Category Archives: Entertainment

Sun shines on Sutton town hall charity fete

John S White played King Henry VIII at the event. Picture: Claire Taylor

1,000 turn out for Community Heritage event

More than 1,000 people enjoyed brilliant sunshine when they turned out to support a community fete at Sutton Coldfield Town Hall.

The inaugural fete, on 12 September, received a Community Grant from Sutton Coldfield Town Council to help set up the event.

The neighbouring Tudor Community Sports Trust provided activities such as Crown Green Bowling tasters on its recreation area as a linked event.

The fete, opened by the town mayor, Councillor Terry Wood, who said: “I was delighted to be invited to open the Town Hall’s first Community Fete. The weather was kind to us, which helped everyone get into the swing of the event.

“Having so many people turn out to support really does show just what a brilliant community we have here in Sutton Coldfield and one that we are all very lucky to be part of. The organisation of the fete was a great effort from everyone involved and I would like to say a sincere thank you to all the people who helped make it a great success.”

Local community groups and businesses rose to the occasion by adding activities to their stalls such as biscuit decoration, quizzes and messy play. The UP Creative Community ran an interactive craft tent on the theme of the town hall’s forthcoming pantomime Cinderella.

Action from the coconut shy at the town hall.
Picture: Claire Taylor

Sutton Coldfield Litter Action Group generated enough support for 23 more local roads to be adopted for litter picking and visitors were able to study old maps of the area with Folio Sutton Coldfield.

The Town Hall hosted a coconut shy and band stage, and staff member and carpenter Colin Troman created a wooden storytelling stage in the grounds for performances through the day and a pair of stocks.

As part of the national project ‘Heritage Open Days’, the town hall conducted five backstage and heritage tours over the day, which included rare access visits to the roof and the reportedly haunted ‘below stage’.

King Henry VIII, played by performance historian John S White, re-enacted the granting of the town’s charter to the delight of visitors and Andrew Mitchell MP joined him on stage to thank visitors for supporting the event.

The King also helped launch the town hall’s own charity mascot ‘Town Hall Tara’, a £10 fundraising toy based on a real Staffordshire Bull Terrier who was also there to meet and greet visitors through the day.

A live music stage featured local bands, co-ordinated by local musician Job Baker-Sullivan of Ceol Agency and was hosted by presenters Sam Rabone and Lauren Hill.

Triple helping of laughter at town hall

Comedy fans in Sutton Coldfield are in for a triple treat when a trio of comedians take the stage at the town hall. Rosie jones, Justin Moorehouse and Mrs Barbara Nice will present a night of comedy at the town venue on Thursday, November 18.

Rosie, currently appearing on the Last Leg Paralympics show, has quickly become a must-see act on the UK comedy circuit.
The ex-television researcher was awarded second place in the Leicester Mercury’s New Comedian Of The Year Award 2018 and has gone on to star on Live At The Apollo, The Jonathan Ross Show, 8 Out Of 10 Cats, 8 Out Of 10 Cats Does Countdown.

She is also a regular on The Last Leg.

Justin has appeared on Live At The Apollo, Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights.
Justin brought back tiger-faced Young Kenny for the record-breaking run of Phoenix Nights Live at The Manchester Arena, which raised over £5 million for comic relief; told fantastic tales about Australia and Manchester on Live At The Apollo.

He won The Champion of Champions on BBC 5Live’s Fighting Talk; and appeared as Dean the rival cricketing landlord on Coronation Street. All this as well as helming his own critically acclaimed podcast About 30 Minutes, No More Than 45.

Mrs Barbara Nice was created by award-winning comedian and theatre director Janice Connolly, Barbara Nice is the overenthusiastic housewife alter-ego of Birmingham-based performer Janice, who previously appeared in Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights, and is well known on the circuit for her lively, upbeat presence.

Barbara performs playful, life-affirming shows for all the family. With the affectionate attitude of a playgroup leader at a wild Iggy Pop concert, she is guaranteed to warm the heart of any audience, say the organisers.

