Earlier this week you may have read about ‘Tender Loving Care’, a new play by Vickie Donoghue and Portsmouth theatre company Old Salt. A few weeks ago I caught up with the plays’ director Ian Nicholson in craft ale pub The Brewhouse next door to The New Theatre Royal where preperations were underway for the play. We discussed everything from Ian’s intriguing background and training to why it’s so important to develop creativity in Portsmouth and keep it here.
As Ian arrives to meet me next door to the theatre in the warm and relaxed Brewhouse it’s hard to not to be warmed by his bright smile and even brighter yellow coat. I’d first met Ian a few days earlier on a photo shoot for the productions’ poster at Old Portsmouth’s Hot Walls. I was intrigued to learn what draws successful creatives back to Portsmouth after leaving it for opportunities in London or further afield. ‘After graduating I studied a Masters at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama’ says Ian as I enquire about his education and training, ‘after that I went off to France to train as a clown’.
This was something I didn’t expect to hear. It’s hard not to smile as Ian talks about this transition to clowning, something that inspired his first play The Last March which tells the tragic story of Captain Scott’s doomed expedition to the South Pole. ‘There is something funny and tragic about Scott’s expedition, they took a piano with them and other useless items; it was doomed.’
Photo by Josh Knill.
Ian has spent several years involved with youth theatre and working with young people at the Stafford Gatehouse before he set up Tinder Theatre which subsequently became Old Salt Theatre. So what drew Ian back to produce work in Portsmouth as he currently divides his time between here and London, where he is very successful? ‘Portsmouth feels like home but it feels like there are lots of stories waiting to be told.” Ian extolls, his passion unflinching, “I want to invite writers here, take them round the city and see how it inspires them.”
Drawing on his experience of working on youth productions, Ian recognises the essential role children play in telling the citys’ stories, “It’s also important to get families involved, especially children as workshops in schools are a great way for children to see how a play is made. People move away to London or elsewhere but we should make art in the city, for the city.’ We carry on talking enthusiastically about the importance of culture in Portsmouth and move onto Ian’s current play Tender Loving Care which opens in June. Using D-Day as the back drop to tell the story of women in wartime, the production utilises a predominantly female cast. Inspired by Ian’s grandmother who worked as a clerk in the Portsmouth Dockyard during WW2, the play has an exceptionally personal connection to him and Portsmouth.
Ian’s passion is real, he doesn’t simply preach about how we should create new creative work for Portsmouth, he is actively doing it. It’s not always easy and I admire his determination and obvious affection for his hometown. Tender Loving Care runs from the June 4th to 21st at The Square Tower. You can book tickets here.
Students are being encouraged to swap their once loved clothes at a clothes swapping event to encourage reuse and recycling, by Portsmouth BIG Recycle, an initiative run by Portsmouth City Council to improve recycling in the city.
The Student Swap Shop event is on Tomorrow between 9am – 5pm at Third Space in the Student Union. All students of Portsmouth University are invited to attend. The union foyer will be brimming with clothes rails full of people’s old garments for people to browse and take home for free.
Students are asked to bring along items of clothing to swap and in return they will get tokens to use to ‘buy’ clothes. There is also the option to drop the items off prior to the event in a drop-off bin outside the union bar.
If students don’t have an item to swap they just need to sign up to the BIG Recycle in order to get a token to ‘buy’ an item of clothing.
There could be few a vintage gems on the rails and the best part is the students get to take them away for free. The BIG Recycle recycling officers have already collected many bags of clothes ready to be swapped, all in good condition and fit for Cara Delevigne!
There will be free pizza at the event and a chance for one lucky person to win £100 of Arcadia vouchers (Topshop, Topman, Dorothy Perkins, Burton, Miss Selfridge). The BIG Recycle team will be on hand to teach students what materials can be recycled in Portsmouth and getting them signed up to the BIG Recycle incentive scheme to be in with a chance of winning £250!
Adam Wintle some years ago helped design and build this second version of the Strong Island website and not long after moved to the far east, settling in Thailand and starting up his own web design business. Over the weekend whilst out and about in Bangkok Adam discovered on a wall a poster from an old event put on by Bored of Southsea with Strong Island and Little Johnny Russells. It was quite a while back, Tris designed the poster and guesses 2009 maybe. There is also a 2009 Strong Island bike ride poster, which we coincidentally posted up the other day again on the website. The posters are all at Pickdaily just off of Sukumvit 77/39 and seem to be part of the decor in some way.
Somehow the posters have made their way to Thailand and have been up on a wall in the capital city. If it was you who tucked it away in your rucksack when you went travelling maybe 5 years ago or you know the story behind how it got there, let us know!
