Saturday, 30 July 2016

August's Lancaster First Friday brings kindness, music, dance and adventure!

Ludus Youth Dance Company will be performing
a 10 minute popup show in Market Square at 1pm
First Friday returns to Lancaster City Centre on Friday 5th August bringing kindness, bicycles and adventure for adults and children alike. There will be lots of free activities for families to enjoy.

Everything will not be as it seems at Lancaster City Museum as it is turned into The Imagination Museum. Come and meet Mildred, Henry and Harriet, three eccentric tour guides who will bring to life some of the museum artefacts. This wonderful short dance show is aimed at families and is a free event.
Performances will be repeated at 2pm, 3:30pm and 5:30pm and there is no need to book you can just turn up.

Another First Friday treat will see Market Square become home to The East Street Gamelan, an imposing tower of tuned and untuned percussion made from scrap. Everyone is invited to come along between 12pm and 2pm to listen or even have a go!

Families can come and meet children’s author, Leila Rasheed, at King Street Waterstone’s. The North West Literary Salon will be celebrating the joy of books as well as listening to stories, dancing to music and eating snacks. This event is free but booking is recommended, visit to book.

Another highlight of August’s First Friday will be Random Acts of Kindness, where Them Two Dance company will embark on a journey astride their tandem bicycle to encourage the people of Lancaster to perform Random Acts of Kindness. You can meet them for a chat at The Dukes CafĂ© Bar between 12pm and 1pm to discuss the random acts of kindness you’d like to see happen in Lancaster and then between 2pm and 4pm they will be cycling around the city centre making those things happen!

Other highlights include The Taming of the Shrew at Lancaster Castle performed by The HandleBards, an all-female troupe on wheels, Make a Marvellous Mosaic workshop at Lancaster City Museum and The Radish will be have a late night opening with art work from Molly Bland.

Full details of these events and others happening on First Friday can be found at

Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Local Cinema Round-Up for the 27th July to 4th August 2016

For up to date local cinema links and day-by-day  listings of what's showing on local screens every week visit the Virtual-Lancaster Cinema Page. Read on for the weekly round-up, and reviews.

This is a fairly quiet period for movies with only one new release, the family animation Finding Dory (U).

Films The Conjuring 2 and The Jungle Book have been dropped while Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie and Me Before You look likely to disappear from our screens in the near future. However we do see the return of family adventure with Kung Fu Panda 3 and Zootropolis.

Movies scheduled for release later in August include Suicide Squad and David Brent: Life on the Road.

Action and adventure during this period comes with Embrace of the Serpent; Jason Boure; Star Trek Beyond and The Legend of Tarzan. For drama there is Now You See Me 2 and Remainder.

For family oriented entertainment there is an excellent selection with Finding Dory; Ice Age: Collision Course; Kung Fu Panda 3; The Angry Birds Movie; The BFG; The Secret Life of Pets and Zootropolis. More adult comedy is provided with Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie; Central Intelligence and Ghostbusters.

The one category not represented this period is high culture.


Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie
Director: Mandie Fletcher
Certificate: 15
Cast includes: Jennifer Saunders Joanna Lumley, Julis Sawalha, June Whitfield, Jane Horrocks
It was 1992 when Absolutely Fabulous first appeared on the TV and twenty four years later Patsie and Eddy finally make it to the big screen. The couple are blamed for a major incident involving Kate Moss at a fashionable launch party. To escape the paparazzi and poor publicity, they flee, penniless, to the French Riviera, where they concoct a plan to regain their fortune. The film retains the cast of the TV series and a number of major celebrities also make cameo appearances. This is a hilarious film, that maintains the character of the original TV series. Excellent entertainment.

Central Intelligence
Director: Rawson Marshall Thurber
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Dwayne Johnson, Kelvin Hart
Robbie Wierdicht (Johnson) was bullied at high school. On leaving, he changed his name to Bob Stone, developed an impressive physique and became a CIA operative. Calvin Joyner (Hart) was his friend at high school and had a career in accounting. At the time of their high school reunion, Bob starts to work with Calvin to stop the illegal sale of satellite codes by a mystery agent Black Badger. Calvin however is approached by the CIA and told that Bob is actually delusional. Yet Calvin continues to help his friend and the two of them face fights, gun battles and car crashes to track Black Badger. The movie is a fast paced buddy action comedy. Johnson and Hart work well together and the fast talking dialogue from Hart goes a long way to carrying the film. Expect some slapstick and a great deal of humour.

