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entertaining dementia logo reduced

Entertaining Dementia

Under the banner Arts4All...a two-term programme of classes, activities and performances carefully selected to give those living with Dementia easy access to the arts.

As far as possible the programme will be based at The Phoenix Theatre & Arts Centre, giving those attending a familiar, friendly setting and provided by an organisation with a successful record of delivering Arts Projects within the specialised Arts sector. However, we also know the value of taking arts into the community, so we can deliver the project externally where necessary.

We are seeking advice from and working with local charities including: Artscape, Mind, the Elizabeth Dibben Centre and Age Concern Hampshire, whose initial, acitivity led work with Dementia at Bordon's Chase Hospital showed the value and need for this project to be delivered in East Hampshire.

The programme of classes, acitivites and performances will include a selection of the following:

  • Movement & Music
  • Pet Therapy
  • Watercolour Painting
  • Music Concerts
  • Afternoon Cinema
  • Classic TV Series Appreciation

For more information about the project, to get involved or for press and media enquiries, please e-mail

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Alison McFadden Reduced

Body/Connect/Affect Yellow Blue by Alison McFadden

Forces is a mixed media, 2D, art exhibition by three artists - Alison McFadden, Julia Keenan and Morwenna Lake -  who have all graduated from UCA Farnham and are establishing their art practice. All have exhibited widely and this exhibition at the Phoenix Theatre & Arts Centre has been curated to show a particular thematic strand of their art work. These three unique artists, in Forces, present works which consider the power and nature of forces. Be it; the bursting of a seed head, the marks made by a tree branch moving in the wind or the trace of body movement marking the momentum made by swinging from gym rings, forces are at work.

The exhibition will be in the The Phoenix Foyer and Room 3 until Christmas and entry is free of charge.


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If you've visited us recently or in fact just driven past, you may have noticed that the front of the builidng has been clad in scaffolding. We're in the process of revamping one of our many rooms available for hire. The Conference Room comfortably seats 24 people in a board room style and will be given a facelift for future training courses and meetings. Work continues outside the building to expand and improve the rear carpark to enable audiences ample space to park when paying us a visit. We apologise for any disruption that this may cause and we hope you'll agree that the significant changes will be worth the wait. 

For more information regarding hiring space at The Phoenix Theatre & Arts Centre, please visit

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Celebrating Older People on Sunday 2nd October


The Phoenix Theatre & Arts Centre are proud to announce that we'll be hosting a celebration of dance especially for more mature people as part of the nationwide initiative Silver Sunday.

This fun and sociable session will give participants a gentle warm up (which can be chair based), a taster of our regular Dance Picnic sessions and a little bit of Zumba Gold thrown into the mix. No experience necessary, just come along and enjoy moving and feeling good. Complimentary refreshments will be provided afterwards so feel free to stay and have a chat.

Held on the first Sunday of October through the Sir Simon Milton Foundation, Silver Sunday is a national celebration of older people and their contribution to communities. Through a variety of free activities Silver Sunday is offering people over 65 a chance to keep active in body and spirit, try new things,meet their neighbors and, ultimately, overcome loneliness.

Please call 01420 472664 or e-mail

For more information about Silver Sunday, visit

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Be part of Big Dance in Bordon!

big dance logoThe Phoenix Dance Collective is going to be part of Big Dance 2016, a nationwide celebration of dance for everyone ! Big Dance is a government funded scheme aiming to get the whole country dancing and each year a different, well known choreographer creates a short piece of choreography which can be adapted for any dance group to use and then to video their version of the dance and upload it onto the Big Dance website. This is the final year of Big Dance and the celebrated contemporary choreographer Akram Khan (who choreographed a stunning dance for the opening ceremony of our 2012 Olympics) has created an accessible and uplifting piece with the theme of overcoming adversity. Phoenix Dance Officer Elizabeth Blake will be teaching his choreography at The Phoenix Dance Collective classes on Wed 18 and Wed 25 May 7.15 - 8.45pm in The Phoenix Theatre Dance Studio. The classes (cost £5) are suitable for age 14 yrs plus and you don't have to be in the video if you don't want to, you can just enjoy learning the dance.

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domestic abuse Fotor

Audience figures for a Theatre in Education performance by The Phoenix Theatre Company, a group of professional actors from The Phoenix Theatre & Arts Centre, recently topped the 20,000 mark. “Talking Together”, a drama exploring domestic abuse, is part of a presentation in association with Karen Evans, Chair of the N E Hants Domestic Abuse Forum, and is currently performed at secondary schools across North East Hampshire.

Incidents of domestic abuse have risen sharply in the last few years and there are now cases reported every 30 seconds, which equates to 2880 per day. The drama and accompanying presentation aims to help young people identify the signs of abuse, to provide them with the information they need to keep safe and, most importantly, to encourage them to talk to someone to get help and support if they are experiencing abuse. The drama has also been performed for the British Army and the Police Commissioners Conference.

