The arts are staged for a big comeback

Arts and entertainment have taken a big hit over the past year with performers, artists and audiences all being locked down, socially distanced and whilst observing measures put in place to combat the global pandemic they have had to stay away.

Fortunately, it seems, these measures have started to pay-off and venues are beginning to look forwards with more positivity.

Stoughton Pages spoke to the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford (a charity which relies on box office income for its day-to-day operation) to see how they have coped through lockdown and what they now have in place to welcome back their audiences.

Siobhan Basset’s The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Throughout 2020 the Yvonne Arnaud, like theatres up and down the country, were forced to close and open again multiple times. They’ve stood up and stood down their front of house team; they’ve welcomed back audiences and then sent them home again.

“We know how much people have been missing live entertainment, and the Yvonne Arnaud can’t wait to welcome you back!”

With a huge loss of income from cancelled shows, the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre’s leadership team have had to make some tough artistic choices and painful business decisions in order to keep the theatre in the best shape for survival. Having been running the theatre from their kitchens and living rooms, they are now back in the building and busy behind the scenes preparing to open the theatre’s doors again this summer. We know how much people have been missing live entertainment, and the Yvonne Arnaud can’t wait to welcome you back! They have a jam-packed season planned which, they hope, offers something
for everyone.

Having been running the theatre from their kitchens and living rooms, they are now back in the building and busy behind the scenes preparing to open the theatre’s doors again this summer.

They’re proud to be reopening on 3 June with their own production of new comedy, Siobhan Basset’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, written by and starring much-loved Surrey resident Sara Crowe. Aside from their beloved annual panto, this will be their first piece of home-produced theatre in a number of years. With lighting designed by Yvonne Arnaud Lighting Technician, Hannah Walker, and directed by the theatre’s Director and Chief Executive Joanna Read, this is an Yvonne Arnaud production through and through. And what better way to celebrate the return of theatre in Guildford than with something that’s been made in Guildford!

…what better way to celebrate the return of theatre in Guildford than with something that’s been made in Guildford!

Another highlight of the Arnaud’s summer season is socially-distanced sound installation, Blindness, from the Donmar Warehouse (21 to 26 June). They’re especially excited to be welcoming the Donmar to Guildford for the first time with this boundary-pushing, innovative production by award-winning playwright Simon Stephens. Audience members sit on the stage, under glowing bars of criss-crossing, colour-changing light, listening on headphones to Juliet Stevenson’s narration, fully immersed in the experience. It’s a very different Arnaud experience, but one to remember. There’s plenty in the diary for drama lovers too in the shape of espionage thriller A Splinter of Ice (15 to 19 June), Alan Ayckbourn’s black comedy Absurd Person Singular (6 to 10 July) and West End favourite The Woman in Black (12 to 17 July).

Blindness, from the Donmar Warehouse, by award-winning playwright Simon Stephens.

The Yvonne Arnaud team would like to say a huge thank you to the generous volunteers that have been helping throughout the last year, including working as ushers for The Snow Queen over Christmas and tidying up the garden in preparation for a number of outdoor live music events throughout the summer. They’re pleased to once again be partnering with their friends at Guildford Jazz for another special evening of Jazz in the Garden (31 July) with vocalist Zoe Francis, multi-award winning guitar legend Jim Mullen, pianist Gareth Williams, and Marianne Windham on double bass. They’re also thrilled to welcome dynamic duos Jacob and Drinkwater and India Electric Co. for two emotionally-charged evenings of contemporary folk music on 20 June and 8 August respectively.

They have filled the summer holidays with family theatre and events for children of all ages. The Snail and the Whale and Pippi Longstocking are perfect for little ones aged four and above; older children will enjoy interactive treasure hunt show This Noisy Isle, and those aged three and above will love CBeebies favourites Sarah and Duck. The theatre will also be hosting two Guildford Fringe Festival events for the first time this year: an evening of stand-up comedy with Gag House Comedy Superstars, and music from The Surrey Police Band.

CBeebies favourites Sarah and Duck.

Whilst the theatre has been closed the team rummaged through the archives and shared a series of videos looking back at the history of the Arnaud, from how it was built, the history of the buildings, and some of the dramatic events taking place at the theatre in the last 56 years! They’re all available to view on the website (

Yvonne Arnaud staff members also recorded videos about their job roles and careers that we made available to schools and colleges. If you’d like to watch them, please email

The Yvonne Arnaud is taking safety measures very seriously including clear signage and one-way systems, hand sanitiser stations, mask wearing and thorough cleaning. The team are grateful to have received a grant from Theatres Trust to purchase specialised fogging equipment, enabling them to maintain high standards of decontamination and keep audiences, performers and staff safe when they return.