Finding Dory
Director: Andrew Stanton, Angus MacLane
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Ed O'Neill, Hayden Rolence
Pixar's sequel to the 2003 movie 'Finding Nemo'. Dory (DeGeneres), who helped reunite Nemo (Rolence) with his father Marlin (Brooks) in the first movie, has a flashback in which she remembers her own family. She decides to look for them despite her problems with a faulty memory. Marlin and Nemo agree to help and the three swim to California to start the search. Dory is caught and held in a marine life institute aquarium for shipping to Cleveland. However with the help of Hank (O'Neill), the octopus she escapes back to the ocean and finds her parents Charlie and Jenny. Now she has to come to the aid of Marlin and Nemo who are also imprisoned in the institute aquarium. The movie is essentially the same plot as the original, but provides impressive animation and contains some emotional scenes. However this is ultimately a fun 'happy ever after' sort of film that will delight people of all ages.

Director: Paul Feig
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Melissa McCarthy, Kristen Wiig, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth, Neil Casey
It has been thirty-five years since the original Ghostbusters movie. Now, finally there is a remake where women take the leading parts. Erin Gilbert (Wiig) and Abby Yates (McCarthy) are co-authors of a book which postulated that ghosts are real. When supernatural forces invade Manhattan, Gilbert and Yates team up with a nuclear engineer Jillian Holtzmann (McKinnon) and subway worker Patty Tolan (Jones) to combat the malicious demon Rowan (Casey) and a legion of ghouls. The movie pretty much follows the plot of the original, but the actors provide great and extremely funny performances. A terrific movie full of good hearted fun.

Ice Age: Collision Course
Director: Mike Thurmeier and Galen T Chu
Cast includes: Simon Pegg, Roy Romano, Jennifer Lopez, Queen Latifah, Hohn Leguizamo, Denis Leary, Chris Wedge
A computer animation family adventure film. This is the fifth instalment in the Ice Age series and the sequel to Continental Drift. Scratt (Wedge), the sabre toothed squirrel, activates an alien UFO in his continued pursuit of the acorn. The craft propels Scratt into outer space and thence causes a planetary collision resulting in the creation of meteors that threaten to engulf the earth. Manny (Romero) the Wooly Mammoth, Sid (Leguizamo) the sloth and Diego (Leary) the sabre toothed tiger hatch a plan with the weasel Buck (Pegg) to save the earth. The plot is quite unbelievable, but the resulting mayhem is as entertaining as ever. New characters are introduced as the movie unfolds and the film a worthy addition to the franchise. Whats not to like?

Star Trek Beyond
Director: Justin Lin
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Zoe Saldana, Karl Urban, Simon Pegg, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella
This is the thirteenth Star Trek movie and the third in the reboot series. Kirk (Pine) takes the Enterprise on a rescue mission to the planet Altamid. However the ship gets ambushed by a force working for the power mad Krall (Elba). The Enterprise is destroyed and much of the crew captured. It is up to Kirk, Scotty (Pegg), Spock (Quinto), Chekov (Yelchin), McCoy (Urban) and a native fighter Jaylah (Boutella) to save the day. They repair an early generation starfleet vessel that had crashed on the planet and are able to pursue Krull. This is an action packed film with impressive special effects and a good number of impressive battles. The movie harks back to the early days of Star Trek, retracing old ground. A must see film.

The Legend of Tarzan
Director: David Yates
Certificate: 12A
Cast includes: Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz, Djimon Hounsou, Samuel L. Jackson
The film is set about a decade after Tarzan left the jungle and became John Clayton III or Lord Greystoke to live in the UK with his wife Jane (Robbie). Meanwhile the African Congo has been divided between Belgium and the UK, and the Belgian government has sent an emissary Captain Leon Rom (Waltz) to develop the mineral wealth of the land. Rom makes a pact with Mbonga (Hounsou) a chief and Tarzan's old enemy to give him Tarzan in exchange for diamonds. Rom captures Jane and uses her to lure Tarzan to him During the film we have flashbacks of Tarzan's origins to help set the plot and the film benefits from splendid scenery, lavish special effects and grand fight sequences. However, despite solid performances from the actors, the movie has not managed to inspire the critics. An enjoyable, but ultimately average adventure film.

The Secret Life of Pets
Director: Chris Renaud, Yarrow Cheney
Certificate: U
Cast Includes: Louis C.K., Ellie Kemper, Eric Stonestreet, Kevin Hart
A family animation film that follows the lives of pets living in a Manhattan apartment building during the time their owners leave them alone. Max (Louis) is a rather spoilt terrier who starts to find himself neglected when his owner Katie (Kemper) brings home Duke (Stonestreet), a mongrel, from a dog pound. However the two dogs must put their rivalry behind them when they are captured by Snowball (Hart) a rabbit and an army of abandoned pets who are trying to get back at all happily owned pets and their owners. This is a delightful and energetic animation movie that is inoffensive and fun for all, young and old.

