New Perspectives, October 2017 – January 2018

Issue 1   October 2017 – January 2018

Welcome!Perspectives Issue 16 download-1

Download New Perspectives here

You are reading one of the new formats for Cheltenham Arts Council’s magazine. New Perspectives will appear as:

  • This online magazine viewable below
  • A printable and interactive PDF newsletter emailed to representatives of societies and associations who are members of Cheltenham Arts Council.
  • A downloadable and interactive PDF found here

As Perspectives did previously, the new magazine will include news, articles, reports and pictures relating to various aspects of the Arts in Cheltenham and, importantly for members of CAC-associated societies, listings of meetings and events for the coming four months.

We trust that CAC representatives will forward the email newsletter to the members of their societies and – for those without email – to print out copies of New Perspectives for them. (This can also be achieved by accessing the downloadable printable PDF version of the magazine which will be available, as Perspectives was previously, from the CAC website.

As well as these three formats, we have asked Cheltenham Library if they will keep a printed copy on display to assist people who go to the library looking for information on Arts-related activities in and around Cheltenham. We will be asking other outlets in the town to do this for us too.

But increasingly people search for this kind of information on the Internet, and the on-line version of New Perspectives will therefore be the main way that people find out about the Arts-related societies and associations in Cheltenham – including the dates, times and venues for the wide variety of activities and events that the societies offer. CAC’s social networking accounts – Twitter, Facebook and Instagram – will be used to alert people to New Perspectives on the CAC website. And, of course, we encourage societies to retweet and ‘like’ CAC’s tweets and posts about New Perspectives!

We hope you enjoy New Perspectives – and the various formats and methods for receiving/accessing the magazine which will, as its predecessor, appear three times a year, to cover the periods:

  • October – January
  • February – May
  • June – September

We look forward to hearing your response to New Perspectives. Please provide feedback – and ideas and suggestions for future articles to appear in the magazine – to

Thank you – and enjoy New Perspectives!

Sharon Larkin – Chair, Cheltenham Arts Council

New President of Cheltenham Arts Council

The new President of Cheltenham Arts Council, Edward Gillespie, appointed at the AGM in June, writes:

I am hugely honoured to have been appointed President of Cheltenham Arts Council. When I arrived with my wife Alyson and our baby daughter in Cheltenham as Manager of the Racecourse in 1980, I had some idea of the Festival heritage of the town. What came as a magnificent surprise was the region’s richness of arts participation in widest possible sense. Having assumed my final stage exit from a student drama production several years earlier had been my very last, I was soon treading the boards again with the Bishops Cleeve Players.

Over the next 35 years, I have tried my hand at every conceivable role at the Playhouse from props to director, turned professional as Director and, for ten years, Chairman at the Everyman and am now in my second term as a Trustee of Cheltenham Arts Festivals, chairing Music. I have been caught up in the explosion of community choirs, growling bass with Midlife Choirsis, more fully than ever appreciating the talents of Alyson in Cheltenham Bach Choir.

Since retiring from the Racecourse in 2012, I have dabbled entertainingly with the fine arts, studied American Art with the U3A and struggled through ‘Here Comes The Bride’ for our eldest daughter on the trumpet. Opportunities abound in and around Cheltenham for the young and old. There is no excuse for having an interest in the arts and not giving it a go. Somewhere you will find an organisation where you will be welcomed and your talents can be developed. If not, there is every encouragement to start one up.

Aesthetic is a word that immediately comes to mind when describing Cheltenham. A Greek concept that explores the nature of art, beauty and taste, one only needs to use all one’s senses to fully appreciate the beauty of the Regency architecture glimpsed through the trees, to be refreshed by a performance in one of the many auditoria, inspired by the colleagues in a class or to feel satisfyingly exhausted after a day at the races.

Cheltenham Arts Council is uniquely positioned to bring together the hugely diverse individuals and organisations that nurture and deliver that aesthetic and to represent them within the broader strategy for the town, enriching the lives of residents and visitors. The Arts are also a key driver of the local economy, helping companies in staff recruitment and retention, attracting revenues for the tourism and hospitality sectors.