The Yvonne Arnaud is taking safety measures very seriously including clear signage and one-way systems, hand sanitiser stations, mask wearing and thorough cleaning.

Finally the theatre would like to say a huge thank you for your support throughout last year. The cheery messages, kind donations and offers of help and letting them know how much you were missing live theatre, have kept them going through this extraordinary time.

Be sure to sign up to the theatre’s emails at and follow them on Facebook (@YvonneArnaudTheatre), Twitter and Instagram (@YvonneArnaud) to keep updated.

The Yvonne Arnaud Theatre is looking forward to their auditorium being full again.

Lemon & Passionfruit Drizzle Cake

This light and zesty lemon sponge is deliciously moist, full of citrus flavour and glazed with a crunchy drizzle icing. It bakes equally well in a loaf tin or deep sandwich tin. Made using new Bonne Maman Lemon Curd.


  • 3 passionfruit
  • 6 tbsp Bonne Maman Lemon Curd
  • 30g ground almonds
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 185g golden caster sugar
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 225g plain flour
  • 150ml carton sour cream
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp roughly chopped pistachio nuts
  • Icing sugar, to dust


  1. First make the lemon and passionfruit drizzle. Halve the passionfruit and sieve the pulp into a small bowl, reserving the seeds. Stir 2 tbsp of Lemon Curd into the juice and set aside. Stir the remaining Lemon Curd into the ground almonds and set aside. Wash about 2 tsp of the seeds and leave to dry.
  2. Heat the oven to 180C, 160 fan oven, gas mark 4. Grease and flour a 1 litre Bundt mould, a 900g loaf tin or a 20cm, deep, round cake tin. See Cook’s tip below.
  3. Beat in the sour cream and lemon zest. Finally fold in the remaining flour and baking powder.
  4. Spoon half the cake mixture into the prepared mould or tin then dot the Lemon Curd and almond mixture evenly over the top. Finish with the remaining cake mixture.
  5. Bake for 45 mins then cover the top loosely with foil and continue to bake for a further 30-40mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  6. Leave the cake to cool for 10 minutes then turn out onto a wire rack placed over a plate. Make fine holes in the sponge using a cocktail stick and spoon the lemon and passionfruit drizzle over the cake whilst warm. Leave to cool.
  7. Sprinkle with passionfruit seeds, pistachio nuts and dust lightly with icing sugar to serve.

Cook’s Tips

If using a Bundt mould such as ours, its best to lightly grease it with some melted white vegetable fat and dust with flour until completely coated. Turn upside down and tap the mould to remove any excess sugar.

If you want to use another tin, it should be a 1 litre capacity one.

For more recipe ideas visit:

Surrey Hills Baby Clothes Library

Saving our planet and helping keep those ££ in your pocket for making memories.

Launched in March 2021, Surrey Hills Baby Clothes Library provides rental of age appropriate boxes of pre-owned baby clothes at a suggested rental of £5 per box (this is just a recommendation, more is always welcome and benefits many more families with young babies) plus a £20 returnable deposit (subject to the condition of the returned clothes).

Who & why?

I am a local mum who wants to share with other families. I want to help make a difference to our planet and keep money in your pockets for making memories. I do this voluntarily and in good faith and all that I ask is that our customers share these values when using our service.

£243 is the average spent on baby clothes in the first year.
[Money Advice Service (2021)]

Clothing available:

  • We focus on ages 0-2 years old.
  • Boxes are rented with an array of clothing. For example, vest, socks, dresses & leggings.
  • Pram suits, shoes and grobags are all available to rent with an additional deposit.

We have had an unbelievable amount of support from the community with clothing donations and currently can not accept any more, however, we are in desperate need of 35litre+ sturdy plastic boxes with lids for our clothing to go into.

70% of our textile waste goes into landfill.
[Common Objective (2021)]

For further information please email us on:

Eden People wellbeing & spirituality group

Eden People are a local community wellbeing & spirituality group based in the Stoughton area of Guildford. They have over 20 years’ experience of facilitating & running wellbeing spaces & activities around the Guildford area. Some locals may remember their venue at Guilfest and many other community events.