Free Bay Archaeology Festival Lectures at The Storey this Saturday

Heysham Head. Phot: Diana Jarvis
The Bay Archaeology Festival: Lecture Series (Lancaster) takes place on Saturday 30th July 2016, starting at 2.00 pm, at The Storey (in the Lecture Theatre), Meeting House Lane, Lancaster, LA1 1TH

Enjoy an afternoon of talks and presentations about work exploring Morecambe Bay's history and heritage.

Organised by Morecambe Bay Partnership, the programme is as follows:

Warton Crag Hillfort - Recent Research and Fieldwork
Kevin Grice and Steve King

Over the last three years, volunteers in the White Cross Archaeology Group have been visiting Warton Crag to find and record what remains of the Hillfort on the ground. At the same time Morecambe Bay Partnership volunteers in the Arnside Research Group had also been researching historical records. In 2015 the two groups made contact with each other, realised we could be even better together, and the rest is, quite literally, history!

This talk will mainly cover both what has been discovered and recorded so far on the ground and also through the historic records.

Trowels and Tribulation: Exploring Quay Meadow
Andrew Reilly, Lancaster and District Heritage Group

Last Summer, Lancaster and District Heritage Group undertook investigative dig work at Lancaster's Quay Meadow, with some significant findings. This talk will introduce the group, give an overview of this dig work and outline future plans for this area.

CITiZAN in Morecambe Bay: Heysham Head
Megan Clement, CITiZAN

This talk will introduce the CITiZAN project (a Heritage Lottery Funded Project) and the work it has undertaken during 2015 on the Morecambe coastline. Last year CITiZAN looked at the National Trust site of St Patrick’s Chapel at Heysham Head. The talk will look at findings of this fieldwork and the forthcoming events CITIZAN will be running in and around the Bay during 2016.

Mapping Morecambe Bay – The Early Days
Bill Shannon

Did you know the first time the words ‘Morecambe Bay’ appeared on a map was not until 1774? Before that, it was generally called Kent Sands and Leven Sands. Dr Bill Shannon explores how the Bay appeared on maps going as far back as the 15th century, and also examines three large-scale maps from the 17th century – depicting Sowerby Wood, Piel Island and the Cartmel Peninsular.

• The event is free but booking essential. Please book you places here

Tuesday, 26 July 2016

HGV ban proposed for urban areas of Lancaster

Lancashire County Council has announced proposals to ban heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) over 7.5 tonnes from parts of Lancaster district.

The plans aim to reduce the number of unsuitable vehicles making unnecessary journeys through the city centre and over the city's bridges, improving journey times, improving air quality and reducing traffic noise.

It also aims to have a similar beneficial effect in Morecambe and Heysham, as well as Carnforth, Bolton-le-Sands, Slyne and Hest Bank.

The plans have been put forward to coincide with the final stages in the construction of the Bay Gateway, which will link junction 34 of the M6 with Morecambe and Heysham.

The new road is expected to be completed in the autumn. Once it opens, large lorries could be stopped from travelling across the district using local roads - apart from when access is needed.

This will ensure that larger vehicles move onto the better-suited new Bay Gateway.

While drivers are expected to naturally use the new road, new signage would inform HGV drivers about the restriction, and actively direct those who do not require access away from local roads.

County Councillor John Fillis, Cabinet member for highways and transport, said: "The opening of the Bay Gateway gives us a very good opportunity to review the current arrangements across the road network, and look at how we can develop the transport network in ways that benefit road users, businesses and local people who live in the area.

"The majority of roads in urban areas were not built with modern HGVs in mind. This often creates a variety of issues for local communities and other road users. We've looked carefully at the routes large vehicles are currently using and developed these proposals.

"The delivery of goods is essential to modern life. For this reason we're very clear that deliveries and access for HGVs must remain, to ensure that it doesn't adversely impact on the distribution process for businesses.

"This is a big opportunity to improve the network across the district, and we want to hear people's views on these weight-restriction proposals."

These weight-restriction proposals would cover large parts of the district including the centres of both Morecambe and Lancaster; the A6 between junctions 33, south of Lancaster and junction 35 at Carnforth; Skerton and Greyhound bridges; as well as roads in Carnforth, Bolton-le-Sands, Slyne and Hest Bank.

Caton Road would still be used by large vehicles to access the city centre itself.

The proposals have been developed with involvement from Lancaster City Council, and Highways England.

