‘Drowning on Dry Land’ at New Wimbledon Studio

Alan Ayckbourn’s Drowning on Dry Land, a compelling comedy about celebrity culture, enjoyed a fresh run recently at New Wimbledon Studio thanks to the newly established Bournyack Theatre Company. Although first penned and performed in 2004 its relevance to today’s celebrity culture and short news cycle endures, and is arguably heightened.

The play is an ode to failure, or rather to the English fascination with failure. It tells the story of Charlie Conrad, played charmingly by Blair Robertson, a man who seemingly has everything: fame, fortune, family and legions of faithful fans. His talent? He has none! Charlie is famous for doing nothing and failing in everything he attempts. Through his persistent non-achievement he has acquired a cult celebrity status. He is adored by the public but resented by his trophy wife, Linzi, convincingly portrayed by Janine Pardo: a tv personality in her own right before sacrificing it all for marriage and motherhood. Charlie’s ‘perfect’ world is destroyed bit by bit as the narrative unfolds. His agent, Jason, the suave and relaxed Malcom Jeffries does his best to guide Charlie through an interview with Louise Devlin’s powerfully apt journalist, Gale Gilchrist. But it all goes horribly wrong and is followed by an even more disastrous encounter with children’s entertainer, Marsha, a star-struck mime clown deftly channelled by the mesmeric Olivia Busby. Solicitors are summoned: Philip Gill’s Hugo and John Craggs’ Simeon clash in a battle of quick fire wit, fast-tracking the tension. Add to this the exuberantly animated Frida Strom as Laura and Ellie Ward as Katie, two young girls from next door whose screeching, frenetic appearances pepper key points in the play, and the atmosphere is electric.

Bournyack Theatre Company was recently formed by actor, Martin Rossen, inspired by Alan Ayckbourn and particularly his ongoing recovery and continual writing and directing following a stroke in 2006. The Company’s mission is to bring work by new and established writers to audiences in London and further afield.

As such, the New Wimbledon Studio was the perfect venue. Nestled beside New Wimbledon Theatre, Wimbledon’s iconic Grade II listed Edwardian venue, the Studio is an intimate setting with an audience capacity of 80, and offers a platform for new writers, directors and production companies to showcase their work. Click here to see current and upcoming productions.

Drowning on Dry Land ran at New Wimbledon Studio from 18-23 April and was directed by Paul Tate.
Parties interested in staging this production should contact producer, Martin Rossen of Bournyack Theatre Company.

Wimbledon among top places to live for young professionals

Research by Lloyds Bank has listed Wimbledon as the third most popular place to live for young professionals in England and Wales.

London dominates the list with 16 entries and half of the top 20 are in SW postcodes. Mortgage Director at Lloyds Bank, Mike Songer said that “aspiring young urbanites” are drawn to “attractive suburbs offering good amenities and quality of life” adding that “in many cases they are prepared to pay a premium to live there.”

The research was based on profiling of “young, urbanite professionals” aged between 25-44 by CACI and Land Registry housing market figures. Hove topped the list with Wandsworth second.

Have your say in the Merton Best Business Awards

Three categories in this year’s Merton Best Business Awards are decided solely by public vote:

Pub of the Year
Restaurant of the Year
Best Customer Service Award sponsored by Centre Court Shopping

This is your chance to have your say!

Show support for your favourite local pub or restaurant, or ANY shop or venue in Wimbledon where you’ve experienced great customer service.

Nominations for these categories close on Monday 1 May, so if your favourite isn’t already on the list, make sure you nomiate them before this date. It’s quick, simple and easy to do – get voting now!

UNIQLO Wimbledon reopens

UNIQLO Wimbledon reopened on Friday 21 April following an extensive refurbishment of their store on The Broadway.

Hundreds of eager customers queued up on Friday and Saturday morning to get a first glimpse at the new store and claim a lovely goody bag. Balloons festooned the store entrance and traditional taiko drummers performed outside and could be heard from either end of The Broadway.

Uniqlo Wimbledon was the first of the iconic brand’s stores to open outside Japan, in 2001 and Wimbledon is thrilled to have the new store back in action.

New Wimbledon Theatre revitalised with recent renovations

New Wimbeldon Theatre has always been a welcoming venue and the management team are always looking to enhance the patron experience.

On and off since August 2016 the in house team have been meticulously attending to the plasterwork and paint in the main foyer, installing new directional signage and carrying out refurbishment works to the foyer bar.  The foyer bar is the first area all patrons to the venue see and in May the works will be completed with a total rebuild of the main bar serving area.  The bar will be open post-show for patrons to continue their evening’s entertainment.

The Studio Theatre, accessed by a small door off The Broadway is undergoing a complete refurbishment.  New seating, carpets, paintwork, signage and a digital cinema with Dolby surround sound will present live broadcast theatre experiences from around the world, and be available for private hire experiences. The studio theatre bar will be overhauled in the summer to incorporate a new, intimate gallery space.

New Wimbledon Theatre currently hosts a Lunchtime Choir, and runs topical workshops throughout the year including the upcoming Shakespeare in a Day: Macbeth and Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoe Workshop during the Easter holidays.

Gina Conway celebrating Earth Month this April

To celebrate Earth Month in April, staff at Gina Conway in Wimbledon will be fundraising for WaterAid and the Global Greengrants Fund.

They will volunteer their time, offering haircuts and facials for just £50 and blowdries for £30 including a free Earth Month candle. They will also be holding a cake sale and a mufti day raffle with prizes donated by local businesses. The salon’s Assistant Manager, Dom will be shaving off his beard.

Staff will also be taking part in a static bike ride to India, aiming to cover 4,500 miles and Gina Conway herself will be taking part in the London 100 bike ride this summer as part of the WaterAid team.

Keep up to date with their progress via our Twitter and Facebook feeds.

Time & Leisure Food & Drink Awards 2017

Now in their seventh year, the Time & Leisure Food & Drinks Awards (FADAs) are firmly established as one of the most important annual events for the food and drink industry in south London and North Surrey.

The awards celebrate the high quality and diversity of local restaurants, pubs, cafés and retailers and are all ‘people’s choice’ awards, which ensure the winners are chosen independently by the public. So if you want to celebrate, support or thank your favourite place, do so by voting and help them make the winners’ list.

Restaurants, bars, cafés, delis, producers and suppliers of all shapes and sizes can enter themselves or be nominated across 12 categories open to public vote, listed below. Any member of the public is entitled to one vote in each category.

Best Family Friendly Restaurant
Best Cocktail Venue
Best Wine Retailer
Best Service
Best Coffee/Tea House
Best Food Retailer
Best Pub
Best Takeaway/Delivery
Best Newcomer
Best Eating Experience – Wimbledon Town Centre
Local Restaurant of the Year
Fine Dining Restaurant of the Year

Voting is open NOW and will close at midnight on Wednesday 19 July. For more information please visit Time & Leisure Food & Drink Awards 2017.