I much look forward to doing all I can to support Cheltenham Arts Council as President and to playing a small part in further enhancing the profile and value of the arts in and around the town.

New President,, Edward Gillespie


Art bikes gear up the excitement in Cheltenham

By Niki Whitfield

Cycling fever grew ahead of the Cheltenham Festival of Cycling, Saturday 9 September, with residents and visitors to Cheltenham spotting ten visual cycle installations springing up across the town.

Organized by Niki Whitfield and supported by the Cheltenham Business Improvement District (BID), decorated bikes of all shapes and sizes were installed to add to the festival feel of the cycling extravaganza.

The 10 installations, listed below, were designed and made by artists who work or live locally and were placed along pedestrian paths in the town, with a larger art installation impressing residents and visitors at Montpellier roundabout.

  • Shammy by kid crayon
  • Blue Steel by SP zero
  • Bombay Bicycle by Beth Forrester
  • Gift Wrapped by Stephen Belinfante
  • Recycle Cycle by Amy Freeman
  • Racing Green by Jaynie Tricker
  • Life Cycle by Susan Early
  • Golden Age of (Re) Cycling by Andy ‘Dice’ Davies and Troy Pulley
  • The Winning Bike by Glynn Griffiths and David Baldwin
  • Ride’em Cow Girl by Laure Filho

The Winning Bike, by artists Glynn Griffiths and David Baldwin with help from CGT lettings, ‘Bikes4Africa’ through ‘Access Bike’ through

All other bikes kindly supplied by Reclaim Cheltenham, with huge thanks also due to Williams Cycles and George Bence & Sons for help with supports and repairs.

Shammy by kid crayon 

The Winning Bike by Glynn Griffiths and David Baldwin 

Golden Age of (Re) Cycling by Andy ‘Dice’ Davies and Troy Pulley 

 Racing Green by Jaynie Tricker 


Niki Whitfield issues arte.bulletin – a monthly bulletin via email, containing information on local exhibitions and other news and notices relating to the visual arts. If there is any art event CAC members would like to publicise, please let Niki know; she needs information at the beginning of the last week of each month to be considered for the following month. Any web links provided are posted in arte.bulletin in their entirety so that people can paste a link into their browser in order to visit the relevant website. Anyone interested in receiving arte.bulletin via email each month should email to be added to the arte.bulletin database.

The arte.bulletin has always been a free resource for artists, arts organizations and art lovers alike. It champions all forms of visual art locally, commercial or not. No charge is made for advertising, as arte.bulletin believes in remaining an independent directory available to all. However, as its popularity grows so does the time it takes to compile it, so please consider making a donation to help keep arte.bulletin viable. Further information on how to support this valuable resource is available by emailing

Cheltenham French Circle celebrates its 70th birthday

By Stella Caney

Yes, the Cercle Français de Cheltenham was founded in 1947, and has been going strong ever since. Over just the last twenty years we have welcomed maybe 150 different speakers, some of them being invited back several times. We also hold social events.

We celebrated the anniversary by a boules match in the summer, and with cake and wine on Monday 18th September, at our first meeting of the 2017/18 session. Our speaker from the Alliance Française gave us an amusing, illustrated talk on the fables of Jean de la Fontaine.
We generally meet on the first and third Monday evenings of the month at St Luke’s hall in central Cheltenham. Website for further details:

Chapel Arts Gallery

In August, CAC Chairman Sharon Larkin took advantage of a relaxed Sunday morning to call in at Chapel Arts Gallery to speak to Ian James who founded Chapel Arts earlier this year. Here is what Sharon discovered on her visit:

