ferries has been a key partner in the growth of Portsmouth International Port, having been with us every step of the way. We started from scratch with just one berth and a small terminal. Now there are five berths and the most modern port facilities in the country. The route to Caen has been incredibly important to both of us, and I’m glad so many guests could join us for our double celebration today.”

The route from Portsmouth to Caen now carries more than a million passengers every year, with the company also offering services from Portsmouth to three other French ports, Le Havre, Cherbourg and St Malo and two in Northern Spain, Bilbao and Santander.

At the event Cheryl Buggy spoke to Nigel Wonnacott, Head of Communications at Brittany Ferries, and Cllr Donna Jones, leader of Portsmouth City Council:

For further information please contact Emma Gaisford or Julie Blackwell on 01256 631 696 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Highbury College celebrate their staff at the Star Awards [Interviews]

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On Tuesday evening, Highbury College held their Staff Star Awards, rewarding their staff for their hard work.
At the event Cheryl Buggy spoke to Tess Cole,Managing Director of Education & Skills and recipient of the Principal's Award, and Nicki Youern, chair of Highbury Corporation:


Somerstown Hub celebrates art in the community

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painting sandra 2 webOn Thursday 2nd June, Portsmouth City Council hosted a launch event and exhibition at Somerstown Central Hub of the We Don't Need Culture project by artist Karl Rudziak.

Although the exhibition marked the official launch of the project, it also celebrates the culmination of twelve month's portrait work for Karl, who has worked closely with members of the Somerstown community to produce a series of oil paintings and sketches. Karl has recently secured funding from Arts Council England to support the project for another year, which will enable him to add more subjects and further develop the project.

We Don’t Need Culture was sparked by a conversation in Karl's local pub which led him to re-evaluate the word 'culture'. The project aims to raise awareness of the meaning of the word amongst people who don't necessarily perceive themselves as cultural, and will demonstrate that culture permeates into all areas of the community.

Jo Bennett, Portsmouth City Council's Commercial Property and Leasehold Services Manager, said: "I'm delighted that we were able to support Karl with this important project by hosting the launch event at Somerstown Central Hub. Karl has a natural talent for putting people at their ease and bringing out the best in their characters, which is really evident from these portraits.

"As a result Karl has formed some strong working relationships with local residents who regularly visit the centre. The Hub is the perfect location for the exhibition and the project is achieving a positive outcome for the Somerstown community."

LM and PATCH winner webVisitors to the Hub can see the portraits of the 50+ Somerstown residents for free as well as Karl's portrait of Pompey's most famous supporter, John Westwood, which was displayed at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the prestigious BP Portrait Award exhibition in 2009.

The event also celebrated budding young Somerstown artists who entered a competition to paint their own portrait of someone they know. The competition, organised by Portsmouth City Council, has given the young people the chance to get creative in the community. £650 worth of prizes were given out on the night , plus runners-up prizes in each age category of £100, £75 and £25. The top prize, kindly donated by PATCH (People's Action Team for Community Harmony), was awarded to Shajid Enam, aged 14, who won a £100 Love2Shop voucher, and a £100 arts supplies voucher from Hiscock's Gallery.

As well as winning cash prizes, winners have their portraits displayed alongside Karl's for the whole community to enjoy.


Poetry inspired street art coming to Portsmouth

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John Cooper Clarke webA new piece of street art is coming to Portsmouth city centre this month to mark the start of a new effort to engage residents with poetry.

Portsmouth Poetry and the council are teaming up on a 15m piece of art on Marketway celebrating the work of acclaimed poet John Cooper Clarke.

It is part of Portsmouth Poetry's new initiative, led by internationally renowned street artist My Dog Sighs, to produce poetry based artwork to engage a wider audience.

Cooper Clarke was chosen as he will be performing at this month's Portsmouth Festivities and the artwork will feature My Dog Sighs' trademark eye reflecting an image of the poet and lyrics from his piece 'I Wanna Be Yours'.

Josh Brown, chair of Portsmouth Poetry, said: "It's a way of beautifying and cleaning up some dreary parts of the city and engaging people in poetry who wouldn't normally be exposed to it.

"I'd like to thanks the council for arranging this location, it's fantastic. The main thing was getting a site with good footfall, which this has, and the more people who see it the more it achieves."

It is hoped the work can be linked with youth clubs to extend the positive influence street artists have had on youngsters in the city.

My Dog Sighs helped launch a street art festival around the construction of the Somerstown Hub in 2013 and since it has opened has been a regular visitor to the Brook Club at the site, along with other street artists Fark, Dharma and Lex, working with children and young adults on workshops and displays.

Mydogsighs webPhoto © Jack Daly

Cllr Donna Jones, Leader of Portsmouth City Council, said: "I'm delighted we have been able to support this project. Portsmouth has some fantastically talented artists and we are very keen to work with them by providing an outlet for their talents and supporting artwork in key locations.

"Street art is a growing industry in the city and can attract visitors. Properly done it helps create a vibrant atmosphere for an area and is something we want to encourage. I have been in contact with My Dog Sighs and we are going to meet to discuss other projects and opportunities in the city and across the UK."

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