Thorington Theatre

Introducing Thorington Theatre

The new 350-seat outdoor live music and theatre venue on the Suffolk Coast. Built in the husk of a WWII bomb crater that has been reclaimed by nature, the theatre is surrounded by woodland, birdsong and the gentle rustling of trees.Thorington Theatre 5 sml



For those that haven’t been yet, Thorington Theatre are quickly establishing themselves as one of the best live music venues in the region. Not only is the calibre of performer improving year on year, but the theatre also serves as a woodland getaway. It’s a hidden gem in an area of outstanding natural beauty, where you can leave the hustle and bustle of the everyday behind and soak in the great outdoors with a drink in hand. Last season (Summer 2022) groups like, The Spooky Men’s Chorale, Alabama 3, James Righton, John Etheridge and more blew audiences away with shows that blurred the line between audience and performers. The layout of the stage space puts performers within touching distance.

Read more: Thorington Theatre

Tony Hall Concert

Tony Hall VideoFrom Dr Badphil
Tony Hall's melodeon playing has long been much revered, and can be heard on Maddy Prior and June Tabor's 'Silly Sisters' album, on Nic Jones's 'Penguin Eggs' album, and on his own recordings: 'Field Vole Music' (1977), 'Mr Universe' (1995), and 'One Man Hand' (2008). Despite his many live performances over the years (not least with the weekly performances of The Vonn Krapp Family Band for around 50 years), there are few videos of Tony playing live. So here is a video of a short set, performed by Tony after the harvest supper at Oulton Church (Norfolk, England) in September 2022: a mixture of instrumental tunes, songs accompanied by melodeon and one unaccompanied song, all being traditional pieces.

Roland Harris recorded and filmed the performance, and Matt Phelps and Rob Moore helped considerably in preparing the way. There is more about the recording on my blog: 00:00

Hard Times of Old England (melodeon and vocal)
The Mist Covered Mountains (melodeon) 09:05
Down in the River to Pray (melodeon and vocal) 13:39
Kean O'Hara and Rip The Calico (melodeon)
The Farmer's Boy (melodeon and vocal) 22:58
Henry My Son - Green and Yeller (vocal) 26:47
The Flowers of Edinburgh (melodeon) 31:05
Kitty the Handsome Cat (melodeon and vocal)

Derby Folk Festival 2022

DFF22 Sq 2 1Derby Folk Festival is back this autumn bringing amazing acts and a great atmosphere right into the heart of the citProduced by Derby LIVE and in association with Bob on Arts this year’s festival will run over three days from Fri 30 Sep to Sun 2 Oct. After the sell-out success of last year’s festival, which saw visitors travel from around the UK and Ireland to attend the 15th Derby Folk Festival, this year’s impressive line-up continues to prove that Derby is the place to be for all things folk. This year, as usual, events will be taking place in fantastic venues including Derby Market Place, The Old Bell Hotel and Derby Cathedral. The festival will also be working with the Museum of Making and QUAD on more activities.

Organiser Bob Rushton from Bob on Arts said This year’s list of artists continues our long tradition of mixing well known established acts with those who are newer to the scene. We’ve tried to reflect the wide range of genres from across the folk scene and really hope you’ll enjoy it as much we know we’re going to!

The festival will kick off on Friday on the Mick Peat Stage in the Market Place with performances from Lady Nade, and Sound of the Sirens – all introduced by festival patron, Lucy Ward. Saturday sees concerts in Derby Cathedral as well as the main marquee, and includes Granny’s AtticThe Carrivick SistersHannah Sanders & Ben SavageBob Fox & Billy Mitchell and more. There’s even a special performance of the fantastic show, The Pitmen PoetsSpiers & Boden will make a welcome return to the city as Saturday’s final act. Sunday kicks off with another show Nelly; a folk musical, about Nell Gwynne – along with Jez LoweOld Sea LegsNarthen and more. The festival closes with special guests Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman.

Read more: Derby Folk Festival 2022

Isle ‘ave a Shanty


Ely ShantyIsle ‘Ave A Shanty are a 6-piece A Capella male harmony group based on the Isle of Ely. They specialise in traditional songs from the sea and the country in a folk style as well as putting a folk twist on some modern classics! They are a rarity in being a sea shanty band from a landlocked county but they bring their own style to traditional songs and songs they made up themselves.