Chapel Arts – a bright new gallery and performance venue in Knapp Road, near St James Square in Cheltenham, which opened its doors on 16 February this year – is located in a former chapel, restored and modernised to create an impressive, light and highly flexible space, ideal for an array of arts events. Ian James, who previously founded Martins Gallery in Montpellier Parade, is continuing his vision to bring exciting, contemporary works to art lovers in Gloucestershire and beyond. But, in addition to exhibition space over two floors, the venue can seat in excess of 100 people, for audiences to enjoy performances of music, drama and poetry, as well providing suitably-sized spaces for lectures and talks. Chapel Arts’ remarkably versatile space, features suspended screens on the upper floor which can separate the area into two or three separate smaller spaces to accommodate a great range of activities. Flexibility has thus been built-in to provide an array of options – from large full-height expanses for exhibitions and concerts, to more intimate gallery and performance spaces, right through to rooms and offices for workshops and meetings. Beyond the downstairs gallery is the excellent Coffee ‘n’ Cake @Chapel Arts, run by Mary and Callie. I can personally recommend the lemon drizzle cake!

Bright, versatile exhibition space over two floors

Over a dozen exhibitions have already been held at Chapel Arts featuring:

• works by 12 Royal Academicians, including Antony Gormley and Eileen Cooper

• Urban Art, by artists working locally and from London, Nottingham and Leicester in a range of media, including computer-generated artwork

• Glass Sculpture by internationally-recognized artists based in the Stroud Valley

• award-winning, internationally-exhibited artist Míla Fürstová – who was the first Artist in Residence at Cheltenham Ladies’ College. In 2014, her work reached over 400 million people when she was commissioned to create the artwork for Coldplay’s Ghost Stories album and four singles. Cotswold Life showcased Míla and her work in a major feature in the magazine in June 2017

• an exhibition entitled Cornish Cornucopia, featuring ten artists with whom Ian has worked over a long period, and

• a popular and successful exhibition of large Woodcuts on which four artists had worked at the same time and featuring seascape, rock, forest and lake – the latter work exhibited at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition this year.

As can be seen in the following photograph, at the time I visited Chapel Arts, an exciting exhibition of Ceramic Sculptures by Patricia Volk was underway in the large gallery downstairs.

  Patricia Volk Ceramic Exhibition in the large downstairs gallery

In September, Sandra Blow prints are being exhibited, at the same time as the work of Melanie Cormack-Hicks. Sandra Blow (1925 – 2006), who is often thought of as a member of the St Ives School, actually only went to Cornwall later in her career, and is celebrated for her strong, colourful prints, while Melanie Cormack-Hicks is famous for her landscapes and seascapes. Also to come is Still Lifes with a difference – expertly carved from wood – which will be exhibited at the same time as abstract works by local artists.

Gallery on the upper floor at Chapel Arts

Chapel Arts’ remarkably adjustable space is achieved in the upper gallery by means of suspended screens. These can separate the area into two or three smaller areas to accommodate even more variety in the activities offered. In terms of large areas for the performance and enjoyment of music and drama, audiences of up to 120 people can be seated – 100 on the ground floor, with a further 20 in the gallery. A grand piano is permanently housed on the lower floor.

While Ian’s primary objective – the establishment of the gallery – has clearly been achieved, and with much success and personal satisfaction, he also speaks enthusiastically about his ongoing vision and future plans. In this context, he expressed gratitude for the support of Cheltenham Music Festival which he described as having “short-circuited the process” of establishing Chapel Arts as a performance venue, thanks to the fact that eleven events during the Music Festival this summer were held at Chapel Arts. Ian had always planned for music to be a feature of the gallery, and Meyric Bowen, as Director of the Music Festival, had been a great supporter of this vision. Having shown Meyric round the building, Ian was advised to visit the former church of St Luke’s in London, which was firstly converted into a rehearsal studio for the London Symphony Orchestra and subsequently opened as the LSO’s hugely successful concert venue in January 2003. It was fascinating to hear about the work done to convert the church to a concert hall, including all sound-proofing necessary to shield the building from the noise of London traffic – in close proximity.

