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Almost 700 movie lovers have voted to decide the two films that are shown at this year’s popular Outdoor Cinema in Tamworth Castle Grounds.

Votes were cast online and via social media after members of the public were invited to choose from a shortlist the films they would most like to see on a big screen in the great outdoors this summer.

The winning movies have now been revealed as Top Gun, which came out on top with 112 votes for the earlier 9.15pm slot, to be followed by a showing of Labyrinth at 11.45pm, chosen by 75 people.

Tickets for this year’s Outdoor Cinema on Saturday, August 4, go on sale on Thursday (February 15), tickets are priced at £10 per screening.  Anyone wishing to attend is advised to get in early as last year’s 1,300 tickets sold out within just a week of going on sale.

Top Gun is a 1986 American romantic military action drama film directed by Tony Scott, and starring film stars Tom Cruise and Kelly McGillis. The Top Gun Naval Fighter Weapons School is where the best of the best train to refine elite flying skills. When hotshot fighter pilot Maverick (Cruise) is sent to the school, his reckless casual attitude put him at odds with the other pilots, especially the cool and collected Iceman (Val Kilmer). But Maverick isn’t only competing to be the top fighter pilot, he’s also fighting for the attention of his beautiful flight instructor, Charlotte Blackwood (McGillis).

This iconic film won many awards, including an Academy Award for best original song for “Take My Breath Away” performed by Berlin.

Will you let ccc take your breath away?

Will you let Maverick take your breath away?

Another great classic film has been chosen for the midnight movie in the form of much-loved adventure tale Labyrinth.

Labyrinth is a 1986 British-American musical dark fantasy adventure film directed by Jim Henson and starring music legend David Bowie. The film revolves around 15-year-old Sarah (Jennifer Connelly) and her quest to reach the centre of an enormous otherworldly maze to rescue her infant brother Toby, whom Sarah wished away to Jareth, the Goblin King (Bowie). With the exception of Connelly and Bowie, most of the film’s significant characters are played by puppets produced by Jim Henson’s Creature Shop.

This amazing adventure film also features the well-known soundtrack music by David Bowie. This will be a silent screening and headphones will be provided.

Labyrinth stars music legend David Bowie

Labyrinth stars music legend David Bowie

Cllr Robert Pritchard, Deputy Leader of Tamworth Borough Council, said: “The Outdoor Cinema has been a hugely popular event in the six years since it was added to the annual outdoor events programme. The past two years we decided to give audiences the chance to choose the films they wanted to watch under the stars and the event subsequently ended up selling out within just a week of going on sale.

“We decided to open it out to the public again and have been amazed at the response with a total of 688 taking the opportunity to have their say. Due to the popular success of this event, I would urge anyone who would like to attend to book their tickets straight away to avoid disappointment this time around.”

Cinema-goers are invited to take warm blankets and a picnic, although food and drink will be on sale during both events. No glass, gazebos or alcohol are to be taken on site, but a licensed bar will be available throughout.

Gates open 45 minutes prior to Top Gun and 15 minutes before Labyrinth. Entrance is by ticket only and both movies are for audiences aged 18 and over, due to licensing restrictions.

Tickets are available online at www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk, in person from Tamworth Information Centre in Marmion House, Lichfield Street, or by calling the Box Office on 01827 709618. A transaction fee of £1 is payable on all online and telephone bookings.

The Outdoor Cinema is just one element of a packed programme of outdoor events that have been confirmed for 2018. The full line up will be revealed soon.

twycross zoo lemurs

LOOKING for ways to keep the kids entertained this half-term? Why not visit the award-winning Twycross Zoo and bag yourself a bargain day out for the whole family to enjoy!

From now until the 25th February, tickets are available from just £10 per adult and £5 per child!

Immerse yourself and explore the animal world, with indoor and outdoor enclosures, interactive experiences and fun, exciting encounters with over 500 animals, from over 150 different species.

The 80-acre site set in the heart of England, Leicestershire, is home to one of the largest primate collections in Europe and the only place in the UK, and one of four worldwide, with all four types of Great Ape (gorilla, orang-utan, chimpanzee and bonobo).

Welcoming around 500,000 visitors a year, the award-winning conservation charity funds and conducts scientific research and has an award-winning education and outreach programme.

To snap up this offer visit: https://twycrosszoo.org/event/feb-half-term/

Sarah Monachino with the MyStaffs app

WITH love in the air and Valentine’s Day just around the corner, couples are being reminded that they can now plan their Staffordshire wedding on their smartphone.