Their live show is all about camaraderie, fun and interaction. Be ready to sing along heartily and join in with the actions as they take you on a journey across the oceans, through the countryside and maybe a few songs about grog, noggins and even a drop of Nelson’s blood.

Their debut album Swinging The Lamp came out in March 2022

The band consists of Elliott Spray, Andrew Newton, Lee Harvey, Stuart Green, Tony Calladine & Kevin King.

They are available for bookings. See their website

 Watch the band in action


Blake Morrison and The Hosepipe Band

Hosepipe Band 4081 3If you keep an eye on the Mardles Events list you may have noticed that between June and October there are six events listed as Blake Morrison and The Hosepipe Band in a whole variety of venues in our area including the Electric Palace in Harwich, Dunwich Museum, Wingfield Barns, and John Mills Theatre, Ipswich.

If you live in East Anglia, you may have come across the Hosepipe Band who have played for ceilidhs around the region for the last 30 years, but you may not be so familiar with the poet and novelist Blake Morrison. 

Let me start the story from the beginning. Since 2015, in addition to playing for ceilidhs, the Hosepipe Band has composed and played music to accompany the poetry of Martin Newell. In this formation, we’ve played arts centres, literary festivals, folk clubs, Folk East and Latitude, performing Song of the Waterlily, Black Shuck and The Green Children (of Woolpit). This is a onging project; we have three events with Martin in June this year.

Then a couple of years ago, browsing in the Woodbridge bookshop, I came across a slim volume of poetry, whose title caught my eye. It was the name of a place on the coast I knew well: Shingle Street. The first, very long poem in the collection The Ballad of Shingle Street was a wonderful evocation of this amazing beach just down the coast from Orford. Here’s an extract:

From Shingle Street
To Orford Ness
The waves maraud,
The winds oppress,
The earth can’t help
But acquiesce
For this is east, and east means loss,
A lessening shore, receding ground,
Three feet gone last year, four feet this.
Where land runs out and nothing’s sound.
Nothing lasts long on Shingle Street”

Blake Morrison October 2017©NOBBY CLARK+44(0)7941-515770+44(0) would be great piece to put to music, I thought, so in a burst of enthusiasm, I contacted Blake Morrison and asked what he thought about having this poem set to music. Blake’s reply was positive, so we set to work and Cara Bruns composed a beautiful piano piece to accompany the Ballad. I then realised that there were several other of Blake’s poems featuring aspects of the Suffolk coast: Covehithe, Flotsam and Dunwich. By choosing four poems to accompany, we could compose a broader range of music. We made a recording with me reading the poems accompanied by our music, then sent Blake a copy of the CD. He liked what we’d done and said it’d be good if we could perhaps perform the work live. We had envisaged doing this but weren’t sure how or where we might do it. When I said it would be difficult for me to read the poems at the same time as playing the music, Blake offered to be the reader. We soon reckoned that a live performance would have to last at least an hour, so we set about choosing more poems and composing more music. The result is that we now have recordings of Blake reading twelve of his poems, mostly related to East Suffolk, accompanied by our music. By the time we start our summer performances we will have produced a complete recording. 

Going back a few steps, having come across the Shingle Street collection, I looked into what else Blake had written and discovered that he was prolific; he had written three novels: The Last Weekend, South of the River and The Executor, two memoirs: And When Did You Last See Your Father? - made into a feature film starring Colin Firth and Jim Broadbent - and Things My Mother Never Told, as well as As If, a moving and insightful study of the murder of James Bulger and the trial of the young perpetrators. He had also written playscripts, libretti and several other collections of poetry including the 100-verse Ballad of the Yorkshire Ripper.

Here are a couple sample tracks with Blake reading: Covehithe and Dunwich



For our poetry projects The Hosepipe Band is:
•   Cara Bruns – keyboard
•   Simon Haines – melodeon, concertina, footbass, hurdy gurdy, 
•   Peter Nice – guitar, upright bass, schwirrbogen
•   Val Woollard – recorders, hammered dulcimer, bagpipes, flute, desk bells, glockenspiel

Find out more about Blake on his website:

Read more about this project and listen to additional samples of poems with music here: 

And maybe we'll see you at one this summer's performances.