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Annual lunch success

The Saddleworth Concerts Society annual lunch on Sunday 13th March, once again, proved a very popular event with 89 guests enjoying both the meal and the first class entertainment. This occasion is both an enjoyable social gathering and acts as an important ‘fund raiser’ for the Society. Richard Moore sang superbly and was very ably accompanied by Rachel Fright. Both appeared by kind permission of the Royal Northern College of Music.

Richard Moore - Baritone and Rachel Fright - Keyboard gave the following recital: The first set consisted of four very atmospheric songs by Jacques Ibert - Quatre Chansons de Don Quichotte. Chanson du départ; Chanson à Dulcinée; Chanson du Duc; Chanson de la mort.

The second set consisted of popular songs some of which were very humorous! Fred Ebb and John Kander: All I Care About from Chicago; Jerry Herman: I Won't Send Roses from Mack and Mabel; Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II:  Some Enchanted Evening from South Pacific; Dominic Muldowney: In Paris with You; Three songs by Tom Lehrer: The Masochism Tango, My Hometown and Poisoning Pigeons in the Park; Michael Flanders and Donald Swann: The Gnu Song; Frederick Loewe: How to Handle a Woman from Camelot.

Geoffrey Roberts, July 21, 2017,

Sahar International Short Film Festival

Just as summer arrives, with its fresh atmosphere, SAHAR will arrive once more in Saddleworth, for the SAHAR international short film festival, taking place on June 24th, at the Millgate Arts Centre.

The Millgate Arts Centre will, for the third year running, turns on its lights as SAHAR spreads its wings to host the pure ideas and creative thoughts of emerging and new filmmakers.

SAHAR International Short Film Festival, will this year see a variety of new dimensions added to the programme. Short fiction and documentary films, with genres including animation, experimental, psycho and horror, form the main event, with a new educational programme around specific issues in the cinema, including discussion sessions scheduled around the screenings.

On the sidelines of the event, festival attendees can enjoy music and dance on the stage, and observe an exhibition of posters and photography in the Art Gallery area of the building. This is an inspirational opportunity for lovers of art, literature and cinema to expand their experience and network, support emerging and talented filmmakers from around the world as they screen and celebrate their work.

Tickets are available on the door, at just £5 for the general public. (Films are suitable for age 15 or above.)

Edwina Rigby, June 4, 2017,

A man of many hats

Hi, I’m Ian Shepherd. I've never acted on stage, but I've spent 42 years at Millgate Arts Centre working on everything from sound and lighting, stage management, to front of house and the bar. My job here at Millgate Arts Centre now is in charge of ticket sales – the lifeblood of an organisation such as ours. 

I started this aspect of work when the management committee took the bold decision to computerise our ticketing operation five years ago.  We moved from a cash and paper-based system onto a fully web-based system utilising card payments, eTickets and mobile ticket delivery. It was a giant leap into the 21st century – but one that certainly seems to have paid off as it quickly established itself as the most popular method of booking, and paying for tickets. We now also have an experienced team in the background helping with marketing which is increasingly internet and social media based, but includes traditional methods such as local press, posters and flyers.

My other hat is as building manager, responsible for the day to day aspects of everything from changing lamps to health and safety - and out of hours call outs.  That is also my day job for a much larger site in Oldham – so it’s a bit like a busman’s holiday.  Nevertheless living so close it’s not such an onerous task.

The one thing that makes it such an enjoyable hobby is the friendship of so many dedicated volunteers, many of whom have worked here for decades like myself.  As with many similar community based organisations, it’s volunteers that make the difference between success and failure.  What’s more, we always need new blood, so even if you can just spare one evening per show, you would be very welcome and you’ll experience the warmth and friendship I have for many years.  So don’t delay – pick up the phone and give us a call on 01457 874644.

Ian Shepherd, May 30, 2017,

A good story with believable characters

Hello. My name is June Holmes and I play the part of Letty Harnham in the forthcoming production of ‘The Day After the Fair’.

I've been a member of Saddleworth Players for more years than I care to admit to, and over those years have been in a variety of plays, but ‘The Day After the Fair’ is a favourite. It has a good story, with believable characters and a truthful ending. Based on a story by Thomas Hardy, it deals with the lives of ordinary people from a range of backgrounds.

My character, the sister of the local brewery owner, is both sympathetic and empathetic to the situation of my younger sister-in-law. She is a self-confident, well-to-do spinster of her time and I am looking forward to bringing out the different facets of her character.

Saddleworth Players will perform ‘The Day After the Fair’ at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, from May 20 – 27. Tickets £8 (£5 students) from

June Holmes, May 22, 2017,

Getting into character

My name is John Tanner and I am playing the part of Arthur Harnham in Saddleworth Players forthcoming production of ‘The Day After the Fair’ at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph. My character is introduced in the script as red faced and solidly built; he is the third in line to hold the chairmanship of Harnham’s Brewery; he is pompous and a bore, so nothing like me of course!

To get into character I am growing a beard, which at this rate, by the time the play opens I will look like Father Christmas! The last time I grew a beard was in December 1994 for ‘Lion in Winter’ opposite June Holmes playing ‘Eleanor’ – now reunited for this play as Brother and Sister.

Verity Mann is playing my long-suffering wife Edith (didn’t she suffer enough in ‘Filumena’!) but at least she doesn’t have to kiss me! We have great cast including Lulu, Rosemary and James and we are in the safe hands of Karen Barton and all her team.

As a side note my own Great, Great Grandfather (also called John Tanner) came to Friezland, Saddleworth, in 1820 to work as the Manager at the Royal George Mills – but he originally hailed from Ringwood, Hampshire, a town still famous for its’ Brewery and many Mangers went on to jobs in the emerging textile factories of the North.

John Tanner, May 9, 2017,