The myStaffs App, available on the App Store or on Google Play now allows people to plan their big day from ceremony choices right through to choosing their favourite music once the ceremony has been booked.  As well as getting real-time updates on the countdown to their wedding day itself, people can also submit any special requests as well as paying any outstanding balances.

Gill Heath, Cabinet Member for Communities at Staffordshire County Council said: “With such a wide range of wonderful venues to choose from, Staffordshire really is a marvellous place to get married. And now with the ability to plan the big day from your smartphone, getting married in Staffordshire has never been easier.

“So, whether it’s a romantic castle or historic building, theme park or even a football ground you fancy, we’ll have something for you.  And, we’ll take the stress out of it allowing you to plan every detail on our myStaffs App.”

Outdoor Ceremony Autumn Moddershall

An outdoor ceremony at Moddershall

Staffordshire continues to be a popular place to get married with around 3500 weddings each year and over 114 approved venues to choose from. Locations vary from castles to theme parks and football clubs to railway stations. Venues include Tamworth Castle, County Buildings in Stafford, St George’s Park in Burton, Alton Towers and Drayton Manor Park.

Last year Staffordshire County Council’s Registration Service conducted over 3,550 marriage ceremonies and is expected to do an extra 200 this year. The months of May to October are the most popular months and 1.30pm and 2pm are the most requested times for ceremonies to be held.

The historic County Buildings, in Stafford is also now available for weddings.  People can find out more about getting married in Staffordshire at www.staffordshire.gov.uk or on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/gettingmarriedinstaffordshire.

The myStaffs App brings many council services together in one easy to use App that allows people to do things like reporting highways issues, paying bills and registering a birth.

Staffordshire Staycation Attractions

FAMILIES in Staffordshire are being encouraged to staycation during the February half term holiday and take advantage of the county’s wealth of attractions.

Mark Winnington, Cabinet Member who oversees tourism at Staffordshire County Council explained that the county was a fantastic place to explore with lots on offer.

Mark said: “We really are a fabulous county and the half term holidays offer a great opportunity to get out and explore some of our wonderful attractions.  We have something for all the family, whether it’s our thrilling theme parks at Alton Towers and Drayton Manor Park, historic buildings and countryside or activities at our libraries, there will always be something to keep the children amused.”

National Forest Adventure Farm

National Forest Adventure Farm

  • At Alton Towers Resort it’s Pirates and Princesses Week (10th-25th February), with swashbuckling entertainment for hotel guests to enjoy, including family gameshows, fancy dress parades and pirate training, alongside tropical adventures at the Splash Landings waterpark.
  • There are exploits of a chillier kind at Tamworth Snowdome, home of the new SnowClimb featuring 15 routes to tackle on two new climbing walls, alongside adrenaline tubing, tobogganing, snowboarding and loads more to enjoy on the slopes.
  • Drayton Manor Park will be full of family fun at Thomas Land as the rides and attractions swing back into life after Winter, while there will be live shows from the Fat Controller and Friends and the new red pandas Tika and Pema to meet in the zoo (Feb 10th-25th).
  • There will be more exotic species to meet at the Trentham Monkey Forest, the only place to roam among Barbary macaques in the UK, which reopens for the 2018 season on February 18th.
  • There’s New Life at the National Forest Adventure Farm in Burton. Meet piglets and chicks and help bottle feed the lambs. Maybe see a lamb being born in the Lambing Live tent and help the farmer make scarecrows and test-drive the remote control tractors (17th-25th Feb).
  • There are more animal antics at Tamworth Castle, where the dragons Ruby and Hafgrim went missing during a game of hide and seek. Join the dragon hunt (18th-24th Feb) and use your detective skills to find out where they went.
  • Celebrate 100 Years of the RAF by building your own Airfix plane at RAF Museum Cosford (17th-23rd Feb), or make and decorate a kite and take part in the kite-flying competition at Beacon Park in Lichfield (19th-20th Feb).
  • Staffordshire libraries will also be hosting a range of activities during half-term.  People should contact their local library to see what’s planned.
Thomas Land at Drayton Manor Theme Park. From left is Maxwell Booker, 4, and Maisie Booker, 8, from Long Eaton.

Thomas Land at Drayton Manor Theme Park. From left is Maxwell Booker, 4, and Maisie Booker, 8, from Long Eaton.

For more information on things to do during the February half-term, visit www.enjoystaffordshire.com/halfterm

Twycross Zoo new logo

SPRING has sprung early at Twycross Zoo with the arrival of three new babies, meaning there has never been a better time to visit Leicestershire’s award-winning conservation charity.

The Zoo’s internationally renowned Endangered Species Breeding Programme is off to a great start for 2018, with three different species born during January and February. Babies such as Pogo Junior, the baby Dik Dik, and two adorable little monkeys are the new arrivals set to delight visitors of all ages.

