Royal & Derngate: Alan Bennett’s, The Habit Of Art

The critically acclaimed production of the masterly Alan Bennett comedy is coming to Northampton.

One of our greatest playwrights, Bennett is celebrated for his sharp character observations and treasured for the way he beautifully balances wit, wistfulness and compassion.

In The Habit Of Art, we witness a meeting between two of the 20th century’s most remarkable artists, the poet WH Auden and the composer Benjamin Britten.

Exploring friendship, rivalry and heartache, this multi-layered masterpiece examines the joy, pain and emotional cost of creativity.

This beautifully nuanced production is directed by Phillip Franks and stars the Olivier Award-winning Matthew Kelly (Of Mice And Men, Toast, Pride And Prejudice) David Yelland (Chariots Of Fire, The Crown) and Veronica Roberts (Peak Practice, Tenko).

The Habit Of Art takes to the Royal stage between Tuesday 14th and Saturday 18th April. Tickets priced from £11* and can be booked by calling the Box Office on 01604 624811 or online at Recommended age 13+; contains strong language and adult themes

* A charge of £3.50 applies for all transactions over £20. Does not apply to Groups, Friends, Disabled Patrons or Subscribers and is per-transaction, not per-ticket.

Editor’s Letter – February Issue

Dear Neighbours,

The start to 2020 has already marked a milestone in my son’s (and therefore my) life… he passed his driving test (so one less person for me to taxi around!), and an unconditional university offer means he’ll soon be packing his bags and starting a new chapter in his life away from home. I have had a range of emotions, from being extremely happy and proud, to moments of sadness at the realisation that once he’s flown the nest, that’s an end of an era. My little boy has grown up… and it all happened so fast!

At least I’ve still got a minimum of 3 more years before my younger son departs and I’m faced with an ‘empty nest’. Although, the freedom that offers does sound rather appealing!

Love it or loathe it, Valentine’s Day will soon be upon us; but why do we exchange cards, flowers and gifts with our loved ones on 14th February when the day’s patron saint was a Christian martyr? We take a look back in history to discover its origins, page 10.

If you do like to give a Valentine’s gift, but are looking for some inspiration, other than flowers and chocolates, we have a few ideas on page 14.

If you’re thinking of retiring in the next few years it’s a good idea to organise your finances well ahead of time, so you can consider some of the big issues without feeling too much pressure. Ann Haldon has advice on the essential steps on page 24.

With the increase in electric car popularity, more people are going to need to charge at home. But how do you go about it? Read our motoring feature for guidance; page 28.

In this issue we also have on-trend interiors on pages 36 and 40; growing the perfect potatoes on page 48; and books to get you talking, page 58.

Finally, we have two tickets to give away to see the hilarious and deeply moving production of The Strange Tale of Charlie Chaplin & Stan Laurel, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 16.

Until next month…


Richmond Northampton: Village Showcase, Saturday 8th February

Crusader Community Boating: Volunteers Wanted

Brushstrokes Art Group

Mondays 7pm – 9pm
Brushstrokes is a small group of local artists who meet on Mondays in the staff canteen at Mereway Police HQ in Northampton. Tuition, help, advice and guidance is provided by local artist Tony Pearson. Our members are of mixed ability and enjoy drawing and painting using their own individual choice of materials.

If you would like to join, or want to find out more, please contact Jane Denton –

Editor’s Letter – January 2020

Dear Neighbours,

I hope you had a lovely Christmas and it didn’t whizz by in too much of a blur! As per usual I ate and drank far too much over the festive period, so I’m jumping on the ‘healthy New Year’ bandwagon, especially as I stupidly agreed (and was immediately signed up by my family) to a 10 mile obstacle ‘Tough Mudder’ event in June… I blame the prosecco! However, having a challenge will definitely motivate me to stay on track with my fitness goals, as I don’t want to embarrass myself on the day and give my sons mocking rights for the next 10 years!

If, like me, you’re kick-starting your fitness this January, we have gadgets that can help keep you on track; page 10. Maybe, you’re going to give Veganuary a go? If so, it’s important to understand how to get the vital nutrients your body will be used to; see our health feature on page 12 for more information on the healthy way to do Veganuary.

The start of a New Year is a good time to re-evaluate and put new processes in place to make life a little easier. Read our parenting article on page 18, and our finance feature on page 34, for some helpful advice for a more organised 2020.

Interiors expert, Katherine Sorrell, has tips on making your home more cosy and inviting on page 42; and we have a selection of home products in Dulux’s colour of the year, ‘Tranquil Dawn’, on page 48.

Local charities, Crusader Community Boating, and Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire, are currently recruiting for volunteers; pages 40 and 41 respectively. If you feel you can help these very worthy services, please get in contact with them.

Finally, we have two tickets to give away to see a gripping production of Alone In Berlin, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 54.

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous 2020…


Voluntary Impact Northamptonshire: Drivers Needed

Editor’s Letter – December 2019

Dear Neighbours,

The time has come to retrieve the Christmas decorations from the loft, turn up the Xmas tunes and devour copious amounts of mince pies… the countdown to Christmas has officially begun!

I have a very long ‘To-Do’ list, which sends a small shiver of panic through me whenever I look at it. However, I am determined to remain calm and enjoy the lead-up to Christmas, as the day itself is always over far too quickly.

I do miss the excitement that having younger children bring to the occasion as now my boys are older the magic has dissipated slightly; no more excited squeals that Santa has been (unless you count my husband!). We now have to wake them up rather than being woken, and presents have reduced in size (but become more expensive!). However, the most important thing for me has always been spending quality time with the people I love… and that’s as special now as it’s always been.

In this festive edition, we look at the history of our Christmas traditions on page 10. We have top tips for festive decorating on page 16, as well as Christmas tree decorations on page 22.

If you’re planning a Christmas Eve box this year (when did that start being a thing?), we have ideas on what to fill it with on page 26. We also have the best beauty gift sets, page 30; your festive gadget survival guide, page 34 and our pick of the best books on page 38.

If you want to offer guests an alternative to a mince pie or slice of Christmas cake, we have a delicious cranberry, orange and nut loaf recipe on page 42.

The shorter, darker, colder, wetter days of winter can leave even the fittest and chirpiest of us feeling mentally and physically run-down. We have six tips to keep you feeling better through the winter; page 44.

Finally, we have two tickets to give away to see an acclaimed production of a classic Miss Marple mystery, A Murder Is Announced, courtesy of Royal & Derngate Theatre; competition details on page 48.

Until next month…


Forum Cinema – What’s On

Christmas At Royal & Derngate