Once the road opens it will remove a significant volume of traffic from the River Lune bridges in the city centre, creating opportunities to develop other forms of transport.

The weight restrictions would be temporarily lifted, if necessary, in the event of problems along the M6.

The completion of the Bay Gateway, previously known as the Heysham to M6 Link Road, is one of the largest road construction projects currently managed by any council in England. Any changes will be introduced as part of the opening of this new road.

The aims of the new road include improved access between Heysham, Morecambe and the M6, including Heysham Port and surrounding areas. It will also facilitate industrial and commercial regeneration and provide new employment opportunities.

These weight-restriction proposals are part of the county council's emerging Lancaster District Highways and Transport Masterplan, which outlines ambitious new plans for the city centre as well as Morecambe, Carnforth, Heysham and other parts of the district.

Over the coming years the aim is that this masterplan will transform the area, with a reduction in through traffic, improvements to the city centre one-way system and much greater use of sustainable modes of transport such as park-and-ride, buses and cycling.

• You can give your comments online from Monday 1st August until Monday 12th September by visiting

Pensioner dies after Bolton-le-Sands collison

Police are appealing for information after a woman died following a collision close to Bolton-le-Sands.

Officers were called around 1.45pm yesterday (Monday 25th July) to Slyne Road following reports of an accident.

A Toyota Yaris, travelling northbound, had collided with a black Seat Ibiza, travelling in the opposite direction and the driver of the Toyota, an 89-year-old woman from Carnforth, suffered multiple injuries.

She was taken by air ambulance for treatment at Royal Preston Hospital but sadly died last night.

The driver of the Seat, a 79-year-old woman from Lancaster, was treated for bruising, shock and whiplash.

The road was closed for more than five hours while accident investigators attended the scene.

Police are appealing for information following the collision.

Sergeant Nigel Ralphson, of Lancashire Police, said: “This is a tragic incident where a woman has sadly died.

“Our thoughts are with her family at this very sad and difficult time.

“We are appealing for information and would be keen to speak to anyone who witnessed the collision.”

• Anyone with information can call police on 101 quoting log reference 0709 of 25th July 2016

Morecambe's Attic Door Prductions bring Wind in the Willows to Lancaster Castle

Lancaster Castle is the setting for a new outdoor theatre adaptation of The Wind in the Willows in August.

The show is being performed on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th August at 6.00pm and 8.00pm, produced by Attic Door Productions, based in Morecambe.

The Wind in the Willows show is of course based on the novel by by Kenneth Grahame, an enchanting tale of adventure, fun and mischief featuring characters Ratty, Mole, Badger and Toad.

The promenade production stays true to the book and the story will be brought to life with props including puppets and a rowing boat.

Attic Door Productions is the theatrical arm of the award winning team at Little Gargoyle Ltd, who recently launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to support new projects.

The company has already blazed a trail in the World of Murder Mysteries with their nights of dinner entertainment over at After Dark Murder Mystery (working with the Agatha Christie estate, they are the only officially licensed Murder Mystery company to be able to use the author's characters in their productions). Their education department is making history in the world of Wicked Workshops, and at Attic Door the tram concentrate on staging exciting and innovative theatre for stage and beyond.

Previously the team at Little Gargoyle has sold out the Edinburgh Fringe Festival three years in a row, won the best comedy show at Buxton Fringe (2010) and best International show at Hollywood Fringe (2011).

County Councillor Marcus Johnstone, Lancashire County Council's cabinet member for environment, planning and cultural services, said: "I'm delighted that we are staging such an iconic and charming children's classic, and the setting will definitely add to the performance.

"I'm sure that the audience will be drawn into the riverside world of the characters."

The Attic Door team will be back in Lancaster Castle for The Trial of Doctor Jekyll in October, and with Jack and the Beanstalk, an adult pantomime at the Grand Theatre, in December.

• The Wind in the Willows 6.00pm and 8.00pm, Friday 5th, Saturday 6th August 2016, Lancaster Castle. Tickets cost £7.50 for adults and £4.50 for children. Family tickets cost £20.  Numbers are limited so booking is essential. For booking information or opening times, call 01524 64998 or visit the castle shop between 9.30am to 4.30pm. The show is also being performed elsewhere in Lancashire, in Rochdale, Stockport and Bury Tranpsort Museum

• As this is a promenade performance visitors will need to move around, so isn't suitable for wheelchair users

• Find out about Attic Door's GoFundMe campaign; Little Gargoyle's Big Future. Discover how you can help support the brand new and exciting projects from Attic Door Productions:

• More about Attic Door at | Facebook | Follow Attic Door on Twitter @AtticDoorPro

• More information about Lancashire County Council museum events is available at