The show is hosted by Wayne Beese and is for over-16s only.
Tickets are still available and cost from £15-£18. The doors and bar open at 7pm, with the show starting at approximately 8pm

* Line-up may be subject to change, top quality comedy show always guaranteed

Thai restaurant opens doors

New venue opens in Mere Green with 50% discounts

Sutton Coldfield’s newest restaurant has announced the opening date for its new venue in Mere Green and is offering a 50 per cent discount during its first week.

The new Thai tapas-style restaurant, Giggling Squid, will take over from a former Italian restaurant in Mulberry Walk, and will open to the public on July 26.

As part of their launch celebrations, they will be hosting an exclusive first look at the restaurant over on their Instagram channel on July 23, before fully opening to the public on the following Monday.

Bookings are now open and diners will be notified the moment bookings go live for the opening week which includes a celebratory 50 per cent off all meals. For booking info, visit the new website at https://www.gigglingsquid.com/restaurant/mere-green/

The chain, began in the basement of a fishmerman’s cottage in Brighton in 2002,

Founded by Pranee and Andrew Laurillard, Giggling Squid now operates 38 venues across the UK.

A spokesperson for the chain said Giggling Squid has established a strong reputation for bold Thai cuisine, complemented by a stylish and relaxed setting. The varied menu comprises a competitively priced lunch menu and a more extensive evening offer, as well as separate children and vegan menus.

Co-founder, Andy said: “Thai mealtimes are energetic, informal, adventurous and where food is celebrated. It’s relaxed and there’s no standing on ceremony. Every Giggling Squid has its own personal touch to it, and this restaurant is no different; it’s a beautifully designed space that we hope will bring a lot of pleasure to our guests. We can’t wait to welcome everyone.”

The spokesperson added: “Catering to the community during the new normal, Giggling Squid guests will still receive the same great food, service and atmosphere the restaurant chain is known and loved for, but with even more stringent health and safety policies in place, making it the safest place possible for all guests and staff.”

Giggling Squid is expected to open Monday-Thursday 12pm – 10pm, Friday-Saturday 12pm – 10.30pm, Sunday 12pm – 9.30pm.

A wide takeaway menu will also be available for click & collect or telephone orders as well as delivery.

Thai time for new restaurant

Chain set to open in Sutton Coldfield

A specialist Thai restaurant chain, which prides itself on its tapas-style simplicity and ethical approach to business, is to open its doors in Sutton Coldfield.

A spokesperson for Giggling Squid, which offers ‘simple, rustic, fresh Thai food,’ confirmed the company is set to move into Mulberry Walk in Mere Green.

It will join a diverse group of restaurants operating in Mulberry Walk and Mere Green, with a specialist offering of Thai food.

It will take over the former Gustos restaurant which closed last year, subject to planning approval.

Giggling Squid opened its first restaurant in 2009 and currently operate over 35 restaurants, including an establishment in Harborne, Birmingham, employing around 900 employees who are all directly employed rather than agency staff.

The brand founded by husband and wife Andrew and Pranee Laurillard,  prides itself on serving ‘staggeringly good Thai food.’

Pranee said: “My husband and I sat in the basement of a tiny, tiny fisherman’s cottage (now our Brighton restaurant!) way back in 2002 and pulled together our first Thai Tapas menu.

” Our idea was to cook simple, rustic, fresh Thai food. We wanted a menu that people could eat like they do at home. In Thailand, mealtimes are all about lots of dishes that everyone shares.”

The opening date has not been confirmed yet, but all of its other venues will open for dine-in guests on Monday 17th May. A typical selection of what it offers can be found here

The group say it is proud to its ethical manner and works to key values such as integrity, quality and treating everyone fairly and this ethos runs through our business decisions including employment policies and supply chain management.

In a statement on its website, Giggling Squid says: “We have long-standing, close relationships with suppliers and prioritise quality and provenance. We continue to monitor suppliers that we believe may present high modern slavery risks in our supply chain.