Just noticed that we posted our 4000th article on Strong Island on Friday. That is now 4000+ exhibitions, gigs, artists, designers, bands, illustrators, festivals, crafters, painters, charities, community groups, cafes, bars, theatres, dancers, plays, restaurants, skaters, BMXers, filmmakers, photographers, events & way, way more…all in Portsmouth & Southsea in just over 5 years. Now if anyone tells you “nothing happens in this city”, be sure to put them right and send them this way.
Happy 2014! After our most manic Christmas and NYE (including a couple of us DJing at The Belle Isle) we’re getting back to business today. We have loads and loads of things planned for 2014, from exhibitions, new community arts projects, new collaborations, profiles on & interviews with new businesses, artists and designers plus our brand new website too…and a tonne more. Going to be a good one!
First thing done on the first day back? Visit Portsmouth Harbour on a sunny morning, batteries recharged, good to go. Hope you who are back at work too have a great day!
We are very sad to announce a break in at All About Tea at 8:31 this morning. Whilst the rest of Portsmouth were enjoying The Great South Run, an opportunist brazenly broke through the front door window and stole £535 from the till. The CCTV evidence below is pretty clear, so if you recognise the offender please report it to your closest police station. What appears to be a student also walks by seconds after the act, if you can assist with any potential further information then please do.
All of us at Strong Island want to wish a huge Happy Birthday to Southsea gent Ian Parmiter who is 50 years old/young/awesome today. Ian and family have shown us huge support and helped us in hundreds of ways over the years and we hold Ian in the highest regard. Ian is probably at an antique fare cornering the world market on vintage suitcases whilst looking strong in tweed as I type, safe to say there is only one Ian Parmiter and this city is lucky to have him right here.
The photo below is by Jack Daly from his People With Passions photography project:
Victorious Festival has collected together a haul of items from the event sponsors and are giving them away in a simple online competition, all you have to do is Like the Victorious Festival Facebook page, submit your email and share. Only takes a few seconds and the competition runs for only a few more days so get in quick.
So over the course of the weekend many Portsmouth brands look to be very heavily represented. Some of us will be enjoying the weekend, we will probably be wearing our Drunken Sailor tee one of the days so come and say hi and make sure you help support Portsmouth on the weekend! See you there.
Friday 1st March the Spinnaker Tower will be hosting a entertaining night of stand up comedy. Start the night with drinks at the top of the tower looking across the historic Portsmouth Harbour, and then take a seat at the Tower cafe back down on the ground floor to laugh relentlessly at 3 amazing comics and MC from 8 til late.
Okay, so it’s not quite on the Island, but hey, when the content is this good we can forget about the extra few miles. Harvey Mills shoots Murray Cross chomping the Langstone 13 set on the Havant roundabout with ease. Perfect timing and composition from Harvey.
With Portsmouth’s long history and particular geography it’s public transportation systems have been varied and have changed dramatically over the years. Over the next few weeks we are going to focus briefly on some of the more interesting ones, starting with the Portsmouth Trolleybuses.
The Portsmouth Trolleybus service provided by the Portsmouth Corporation was first introduced on the 4th August 1934 and covered most of the island and up to Cosham. The trolleybuses themselves were like normal double decker buses but were powered by overhead power cables like trams. The power lines for the trolleybuses criss-crossed overhead above the roads with routes and these wires became a constant in the city’s skyline, much like modern San Francisco and Vancouver.
The Guildhall (buildings in the distance are where the council buildings are now)
The trolleybus service continued until the 27th July 1963 and then sadly the wires torn down and almost all of the trolleybuses scrapped, today only two of the trolleybuses survive. No. 201, which was in Portsmouth’s transport museum before being moved, now lives on display in Milestones Museum in Basingstoke. No. 313 was the very last trolleybus to run but now is in fully restored working order and running at East Anglia Transport Museum (see it running here).
Ready for scrap (with the old airport in the background)
You can find out about all of the trolleybuses and see more photos here and watch below to see them in action with super8 footage from the 1950s and 1960s. Still looks strange seeing traffic through Guildhall Square.
P.S. Will the Portsmouth transport museum ever find a new home?
After purchasing a few bits of old furniture the other day, under closer inspection we found the shelving to be lined with old newspaper.
Coming from one of the sheets is this, an advert for Southsea from the Sunday People dated 21st January 1951. The best bit and also a point raised by more than one person, is the fact that in 1951 it takes 90 minutes by train from London Waterloo to Southsea the same as it does today! Fascinating that in 61 years we haven’t managed to make it any quicker.