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Newcastle Summer Season Programme Takes Off
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THE Newcastle Summer Season live event programme continues with a special night of blues music at 8pm on Friday 8th July when the Downpatrick Blues and Root Music Society will present Big Summer Blues, followed by romantic comedy, Uncle Tommy’s Wake which will be performed at 8pm on Saturday 9 July.  Both events take place in the Newcastle Centre.

Big Summer Blues will feature a special headline performance by Andy Whittaker and The Soul Band.  This is a rare opportunity to see this six piece blues and soul band, famed for their brass section and ‘big big’ sound, as they only play a handful of dates each year.

Opening for Andy are Allison McGrath & The Soulantics. Born and raised in County Down, and with a career spanning two decades, Allison has found increasing recognition as a singer song- writer and with the band has performed at ‘Blues on the Bay’ and ‘Fiddlers Green’ festivals, as well as last year supporting Alabama 3.

DEAD FUNNY... a scene from Uncle Tommy's Wake.

For something completely different, make your way to the Newcastle Centre on Saturday 9th July for Stage Aid Music and Drama Society’s new comedy, Uncle Tommy’s Wake.

Set during the Second World War in Gilford, County Down, this hilarious story begins the morning after Lily and Hank Byronski’s wedding.  Poor Mrs Fearon, who was kind enough to host the Wedding Breakfast the previous morning, now has a wake on her hands.  Her brother-in-law, fondly known as Uncle Tommy, suddenly passed away during the wedding, and with kind dignity, the neighbours are beginning to trickle in to pay their last respects.

Until now, Hank, an American soldier, has never experienced a true Irish wake.  Will he even get leave to attend?  And what on earth will he make of this very particular custom and tradition?  Of course, as with most things in life, nothing goes quite according to plan, but with the true camaraderie that only wartime can bring, Mrs Fearon and friends give Uncle Tommy the send-off that he truly deserves.

Free Summer Days events on the Prom – On Wednesdays (2-4pm) why not drop into our weekly Drumming Circle sessions where tutor Aidan Milligan will teach participants to play the South African Djembe drums.

On Thursdays 10am – 12pm, Martin McParland will introduce the Art of Outdoor Sketching.

On Saturday 9th July at 1pm and 2.30pm The Astounding Grundy Brothers will escape from straight-jackets, smash concrete slabs on themselves and juggle with fire.

On Sunday 10th July the St Mark’s Silver Band will provide a real piece of summer nostalgia with a performance from 2-4pm.

To purchase tickets (Big Summer Blues £10 / £8; Uncle Tommy’s Wake £9 / £7) and for further information, please contact the Down Arts Centre box office on 028 4461 2233. The Ultimate Guide is available for download at www.downartscentre.com.