Two big interviews this month with female stars, Penny Vincenzi (book festival star) and Jane McDonald (performing at G Live).
And so it’s farewell from me. Going already! I hear you exclaim. Well, yes, I am.
THE LONG AWAITED opening of G Live took place last month; at last, Guildford has a new state-of-the-art venue for the performing arts, culture and entertainment.
It also has a day café-bar, pre-show dining and purpose-built conference and corporate hospitality facilities. But G Live stands for much more than that; it marks a turning point for Guildford.
The town has embarked on a master plan for its 18-year redevelopment and its £25 million investment in G Live should rightly be regarded as evidence of the town’s intent to retain its reputation as a popular tourist venue.
Already the reports of record online ticket sales are strong indicators that it’s set to be a popular addition to the town, as well as making a great architectural impact – turn to our interview with Jane McDonald on pgs 8-9; the first from the G Live stable.
I’m pleased to see G Live open for another reason; I was rather vociferous when the Civic Hall closed; it’s future then is still a long way from being determined.
I, along with many others had often used the old auditorium for fund-raising dinners – it might have been pretty shabby but it was the only place that could cater for 400 guests and while Guildford’s Cathedral has very recently made itself available for hire, there’s really been no substitute venue of this size for many years.
I can only assume that the charities that such large dinners benefited have been the biggest losers, and have had to work even harder running smaller events to keep their coffers topped up.
G Live is more than an arts venue; it’s a much-needed, long overdue, new community amenity for Guildford and I, for one, look forward to being a frequent visitor.
G Live isn’t the only new addition that’s transforming the upper high street; also part of this important regeneration is the new Radisson Edwardian Hotel in Alexander Terrace which opens on September 29 just as this magazine pops through your letterbox.
One feature to look out for will be its Market Kitchen & Bar – one of two restaurants in the hotel – that will boast a Josper Grill; I’m reliably told that there are less than 100 in the UK and the renowned chef Heston Blumenthal is one of its earliest devotees.
In layman’s terms, it’s a very hot indoor barbeque that cooks over high-quality charcoal to temperatures of 300°C without loss of natural moisture or flavour.
I hope by next month to have visited this new addition to the town and will report further.
In fact, two lucky readers may beat me to it as we have an exclusive competition to win dinner for two – see above right for details.
The latest project to start in Guildford is the redevelopment of the Bellerby Theatre site and its immediate environs.
While it’s only at the demolition stage and the formal planning process is still ongoing, the provision is for affordable housing, updated community space and a supermarket provision.
There’s a strong rumour that Waitrose will be the new incumbent. Let’s hope that dreams really can come true.