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An evening with Hugh Grant

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Thursday, 22 January 2015
It's not often you get the opportunity to catch a world famous Hollywood actor perform in the flesh from mere feet away, but for one unique evening I was lucky enough to have that chance.

Earlier this month, I went to see Hugh Grant join a small group of disabled actors and dancers from The Baked Bean Company, as they performed live at Sadler's Wells theatre in Islington, London for two exclusive shows.

The Drama Group was co-authored by Hugh Grant, Nigel Hollins (A member of The Baked Bean Company), Baroness Sheila Hollins and the founder of The Baked Bean Company, Jade Hardrade-Grosz.

When I arrived the whole studio was buzzing with anticipation. After a wine reception for the revellers, the cast kicked off with a routine which saw more energy and excitement in one dance than most professional dance companies manage in an entire two hours. The play's storyline explored facing one's fears onstage and performing without fear of judgement. As the play developed, the acting and dancing drew many cheers, tears and laughter from the audience. Hugh was incredibly relaxed and humble throughout, and in the end the audience gave a standing ovation.

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Since their modest beginnings, The Baked Bean Company has flourished holding 22 classes a week in 3 different locations throughout Wandsworth and the surrounding Boroughs. These classes include Drama, Performing Arts, Musical Theatre, Singing, Djing, Dramatherapy and Life skills.

Jade Hardrade Grosz the founder of The Baked Bean Company and the director of The Drama Group said: "We are all so proud to be a part of something so amazing. Every day brings new challenges but it's the incredible people that we work with that make it so special. We all hope we are making positive steps towards breaking down the segregation and preconceptions of society."

To find out more about The Baked Bean Company and the services they provide in South London please call 0208 9440024 or email Lisa Glithero at lisa@acttoo.com.

Sinéad Nolan
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FOMO free (for this month only)

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 22 January 2015
Have you noticed how positively amicable everyone is in January? Is it because we're all in 'this club' of the longest, toughest, coldest, greyest, penniless month together? Or is it simply because no one is possessed by that green-eyed monster, aka suffering from a lethal case of FOMO*?

Going out and ending up on a dance floor is so very non-January that we've all (temporarily) softened our desperate fear of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. And this makes me wonder where on earth this need to be at The Party comes from... I mean, it is just those modern day insecurities rearing their ugly head or are we never content to just be present, right here, right now?

I think it all comes down to good old fashion confidence. And while insecurity is curiously appealing, and even a little charming, it seems only to be so when someone else is wearing it. So if vulnerability makes friends and drop dead gorgeous seems to be ridiculously alienating, who is having the most fun?

Of course Instagram and its constant scrolling fuels all this FOMO, magnifying the desire to be with the cool gang. But, as I mentioned, we've managed to drop our fears for the month so snap yourself in your pjs and repeat after me: snug is smug**. I already have.

*fear of missing out
** for a limited time period
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Devastated by death of Coronation Street Deirdre Barlow

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Thursday, 22 January 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

I feel rather silly writing this, but I am a loyal Coronation Street fan, and am devastated by the very sad and sudden death of Anne Kirkbride, who played the character Deirdre Barlow for many years. I am the same age as she was and have grown up watching her in the soap. Many of her story lines seemed to parallel events in my own life.

I find it hard to believe that she isnt going to be on the programme anymore and don't even know if I can bear to watch it again. It just won't be the same without her.

Since the news of her death I have been unable to focus and feel extremely tearful most of the time.
How on earth can I move on from this situation?

Patricia Marie says.....

You are most certainly not alone in mourning the very sad unexpected death of 'national icon' Anne Kirkbride, who died aged just 60 on Monday. Playing Deirdre Barlow for 43 years, she leaves a huge void in not only her family, friends and colleagues lives, but for you and all the other viewers who adored her.

Don't feel silly to be upset for the loss of someone who through the years played the story of life brilliantly, who connected with so many of us, and whose sudden loss has shocked the nation, proving hard to accept.

Deirdre showed her vulnerability by embarking on an affair with her husbands worst enemy Mike Baldwin, as well as having a fling with bad boy Jon Lindsay, which resulted in her being locked up in prison. Yet when required, she displayed great strength of character by standing up to all those who criticised her badly behaved daughter - story lines that resonated with many.

