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Food & Drink

Southsea Beach Cafe – First Day On Site

With the increasing decline and surrounding speculation of South Parade Piers future it’s extremely encouraging to see anything positive happening with regard to our extensive seafront. Despite always being under scrutiny for one reason or another the seafront remains a very popular destination throughout the year and with continuous progress on the Southsea Seafront Strategy, the PCC backed Victorious Festival and the Seafront Masterplan, to name but a few, it really feels like things are starting to change for the better…

Southsea Beach Cafe most certainly suits the progressive nature we are all dying to see take place and is a welcome addition to what is currently a very run down area of the seafront. The new proprietors of the old toilet block and cafe opposite Canoe Lake and East of the pier have taken on something that will really bring a new lease of life to the area. Not to be overshadowed by movements of the once iconic South Parade Pier, SBC is set to become a very popular destination for both locals and passing visitors.

Today saw the real beginning as work on site began and progress became a reality in physical form. Once completed, SBC will be a well considered and contemporary cafe destination offering good quality food throughout the day and evening. Set in an very accessible area with the perfect vista the plans for SBC include both inside and outside areas for dining in a very relaxed and family friendly environment.

Offering a unique experience to Southsea is the addition of having a seasonally adaptable awning that can be retracted to reveal the delights of Summer sunshine, whilst also keeping off those chilly British winds, and equally in the Winter months shield you from the elements but still offer the feeling of being outside as you are protected by the awnings structural weatherproof glass. As awesome as it will be to visit in the summertime I’m certainly looking forward to some comfort food in the Winter with the sea crashing outside in the knowledge that I’m safe and sound from the elements!

We will be following SBC very closely over the next few months before their planned opening in early June and have a more in depth article with the owners coming soon to talk about the years of negotiation up to their final plans and down to what will be on the menu. For the time being you can follow Southsea Beach Cafe over at their Facebook page HERE.

Strong Island have the privilege to be working with Southsea Beach Cafe on both the brand identity and creative consultancy and we are extremely proud to be part of the journey with them and the people they are working with. We will be keeping you up to date with all the developments of this exciting new venture right up till the opening night, and beyond…

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The Leopold Tavern 3rd Annual Beer Festival

From the 4th to the 14th of April, one pub on Albert Road will be offering a selection of 20 different ales, real ciders and food all at once. Welcome to The Leopold Tavern‘s 3rd Annual Beer Festival. Featuring over 80 casks, this yearly event is fast becoming a fixture for the more discerning drinker. Breweries include Dark Star, Thornbridge, local favourite Irving, the increasingly popular Brewdog, Burning Sky and Magic Rock. So put down your tepid pint of Fosters and discover what beer is really supposed to taste like. This is also a good chance to grab your Portsmouth Beer Festival tickets if you don’t have them already. Catch you down there.

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The Thursday Þing – Heima A Film By Sigur Rós

The Thursday Þing (pronounced thing) is the weekly event at one of my favourite Southsea venues, 101 Reykjavík. Every week you can expect stripped down acoustic sets, chats with an author, a poet or some other free-thinking type or the finest in Scandinavian cinema.

This week the team are treating us to the documentary film Heima which follows Sigur Rós during their 2006 tour of Iceland. Combining both the biggest and smallest shows of their career, the entire tour was filmed, and now provides a unique insight into one of the world’s shyest and least understood bands captured live in their natural habitat.

Sigur Rós are a slightly marmite group, you either love them or hate them. Unlike marmite I love Sigur Rós! With the weather starting to take a turn for the worse I would encourage you to head down, get cozy and enjoy the documentary along with one of their famous hot dogs and Icelandic beers.

For more information on the event check out the Facebook Event Page HERE.

You can find 101 Reykjavík at the junction of Castle Road and Kent Road, Southsea. If you would like to find out more and see the menu then check out the website HERE, alternatively you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@101_Reykjavik).

Heima by Sigur Ros

Mothers Day

With Mother’s Day fast approaching don’t hesitate to book your favourite local restaurant for the number one woman in your life. Demand is likely to be very high around the City.

We’ve noticed that The Belle Isle are offering a great promotion which you can see below.

