Svengali comes to Sheffield…

Last night there was an air of mystery in Sheffield as well known illusionist Derren Brown took to the stage in his new show, ‘Svengali.’

I caught Lewis McPherson on his way into the theatre, Lewis was more than happy to give us a few words on his expectations of the show.

Over 2000 people took their seats in The City Hall waiting in anticipation to see what was in store for them. Being part of the 2000 strong crowd was an amazing feeling; the whole theatre was abuzz with incredible atmosphere as Derren took his place centre stage to a standing ovation. I could see from this that he was clearly a crowd favourite.
As this was my first time at a show like this I was rather clueless as to what to expect. I had watched the Derren Brown programmes on TV but I knew a live performance would be something spectacularly different, and I was not disappointed.

Throughout the show, Derren worked well at continuously interacting with the audience, keeping that certain suspense and finishing with the unexpected. Audience participation was rife and you could clearly see the camaraderie Derren would have with anyone he connected with. The fact that there was always that interaction with the audience made the show that much more enjoyable as you constantly felt in tune with the man himself. He controlled the audience impeccably as whilst he spoke the theatre was silent; the audience were clearly keen to not ‘miss a trick’.
The show consisted of a lot of humour as Derren brought a lot of laughs to the audience, those of whom were willing of course. I honestly don’t know how he does what he does, all I can do is encourage everybody to go and see a show. As the line goes, ‘You won’t believe it till you see it’. I know I didn’t, but I can honestly say my mind was boggled, what I was seeing was unbelievable.

One attendee, Tom Millington said of the show, “Simply my mind was blown, everyone was saying that he couldn’t possibly come up with anything new after so much variety in the past but I think it’s now obvious to never doubt Derren Brown to pull out a 5 star show”.
I will defiantly be attending more of Derren Brown’s live shows; they are truly something not to be missed!

I won’t give anything away I’ll just say, look out for the ending, one word a-mazing. Derren Brown, a must see for the curious.

After the show I caught back up with Lewis, I was interested to know what he thought of the show and if it met his earlier expectations. As you can see from the clip below, he too had nothing but praise for the fabulous entertainer.

By Margaret Repton.

Galvanize Sheffield

Galvanize Sheffield

Blacksmithing at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet

The last month has seen the forth Galvanize Sheffield festival hit the city, featuring nearly sixty events to celebrate Sheffield’s steel heritage.

Thousands of people have joined in the events, which aimed to celebrate contemporary metal design and showcase the city’s metal trades.

The festival, which ran from 24th March – 24th April, included events such as Pewter Live, which was held at The Cathedral, showcasing the work of skilled pewtersmiths from around the country.

As well as this there was a Jewellery Exhibition at Bank Street Arts, a Kinetic Water Sculpture at the Winter Gardens, and a Metal Walk, which toured the famous work places of the 18th and 19th Century, including Kelham Island, and Beckett’s Saw and File Works.

Festival manager Sara Unwin said: “The tour side is incredibly popular. People want to go in to factories to see what happened. They also want to go into artist studios and talk to them face to face about what they do and how they do it.

“This is part of what we do, we try to demystify a bit of that, and show the processes and techniques people use.”

One of the festivals biggest events was the blacksmith forge in at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet, which saw forty members of the British Art Blacksmith Association working together to produce a piece of public art.

The event gave children and adults the opportunity to have a go at blacksmithing, and help contribute to the final art piece, which will be displayed at the Winter Gardens in the summer.

Participants also had the opportunity to go on a guided tour, in which living historians took on the roles of people based in 1851, and told the story of the famous site.

“You could go on a tour of the hamlet with an actor, being either the owner of the place, or the other was a worker,” Sara said. “So depending on which tour you went on you got a different perspective.

“It was fantastic. It gave it a nice lively edge and animated the place hugely.”

Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet specialised in the production of scythes from the mid 19th century up until the 1930s. It was one of the first places where virtually every step of the manufacturing process was undertaken on site, from melting crucible steel, through to the grinding of the cutting edge.

Local historian, Chris Corker, said: “The site provides an ideal backdrop for the festival’s blacksmiths event. Virtually unchanged since the mid-nineteenth century through to its final closure and donation to the city in 1935, the site offers a unique glimpse into the history of the steel industry in Sheffield.”

The festival is now preparing for 2013, which marks 100 years since the invention of stainless steel by Harry Brearley.

Sara said: “Galvanize has got to come back in 2013 with an all singing and all dancing celebration of all things steel, and we have some great ideas for that.”