“We are committed to continuously improving our practices to eliminate any slavery and human trafficking in the supply chain and to act ethically and with integrity in all business relationships.

“Over the course of the next financial year we will be implementing new policies, training and key performance indicators to help us identify, prevent and mitigate any risks of modern slavery or human trafficking in relation to new and existing suppliers and in relation to our own operations.”

A statement from Gustos said COVID-19 has had a significant impact on its business, like many in the industry, and it had to make the incredibly tough decision to close four of its restaurants in order to protect the future of Gusto.

.

Fun in the sun as lockdown eased

Enjoying a pint at the Mare Pool in Mere Green

Sutton rocking as restrictions lifted

“It’s like a carnival out there”, said one businessman returning from his first shopping trip to Sutton Coldfield town centre in months. “There’s crowds of people everywhere, ” he added.

He was, of course, referring to the latest relaxation of lockdown rules, which saw hundreds of people flock into the town and fill the pub gardens in what another observer described as like a VE Day celebration.

In the town centre, both The Station and The Town House, formerly The Royal, were packed out in their gardens.

But in a sobering reminder, just down the road at Sutton town hall, vaccinations were still taking place.

The reopening of non-essential shops, pubs, hairdressers and gyms and other venues was blessed with fine weather as the sun shone on drinkers and shoppers.

Not all pubs have reopened with some waiting for a further relaxation next month when, Covid cases permitting, people will be allowed back inside, but for those that did open it was boom time.

In Four Oaks, The Butlers Arms, The Crown, The Old School House and Wetherspoons were doing a roaring trade is people wrapped up against the early spring chill.

It seemed, however, that many had thrown caution to the wind, with social distancing being at best patchy and in some cases non existent.

But for Sutton businesses and those across the rest of the UK, it is a welcome release from the icy grip of winter and the death grip of the coronavirus.

Fingers crossed we have seen the last of lockdown and there are better times ahead.

Olly Murs centre stage

X factor star at Warwick Castle

ward-winning X-Factor finalist Olly Murs will be returning to Warwick Castle as one of the venues for his open-air summer 2021 tour.
Guests can enjoy the singer’s cheeky performance style and catchy vocals against the stunning backdrop of the Castle on Tuesday 20 July 2021, and Olly says: “I’m so excited to come and perform at this beautiful location again”. The singer last performed at the Castle in 2011, and this time fans can expect to hear some of his biggest hits including ‘Dear Darlin’, ‘Heart Skips A Beat’, ‘You Don’t Know Love’, and ‘Wrapped Up’ during his set.
Liam Bartlett, Operations Director at Warwick Castle said: “We are thrilled to be able to welcome Olly Murs back to Warwick Castle next summer. This announcement adds another exciting date to the 2021 calendar following our previousl
y announced Michael Bublé concert, demonstrating what a fantastic live events venue Warwick Castle is.
We have lots of other exciting plans ahead to ensure that after a very challenging year, 2021 is a bumper year for great entertainment.” The Castle will also be hosting Michael Buble as part of his rescheduled ‘An Evening with Michael Bublé’ tour on Friday 23 July, making for a month to remember at the Castle following Olly Murs’ performance on Tuesday 20 July.
Well-known as a fantastic live shows and concert venue, Warwick Castle has previously played host to artists such as Jessie J, The Beach Boys and Simply Red.  Since becoming runner-up on The X Factor in 2009, Murs has achieved four number one albums, five platinum LPs, collaborated with Demi Lovato, Snoop Dogg and Flo Rida and scored four UK number one singles.
He’s become one of the most successful alumni from the reality TV competition and has returned to host the series as well as become a coach on rival series The Voice.
Tickets for Olly Murs’ concert at Warwick Castle go on sale on Friday 9 October via AXS.com. For more information on the Castle’s events during 2020 and 2021, head to www.warwick-castle.com