Mothers Day Belle Isle

Tiny Rebel Tap Takeover At The Belle Isle

Some pretty cool news from The Portsmouth Beer Festival camp, on Thursday the 27th of March from 5pm The Belle Isle in Southsea will play host to a Tiny Rebel Tap Takeover. For one night only Newport’s most exciting brewery will be taking control of the taps in order to showcase their wares. Here is what to expect on the evening:

On cask we’ll have BEAT BOX, a 4.5% medium bodied American pale ale with a floral and then sweet citrusy hop aroma, HANK which is a 4% Lite Pale Ale that’s packed with fruity flavour and an ultra low bitterness that tastes amazing, THE FULL NELSON, a 4.8% ‘Maori Pale Ale’, which came together after months of experimentation with a very unique hop called Nelson Sauvin from New Zealand showcasing strong grape flavours that are complimented by the sweet Munich malt and FUBAR, a 4.4% unique schizophrenic beer where you’ll face off against floral hoppy flavours up front, leading into a dry spicy bitterness on the back.

On keg we can look forward to GOLDIE LOOKIN’ ALE, a 4.5% American Pale Ale that was brewed with Newport’s finest rappers, Goldie Lookin Chain, alongside a Black IPA LOKI at 4.5% and another American Pale Ale ZOOL 4.8%.

It doesn’t end there either! We’ve shipped in a few bottles of DIRTY STOP OUT 5% and HADOUKEN 7.4% to complete the line up.

If you haven’t already, this is also a great opportunity to buy your Beer Fest tickets, with the current high interest in craft beers this year is promising to be the best yet. Make sure you don’t miss out.

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101 Reykjavík’s The Thursday Thingí – TONIGHT!

101 Reykjavík is the newest addition to our awesome food and drink scene. I tried it out myself last weekend and I’ve got to say I loved it. I made the effort to try all bar one of the beers available, it was hard to pick a favourite but the Einstök White Pale Ale was the winner. Special praise goes to the smoked flavoured Steðji Reyktur!

You can find 101 Reykjavík at the junction of Castle Road and Kent Road, Southsea. If you would like to find out more and see the menu then check out the website HERE, alternatively you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter (@101_Reykjavik).

Thursday 6th March the venue will be launching The Thursday Thingí, described as a weekly(isn) gathering/þingí. You can expect stripped down acoustic sets, chat with an author, a poet or some other free-thinking type or the finest in Scandinavian cinema.

Opening will local artists B Of The Bang and The Boy I Used To Be. You can find out more information on the Facebook event page HERE. See ya there!

101 Reykjavík

101 Reykjavík a New Icelandic Bar in Castle Road

Sweetie Pie Bakery Celebrates British Pie Week

Here is some good news, or at least a good excuse for a bit of a treat, this week is British Pie Week! To celebrate all things pie, Southsea based Sweetie Pie Bakery have a 10% discount on all their Sweet Pies for the whole week, including gift wrapping and free delivery in Southsea too. All you need to do to get your pie this week with 10% off is enter the code PIEWEEK14.

You can find out more at:

www.facebook.com/sweetiepiesouthsea

Sweetie Pie Bakery Celebrates British Pie Week

The Marmion Tavern Gets a Dramatic New Look and New Menu

The Marmion, on Marmion Road, has recently been re-opened with quite a dramatic new look and style. Matt the new manager got in touch with us before the grand opening on the 17th and the pub is both looking good with some nice design touches plus has a brand new menu and line up of drinks. Check the photos below and be sure to pop in soon yourself to have a look and try out the new dishes.

The Marmion Tavern Gets a Dramatic New Look and New Menu (1)

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Portsmouth Homebrewers Club

Next Tuesday 4th March will see the first meeting of the Portsmouth Homebrewers Club.  It will take place at The Leopold Tavern on Albert Road, Southsea from 7pm.

After the great success of the Strong Island Home Brewing competition and the recent boom in interest for craft beers and home brewing, myself, Stuart and Pete Hughes, brewer at The Brewhouse & Kitchen, are launching the gatherings due to take place once a month at different venues across the city.  The evenings will be an informal get together to discuss all aspects of home brewing including tips and recipe shares under the expert guidance of Pete.  There is no formal agenda planned, although we will be able to look ahead to certain discussions and topics as we go along if anyone wishes to raise an idea.