Actress Elizabeth Blake plays the mother in “Talking Together” and says “domestic abuse can take several different forms and is not always about physical violence. It’s so important that we educate young people about this issue and tell them how to find someone to talk to and get help. Drama is a great way of engaging people in a difficult subject and making it accessible and The Phoenix Theatre Company is glad of the opportunity to bring “Talking Together” to so many young people.”

For further information about “Talking Together” or The Phoenix Theatre & Arts Centre contact Phoenix Director Rob Allerston on (01420) 472664 or email 

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Old Herbaceous Slider

Old Herbaceous, the classic British novel, is set to tour once more this time with The Phoenix Theatre Companies Simon Downing at the helm.

"It’s not often that you find a play which gives you gardening tips and cookery suggestions!". It's not always easy to adapt a novel into a play, and it can be an even more arduous task to re-interpret that adaptation and create a piece with your own flare and stylings. This is what Simon Downing has set out to do with Old Herbaceous. 

heroes cast 2 page 001 FotorSimon (top) with cast of Heroes

For those who don't know, Simon has been working as an actor and director for many years, and has had much notable success as The Phoenix theatre Company with shows such as Upstaged, Heroes and Uplifting which attained fantastic praise and reviews whilst touring the UK and performing here at The Phoenix.

Old Herbaceous is however a totally different challenge. "Although it is the story of one man's life, it encompasses so many different little stories and sub-plots." says Simon, "It has been a joy to discover this man's journey, which centres around a platonic unrequited love story across social boundaries."

A one man show focused on the life experiences of an ageing gardener based at a Gloucestershire manor house is, perhaps, not thought of first when attending the theatre. Yet, Old Herbacouse has entertained thousands through out the years, and even Her Majesty The Queen on its opening night in 1979 at Windsor Castle.

For Blog Fotor FotorOld Herbaceous production shot

"Above all it is a look at a world that no longer exists and a nostalgic yearning to return to a way of life gone forever. Of course that world was not ideal in any way; especially with its class divide."

Old Herbaceous is a story of one man at his experiences working the same gardening job for all his life. He sees the world change from a Victorian age through Edwardian, to a modern world in 1970 when the play is set.

"What surprised me most was how moving the piece is." simon reveals, "So bring your tissues,you may need them." 

Old Herbaceous will be at The Phoenix Theatre Thursday 18, Friday 19 & Saturday 20 of February.
Click here for more information & tickets.

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One of the pleasures of working in the arts is the frequent chance to help. We work in an industry that more often than not is more akin to a lifestyle rather than a business, something for which I am constantly grateful. As such, there is much more of a community essence that is built upon a mutual passion and love of creation, innovation, performance and artistic ambition. I believe this essence to be something to nurture, maintain and cherish and I am lucky enough to work for a venue and director that share this belief.

During the second week of January, I was fortunate enough to work along side Kevin Davey, Head of Performing Arts at Alton College, and his A2 Drama students. I was brought in, purely by way of a chance phone call, to act as technician for the students final performances which would not only be marked as part of their A Levels, but filmed and performed in front of packed audiences of friends, family and staff. Their task was to write, script and perform a 30 minute play without any constrictions or requirements. A chance to see what young minds could do. What emerged were 4 very different pieces of fantastic writing and theatre.  

White Lies Production Shot Fotor'White Lies' Production Shot

There have seldom been times when I've found myself in total jealousy of another’s education, but this freedom to express is something all adolescent minds crave in some way. However, my jealousy of such an opportunity paled in comparison to the dedication and determination shown by the students. There was clearly a high amount of respect for performance, their teacher, their environment and even to me, a total stranger with their own ideas of how things should look and be done, especially in terms of lighting and sound. Neither staff nor student could have been more accommodating or receptive to my ideas or advice and I think it's this that impressed me most. 

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road Pro Shot 1 Fotor'Why did the Chicken Cross the Road' Production Shot

The belief required to perform your own work, and the pride to perform it so well is a testament to the hard work everyone put in. Sometimes it was very hard work, and I was only part of the process for 4 days! The maturity to take direction, and the determination to continue rehearsing and repeating and re-wording and re-phrasing when perhaps a dress rehearsal didn't go so well, was really something to admire.

Why Did The Chicken Cross The Road Cast 2 Fotor FotorNathan & 'Why did the Chicken Cross the Road' cast

Needless to say, all 4 performances went incredibly well, worthy of any stage, and I was left with a sense of pride completely unexpected as I had only known these people for 4 days whilst pointing lights obtrusively into their faces. Nonetheless, proud I felt, as should every student that took part, as should Kevin Davey for not only surviving such a momentous task but for helping to sculpt the next generation of theatre makers into such talents already. 

White Lies Cast FotorNathan & 'White Lies' cast

I hope I added in some way to the performances and I hope everyone present enjoyed the shows as much as I did from the tech box, but mostly I am grateful that my first opportunity to make some sort of a difference in 2016 was such a genuinely inspiring one.

Written by Nathan J. Selby, Phoenix Marketing Officer


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