Wanderlust touring for a second time!

We are excited to announce that WANDERLUST 
will be touring rural venues in Feb/March 2017 supported by Arts Council England. “A heart warming, quirky production”  (Public Reviews)


Wanderlust is a story about stories, of ordinary and extraordinary tales and the journey, made by three women, to collect them. Setting off into rural Britain in the pursuit of the most exciting tale, they each found more than they were expecting. Wanderlust uses original live music and playful storytelling to tell an uplifting story about living in the moment.

 ★★★★ “Wanderlust is a lovely piece of theatre that has memory, love and above all life as its subject matter” (Downstage Centre)

 We are very excited to announce we have received Grants for the Arts funding from Arts Council England to take our production Wanderlust on a second tour, this time to rural venues across the country and into Wales. Wanderlust was commissioned by Creative Arts East and supported by Curve Theatre and was developed using stories collected in rural areas.

Date , Venue , Box Office

11th February 7.30pm , Torpenhow Village Hall, Cumbria , 01697371514

12th February 7.30pm , Ullock Village Hall, Cumbria, 01946862300

15th February 7.30pm, Nazareth Community Centre, Wales, abervalleyarts@aol.com

17th February 7.30pm, Victoria Hall, Llanwrtyd Wells, Wales,  01591610487

18th February 7.30pm, Neuadd Dyfi, Penrhos, Aberdyfi, Wales, 07977943249

19th February 7.00pm, Gwaenysgor Village Hall, Wales, 01745852918

25th February 7.30pm, Freckenham Village Hall, Suffolk, 07542198933

26th February 7.30pm, Sedgeford Village Hall, Norfolk, 01485570097

2nd March 7.30pm, Uffington Village Hall, Lincs, 01780239463

3rd March 7.30pm, West Deeping Village Hall, Lincs, 01778380197

4th March 7.30pm, Ingham & Cammeringham Village Hall, Lincs, 01522731816

5th March 7.30pm, Belton Village Hall, Loughborough, 01530222897


★★★★ 1/2 “A heart warming, quirky production that is truly refreshing”  (Public Reviews)

Read full review here

“This show will bring a smile to your lips, a tear to your eye and leave you pondering what life stories you may have to tell” (Arts Beat)

Read full review here

★★★★“This is all told with imagination, inventiveness, energy, emotion and sensitivity; making for an excellent evening at the theatre”  (The Good review)

Read full review here

Audience comments

“You have really brought those stories to life and created a fantastic multi-layered show. It has really inspired me! I also loved the idea of collecting stories on the way and thought that you have embedded yourselves very well into this”

“Many thanks – Excellent show – very sensitive use of reminiscence and touching / amusing”

“Fresh, lively, original – generous and enchanting”

“A most enjoyable experience performed in an excellent medium, the music, the stories, the performance – great!”

“Beautiful, moving & engaging. Just 3 of the many words I could use to describe Wanderlust by The Gramophones tonight” (Chris Kirkwood, Chief Exec, Lincoln Drill Hall)

“Touching and funny it even enticed a few tears out of my sentimental old self” (Giles Croft, Artistic Director Nottingham Playhouse)


Present Company: A Theatrical Detour

Bolsover 3rd September- Starting at Bolsover Castle entrance
Mansfield 10th September- Starting at Present Company Stall in Market Square

Join the Gramophones Theatre Company on a theatrical detour. Travel through history and meet inspiring characters who have passed through the town: some who you might know and others who will surprise you. Take a moment with people you might never have crossed paths with, and join us on a journey that asks ‘what do we leave behind?’

“This show will bring a smile to your lips, a tear to your eye and leave you pondering what life stories you may have to tell” (Arts Beat on previous show Wanderlust)

Present Company image
Show times
1. 11.00– 12.15
2. 11.30 – 12.45
3. 12.00 – 13.15
4. 13.00 – 14.15
5. 13.30 – 14.45
6. 14.00 – 15.15
7. 15.00 – 16.15
8. 15.30 – 16.45
9. 16.00- 17.15

The show is free but please book to avoid disappointment. Just message us at gramophonestheatre@googlemail.com to reserve a place.