It’s open to all abilities whether you’ve never even brewed before but are looking to start, right through to the accomplished home brewers.  It’s all about learning new things and sharing the love for beer!

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4th Annual Strong Island Home Brew Competition

Wednesday evening saw the 4th year of the Strong Island Home Brew competition at Little Johnny Russells and we were not disappointed.  The best turnout of any year so far, and the quality was improved across the board to match the strong numbers.

A total of 12 entries were submitted to the restricted brew category with the winner being brewed by Irving & Co. Brewers and 4 entries battled it out in the unrestricted category which saw two lagers go up against two ciders.

An impromptu Best Label Design category was awarded for the evening due to the great detail and effort that had gone into all the labelling, and this was a duly deserved win by Jessica Watson & Chris Bulman for the Tucker’s lager labels.

Milton Pride cider scooped the unrestricted category for their third year in a row, this year being pushed hard by Tucker’s Malt & Maple Syrup and his Treacle & Brown Sugar lagers, as well as Pig & Pirate’s cider entry.

The restricted ale was a very tough choice for the judges Malcolm Irving and Stuart Ainsworth.  Honourable mentions went to Kassassin Street Brewery’s Homegrown and Pig & Pirate’s Darkside Mild.  Third place went to Pig & Pirate’s New World Pale Ale, second place was claimed by Shed Brew for their White S beer and the eventual winner was taken by last years winner also, Tyler Griffin, with his Malaccan Pirate Black IPA.

With his winning brew, Tyler aimed to pay homage to BrewDog’s Libertine Black Ale and the controversial style often referred to as a Black IPA.  The recipe resembles an American IPA with prominent citrus, floral, and piney aromas, but modifies the grain bill via the inclusion of de-husked black malt.  The adjustment conjures an opaque black colour while offering a subtle roastiness to the balance of malt sweetness and hop bitterness.  He says he has found that the style affords little margin for error in achieving the correct balance.  The precarious balance gives rise to the name, Malaccan Pirate, which respects the treacherous shipping strait between Malaysia and Indonesia.

Malaccan Pirate will now go on to be brewed by Irving & Co. Brewers in late spring and will debut at Portsmouth Beer Festival before hitting the pumps around Portsmouth & Southsea and surrounding areas.  A huge thank you to all who took part and everyone who has supported the event.  We’re very proud of how the event has developed so far and are very much looking forward to our 5th year next year.

Below are a few photos, visit our Facebook page to see a load more: www.facebook.com/StrongIslandUK




















Features

A Kind of Conjuration at the Cellars

You would think witch trails a thing of the distant past. However, during the second world war a woman was tried and convicted under the ancient Witchcraft Act.

A play about the trial was performed at The Cellars at Eastney last week. Local theatre companies New Apollo and Cop The Needle brought audiences A Kind of Conjuration. This hour-long theatre piece, directed by Steve Pitt, featured a group of five actors, and was based on the real-life trial of Scottish medium Helen Duncan in 1944, for events that took place in Portsmouth.

The intimacy of the venue worked well for the subject matter, and enabled the performers and audience to connect in a way that isn’t possible in larger venues. When the judge, played by Christopher Marlowe, addressed the jury during the court scene, he spoke to the audience as if they were the jury, making them feel involved in the action.

Angie Lily was fantastic in the court scene, nipping backstage to change elements of costume in-between each character, resulting in a highly entertaining whirlwind of at least five different characters (and accents) testifying in quick succession. Henry Oastler was on comedic top form for his appearance in the court scene, displaying subtle character traits such as a tuck of the chin, transforming him completely from his other role in the play as a newspaper journalist. James Kirby and Tim Lowe also gave entertaining performances.

Writers Stuart Olesker and John Stanton incorporated excerpts from the original court transcript, adding authenticity to this brilliant piece. A highly refreshing and thought provoking performance.

A Kind of Conjuration will next be performed at the Square Tower on 25th June as part of Portsmouth Festivities. (Doors open at 7pm, performance starts at 8pm). On this occasion the play will be preceded by a monologue from the late Harry Price, ghostbuster extraordinary. Tickets from 023 9282 6249 or 023 9273 6288 or online: www.thecellars.co.uk.