Learn more about Galvanize Sheffield with festival manager Sara Unwin, as she talks about the months activities, and the event at Abbeydale Industrial Hamlet.

By Phil Corker

Pot luck for Higgins?

After an intense snooker final it was John Higgins who reigned supreme. The majority of avid snooker fans had their eyes glued to the screen yesterday as Higgins came from behind to beat 21 year old ‘sensation’ Judd Trump in a heated game at Sheffield’s Crucible.

Trump had been in the lead throughout but a slight mistake saw Higgins jump into the lead and take five straight frames. “The finale was amazing to watch”, says Charlotte Hunt, fan of all thing snooker. “I wanted John Higgins or Ali Carter to win; I support them both every year. Higgins won so I was very happy”.

Higgins , after returning to play in November 2010 from a six month ban has now won three tournaments including three ranking events – the UK championship, the Welsh open and now this the world championship.
Charlotte, who has found herself watching more or less every match of the tournament, says she has always been a fan of snooker as she grew up watching it with her grandparents; however she found a new passion after attending the Crucible to watch a live game. “The atmosphere at the crucible is brilliant. It’s a totally different experience from watching it on the TV”.

The snooker final which took place on May 2nd brought in a record number of viewers. Viewers which are surprisingly and vastly becoming part of the cities younger generation. “My favorite thing about snooker is the camaraderie. No
Matter where you are from or who you support, everyone becomes friends for two weeks. It’s difficult to go out for a drink and not bump into someone who is in town for the snooker. Unlike any other sport, all the fans will support someone right into the final after their favorite has left”.

The Guardian reporting on the tournament throughout published the following statement; ‘No one can argue with his quality as a snooker player, particularly in a match play situation when his back was against the wall. Despite never truly finding his A-game throughout the tournament, he stubbornly refused to lie down.’

Congratulations Higgins, well deserved.

By Margaret Repton.



Opening event to the Sensoria Festival

Sensoria Street Party

Sensoria Street Party

Yesterday people across the World huddled close to television screens to watch Prince William and the newly titled Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge begin their married life. The Sensoria Film and Music Festival decided to kick start the event by holding a street party between Fitzwilliam Street and Eldon Street in honour of the newlyweds.

The Everly Pregnant Brothers

The Everly Pregnant Brothers

As wedding celebrators gathered around the tables local ukulele band The Everly Pregnant Brothers serenaded them with their rendition of Sheffield songs such as Pulps ‘Common People’ and Johnny Cash’s ‘Folsom Prison Blues’.

The festival began in 1998 as a voluntary project. “We got really good feedback and great admissions so at that point I took the jump, gave up my job, and set it up properly as a company,” says the organiser Joanna Wingate.

Over the years the festival has attracted local celebrities such as Jarvis Cocker, Dave Simpson and Reverend and the Makers and has again outdone themselves this year with an array of film and music geniuses gathering in the heart of Sheffield such as composer Bill Drummond and music executive and former Undertones frontman Feargal Sharkey.

“It’s a 10 day festival this year and it’s a celebration of the intersection between film and music so it’s very cross art form. But it’s also a celebration of local creative talent particularly local music,” says Joanna. “We think the city needs to be shouting out at how great it is and how well recognised it is for its local talent.

“This year we have 65 days of static which is a great Sheffield band, they’re doing something a bit unusual in that they are doing a live soundtrack to a film. We’ve got a more established band called In The Nursery and they are playing with another Sheffield artist called Sieben whose a really amazing violinist. We’ve got lots of different rock bands at the Washington tonight and we’ve got loads of venues on board.”

To find out the upcoming events and exhibits check out the programme on the Sensoria Festival website.

Here is an interview with Nancy Benn, 44, from Mansfield and Jonny Clarke, 22, from Manchester about their views of the Royal Wedding and their plans for their extra bank holiday day.

By Sarah Snow

Debut of Devonshire Market

The Devonshire Green Market

The Devonshire Green Market

Devonshire Green, the usual spot for skaters and students was today over run by antiquer’s and shoppers at the opening of the Devonshire Market.

The Market was brought together by frooly. Originally a frooly market place could only be found online with access to over 900 independent retailers, makers and producers of Sheffield. The co-founder Michael Ord, 30, said, “The plan is to bring something unique and iconic to Sheffield, bringing tourism in and hopefully making it a destination on a monthly basis.

“We are also going to marry our partnership with Tramlines festivalso we can have music, performances and theatre. That way it isn’t just a bog-standard market that you might get elsewhere, it’s more of a carnival feeling.”

