Berkshire Life - - Area Guide -

Nor­den Farm Cen­tre for the

Arts opened back in au­tumn

2000 on the site of an old dairy farm. The orig­i­nal Ge­or­gian farm­house and Long Barn have been in­cor­po­rated into the venue, along­side a state-of-the-art au­di­to­rium, art gallery and stu­dio per­for­mance space.

We spoke to Alex Van­der Borght, who joined the venue seven years ago and works in the mar­ket­ing depart­ment. “I feel very for­tu­nate to be work­ing in the in­dus­try I feel pas­sion­ately about,” she says. “At Nor­den Farm we know that the arts have the power to change lives. We be­lieve that ev­ery­one should have the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence and par­tic­i­pate in the arts. This is re­flected in our events line-up, which in­cludes mu­sic, the­atre, com­edy, film, chil­dren’s events, classes and work­shops.

“We pride our­selves in our ed­u­ca­tion and out­reach work within the Maiden­head com­mu­nity. Our schools pro­gramme Farm Out sees us work with all pri­mary and se­condary schools within the town, bring­ing ea­ger young minds ac­cess to a host of creative work­shops and events.

“The team also work hard to raise thou­sands of pounds each year to­wards spe­cial projects that aim to en­rich the lives of the peo­ple in the area. These in­clude an­nual events such as The Maiden­head Beach, our Spring Fam­ily Arts Fes­ti­val, Lantern Pa­rade in the town cen­tre and the Com­mu­nity Kite Fes­ti­val.”

So what can we ex­pect to see in 2019 at Nor­den Farm? “Where do I start?” says Alex. “We’ve just launched our spring line-up, which in­cludes our first Burns Night Ceilidh; top trib­utes to the likes of Amy Wine­house,


Bruce Spring­steen, Cold­play and Frankie Valli; an evening with

Ann Wid­de­combe, and new shows from award-win­ning co­me­di­ans in­clud­ing Adam Riches, Robin Ince and duo Flo & Joan. Our Spring Fam­ily Arts Fes­ti­val has also got a fresh new name and look for 2019 – Quest Fam­ily Fest. Chil­dren and their grown-ups are in­vited to nav­i­gate their way through a host of creative ad­ven­tures over the two-week hol­i­day.” Wow, it sounds bril­liant. We’ll see you there! You’ll find the usual pop­u­lar stores on the High Street, in­clud­ing Marks & Spencer, Boots, Mon­soon, Paper­chase... but not to be missed is Wally’s; a tra­di­tional toy shop with a modern out­look that sells games, gifts, arts and crafts, dress­ing up and more. It re­ally is a trea­sure trove of good­ies.

Shop Man­ager Joyce Scrog­gie, who has worked here since it opened 10 years ago, and has loved ev­ery minute, says: “We cater for new­borns to chil­dren ages 12 to 14. I love work­ing here; it’s won­der­ful. I get to see the kids come in and how they grow up over the years, and they al­ways come back to visit and buy gifts.

“Right now, our best-sell­ing prod­ucts are uni­corns, slime and LOL dolls… but we’re al­ways wait­ing for the next crave to hit. There’s an ad­vert on TV and sud­denly there’s a mad rush of peo­ple want­ing to buy some­thing and then we sell out!”

Si­t­u­ated on its very own is­land, Boul­ters River­side Brasserie is one of Maiden­head’s best al fresco din­ing and drink­ing spots. Don’t miss the half-price fizz on a Thurs­day and two-for-one gins on a Fri­day and Sat­ur­day be­tween 5pm and 7pm. boul­ter­srestau­rant.co.uk

ABOVE: Nor­den Farm of­fers a host of events

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