Reviews:

Ashley Harley in Portsmouth News:
“a little gem”
“hauntingly good”
“not to be missed”
“solid direction”

Heather James in Portsmouth News:
“I was riveted”
“very witty and entertaining”

David Richards of Remote Goat:
“a sellout”
“a joy to watch”
“superb performances”
“a very high degree of professionalism”
“a very effective mix of the serious and the comedic”
“another triumph and a thoroughly enjoyable evening”

The original flyer for the show at The Cellars

Strong Island Calendar 2015 #SIC2015

Our 2014 Calendar was a huge success, the quality of images and huge amount interest it received really took us by surprise. We managed to double the sales of the 2013 Calendar, meaning we raised just over £600 for the Feel Yourself Campaign and the Alzheimer’s Society. We received over a thousand submissions by email and by use of the Instagram hashtag #sic2014.

We are excited to announce that we are taking submissions for our 2015 calendar. If you’ve taken a photo that you’d like to submit then you can email your submission via calendar@strong-island.co.uk. If you’ve taken a photo on Instagram that you’d like to submit for consideration you just need add the hashtag #SIC2015. There are no limits to how many you submit, the only rule is that the image must be relevant to Portsmouth.

Along with Instagram this year we also recommend you check out the Faded App. I’ve had a play with this App and you can create images that surpass anything that Instagram can produce. I especially love the overlay function.

If you have been taking any photos during this extreme weather we would love for you to submit them!

You may be aware that unfortunately due to an error our end the original batch of calendars contained a couple of errors. To rectify this the problem with the calendar we re-printed all of the calendars and offered everyone who bought one a free replacement (with free P&P where required). We are confident that we have managed to replace the vast major because of the online ordering records, however if you bought one from Lou Lou’s, Southsea Gallery or the Victorian Market then we don’t have your details so we need you to contact us ASAP to arrange a replacement! Those unclaimed calendars by the end of the week are likely to be donated to the staff of the charities we are supporting

Strong Island Calendar 2015

Here are just a few of the submissions that we have already received that might give you some inspiration.

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Road To Blissfields 2014 by Sophie Perryer

It’s that time of year again, when Southsea’s finest traipse out on a Friday night to listen to some of our home-grown, burgeoning talent. This year was no exception, with the likes of Becky Jerams, Poppobowa, Sabre and the B of the Bang taking to the stage to fill our ears with a range of musical goodness.

The evening was held this year at the Cellars at Eastney, and certainly had a more relaxed atmosphere – Strong Island’s Stuart Barker was even spotted wandering around with a cup of tea at one point!

The relaxed atmosphere lent itself perfectly to Becky Jerams soulful, syrupy vocals, gliding effortlessly over lyrics and melodies alike. Becky has enjoyed considerable success over the last few years with her song writing: her track ‘La La Love’ was featured in a Mandy Moore movie, and she has written for the likes of Chesney Hawkes and Loz Bridge. These accomplishments certainly showed through in her music; her sound was very much grown up pop and polished, while still retaining a youthful, wishful quality in her lyrics. A great start to the evening.

Becky was followed by Popobawa, a Gosport based trio relatively new to the music scene – so much so that Road To Blissfields was their debut live show! To say the boys coped well would be an understatement; they delivered a strong set with some interesting melodic choices which made for a distinctive sound, and the combination of this with hazy vocals akin to Friendly Fires was very striking. The best part? You can download their EP for a ‘name your price’ on their SoundCloud page.

Also hailing from Gosport were SABRE – the fivesome delivered catchy synth beats and impressive vocals not dissimilar to the Maccabees or Bombay Bicycle Club, with a little Two Door Cinema Club thrown in for good measure. Their raucous sarcastic comedy appealed to the crowd, and the banter between the band members was enjoyable.

Last but certainly not least were the B Of The Bang. The contrast of the almost gravelly voice of the lead singer and the Roxanne on keyboard’s ethereal vocals lent an almost eerie sense. The band delivered well thought-out tracks which were both directional and abstract, and conveyed a sense of their musical versatility and talent. Without a doubt a well deserved victory.