There was plenty to choose from with stalls focusing on crafts, head wear, jewellery, books, confectionary…

Gemma Nemer brought a smaller version of her studio The Button Tin to the market with an array of handmade jewellery, sewing boxes… “I’m on a bit of a mission to preserve traditional crafts. My main showcase is vintage textile jewellery but then I open up my studio The Button Tin every week and people come and learn traditional crafts there,” she says. “It’s important because it something that’s fading away because of throwaway society. You can buy cheap things but nothings made with love anymore.”

It was also the first market for Honeybun Cupcakes owner Karen Gray. Honeybun Cupcakes has only been running since Christmas last year she said, “I’m really enjoying today. I work from home and bake everything on my aga. I hope to come back again with the market.”

Entertainers were scattered around the market such as the French magician Benoit Pierre Benz who dazzled children and adults with his card tricks. “He was great” said Oliver Smith, 21, of Adelaide Lane, “I haven’t seen a magician in years.”

Amy Sabin, 21, of Alma Road said, “I really enjoyed today, there was so much to look at. I will definitely be back for the next one.”

By Sarah Snow

Cartoonist Ian Baker showcases his work back home

ExhibitionIan Baker, one of Britain’s best loved cartoonists, has brought his work back home to show Sheffield his global skills.

Famous for his celebrity caricatures and gag cartoons, Ian, from Sheffield, is showcasing some of his most loved work across four venues including the Showroom Cinema, the Workstation, the Rutland Arms, and the Red Deer.

His illustrations are known across the world after being published in Private Eye, Nickelodeon, The Spectator, People magazine, and hundreds more.

The Showroom Cinema, on Paternoster Row, has hosted nine of Ian’s caricatures, including local film star Sean Bean, Curb Your Enthusiasm’s Larry David and Cheryl Hines, and movie character Austin Powers. The exhibition also features Blofeld, part of his now infamous James Bond collection.

Ian Baker, aged 41, said: “I nearly got in to trouble with an American literary agent after MGM studios threatened to sue me. I’d started to draw characters from the James Bond films, and was posting them on different sites on the internet, where one of the producers saw them. They told me I had no right to draw them, but my solicitor explained there isn’t a law saying I can’t. They soon backed down.

“It made a minor news story, which made the drawings popular, and they have become the biggest sellers of my work. I’ve made the decision to make a substantial collection of over sixty James Bond drawings, and I keep getting requests for more characters.”

The Workstation and the Red Deer are also showcasing Ian’s celebrity caricatures, as well as selection of gag cartoons. The Rutland Arms is purely his James Bond collection, which are also scattered in the other three venues.

“These exhibitions have been great. I’ve drawn about 9000 gag cartoons, so it’s given me the chance to show off some of my older work which hasn’t been published, but stuff which I like and are proud of.”

Ian was first published in 1985, aged just 15, when he and school friend, Mike Gorman, produced a book titled Professor Pickle and the Amazing Jelly Machine for the Education Authority. He then spent the next four years studying graphic design at Norton College before beginning work as a freelance.

His professional debut was in 1990 when his gag cartoons were featured in Squib magazine. There were only six issues, but he got to work along side Monty Python’s Terry Jones, and Sue Townsend, the author of the Adrian Mole books.

In the late 1990s Ian became the first British cartoonist to be published in the American Reader’s Digest. “I was spending time in New York working for Nickelodeon, Cracked and Penthouse, and I knew people at the Reader’s Digest. I contacted the editor, who was familiar with my work through the British version, and was offered a job. Out of all my work this has had the biggest circulation, and has a readership of about eighty million.”

Ian’s work has also been seen on Calendar news’ sport section, in advertisements for William Hill and Phillips, and in national newspapers. He has also been an illustrator and gag writer for a number of greeting card companies.

Recently, he’s started to make a move into comedy writing, and wrote for the final series of ITV’s Hale and Pace. He also has his first book, The Codger’s Kama Sutra, coming out in September. “It’s a comedy book which basically makes fun of the Kama Sutra.

“It’s the first time I’ll be classed as an author, and is something I want to do more of. Cartoons don’t have the same longevity as a book does.”

By Phil Corker

The Ghostly Walkabout

The Walkabout Inn situated on Carver Street, is known for its Australian theme and is a regular haunt for Sheffield students on a night out. But is the Inn also a home for spirits? Project Reveal, a team of paranormal investigators, and a group of volunteer ghost hunters, investigated the strange goings on at the former Methodist church.

The church dates back to the 1800’s and could seat 1,600 worshippers. In 1832 400 people died of cholera in Sheffield and the illness could have easily spread in the crowded church. Graves have been left intact in the beer garden and the original organ sits proudly above the dance floor.