This group look to support people’s mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health through a range of activities accessible to people of all ages, gender or ethnicity; with any, no or some belief or faith basis – everyone is welcome.

The group creates different wellbeing & spirituality activities to bring rest & peace to the body, mind & spirit, and to encourage participants to build self-worth and awareness of their uniqueness & identity.

As we look to come out of restrictions Eden People are here to help support local people’s wellbeing, spirituality & health at this time. They would like to open opportunity for people to engage with them and others through some of the following activities:

  • Body Blessing & Positive
  • Postures Sessions
  • Meditation / Contemplation
  • LifeWalks walking group
  • Art & Creative workshops
  • Dream Interpretation, Insight & Destiny, Encouragement & Healing.

All activities are offered for free or with a donation from participants.

To find out more about Eden People, join their mailing list and current activities

Text: 07866 247 919

Could you be a Home-Start volunteer?

Home-Start Guildford is a family support charity covering the Borough of Guildford.

Our trained, home-visiting volunteers with parenting experience, support families struggling to cope with postnatal 
depression, mental health, illness/disability of parent or child, multiple births, 
family breakdown and financial worries.

We are currently recruiting for our Autumn Volunteer Preparation Course which starts in Sept 2021.

Please call the office on 01483 511181 or for further information.

Registered Charity No. 1154609

Willow Health Therapy Rooms

Willow Health therapy rooms have launched to provide a base for therapists looking to grow their businesses in the local area.

The clinic, in Parklands, Guildford, Surrey, has 4 luxury therapy spaces for established therapists and those starting up in private practice to rent. With everything needed to start or upscale your health and wellness business, and no costly long term commitments, Willow Health is the place for you to grow.

The multidisciplinary rooms are perfect for health and well-being professionals, from counselling and therapy, through to reflexology, osteopathy and physiotherapy. We spoke to founders Gemma Ware and Dr Jo Gee shortly after the therapy rooms opened their doors for the first time.

Gemma says “We are all about helping those who need to rent a professional therapy room in Guildford. We’ve been there, and the long commitments, block bookings and deposits are a killer. We want to help our customers set up, start up and grow. Oh and stay with us!”

The multidisciplinary rooms are perfect for health and well-being professionals, from counselling and therapy, through to reflexology, osteopathy and physiotherapy.

“Your talking therapy room needs more than just two chairs. It’s got to be that place that you feel confident to work from and grow your business.

Our professional spaces include all the mod cons for you and your client. Our treatment rooms with professional massage beds, have all you need to run your osteopathy, reflexology or physiotherapy practice. A space to work from, as well as see clients from, we will help you grow your practice with support, training and more.”

In the first lockdown of 2020, Willow Health therapy rooms in Guildford was born. With 30 years experience between them, Gemma Ware, an osteopath, and Dr Jo Gee, a psychotherapist, were looking for the perfect premises from which to launch their holistic health centre.

“Willow Health is about that therapeutic yet professional space from which health and wellbeing practitioners can work and build their business.”

Gemma and Jo are also passionate about helping practitioners build their business. So although they work with established therapists, they also focus on on start ups. So wherever you are in your private practice journey, enquire today about joining the clinic team.

Visit for further information.

Winning Schools Announced in Guildford’s Schools in Bloom.

Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Marsha Moseley, presents the award to Glenesk School, East Horsley.

Guildford in Bloom, in their 40th year, have been busy working with schools in the borough on their very own gardening competition and are delighted to announce that from some very high standard entries, Glenesk Pre-Prep and Nursery school have been crowned the overall winners of the competition.

Judges Shirley West and Caroline Coleman visited 11 schools in total in the space of a week ranging from nursery and pre-prep through to senior schools. The aim of Schools in Bloom is to get young children involved in gardening for both education and wellbeing. The children have grown flowers and food and shown a care for wildlife with some extremely imaginative bug hotels and bee friendly plants. During the pandemic it has also been a great advantage for the schools to have a purpose to teach outdoors, and in many cases, the garden has been used in many other lessons including maths, art, woodwork and more.

Judge Shirley West says: “The schools we have judged have been amazing considering the pandemic they have had to deal with. We also had to give the schools an extra week to get themselves ready because of half term being so wet and we know that the schools were incredibly grateful that’s why we judged 11 schools in one week.

We found just how hard the children had worked on their gardens with the help of their teachers because no parents where aloud to help or volunteers.

The aim of Schools in Bloom is to get young children involved in gardening for both education and wellbeing.