Congratulations to the B Of The Bang“>B of the Bang on their slot at Blissfields, and thank you also to the other artists for once again showcasing to us the quality of our local talent! Thank you too to Bellyeyesmile, Joel Ransom, the Cellars at Eastney, Strong Island, and all those others who had a hand in organising a top evening.

By Sophie Perryer

*We will be giving away a pair of tickets to Blissfields over the next six weeks so be sure to keep an eye out.*

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All photo’s by Daniel O’Neill

Victorious Festival 2014

In January the Victorious Festival team announced that the festival will be moving to Southsea Seafront. The team appear to have planned a bigger and better event building upon the success of previous years.

Last week saw the second wave of artists confirmed to perform live. The line up already consisted of awesome headliners Dizzie Rascal, Seasick Steve but they have now been joined by Razorlight, British Sea Power, Slow Club, Foy Vance, Mark Morriss of The Bluetones and The Bog Rolling Stones. There will be DJ sets from Alt J, Terry Hall of the Specials, 2manyDJs and COR. Not to forget some of the best local talent such as Matt Jarvis, Eloise Keating and our favourites the Southsea Alternative Choir are also performing.

Personally I’m really excited about the Sunday line up, I’ve been a huge fan of Seasick Steve for years and I even went to Bestival dressed as him for the Under the Sea fancy dress theme. Sunday also see’s British Sea Power performing, they have been regular visitors to the Wedgewood Rooms during their tours in the past, most recently in April 2013. They are easily one of the best live acts you could ever have the pleasure of seeing. The Saturday headliner Dizzie Rascal isn’t too shabby. I caught him at Bestival in 2010 and I can promise you, he knows how to put on a show and get you dancing!

There will be more artists announced closer to the time. You can find out first by following Victorious on Facebook and Twitter @VictoriousFest, or by signing up to the mailing list HERE.

The event is more than just a music festival, there will be lots going on in the Kids Arena as well a Real Ale Festival featuring many local breweries. For the weekend local seafront attractions will be FREE, these include Southsea Castle, Blue Reef Aquarium, D-Day Museum and Southsea Skate Park. If you would like to be involved in the boutique market then drop the team an email on traders@victoriousfestival.co.uk.

The festival will be held on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th August. There are limited early bird tickets available but hurry as they are only available at the reduced price for the next ten days! Adult Day tickets are currently available for £15 per day and will be £20 after. You can pick one up via the website HERE, or directly at Little Johnny Russells or either of the Belle Isle restaurants. Kids tickets will cost £6 but those under the age of five can enter the festival for free.

Over the next five months we will try and keep you up to date on announcements and preview the performers and attractions that you can look forward to.

Victorious Festival 2014

Tricorn Controversy in Concrete Exhibition at the Portsmouth City Museum

Tricorn: Controversy in Concrete is a brand new exhibition commemorating 10 years since the demolition of this distinct and controversial building that between 1966 and 2004 was a fundamental part of the Portsmouth skyline. The exhibition at Portsmouth City Museum goes far beyond documenting the building from an architectural perspective, although for the first time many, many original drawings, plans and photographs are on display from the building’s architects, much of it for the first time ever. Where this exhibition explores beyond the groundbreaking and (for many) iconic Brutalist architectural design is documenting how it was experienced and used by the people of Portsmouth. The exhibition opened on the 15th and formally had its opening celebration to a capacity crowd on Saturday 22nd.

The exhibition on the ground floor of the museum is loosely arranged in to two areas, with the first section detailing the origins of the building from concept to design and build. As you enter this space the striking architectural plans on the wall are what first catch the eye. The lines and form of the concrete structure can almost take you back in time to the exciting and economically optimistic early 1960s, with the original and then cutting edge design still feeling strangely fresh even now. This is reinforced with the many original pamphlets, magazines and books that show the enthusiasm the project launched with. This part of the exhibition also establishes where the Tricorn sat within the Brutalist movement and also with some other buildings in the city such as Portsdown Park and Portsmouth Central Library, both of which are in the exhibition in the form of architect sketches and models.