This show is a walking tour that will last approximately 1 hour 15 and in Bolsover does include stairs. Any questions about access or mobility please contact First Art. Maximum 10 audience per show.


Memories Made in Mansfield

Are you wondering what’s happening with all the stories that we’ve been collecting recently? Well, come and witness three unusual caretakers bring Mansfield museum to life with the stories and memories collected in the area.

August 3rd and 4th at 7pm and the 6th at 2pm. Contact the Mansfield museum for tickets on 01623 463088.

We hope to see you there. It’s free. And there will be cake!


More story collecting

I spent two days out in Mansfield grabbing people. Not literally, just sort of springing on them asking them to talk to me. This is, believe it or not, an art. I have no idea how sales people do it, how they actually get people to talk to them. It was hard enough when I wasn’t selling anything to persuade people to talk to me. Although I did hone a pretty good technique by the end.  I started by saying ‘Excuse me, have you got a few minutes?’ which absolutely did not work (mostly) as people immediately think ‘charity mugger’ or ‘Sky deal saleswomen’ so I found the key was to get the words ‘Hello, I’m collecting memories about Mansfield’ in as quickly, clearly and as positive a way as I could. Smiling, trying not to look like a salesperson, indicating my tea and chat ten with ‘Free cups of tea’ and actually…it worked pretty well!



The first day I was at the bus station, which came with its own issues which I probably should have anticipated such as ‘I’m just about to get my bus’ or ‘I’ve just got off the bus and now I want to go home’. However this meant I had time to chat to Ivan Roland who works at the bus station and told me many gems including his memory of watching elephants from the circus walking through the streets of Mansfield (not the tigers though). It’s funny how people are more likely to open up to you when you’re just having a relaxed conversation rather than asking specific things. Because people were in a rush it meant I got nice snapshots of peoples lives. I met a wonderful 91½ year old who told me the secret of old age

“I’m 91 and a half. I have 10 grandchildren, 18 great grandchildren and 3 great, great grandchildren I have tons of friends, I go to bingo every Tuesday at the Apollo. The secret to a long life. Don’t worry just keep working and enjoy going to work. When I was 80 I went roller-skating. I got around…at Great Yarmouth. I’ve got all my own teeth”


The four seasons was a challenge. I wrote this in a hiatus…

People walk, fast, head down, not looking.

Their shop, the one they want, new dress, new shoes, scrubbing brush, toothpaste for holidays.

What we miss when we’re on a mission.

What we don’t see when we see only our destination.

Missing the views.

Missing that moment with that person that will never be.

People look, then look away when I smile…just incase a smile commits a monetary exchange.

I’m the same. I get in my own little world and I stay there, needing something to jolt me out.

“Do you have a few…”-cut off before completion, before I get to tell you about my wonderful present, celebrating Mansfield, beautiful moments of love, existence, what makes life great in Mansfield.

They are already a hundred meters down the shopping centre and I’m still talking into oblivion.

‘You know what Mansfield needs? It needs to think about the future’ (someone chatting to me)

Then out of the head down, walking crowd come head tall, smile, interested…

‘Yes’ people.

‘Yes I’ll sit down. Yes I’d love a cup of tea. Yes I’ll tell you my life story’

If I get a smile I’m halfway there, to getting you in the chair, to getting you talking. It’s hard to get people talking but once you do it’s like the universe opening up.

But then there are the jewels that come to you.

Not what you’d expect.

A blue haired girl called Rhi, at 23 cares for her mum, volunteers at a charity shop and is a pagan.

She drinks her tea black with two sugars and wants to help.

It makes my day of sticking my neck out, smiling at strangers, getting odd looks, and confused glances.

Worth it.