But we were so surprised to see beautiful healthy flowers and vegetables and strawberry plants being attended by the children. They were proud to be watering and weeding and showing us how they made the bug hotels for the creepy crawlies and welly boots filled with flowers. The children were proud to show us their journals of their plans for getting ready for Guildford Schools in Bloom. And they took in the theme of Guildford in Bloom 40th Anniversary with cakes made of flowers and bunting wishing us happy birthday and banners highly decorated.

We chose Glenesk School as the overall winner because of the work and dedication the teacher had put in with the children was outstanding. Their flower and vegetable plots were so healthy mainly by making their own stinky manure from nettles and the children’s knowledge of wildlife was superb. The whole idea of teaching gardening to such young children could not be ignored. The children were so happy working outside where they knew they were safe and could escape from being indoors.”

Sarah Bradley, Head Teacher at Glenesk School was as delighted as the children were with the Award, presented by Mayor of Guildford, Cllr Marsha Moseley who wowed the children arriving in full mayoral regalia. She said: “What an absolute honour it was to welcome the Mayor and her fellow Counsellors to our school Assembly this week when they came to announce the results of the Guildford in Bloom Gardening Competition. The children were incredibly excited about our ‘special guests’ and it brought our whole school community together. It was a wonderful surprise to find out that Glenesk had won! How exciting it was for our gardening club children to meet the Mayor and receive their certificates, trophy and vouchers. This has certainly put gardening and all its health benefits in the spotlight, and I am pretty sure that it will remain a popular activity at our school again next year. This competition has given us something positive to focus on and we will display our trophy with pride.”

Cllr Paul Spooner, Chairman of Guildford in Bloom said: “I am very pleased that we have been able to run a successful Schools in Bloom competition this year in the 40th anniversary year of Guildford in Bloom. Our thanks to all schools that have taken part and the judges feedback recognises the enthusiasm and efforts of all involved at every school. I would like to thank all involved with GiB and particularly the judges for visiting each school. GiB would not be as successful as it is without the support of sponsors and we would like to thank Guildford BC, Silverback Studios and Chapters Financial, our Platinum Sponsors, who along with all of our sponsors allow us to run the School Competition.”

The Schools in Bloom Award is an integral part of Guildford in Bloom and ensures that the love of gardening and caring for wildlife is firmly planted in the future generation.

The main Guildford in Bloom competition has now closed for entries, and from this week, judges will be out and about judging everything from front gardens to nature projects – winners of the main competition will be announced in September.

Further information on Guildford in Bloom can be found at Other schools who participated, with their scores are:

Boxgrove Primary School


Burpham Foundation Primary School


Christopher Robin Day Nursery

Silver gilt

Glenesk School

Gold and competition winners

Guildford Grove Primary School


Jigsaw School (Cranleigh)


Kings College Guildford

Silver gilt

Lanesborough Pre-Prep

Silver gilt

Puttenham C of E Infant School


Wonersh & Shamley Green Primary School


Worplesdon Primary School

Silver gilt

Local success at the Tokyo Olympics

Liam Heath competing in his Olympic final.

Four Guildfordian athletes took part in the Tokyo 2021 Olympics, team GB’s second-best Olympic games ever.

Although Alicia Wilson, of Guildford City Swimming Club, made her Olympic debut by reaching the final of the women’s 200m medley this year, the most successful of the four was Liam Heath MBE. Tokyo was sprint canoeist Liam’s third Olympic Games. Going into this year’s Olympics, he had already won sprint bronze in the K2 200m beside Jon Schofield in London 2012, silver in the same event in 2016, and gold that year in Rio’s individual 200m kayak sprint event.

Liam Heath MBE was born and raised in Guildford and attended George Abbot School. He was introduced to kayaking for the first time when he was 10, on a ‘holiday fun’ activity week at the Wey Kayak Club in Guildford, where he instantly clicked with the sport. He went on to train with them, competing as a junior, learning quickly and training hard.

Liam Heath having received his medal.

Wey Kayak Club is one of the top kayak clubs in the UK, catering for beginners through to international-level canoeists, and it is where young Liam spent much of his time. This served him well, and at the age of 25, he was invited to train with the GB sprint canoe team. After winning his first three medals, he sealed his title as an Olympic legend this year by winning a bronze in the men’s K1 200m sprint, his fourth medal of three consecutive Olympic Games.