But who could possibly forget the comical banter between Deirdre, her husband Ken and eccentric mother Blanche, providing viewers with side-splitting laughter. At this time of sadness, its comforting to have such fond memories.

Of course Coronation Street will be different without Deirdre; but the programme will go on, as life must - just as her colleagues will have to find the strength to continue to work without their familiar friend beside them. And be assured the writers of Coronation street will ensure this iconic character will continue to have her presence felt in the street.

I hope you can get comfort and support from knowing others are feeling sad like you, and that as time goes on, your grief will ease. Anne's passing sends that familiar important message to us all, that we must embrace life, and cherish every moment, as it is so very precious and should never be taken for granted. One thing we can be sure of, our beloved Deirdre Barlow will never be forgotten.
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THE POPE SAYS…

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
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on Friday, 16 January 2015
This week's trivia question: He's a bloke who prefers the tube to a fancy chauffeured car, loves football, dancing, and poetry, worked as a bouncer in a bar and holds a master's degree in chemistry. Oh, and his favourite song is One Direction's, You Don't Know You're Beautiful, which he describes "a great pop tune with a killer hook".

Although my title may have been a giveaway you also may be wondering how Pope Francis can help get your little cherubs to eat their greens or do their homework without moaning about it.

Well he can't. Sorry to mislead you but whether you are religious or not, his "Tips for Happiness" are still worth considering as relevant and beneficial to caring for children.

Let's start with the basics, "...people who work must take the time to relax, to be with their families, to enjoy themselves, read, listen to music, play sport." Pope Francis acknowledges how hard it is to make time for such endeavours and as your children grow and develop interests so does your list of priorities.

Time races by so terrifyingly fast and you might just discover one day you don't know your children. Your fault, not theirs, as it's your responsibility to sit at the dinner table with no TV, drive them to school or football training with the radio off, and go for a walk with your mobile nowhere near your ear or your hands.

When you are dealing with a squealing child or an irritable teen, finding the headspace for the Pope's philosophy to "let go of negative things", "move quietly", and "live and let live" is not only a struggle, but seemingly ludicrous. However, you do have the option of taking a deep breath and keeping calm and hoping your unruffled demeanour will help you cope if not compose your child. Children also learn by example and with time success and peace should win over.

"Find ways of making jobs for young people". I know he means once they are legally employable and in need of an income, but I say, why wait. Chores, cleaning up games, toys and after dinner and other household responsibilities are a great beginning to instil respect and values.

And not that I'm advocating alcohol as a remedy, keep in mind even the Pope has his daily sacramental wine. Amen to that.
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An evening with The Royal Danish Ballet

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
Fiona Hicks has not set their biography yet
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on Thursday, 15 January 2015
It has been ten years since The Royal Danish Ballet last visited Sadler's Wells and their performances in London in January attracted the ballet establishment and dance enthusiasts, eager to see this rare balletic jewel.

In a programme entitled Bournonville Celebrations, soloists and principals of The Royal Danish Ballet presented a programme of classical choreography by August Bournonville, the 19th century Danish choreographer who raised the standards of male dance at a time when the female ballerina dominated the stage.

For Bournonville, dance was 'essentially an expression of joy' and watching his choreography was like being transported back to a more gracious and innocent age before angular movement to pumping electronic music had even been thought of.

Excerpts from romantic ballets such as The Flower Festival in Genzano, La Sylphide and The Conservatory, among others, showed us the lightness of jump or 'ballon' that the Danes are famous for the world over. This was pure classical dance - men and women traditionally costumed with the girls in soft ballet skirts and puffed sleeves.

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A humorous interlude was the Jockey Dance from Bournonville's last ballet, From Siberia to Moscow, choreographed in 1876. Two men, dressed as jockeys, jumped and leapt across the stage in a tribute to the English love of horse racing. Sebastian Haynes sizzled with personality, aplomb and youth.

The programme ended with what has become something of a Danish institution even though it's set in Italy. The three act ballet Napoli from1842 became one of Bournonville's most popular works and has now been in the company repertoire for more than 170 years.

Its 'pas de six' from the last act was a chance for the dancers to show all the rhythm, harmony and elegance of the Bournonville style. It was a happy ending in the best of European ballet traditions and left the audience uplifted, just as the great choreographer intended.

Gillian Spickernell
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