Thatcham Festival 2016

Old Bluecoat School Events

The Old Bluecoat School was proud to host a number of popular, free events showcasing its hirers and other local groups during the Thatcham community Festival 2016.

Thatcham Photographic Club launched the Festival celebrations in the building on Friday, 7th October with a reception and preview of its weekend-long Exhibition of local photographers’ work. This was attended by Civic Dignitaries and other invited guests.


Renu Mohan introduced newcomers to the benefits of her yoga class on Monday evening and on Tuesday morning the building was full of preschoolers who went on musical adventures with Jo Cooke and Hartbeeps enjoying state-of-the-art music production, puppets, dance, drama and much more!

The building offered the perfect atmospheric setting on Tuesday evening for Mark T and Charles Spicer’s welcome return with their unique mix of mesmerizing early music and English folksongs with Celtic and Mediterranean-inspired backings.  A very appreciative audience enjoyed vocals, small pipes, bouzouki, cor anglais and also the melodeon played by guest musician, Keith Holloway, in the closing set.

Photo by Alan Woolfednden

Hickory Smoke’s four-piece band on Wednesday included banjos and penny whistle and played traditional Irish, Celtic and Country folk music to a capacity audience, who enjoyed covers from legends such as the Dubliners, Ralph McTell and Bob Dylan.  There is already talk of another concert in the Spring in response to popular demand!

On Thursday morning preschoolers, babies, their mothers and carers were entertained in a range of activities organised by Hartbeeps, A Spoonful of Nana’s Sophie Osgood, yoga and baby massage practitioner, and Life After Birth’s Sam Bounds, Doula and Holistic Therapist.  Homemade cake and a cup of tea were also very welcome!


Thatcham Art Experience, the local community art group, organised the following weekend’s Festival Art Exhibition featuring the work in diverse media of local professional and amateur artists.  Many compliments were received on the high standard of work displayed and a number of pieces were sold.  Artists’ donations raised a generous sum for the Old Bluecoat School Building Maintenance Fund.


Finally, but by no means least, Nik Stoter’s ‘Just A Singalong’ choir, who have rehearsed weekly in the OBS for many years, had the honour of being chosen to close Thatcham Festival 2016 in St. Mary’s Church on Friday, 21st October.  Their sparkling programme of contemporary songs included ‘Sing, Sing, Sing’, ‘It Might As Well Rain Until September’ and perennial favourites from one of the most popular musical of all times, Les Miserables.  A relaxed and happy finale to a delightful evening.

All in all, a very successful and enjoyable Festival 2016 for the OBS and its hirers, demonstrating yet again the versatility of this wonderful old building.


Information concerning activities and classes organised by the current OBS hirers may be found on the website at (link address) and on the lettings calendar (link address).

If you would like to hire the building, please telephone the Bookings Secretary on 07914 321681.                                                                                                               

October, 2016