Saturday, April 27, 2013


Great Torrington, Devon

Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman - 'Ravens and Lullabies'

9-11 Fore Street Great Torrington, Devon EX38 8HQ

phone: 01805 624624


Gordon Giltrap and Oliver Wakeman  039Ravens and Lullabies039

Guitar Legend and the next generation of keyboard wizardry join forces!

In early 2012, Gordon contacted Oliver with a request for his keyboards services for an album idea he had. Within 24 hours the initial idea had changed beyond recognition and a full blown collaborative project was in the works. Oliver and Gordon have embarked upon this new chapter in their careers and their debut album 'Ravens & Lullabies' will be out in March 2013.

Featuring a variety of guitars and keyboards, which are their tools in trade, these shows will feature a selection of pieces from the new album as well as new arrangements of classic material from both of their retrospective careers.

One of the most innovative acoustic guitarists in the UK today, Gordon Giltrap has developed his own unique style, much copied, but never bettered. It is impossible not to be awestruck as he coaxes incredible melodies from his instruments; you almost suspect a second pair of hands. He is well known for his varied musical output and 'Heartsong' (a hit single from the album 'Perilous Journey' in 1977) is instantly recognized as the theme for the BBC TV's long running 'Holiday' programme.

Following ten solo albums in a variety of styles, Oliver Wakeman joined the legendary band 'YES' in 2008, touring with them up until mid-2011. A live CD and triple vinyl release, 'In The Present - Live from Lyon', was a fitting bookend to his period in the band. He also worked with the folk rock band 'The Strawbs' and appeared on their last studio album as well as their 40th Anniversary CD release. Appearing in venues across North and South America, Europe and the UK with YES, Strawbs and as a solo artist, he has become a well respected live performing musician to add to his other talents as composer, songwriter, lyricist, arranger and producer.

Gordon says "Working with Oliver is like a breath of fresh air. I knew of his reputation as a fine musician, and it made perfect sense for me to tap into his creative energy, not only to bring out certain elements of my musical gifts but to create something new and exciting, at the same time giving a nod in the direction of our respective Progressive Rock roots"

Oliver adds, "After working with YES, the chance of working with another legendary artist was an opportunity too good to miss. I am having a wonderfully productive time working with Gordon and feel we are creating something genuinely unique in our 'Raven's & Lullabies' project."

So, with their collective histories and talents to draw inspiration from, be prepared for an evening of beautiful compositions, wit and charm from these two virtuosos.

Though The Plough will (hopefully!) celebrate 40 years as an arts centre in 2015, the building and the site on which it stands has a long and colourful history.

Originally the town house of a wealthy merchant in the late 1500s the building boasted the work of master craftsmen including wooden panelling, an ornate strapwork plaster ceiling and a fine large iron fireback dated 1618.

From 1750 to 1910 the house became The Plough Inn under licensees William and Judith Waldon. Other licensees included Mary Cock (1830 – 51) Sam and Mary Fry (1860 – 73) The Westlakes (1875 – 81) and Frank Gerrard (1897 – 1910).

The council minutes of 1875 record that “complaints have been made of the bad state of the closets and dung pit behind the Plough premises adjoining Potacre Street. Resolved that notice be given for the daily removal of the contents and the prevention of any nuisance therefrom”

By 1910 The Plough was in a parlous state and ceased to be a public house. The final indignity was a letter from Mr Parnell of The Globe Hotel next door dated July 1911: “Sirs, If you can allow me to put a cow in the Plough premises for a week I will undertake all risks. Resolved: permission granted”

The pub was demolished in 1912 with many of the fine Jacobean panels incorporated into the Council chamber in the town hall and other artefacts housed in the museum.

The building we see today was completed in 1913 as a Drill Hall for the use of the Territorials and Yeomanry. In July 1914 the new Territorial Drill Hall was granted a music and dancing license. By August war had been declared and the hall became the base for the departure of soldiers to the front.

As a base for the Devonshire Regiment and the North Devon Yeomanry the building was uncompromisingly spartan with a shooting range and storage for a large 25 pound field gun. When not being used to train soldiers it was used for badminton, childrens’ parties, grand parades, jumble sales, fancy dress, coffee mornings and dances especially during the second world war when the Americans were based nearby.

The army gave up the lease in 1968 but the Drill Hall continued to be used for Cavalier bonfire dances and Christmas parties, hunt dances and the May Ball.

In 1974 the Town Council sold the lease to T.A.R.A (Torridge Arts and Recreation) and following the efforts of many people including Dr Harry Cramp, Clifford Quicke and John Lane, The Plough Arts Centre opened on 11 April 1975 with a performance by Dame Edith Evans. One of many highlights from the 1970s was a three day visit by The Royal Shakespeare Company in 1978.

From 1992 – 2002 The Plough merged with Beaford Arts and benefited from substantial public and private grants and loans for major refurbishment and alterations to the building. These improvements enhanced the facilities, including modernisation of the theatre/cinema and film projection facilities, a new gallery space, workshop and dance studio, storage facilities, as well as improvements to the bar/café/foyer on the ground floor.

Following a period of uncertainty and a threat of closure, in 2002 The Plough was re-established as a new independent company and charity. The strength of feeling locally plus the huge support and financial commitment from the local community was instrumental in making sure the Plough survived.

Since 2002 the organic growth of The Plough has been strong under the leadership of a new Council of Management, director, loyal members of staff, volunteers and audiences. Public funding has been replaced by new lines of income generated from Business Supporters, fundraising events, individual donations, legacies, gift aid and successful funding bids for arts projects. In 2009 over 65,000 people entered The Plough for all purposes. Turnover, including catering increased from £85,000 in 2001/2 to £460,000 in 2008/9.

The trend of dramatically increased audience numbers, turnover, new revenue streams and arts activities has compensated for the overall decline in public core funding. Today, The Plough has achieved a plateau in terms of the levels of activity possible within the existing building and is looking to expand through partnerships with other organisations and through increased arts outreach provision.

Having achieved over 90% financial self sufficiency, The Plough Arts Centre is proud to have a strong foundation from which it can look forward positively to a dynamic and creative future. Responsive locally and valued across the region, The Plough aims to make a positive impact on the lives of all who come into contact with its arts programme.

Since 1975 (and probably 1575!) many thousands of performers, artists, workshop leaders, speakers and teachers have shared their work at The Plough. Artists of all ages, all artforms, from every continent have visited Great Torrington to entertain and inspire Plough audiences and participants.

Please check availability of tickets and confirm date / start times with the organiser before setting out, as sometimes changes are unavoidable - thank you.

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