Home to over 500 animals of 150 different species from all around the world, it’s the only place in the UK where you can see all four great apes – chimpanzees, orangutans, gorillas and bonobos.

From 10th to 25th February, the Zoo will host its popular Keeper Talks, where visitors are invited to meet the Twycross conservation experts and learn all about the animals in their care. The jam-packed calendar of daily talks will cover all sorts of species, great and small, and include everything from elephants to lemurs and Spider monkeys.

De Brazza baby

De Brazza baby – credit Phillipa Dobbs, Veterinary Associate

Open from 10am to 5pm, 364 days a year, whatever the weather, there is something for everyone at Twycross Zoo. Visitors to the impressive 80-acre site can get up close and learn all about the animals in their indoor and outdoor enclosures including the state of the art Gibbon Forest, Giraffe Savanna, and Elephant Creek.

There is so much to see on a family day out, walk the Wetlands area, marvel at the winged wonders of the Butterfly Farm, meet the meerkats, pop and see the penguins, say hi to the cheetahs and let your little ones go wild on the outdoor adventure play areas.

Explore the Himalaya Centre, with its warm and inviting coffee shop, super soft play and newly refurbished, fully licensed restaurant, with breath-taking views overlooking the snow leopard enclosure.

Twycross Zoo relies upon the generosity of its visitors to support its conservation work. Adult tickets are priced £19.95 and children aged 2+ are priced £14.95, for children under 2 and carers entry is free.

Centrally located in the heart of England, Twycross Zoo is just off junction 11 of the M42. For more information and to book tickets, visit twycrosszoo.org or call 0844 474 1777.

Twycross is the only place in the UK where you can see all four great apes - Credit Phillipa Dobbs, Veterinary Associate

Twycross is the only place in the UK where you can see all four great apes – Credit Phillipa Dobbs, Veterinary Associate

Tamworth Assembly Rooms

WORK to transform Tamworth Assembly Rooms into a modern theatre fit for 21st century audiences is progressing well as the historic building’s interior is cleared to make way for a new design and layout.

Many noticeable changes have taken place since the official appointment of principal contractors Novus Property Solutions at the end of last year, who have been busy removing all fixtures and fittings inside the Corporation Street venue.

Internal features such as the bar, box office, tech box and auditorium seating have all been ripped out and the dressing rooms block at the back of the building has been completely demolished, ready for the new extension to be built.

The next phase of the development will see scaffolding erected around the building while a 12-strong on-site team remove and replace the roof.

The £3.38m building contract to refurbish, extend and modernise Tamworth Assembly Rooms is part of a £4.8m makeover to preserve and enhance the 128-year-old theatre.

Novus Property Solutions is working as part of a project team made up of architects, engineers, quantity surveyors and a project manager.

Their task includes the creation of a café bar and exhibition space, a new box office, glazed double doors at the front and a brand new glass extension on the side of the building, which will be used as a studio space.

Accessibility will be enhanced with a new access ramp outside and an improved layout throughout and the current tiered seating will be replaced with new state-of-the-art retractable seating to create a contemporary and flexible theatre space. Back stage areas will be improved for performers and the building will be decorated throughout.

Seating removed from Assembly Rooms

Seating removed from Assembly Rooms

Although the theatre is being significantly refurbished and updated, its ornate historic features will be conserved.

Cllr Steve Claymore, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration, said: “It’s now full steam ahead on the Assembly Rooms refurbishment and people will definitely start to notice some of the changes taking place. Inside, the building looks completely different after being cleared out ready for its complete redesign.

“This is a major project, representing a significant investment in Tamworth town centre which will help to secure one of our key attractions for future generations.”

The Assembly Rooms refurbishment is part of the wider Enterprise Quarter project, which is a joint initiative between Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council.

The overall £6.1million scheme includes the creation of Tamworth Enterprise Centre, a new restaurant in the Carnegie Centre and the development of new ‘public realm’ open space. It is being funded by the Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent LEP’s Single Local Growth Fund (£2.95m), the Heritage Lottery Fund (£903,400), Arts Council England (£365,000) and the remainder from Tamworth Borough Council.

Mark Foxall, contracts manager at Novus Property Solutions, said: “This is an incredibly complex project that includes extensive refurbishment works. We’re working closely with the council to ensure that this valuable building will be refreshed and become the perfect anchor for Tamworth’s new enterprise quarter.”

The construction phase is expected to take around 14 months and will be followed by further internal and technical work. If all goes to plan, the theatre should reopen during 2019, but further updates will be issued as the project progresses.