The paranormal investigation took place on Monday 11th April 2011. As the Inn emptied and descended into darkness the group gathered around the pews to meet the team of investigators and begin the hunt.

Project Reveal consists of sceptics, believers and sensitives. Before any investigation they begin the night by their historian, Simon Miller, giving a brief description of the buildings history before arming you with an array of ghost hunting equipment.

The five members of our group were given a camera, a thermometer, and two electromagnetic field readers known as EMF for short.

The first room we investigated was the women’s toilets on the ground floor. As the investigators tried to provoke the ghosts an EMF reader held by Max Jebson, 22, began to flash red, signalling activity. “I didn’t expect it to flash.” He says, “At first I was at bit dubious, thinking that it could have been a set up. But I couldn’t see them doing anything, it was really surreal.” The investigators then tried to find out why the EMF reader had gone off but couldn’t find a scientific explanation.

The entire night is based on group participation and the team encourages volunteers to take part. This ranges from holding equipment to joining hands and conducting a séance.

During the night we went through every part of the Inn hearing ghost stories such as the disappearing figure in the cellar. While investigating we heard a loud continual tapping sound in the corner of the room. All the hunters jumped at the noise and began to panic and huddled together. The team investigated what could have made the noise and find out that it was a thirsty bartender pulling himself a pint.

When the investigation ended some of the volunteer hunters were annoyed that they hadn’t seen a ghost or had been touched by one. But this is not what Project Reveal had promised and as Lee Steer, the head of Project Reveal, said; “There’s people out there who come to a ghost hunt and they expect to see a ghost. I don’t promise that. We show them what it’s like to be a ghost hunter. Expect the least and expect the unexpected.”

These types of paranormal investigations are done to find answers whether it is natural, scientific or paranormal and do not blame every noise on a ghost. However there is still at least four hours of CCTV footage for Project Reveal to watch before any paranormal activity can be entirely written off. But until then the only spirits in the Walkabout Inn that I found were at the back of the bar labelled vodka, whisky or rum.

By Sarah Snow

That’s a ‘Milky Wrap’…

Last night saw a group of Film and Media students from Hallam come together to make money for their final film project.
The Out O’ Date Milky Wrap Party took place at SOYO. (SOYO, Rockingham Street)

The night saw 250+ guests enjoying what was on offer, from discounted drinks, home made cakes, raffle prizes and beautiful jewellery form the collective creations of ‘Nanny May’, , ‘Beau Bunny Jewellery’ and ‘Shinyprettyjewellery’
All purchased items proceeds went to the overall fundraiser. Take a look at the Facebook pages to get more of an idea of the styles of jewellery on offer.

The evening was in full swing due to the unique styling of Jimmy May working the decks and keeping everyone entertained.

(Dj Jimmy May)

All members of the crew were out in full force to gain support for the film they had all worked so hard on, Jimmy May, Amy Tuffnell, Thomas Husbands, Emma Ward, David Palmer worked extremely hard in order to ensure all guests had an enjoyable night as well as giving themselves what could only be described as a well deserved ‘pat on the back’.

(Director: Jimmy May and Producer: Amy Tuffnell)

As well as providing the music, Jimmy May also directed the Out O’Date production so I was keen to get his thoughts on last nights event, “The night was extremely enjoyable from behind the DJ booth, it’s lovely to see people having such a great time to your music. I couldn’t have dreamt a better crowd would turn up – the guests were fantastic and so was the atmosphere. We must extend a hand to SOYO in thanks for everything they helped us out with, very accommodating venue and recommended to all that wish to have a private party! Bring on the next one!”

The venue was full of positive vibes and everyone there could be seen to having a good time, one wrap party guest, Verity Watkins exclaimed, ‘I really enjoyed the night, great music and cheap drinks all in aid of a good cause!’

The whole night was a complete success with just under £200 been raised to help towards the final production. Amy Tuffnell, ‘Out O’ Date’ producer says; “The money raised will be used towards the distribution of the film and also help us out when we enter it into upcoming film festivals”

I myself had a thoroughly enjoying night and wish all involved in Out O’ Date the best of luck for the future!

By Margaret Repton.

World’s Largest Umbrella Dance Result

Umbrella DanceWorld record attempt raises over £300 for charity, despite not making it into the coveted Guinness book.

140 umbrella-wielding people turned up to the event at Endcliffe Park last Saturday, in hope to set a new world record for the largest umbrella dance.

Spectators enjoyed an eight-minute choreographed routine to the classic ‘Singin’ in the rain’ by Gene Kelly.

