The sound of music

There will be plenty of live music as part of the Wanstead Fringe, including the acoustic night featuring local performers, and the return of Wanstead High School musical pupils showing what they can do.
But this year for the first time the Fringe will be featuring some grown-up opera. An Olivier Award-winning company will be staging Opera Cocktail – an innovative evening of some of the best-loved arias, duets and ensembles in a fun, modern setting. Songs from La Boheme, Carmen and La Traviata are among those featured by a trio of some fantastic singers and a virtuoso pianist.
The evening will take place at Wanstead Golf Club on Thursday 13 September. Tickets are £20 and are available from the Wanstead Fringe website here.

The pigeon is landing

It’s nearly time again for the Wanstead Fringe – a marvellous week-long cultural celebration which all started right here on Wansteadium six years ago. But this year it’s beginning to feel like the Fringe is growing up a bit.
One of the main reasons for that is that for the first time, live professional theatre is taking centre stage at the Fringe. There are going to be five performances of a musical adaptation of The Secret Garden, a classic children’s story about a girl who has to go to live with an austere uncle and who discovers the key to a secret walled garden. Spoiler alert: it has a happen ending.
The play is being performed by a travelling company of actors who are taking their work to various spots around the UK – typically to places which used to have regular theatre performances. They are drawn to the vibe of the Fringe and decided to make Wanstead their next stop.
They will stage the play at the Deaton Theatre, which is part of Forest School. It’s a magnificent theatre which will do the performances justice. The performances are on Saturday 8 Sept at 11am, 3pm and 7.30pm, and on Sunday 9 September at 11am and 3pm. There are family discounts available, and tickets are available from the Wanstead Fringe website here.
PS. Please ignore rumours that organisers considered swapping the Wanstead Fringe pigeon for a boa constrictor.

Wanstead Starbucks to close

Picture: Google Streetview

Wansteadium has learned that Wanstead Starbucks is to close and become a charity furniture shop. The closure is due to happen in two weeks’ time, with the replacement shop planning to open before the end of September.

A statement issued to Wansteadium says:

“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our customers in Wanstead for their loyalty over the years as we confirm that we will be closing our store on 22nd August 2018. For those customers looking to carry on enjoying their favourite Starbucks drink, the team at our stores at Westfield Shopping Centre, Stratford and Ilford High Street look forward to welcoming you.”

The news will come as a shock to many, especially coming just a year after the future of the cafe seemed settled following the erection of signs indicating the site was to let.  The closure seems especially strange since the cafe is always busy and is well established, having been there for more than 10 years.

Wanstead High Street already has a number of charity shops, though not one selling furniture.  Charity shops have advantages over other retailers – in that they get an 80% discount on the normal business rate, and do not have to pay for stock or staff.

The news is perhaps even stranger as the long-awaited M&S Foodhall has confirmed it will be opening at 10am on 23 August almost directly opposite the Starbucks site. 29 people will be working at the shop, which will offer a click and collect service for all M&S clothes and other goods. The shop will be open from 7am to 10pm Monday to Saturday and 9am to 7pm on Sunday.