Other members of the project team include Brownhill Hayward Brown Architects, who have worked on the designs for the landmark building, Keelagher Okey Klein quantity surveyors, Cundall structural engineers and mechanical and electrical engineers BWB Consulting.

The whole project is being managed by Rider Levett Bucknall UK.

For updates about the Assembly Rooms project, you can follow our dedicated blog at www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk/blog.

Tamworth Castle Bandstand

PEOPLE are being asked for their views on a revised list of local buildings that are of architectural and historical importance.

The Tamworth directory of Locally Listed Buildings is made up of a range of properties that would not qualify for statutory listed building status but are still of value and significance to the local community.

It includes more than 90 buildings such as churches, halls, schools, pubs, shops and residential homes, and structures such as the Castle Grounds Bandstand. Although buildings on the list do not require any additional planning consent than normal developments, their designation as locally listed is an extra consideration in the planning process and does offer an added layer of protection.

The list is currently being reviewed by Tamworth Borough Council and was open to public consultation in the spring of 2017. As a result, it is being proposed that four buildings are added to the list, three are removed and that the rest should remain.

A new draft list with the amendments opens for a second round of consultation on January 29, running until March 12th 2018. Further comments will be discussed by the Local List Working Group which is made up of Tamworth councillors, officers from Tamworth Borough Council and Staffordshire County Council, plus representatives from Tamworth Civic Society, local heritage groups and Historic England.

Recommendations will then be made to the borough council’s Cabinet group for the new draft list to be adopted. At this stage of the consultation, comments are only being sought on the new proposed list; any recommendations to add or remove further buildings would have to be put forward as part of future reviews.

Locally Listed Buildings are determined against a range of criteria including age, rarity, architectural interest, aesthetic interest, rarity, historical association, landmark status and social and communal value.

Cllr Steve Claymore, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Regeneration, said: “The local list enables us to identify and earmark those buildings which are important to the history and communities of Tamworth. Although these buildings do not require listed building consent, their local significance can be considered should they be subject to any future planning applications.”

The draft local list can be viewed online at www.tamworth.gov.uk/locally-listed-buildings. To take part in the consultation please visit www.tamworth.gov.uk/locally-listed-buildings-2018-consultation or for more information contact a member of Tamworth Borough Council’s Development Plan Team on 01827 709279 or email [email protected].

WEIGHING in at less than a bag of sugar, Twycross Zoo’s newest baby is thriving much to the delight of his keepers and visitors alike.

Pogo Junior is the first baby to mother Spring and father Pogo, the diddy Dik Dik is the first of its kind to be born at the award-winning conservation charity on 4th January.

Over 80% of babies born at the Zoo last year were from species that form part of the European Endangered Species Programmes (EEPs) & European Studbooks (ESB) breeding programmes.

Twycross Zoo is open to the public from 10.00 to 17.00, 364 days a year.

For more information and to book tickets visit www.twycrosszoo.org or call 0844 474 1777.

Click images to see full size…


2018 events

DRAGONS, jousting, cinema under the stars, family fun, live music and fireworks are all back as part of Tamworth Borough Council’s 2018 programme of outdoor events.

The council’s Arts & Events team has been working hard to create another fantastic programme of entertainment for Tamworth residents and visitors to the area to enjoy this year.

Dates for the 2018 calendar have now been confirmed and they are all listed here for people to add to their diaries.

St George’s Day – Saturday, April 21

The outdoor events programme kicks off with the return of the massive St George’s Day extravaganza on Saturday, April 21. This huge family event has become known across the country, attracting thousands of visitors for wall-to-wall medieval-themed fun, including live jousts, a living history encampment and endless family activities. Back by popular demand, this year sees the return of the five-metre animatronic red dragon that delighted crowds in 2015.

Dosthill Park Outdoor Theatre – Saturday, June 23

The outdoor theatre will be back in Dosthill Park for a third year after successful performances in the community location for the previous two years. Entertainment will be provided by Quantum Theatre with a delightful new adaptation of Kenneth Grahame’s The Reluctant Dragon. This enchanting tale of bravery, friendship and adventure is perfect for the whole family.

Summer bandstand concertsJune to September

Local bands, singers and musicians will take to the historic Castle Grounds Bandstand for a series of weekend performances throughout the summer. Audiences will be able to enjoy picnics in the park accompanied by a variety of music to suit all tastes. Dates and full details of the programme will be announced nearer the time.