However, they failed to reach the target of 322 participants to break the world record set in Puducherry, India last August.

The event was organised by a group of four event management students, who were required to put on an event as part of their course.

Event organiser Charlotte Scott, aged 21, said: “The event went really well. We were all very happy with the attempt and raised lots of money for two good charities.”

A total of £310 was raised through entry fees, raffles and donations, and will be split between the charities Banardos and Sheffield Mencap.

Participant Charlotte Rowley, aged 21, said: “Although we didn’t break the record, it was good fun and great to see a diverse mix of people joining in.”

Watch the world record attempt here…

By Phil Corker

Sharrow Lantern Carnival… Scientist or Spiritualist?

As the Carnival hits its 7th year, Sheffield is again given the chance to get creative. The carnival was devised in 2004 by the creative action network (CAN) to celebrate the beginning of spring and was intended to bring people together, and there is no doubt that the carnival is a continuing success.

Sophie Brodie, an Events Management student at Sheffield Hallam University voluntarily aids the organisation of this year’s carnival in her spare time, working alongside the carnival manager Luisa Golob, who also manages Sheffield’s Art in the park events.
Sophie got involved with the planning of this event last November as it provides her with excellent experience she can use towards her overall degree.

This year the Lantern Carnival will take place on the 3rd of April, beginning at 1pm at Mount Pleasant Park with a Grande finale in Sheffield General Cemetery, described as a, ‘unique oasis’, later that day.

2011 brings us the theme of Elements and offers lantern makers two different takes, the scientific or the spiritual approach on how they choose to make their lantern. All lanterns are sure to make this year’s carnival just as astounding as the previous with a magical array of creations, ‘from the big and bizarre to the compact and clever’.

Workshops have been running every Saturday since the beginning of February and will continue to do so up until the end of March. Lantern makers have the choice of attending either, Sharrow Old Junior School on South View road or Highfield Trinity Church on London road between 12pm and 4pm to get the creative juices flowing ready for carnival day.

I was keen to get Sophie’s take on the event and find out why helping out is rewarding for her, ‘I believe the carnival is vital to Sheffield as it provides the local community with an accessible opportunity to demonstrate their wealth of creativity. With such busy lifestyles today, I feel people are struggling to engage with their community and to find sufficient creative outlets; however the lantern carnival provides a solution through its unique and fun series of events and activities that are entertaining for all ages, and that bring a sense of community togetherness.’
This years carnival is set to be one of the best yet, so do not miss out, get your thinking caps on and get those ideas flowing. All lantern makers welcome!

For more info on anything carnival related check out the CAN website, or follow the organisers on twitter @sharrowlanterns

By Margaret Repton.

World’s Largest Umbrella Dance

This Saturday will see a world record attempt for the largest umbrella dance, with hundreds of people performing a choreographed routine to the classic ‘Singin’ in the rain’.

The event, which will take place at Endcliffe Park, has been organised by a group of event management students, known as C-JEM, who were required to put on an event as part of their course.

They are now urging as many people as possible to bring out their umbrellas and wellies, and perform the simple routine. The steps can be learnt beforehand by watching the videos on YouTube.

The world record attempt will also be a fundraiser for the charities Banardos and Sheffield Mencap, with all donations being split between the two.

Event organiser Emma Julius, aged 22, said: “We were told to do something as innovative and creative as possible, and the idea for a world record attempt came from that.

“We ask that people learn the dance moves before, but there will be time to learn them on the day.”

The world record currently stands at 322 participants, and was set on 5th August 2010 in Puducherry, India.

Organiser Charlotte Scott, aged 21, said: “This is the first big event we’ve had to do and there is a lot of pressure. We didn’t realise just how big it was.

“The event costs £3 to take part, and there will also be raffles and donations. We hope to raise around £1000.”

The local media has picked up on the event, and the group have been interviewed on Radio Sheffield, Magic AM, and Burnsgreave Community Radio.

They have also got involved with the Forge School Sport Partnership, who has been promoting the event in local schools. They now have children from St Joseph’s, Ecclesall Primary, and Greystones Primary School taking part.

If you’d like to get involved the event takes place this Saturday 19th March at Endcliffe Park. Registration starts at 10.30am, with the dance taking place at 1.45pm. There is a £3 entry fee with all money going to charity.

To find more information, and to learn the dance moves, go to

And don’t forget to check back here next week to see if the record has been broken, and to see how much money was raised, along with a video of the dance!

By Phil Corker

Published on: Mar 15, 2011 @ 13:59


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