The second section focuses on how the people of Portsmouth experienced the structure over the years it stood in the city centre. Part of this section is an incredible collection of posters and artwork from the nightclub but there is also related music, photos and even period clothing giving a sense of how the building was, for a time, a hub for the community. This section also looks at how the building was a creative inspiration for many, including artwork, skateboard decks and in particular, photography. It is in this section the Strong Island community photo panel is located, with over 100 photos capturing the structure in artistic angles and light. This area is also home to some striking work by Jon King and James Earle, both of who explored the building with their cameras throughout it’s demolition. Both areas also contain oral history, with interviews, opinions and memories on the Tricorn from both architect and members of the public. Also in both areas of the exhibition are feedback walls, which welcome comments from people visiting the exhibition. Despite the exhibition only being open for a week these are already full with amazing contributions.

On Saturday 22nd the exhibition was formally opened including attendance by VIPs such as Owen Luder, one of the original architects, plus many people associated with the Tricorn from right back to it’s design and construction through to its final demolition. The event included speeches by Owen Luder, Celia Clark and Councillor Lee Hunt, possibly the most interesting was the story of the Tricorn told by Owen Luder himself. It was fascinating to see how for him the aspirations for the building were in many ways dashed due to an economic turndown happening with an extended delay in securing contracts with key business tenants. Of particular note were his thoughts on how the space itself has been used “54 years on it is back to how it was when I first saw it in 1960, a carpark”.

The exhibition runs through to the 29th June.

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Macbeth at the Square Tower

The Scottish play is coming to the atmospheric setting of the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth this week. The Southsea Shakespeare Actors, who performed Shakespeare’s The Comedy of Errors at the Station Theatre, Hayling Island last November, are swapping tomfoolery and twins for blood and revenge in their production of Macbeth, showing from 12th-15th March.

Rob Bartlett, who plays the title role, tells us why the play is so popular among theatregoers, and what the audience can expect from this production.

This is one of Shakespeare’s plays that most people know at least a little about, whether it be the ‘is this a dagger I see before me’ quote or the infamous character of Lady Macbeth. Why do you think it holds such appeal for audiences?

I think it’s because of the mix of supernatural, unbridled ambition and human weakness – we may not all do what the Macbeths do, but we’ve thought about it! If we were given a supernatural push and told by powers beyond our understanding that it would all be okay, we might just act on those impulses more often.

I also think it’s because Macbeth’s descent into madness is so well observed and written that it makes it utterly compelling, and a joy to play. In one line ranting and in the next line totally lucid. The jerkiness of his thoughts makes it a perfect portrayal of manic behaviour.

The play also barrels along at a heck of a pace – there isn’t the flowery poetry of Romeo and Juliet for example, it’s all plot, character and action. I also think that almost every character gets their moment in the spotlight – Lady M and Mackers obviously, but Malcolm, MacDuff, Lady MacDuff, Banquo and even the Porter get their chance to shine (to name but a few)!

There’s a superstition in the theatre world that it’s bad luck to mention the ‘M’ word on the night of a performance, regardless of the play. What’s that all about?

To be honest I have no idea!!! I talk about Macbeth all the time. I think there was some talk about bad things happening on various productions but to me it seems like a good way to get some publicity! 

You’re performing at the Square Tower in Old Portsmouth – how do you think the setting will lend itself to the atmosphere of the play?

I think it will be brilliant! A big bare stone building, dimly lit with lots of shadows bouncing off the walls, candles – it will be fab. Also by doing it ‘in the round’ the audience will be really close. They will feel like they are in the scene, not just watching it. There will be times where they can’t see the face of the actor who is delivering the lines but that wont matter, a bit like when you are out with a big group of friends. You can’t always see the face of the person talking but you get a sense of what’s going on from everyone around you – and yes, that will include the other members of the audience on the opposite side of the room who can see.

We are doing some scenes with candles, so it will be really dim – really atmospheric!

Can you sum up in one (short!) sentence what we can expect from the Southsea Shakespeare Actors’ version of Macbeth?

It’s up close and personal – be ready to be part of the action!

 

To book tickets go to http://ssa.ticketsource.co.uk/events or find out more about the Southsea Shakespeare Actors at www.southseashakespeareactors.com.