In December 2011 Oxfork and The Beard Museum also put on 3 nights at the Rotunda, which was so popular that it turned into four nights. We were treated to great performances from The Young Knives, Richard Walters, Gaz Coombes formerly of Supergrass, and many talented and eclectic support acts. Some lucky punters bought their tickets early enough to start the evening with a slap up meal at Oxfork and be ferried to the Rotunda by rickshaw, complete with blankets and warming tot of sloe gin.
On 3rd December 2011, on their second visit to the Rotunda, The Mighty Wurlitzer provided glorious, soulful musical accompaniment to Charlie Chaplin's very funny City of Lights.
In May 2011, Rachel Blackman brought her wild & witty solo work, Steal Compass, Drive North, Disappear, to the Rotunda. Rachel made amazing use of the Rotunda space, and provoked us all to think harder about men, women, sex and communication, while inducing many a wince and a wry smile. Daily info seemed to love the evening, and Rachel said the space inspires her to design work for it!
In April 2011, Susanna Starling brought the wonderful Queen of Clubs cabaret to the Rotunda for a magical beltane evening featuring Sharron Kraus, Morgan & West, and Katy Carr.
In October 2010, the wonderful Mighty Wurlitzer provided live accompaniment to a screening of Charlie Chaplin's The Kid and a Laurel and Hardy short. It was a truly magical evening, very well suited to The Rotunda, and all proceeds went to local charity Frontiers. James Schumann's short film of the screening is on the Wurlitzer website.Phil Pritchard's permaculture design course is now well under way. Participants at the April weekend hosted by Grove House were studying the composition of soil - and informed us that the temperature on one side of the back patio is 15 degrees hotter than the other; we always knew it was a suntrap, but perhaps we'd better grow some peaches there!
Zaid Hassan's Change Lab on April 20-22 2010 brought together participants interested in effecting social change with local charity Frontiers, working with disadvantaged young people. The event (and bonfire) was much appreciated and another is planned for July 2010 - contact Zaid for details.
Scilla Elworthy's excellent Bee School came to an end in March 2010, having equipped about twenty participants with tools to engage actively and effectively in local and global issues. February's Questioning Mind: Inner Knowing event with Arnaud Maitland was very well received, and another is planned for August 7-8 2010. For more information contact Scilla.
On Friday 12th February 2010 our Straight-Friendly Disco was a great success. We hope to follow it with more LGBT focussed events, including films and plays as well as dancing.
The Ensemble Ox conert on 29 January 2010 was our first ever classical concert. Musicians almost outnumbered audience, with a wonderful array of instruments including a marimba and a harpischord.
On the Mexican Day of the Dead, 1 November 2009, Jackie Singer and Liz Rothschild performed their wonderful show Marigolds & Ashes. Using stories and songs from around the world, they lead the 'audience' into a most counter-cultural exploration of death as a part of life, enabling various people to share movingly about people they had lost during the final, quaker-style meditative section.
In May and then again by popular demand in July, Tim Repath brought his fantastic one-man show, Prodigal,to the Rotunda. Packed houses were taken on a whirlwind tour of South African characters, from a female domestic worker to a Joburg estate agent to a desperate white liberal father. Tim's ability to slip into each skin within a nanosecond delighted as well as moved us - and his success here made possible successful presentations of both Prodigal and Mouche at the Edinburgh Festival in August.
During the second weekend in June, Grove House hosted the wacky and wonderful Annie Sprinkle & Beth Stephens for a week long performance-making workshop culminating in their Blue Wedding #5, as part of their LoveArtLab series. Luke Dixon added sensuality to the proceedings with his 'bleu' body painting workshops and a fantastically silly time was had by all. Unsurprisingly, the Oxford Times got quite over-excited about Annie's pioneering past, resulting in Polly's local notoriety.
On Thursday 7th May the Oxford Givers Circle held a fantastic fundraising evening featuring Kate Adie. Kate spoke about her remarkable experiences in various war zones, particularly Afghanistan and Sarajevo. She was fierce and passionate - one of the most inspiring speakers I have ever heard - as well as extremely likeable. Thank you, Kate! The organisers worked tremendously hard, and almost £3,000 was raised for the wonderful organisation Womankind Worldwide.
Our Artweeks exhibition from 9-17 May was extremely high quality, and a great success. Do check out the work of Christian de Sousa, Clawz Lee, Mike Mason and Shtig online.
The Bee School year-long conflict transformation programme is underway. This month participants learnt about Non-Violent Communication from Liz Kingsnorth. For more information contact Tania Coke.
The launch of Alan Buckley's debut poetry pamphlet Shiver on May 2nd was a veritable smorgasbord of local talent, featuring Joe Butler, Telling the Bees and Barnaby as well as Alan's own wonderful poetry.
On February 27th 2009, we were proud to host Philippe Grimbert, author of Un Secret, translated into English by Polly. A marvellous evening was had, including a screening of the film adaptation and a great Q&A session with Philippe.
On 28th September 2008, Polly organized for Monde Wani to bring his one-man show The Rivonia Trial to the rotunda. Thanks to local friends Terence & Judith English, tickets quickly sold out and a second performance was organised for later the same night. The earlier audience was especially lucky to witness a thrilling interaction between Monde and Joel Joffe, defence lawyer in the actual Rivonia Trial.
On 6th September Grove House hosted a great party to celebrate Kirsten & Jeremy’s 30 years together, complete with band, marquee, bonfire and socialist magician. On the 13th we further outraged the neighbours by hosting a 25th anniversary sexy silver rave for the not-remotely-grown-up Jake & Eva Chapman, who danced until dawn.
On 11th September 2008 Grove House opened its doors to over 100 people as part of the National Heritage Open Days, and particularly the Ecovation Days subset organised by the Carbon Outreach and Information Network - for more info see www.ecovation.org.uk.
On 25-27th July, Zaid Hassan and Mia Eisenstadt celebrated their Anglo-Muslim wedding with a three day party, including bonfires, open mic sessions and the very wonderful Nizlopi playing an acoustic session on the terrace. Zaid & Mia have never left, and now live in the cottage!
On 20th July Les White, who has worked absolute miracles on the Grove House garden – which was still a mudbath in March this year – hosted a fundraising day for Macmillan Cancer Care. The sun shone, countless teas and coffees were served, presents were raffled, villagers attended enthusiastically, and over £850 was raised.
On 17th June 2008, Grove House hosted a leaving party for the Iffley Village Postmistress, Dian. Iffley had campaigned long and hard to retain its post office at the volunteer-run village shop where Polly works on a Tuesday afternoon, but to no avail. Dian was sad to go and the village sad to lose her.
On 1st June Polly's mother Scilla hosted a fantastic 65th birthday party which included people planting roses for a rose garden at Grove House, dinner for 45 in the Rotunda and a band.
On 17th May, the Rotunda was a rock venue! The Society of Imaginary Friends sang opera, The Band of Holy Joy delighted with pure urban poetry, and Oshen seduced us all with her delectable Parisian chanson.
The first public post-renovation event was the launch of the Oxford Funding Network, on 14th May 2008. Over 90 people came to hear 5 Oxfordshire charities present their work and pitch for money. This was a branch of www.thefundingnetwork.org.uk, co-founded by Polly back in 2002 and which has already raised over £2 million for charities around the world. The event at Grove House was a great success, with £24,785.25 raised and a second event planned for a bigger venue in Spring 2009.