Outdoor Cinema – Saturday, August 4

Audiences will again be able to enjoy classic movies on a big screen in the picturesque outdoor setting of the Castle Grounds. The open air cinema has been a big hit in Tamworth for the past five years and is usually quick to sell out. Movie lovers are again being given the chance to choose the two films that will be shown this year. A shortlist of classic movies can be voted on via the Tamworth Arts and Events Facebook page between January 18 and January 25.

We Love Tamworth – Saturday, September 1

This popular family event is back on September 1st bringing fairground rides, stalls, games, inflatables, a dog show, children’s zone and much more to the Castle Grounds in a celebration of the people and organisations who make Tamworth a great place to live and visit.

Fireworks – Saturday, November 3

The free fireworks event is always one of the most popular on the town’s calendar, but this year will be extra special as the event celebrates its 10th anniversary in the current format. The whole family will be able to enjoy an evening of fun and entertainment, including fire performers, face painting, a sparkler zone, family activities, food stalls, fairground rides and an impressive display of fireworks.

Christmas Lights Switch On – Sunday, November 25 

Another jam-packed day of festive fun for the whole family has been planned to start the Christmas season in style. Starting at 1pm, festivities will include a programme of live music, a festive market, nativity, St Editha’s Church Christmas Tree Festival, dance performances and more.

For more details of the Tamworth Arts and Events programme visit www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk.

As well as all the entertainment organised by Tamworth Borough Council, the Castle Grounds is also home to a number of external activities which return year on year. These include the Gate Gallop, Tamworth Food Gusto Festival, the Lucky Stars line dancing event and the new Tamworth Fake Festival.


For more details on all events taking place in Tamworth please visit www.visittamworth.co.uk, where organisers can request to list events free of charge.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment and Culture, said: “Tamworth has become known across the region and even across the country for its outdoor events – many of which are provided for residents and visitors to enjoy free of charge. We remain committed to ensuring we provide a variety of fun and affordable entertainment and activities for families and have extended the arts and events budget this year to enable the programme to continue at the level and quality that people have come to expect.

“The Arts and Events team have been working hard to bring together another packed and varied programme and all the popular events are back. We hope people save the dates and come along to join the fun.”

Visitor numbers to the annual programme have risen over the last few years and are expected to exceed 60,000 this year. As well as the outdoor events organised by Tamworth Borough Council, the Castle Grounds has also been booked by more than 30 external hirers for events throughout 2018.

touring theatre

THEATRE is continuing on tour in Tamworth this February, with the rip-roaring alt-folk band Noble Jacks and the high-spirited, gypsy style jazz music of Tantz.

Noble Jacks will perform at St Francis Church on Thursday, February 8, starting at 7.30pm. This rip-roaring alt-folk band brings warm electro-acoustic music and rousing vocals to its live shows, fused together with a mixture of lively, folky foot stomping rhythms and engaging lyricism. The band encompasses heartfelt, yet upbeat songs, showcasing fiddle, blues harmonica and big anthemic songs. Exhilarating and refreshing to hear, this band will be raising the roof in February. Tickets are priced at £7.50.

If jazz music is more your style, then don’t miss Tantz in Concert at Sacred Heart Church on Friday, February 9, starting at 7.pm. A high-spirited and original klezmer dance and gypsy style band. Offering a performance of great global music, this remarkable six-piece band will bring joyous jazz infused music with an infectious vibe.  Tickets are priced at £8 adults, £6 concessions and £26 for group of 4 (standard tickets).

Live & Local – the Midlands’ Rural and Community Touring Network – will continue to work with Tamworth community groups to provide volunteers with the tools they need to bring professional touring theatre companies to the town, including booking, promoting and selling the events.

Touring Theatre has produced a range of high-quality shows that started from April last year. All performances have been staged in familiar but unusual community locations in a bid to increase opportunities for people to experience the arts.

It is part of the two-year Arts in Unusual Spaces project funded in partnership with Arts Council England, Tamworth Borough Council and the local community.

More information is available at www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk/arts-unusual-spaces.

Tickets are available via the box office: www.tamworthartsandevents.co.uk.  A transaction fee of £1 is payable on all online and telephone bookings.

Or you can book your tickets direct with the venues here:

St Francis Church Tickets: 01827 65926, available from St Francis Vicarage, Masefield Drive.

Sacred Heart Church Tickets: 01827 709618, available at the Hub in the Castle Grounds.

Cllr Joy Goodall, Tamworth Borough Council’s Cabinet member for Environment & Culture, said: “Don’t miss these incredible bands, a must-see for all music lovers, perfect to warm any cold winter evening.

“The Touring Theatre project has brought productions to venues in the community on a regular basis. As well as broadening the use of community venues, this has made it even easier for people to experience and enjoy theatre and the arts.”

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