In a recent interview, he was quoted as saying “It’s hard to put into words, it’s what you’re working towards, to be at your best for these events and I’ve learned so much along my journey. You learn more about yourself, your competitors and the people you work with day in, day out. It’s them working tirelessly behind the scenes which provides the support for me to be able to achieve my dreams. A massive thanks to everybody that’s watching at home. Not quite the gold, but I’m happy with my performance so I hope you guys can be happy too.”

As the current Tokyo Paralympics take place, watch out for Hannah Russell MBE. Hannah was born with a vision impairment and took up swimming at the age of five with Woking Swimming Club, before moving to Guildford City Swimming Club at the age of 12. After winning double bronze and a silver in London 2012 and double bronze and a gold at Rio 2016, she plans to compete in three events in Tokyo, the S12 100m backstroke, the S12 100m freestyle and the S13 50m freestyle.

Coming out of lockdown – get debt help now.

Guildford charity urges people in debt to get urgent help as lockdown restrictions are eased.

A group of churches in Guildford have been running a Christians Against Poverty (CAP) debt centre for nearly nine years. The free service is available to all people in the surrounding area.

The combination of rising unemployment, reduced hours, illness and larger bills covering the period when so many people have been at home has created a situation where many people now have unmanageable debt. As people emerge from lockdown the uncertain economic effects may impact people hard. However, for people here in Guildford, there is a solution.

Jane Seals, Guildford CAP Debt Centre Manager, said: “Although we’ve continued helping people out of debt throughout the pandemic, we know that many people have been in survival mode and it’s only as we come out of lock-down that they will start to seek help.

“We want everyone to know that we’re here to give that help completely free of charge along with localised support, understanding and encouragement.

The Debt Centre currently has plenty of appointments available so we’re urging people to get in contact as soon as possible to get help and get their lives back on track.

There is a team of volunteers, some of whom have been in debt themselves and are now out the other side, able to give a helping hand with practical solutions.

“Although we’ve continued helping people out of debt throughout the pandemic, we know that many people have been in survival mode and it’s only as we come out of lock-down that they will start to seek help.”

CAP client, Lisa, said: “Without CAP I think I would probably be dead as I wouldn’t have had money to buy food! Now, I’m going to uni! Now, I know I can afford it and I feel mentally better, I’m hoping to change people’s lives the way CAP has changed mine.”

If you know things are out of control and you’re stressed, missing meals or sleep, please give us a call and let us help you get your life back on track.

Book an appointment with CAP by calling Freephone 0800 328 0006 or visit

Christians Against Poverty (CAP) is a UK charity determined to reduce UK poverty delivering debt counselling, money management, job clubs, life skills groups and support for people breaking life controlling habits.

Stoughton Pre-School

As Stoughton Pre-School approaches 10 years in business we discover what makes them so special.

Stoughton Pre-School is an established pre-school located in the heart of Stoughton.

They have been operating out of the community centre on Stoughton Recreation ground for almost 10 years! They are very proud to be part of the Stoughton and Westborough community, and look forward to celebrating their 10-year milestone with some fun activities early next year.

Now is the time when many parents start thinking about enrolling their child into a pre-school for September, and this can be a daunting task if you haven’t gone through the process before! To get you off and running, here are Stoughton Pre-School’s top 5 tips to help you navigate this important first step.

  1. Choosing a pre-school for your child is a very important decision, that’s why we always recommend that you and your child visit a range of settings before you register so you can both have a look around, meet the team, and see if you like what is on offer.
  2. When visiting a pre-school, always check that the setting accepts the 15 / 30 hours Government funding, and that there are no restrictions as to how you can use the entitlement. Ask if the setting allows you to use your entitlement flexibly in a way that suits your needs.
  3. Check with the pre-school or nursery if there are any top-up fees or hidden extras. At Stoughton Pre-School, for example, a parent can use Government funding to cover everything, including breakfast, lunch and afterschool club, but others will have different policies.
  4. Check to see if your child is eligible for FEET funding (for 2-year-olds), and if the setting of your choice accepts the funding – settings should be able to support you to see if you qualify.
  5. Ask about the qualifications of the pre-school staff – experienced staff with full and relevant qualifications will have the skills to help your child thrive, and support parents along the way.

We hope our top 5 tips are useful! We would love to invite you to Stoughton Pre-School for a covid secure visit, a virtual tour, or simply a chat to find out more. Please contact Dawn on 07941 427101 or email

Visit to learn more about us and to request or download an application pack.