I spoke to some really wonderful people in the Four Seasons as the day progressed. I found that older people were much more likely to speak to me. I wondered if this is simply a time thing. A lot of people are on their lunch breaks or only have a few hours to get what they need, whereas older, retired people have more time. Also I wonder if when you get to certain age, there’s a kind of confidence that comes with it, a confidence of experience, ‘yes I’ve had a life’, ‘yes I have something to say’. A lot of people really don’t feel as though they have a story to tell but when you get older maybe that begins to change. I had a wonderful chat with Susanne who told me very personal moments from her life.  How her husband made himself known by joining her and her mum at the pub without asking, how she thought he was a ‘cheeky sod’. She told me how her best friend, who she hadn’t spoken to for years phoned her up one day and she thought it was wonderful, but that when she stopped calling she didn’t know her friend had died of lung cancer. She told me hilarious stories of what she and her granddaughter get up to and the hilarious phrases she’s copied from Susanne like ‘My Nora Batty’s are falling down’. When Susanne sat down I thought she seemed reluctant, unsure of me but by the end we were laughing together like old friends.




We are looking for three female performers

The Walking Tour (working title)

The Gramophones Theatre Company are a Nottingham based all-female Company who have been making and touring work nationally for six years. We often use our own personal experiences in our work. This show has been commissioned by First Art and 10 days research and development has taken place so far including story collecting in both Mansfield and Bolsover.

Rehearsal dates: Weeks beginning 29th August and 5th September, performances on the Saturdays. Paid at ITC Rates- £440 per week.

We are looking for three female performers with an East Midlands Base. The show is an interactive walking tour where female characters from the town’s history will be represented by performers who will take on these characters, but also play themselves. The audience will be moved from location to location by the performers with the help of volunteers: Bolsover on the 3rd of September and Mansfield on the 10th. Performers must be confident with audience interaction and improvisation as well as site-specific work and devising.

We are aiming to put together a diverse cast and would like to meet a range of different women for this project.

Auditions will take place on the 23rd of July.

Please write to us with a CV, headshot and covering letter as to why you’d like to be involved in this project to Hannah Stone gramophonestheatre@googlemail.com


Whoosh, swoosh, whooosh!

We are very excited to announce that Tarzanna is coming with Arts Council support. Yeeeehhhhhhaaaa! It will be premiering at Derby Feste on the 24th of September. Keep your eyes peeled as there will be lots more info and news on the show’s development coming your way during the next couple of months.



Story collecting – meeting people and groups

The show we are making with the museum, we want it to reach out to the people of Mansfield, we want them to fee involved, to feel like it’s their show. To do this I realised quite early on that we probably needed to actually physically do this, to actually go out and literally speak to people, to collect their stories, see what they think about Mansfield and what is important to them. I start by sending out a load of emails to a load of people and wait to see if anyone bites! Luckily people do.

My first visit is to the corner house care home for adults with learning disabilities and complex needs. I am welcomed in, I sit on a sofa, in a comfy living room and hear about all the fantastic things they get up to, about how they love seeing the football- apparently they are always winning-loosing, winning-loosing they tell me. They get excited telling me how they love watching the Redfern busses- that one of their dads was a conductor on the busses. They like to visit Nottingham and last time they dressed up at the castle as Friar tuck and Maid Marion. They love the museum and used to go and do art classes there. They are an incredibly active group and never seem to have a ‘doing nothing’ day, they are inspiring group. They have a performance coming up with 40’s music singing and dancing. They tell me they’d like the performance to be funny, with costumes and props and make-up and slapstick-people hitting each other over the head with saucepans!


I also receive an email inviting me to visit Karen’s house. She is a volunteer at the museum and invites me for a cuppa and a chat with her and her 80-year-old neighbor, Shirley. I quickly agree. They welcome me in like an old friend and immediately start telling me about their childhood memories. Shirley tells me how when she was in the guides, she’d give one of the girls tuppence to go to Pleasley and she’d go to the Rufford Arms and they’d phone each other as part of a test! Back then nobody had phones in the house, so this was quite a novelty. I can imagine the joy of this discovery, that thing of being a child and using a telephone and hearing someone the other side of the town must have felt so new and exciting, it’s a shame we don’t have that now, everyone has a phone in their pockets. Karen’s says how her family was one of the only families to have a phone so people used to come round and use it so you had to be friendly with people. They go on to say how great it is that everyone in Mansfield knows each other, how she and Shirley used to go out and play pool, thrashing the men who normally dominated the tables. Shirley’s eyes light up when she starts telling me about the Palais de-danse, about the strict dress code and about a beautiful green velvet hat her friend wore and was made to take off as it wasn’t suitable for tea dances! Their friendship is lovely to observe they are so warm and comfortable together.