Chapel Arts’ versatility as a music venue is exemplified by the opportunity it afforded to a music graduate earlier this year to rehearse and perform her work before an audience ahead of her finals, and a series of concerts featuring popular music which is planned for the autumn. As for drama, during Heritage Week (7-9 September), Chapel Arts provided the venue for three performances of the play The Parrot, Philanderer and Poet by David Elder and Lou Beckett, and three performances of A Christmas Carol are scheduled for December, featuring Split Second Productions, a young team who have already performed at Berkeley Castle this year.

Before thanking Ian for his time and enthusiasm in sharing the above information, I asked him about his background in the arts. He explained that he had retired from a senior position in a multinational company in 2001, having worked all over the world, having collected art all his life and having been instrumental in bringing to the UK’s attention art from various parts of the world, notably Vietnam and Myanmar. Following retirement, Ian established Martin’s Gallery which he ran for 12 years, before embarking on the vision for Chapel Arts.

I look forward to revisiting Chapel Arts many times in future, for exhibitions, performances, lectures, talks, workshops, meetings, coffee and cake – and so much more! I also look forward to meeting Kathryn Ashmore on future visits.

For more information about exhibitions, events and activities at Chapel Arts please contact:

Kathryn Ashmore,

Chapel Arts, Knapp Road, Near St James Square, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 3QQ

Telephone 01242 58007​


Holst Birthplace Museum celebrates 

Rachel Tedd of the Holst Birthplace Trust tells New Perspectives about recent and forthcoming events organized by The Holst Birthplace Museum:

Every year, the Holst Birthplace Museum celebrates Gustav Holst’s birthday (21 September) with a concert. This year, it was held on Saturday 23 September at All Saints Church, where we were delighted to welcome The Holst Singers (conductor Stephen Layton) – a Choir with a superb international reputation. They performed a programme of choral music by Gustav Holst (including Six Folksongs; Choral Hymns from the Rig Veda; Nunc Dimittis; Two Eastern Pictures; and The Evening Watch) and Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Mass in G Minor. There was also a performance of the Prelude For Harp by Herbert Howells.

Gustav Holst, born at 4 Pittville Terrace in 1874

Future Museum events include a quiz and fish & chip supper on 20 October, and a talk entitled Bogs, Baths, Basins…and the kitchen sink: Victorian domestic technology by David Eveleigh from the Ironbridge Gorge Museums Trust, on 10 November.

For full details of the Holst Birthplace Museum and the activities and events it organizes, please see

CAC Members in the The Literature Festival 

By Sharon Larkin

Many of us are looking forward to The Times and The Sunday Times Cheltenham Literature Festival which takes place this year between 6 and 15 October. Full details of the wide range of the readings, talks, performances and other activities in the programme are available at

We highlight here just three events featuring people from CAC member organizations – Cheltenham Poetry Society, Cheltenham Poetry Festival and Gloucestershire Writers Network:

Wed 11 Oct 2017 2:00pm – 3:00pm, The Nook, Montpellier Gardens
A dozen poets from Cheltenham Poetry Society will read one or two of their poems from the anthology, Cheltenham 300; poems and photographs to celebrate 300 years of the town as a spa. The event will be illustrated with projected photographs from the anthology. Tickets are available from the box office or on-line:

Thu 12 Oct 2017 4:30pm – 5:30pm, The Nook, Montpellier Gardens
Cheltenham Poetry Festival’s founder and poet Anna Saunders joins poet Tania Hershman to read poems from their latest collections. Tickets from the box office or on-line:

Sun 15 Oct 2017 7:00pm – 9:00pm, The Nook, Montpellier Gardens
Local writers of Gloucestershire Writers’ Network present their prize-winning entries in the annual GWN competition. The entries were judged by author Dr Lania Knight and former Birmingham Poet Laureate Roy McFarlane, who will also be reading from their own work at this event. Tickets from the box office or on-line:

Thank you for reading Issue 1 of Cheltenham Arts Council’s New Perspectives magazine.  Listings of all Societies’ events for October 2017 – January 2018 are available in the PDF version of the magazine.
The next issue of New Perspectives, covering February – May 2018 will be available in January.





























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