I attended the art group run by Johanathan Annabelle on a Saturday, who meet together and create art. where I meet Margaret who tells me her husband worked at he shoe factory. I am subsequently invited to meet Dennis at their house. I am struck by how open and friendly people have been already and I’ve only just started. Dennis talks to me for a long time, he is a man that doesn’t need any prompts, doesn’t need me to ask questions he is a great talker and knows his facts about the shoe factory. He was an accountant there but had as he says had a great relationship with the girls on the shop floor. They used to come to him with their problems, like if someone had bad body odor, they’d come to him. He’d pass them onto the personnel officer and let them deal with it! He also told me how someone was taking catalogues to girls in the other factories and asking them what shoes they wanted then nicking pairs in the right size and selling them on the side. The skullduggery! The shoe factory sounded like an incredible place to work, with bosses that knew their workers, it was like a family he says. He also used to work at the Mansfield brewery and I quickly get an invite to their monthly meet up. I am advised not to drive so I can have a pint!

Speaking of the brewery I also spent an hour with Elaine at Hops in a Bottle, hearing about her ales, it’s such a wonderful ale shop with loads of local beers. She tells me she moved to Mansfield for love but got married in New Zealand- in fact she was supposed to get married in a hot air balloon but bad weather conditions prevented it. Her favourite place in Mansfield is the Brown Cow pub, which she says is a family pub with lots of people she knows, her customers. You can take dogs, cats and she tested this by actually taking her cat- they took him to the vet initially and apparently he likes to walk on a lead! They stopped for a pint on the way home and he had a walk round the pub and loved it. She says I should speak to her husband as his father was head of the fire service. So she puts me in touch. I’m amazed at how my web is growing, I meet someone and they put me in touch with someone else. I realise it could be never ending, and I could speak to most of Mansfield this way. Everyone seems connected. Six degrees of separation; its probably more like three degrees in Mansfield.

IMG_3473                                                                 Yarn Bombed badger

The Growing Bolder group are wonderful, they are in the middle of yarn bombing the museum, everything is covered in wool, including the taxidermied badgers, who now wear shawls and head scarves. The phone box has been completely yarn bombed, crocheted decorations hang off the antlers of animal heads that peer from the walls, a mannequin wears a crocheted dress and holds a knitted umbrella. It is wonderful; so colorful and fun and playful, it transforms the museum. There is even a knitted woman, wearing a knitted bikini, I see a woman mending her outfit, saying people keep interfering with her and everyone wants a selfie next to her. They allow me to join them on the condition that I have a go at crocheting. At first I am all fingers and thumbs and just can’t see how they are wrapping the thread, but luckily Andrea is very patient and eventually I get there. Andrea’s mum had a very interesting life, she was a swimmer and rowed for Germany. During the war Hitler had the idea that all females had to be servants to get basic housekeeping skills. Her mother got a place with a friend of her mother’s. They didn’t ask her to do anything because they knew she wouldn’t do it. A man came to the house and asked if she would clean his boots. She said well you can leave them out but she won’t do it. She also was a telephone operator for the circus, worked with a famous German inventor and when she came to Mansfield worked at the hosiery mills and last at the metal box. The other ladies go on to tell me their love stories, and I keep crocheting away. By the end I have a very long strand that I am rather proud of. It will be made into a flower that will be added to the yarn-bombed museum!

IMG_3479                                Me, Jo from First Art, Jodie and Yarnia from the museum