Musical theatre icon, Kerry Ellis, has been announced as the headline act for SMARTFEST 2012, and will appear live in Mary Stevens Park on Saturday August 11th.
Kerry made her West End stage debut in the 2001 revival of My Fair Lady and has since performed lead roles in We Will Rock You, Les Miserables, Wicked, Chess and Oliver in both London and on Broadway. In 2010 she collaborated with Queen legend Brian May on her debut solo album, Anthems.
This mix of musical theatre and rock reached number 15 in the UK charts and propelled the duo into a national tour in 2011. She also appeared on the BBC Television shows I’d Do Anything and Over the Rainbow, mentoring potential stars for Oliver and The Wizard of Oz as well as breathtaking
performances on The Royal Variety Performance and a plethora of prime time shows. Kerry is just one of a number of live acts appearing in the three day festival, which celebrating the creativity of people in the Southern Black Country. Others include ENVY, The Picadors, One Sixth of Tommy and support act The Musgraves.

The full line up can be found at along with other details about the event which will feature musical performances, arts and crafts, dance, drama and writers displaying their literary talents over three days packed with fun for all the family.

The festival was launched on Friday March 16th at the Ryemarket Shopping Centre in Stourbridge, supported by an outside broadcast from 102.5 The ‘Bridge who are supporting the festival.

Photo credit: Francyne Carr


• Do you enjoy writing?

• Want to take part in fun activities?

• Like to find out how Creative writing can benefit your life?

If any of the above apply to you come and meet Matt James – creative writer and youth worker – at Kingswinford Library.

First meeting on Wednesday 22nd February @ 4.45pm til 6. 45pm.

Neighbours News Competition – WIN tickets to see Kenneth Grahame’s Wind In The Willows

7th to 10th December 2011

Come and meet Rat, Mole and of course the flamboyant Mr.Toad as they venture forth on the open road and fight the dastardly Chief Weasel and his followers. The perfect treat for the dark winter nights!

Neighbours News has teamed up with Dudley Little Theatre to give away complimentary tickets for Kenneth Grahame’s immortal ‘Wind in the Willows’, at Netherton Arts Centre, near Dudley.

The play runs from Wednesday 7th December – Saturday 10th December at 7.30 PM and the lucky winner will get to attend a performance of their choosing.

On the Saturday, there will be two performances, a matinee at 2.30pm as well as an evening performance. Doors open at 2:00pm, curtain up at 2:30pm.

Tickets for both stalls and circle cost £6.00 (concessions £5.00).

To find out more about the show, visit the website at:

To stand a chance of winning (only one entry per household) simply answer the following question: Wind In The Willows is based on a children’s book by which author?

Email your answer to: and put ‘Wind In The Willows’ as your subject heading. In your email, please remember to state your preferred date and time for the performance as well as your name and a contact number.

Closing Date: 5th December 2011

Santa Claus is coming to town

Father Christmas will be making a star appearance in Brierley Hill town centre this weekend.

Dudley Council will be hosting its Christmas lights switch on events in the Moor Centre in Brierley Hill on Saturday 19 November from 1pm to 5pm with new boy band Eli Prime performing at 1.30pm.

Brierley Hill has a Christmas grotto and will provide a selection of free entertainment and family fun.

There will be reindeer, stilt walking elves, fairground rides, a bouncy castle, face painting and a caricaturist at the Brierley Hill event.

Lights will be switched on at 5pm.

For more information visit or call 01384 815496.


Celebrity kick-start to Poundland in Stourbridge

Emmerdale actor Tom Lister, who plays Carl King, officially opened the new discount store in The Ryemarket at 10am on Saturday November 12.

The grand opening took place two days after the store opened for customers, which will be boost for the town according to Ryemarket manager Karl Taylor.

Mr Taylor said: “The store will be a great addition to the shopping centre and will attract many customers, especially at this time with the build-up to Christmas.

“We look forward to a long and successful association and to working closely with them.”





Featuring Guest Choir



7:30 pm on



Tickets and information available from:

Pauline Jenkins: 01902 680412 Mobile: 07727 134358

Georgina Charity Shop, Kent Street, Upper Gornal

Georgina Unit Reception, Russells Hall Hospital

Joy Brown Action Heart 01384 292233

(Reg Charity Nos: 701336 and 518586)

Nautical fun in Netherton for anchor return

Many borough residents turned out to welcome home the replica Titanic anchor.

The 15-and-three-quarter-ton anchor was officially unveiled in its new permanent position outside Netherton Arts Centre during a celebratory nautical-themed event on 17th September.

The anchor, which was made last year as part of a Channel 4 documentary about the ill-fated Titanic, has spent the last 12 months outside the entrance of the Black Country Living Museum.

But Netherton residents and councillors called for it to be returned to the town, after the original anchor was cast by Noah Hingley and Son’s.

Netherton Regeneration Strategic Group organised the event to coincide with the return, which included a market, street entertainment, activities, pirates, sea-shanty bands, shire horses, donkey rides and a fun fair.

Following the unveiling of the anchor by the Mayor of Dudley, Councillor Michael Evans, a nautical float parade took place along Northfield Road, which was judged by Captain Jack Sparrow.

Official unveiling of the anchor
Sea shanty group perform to crowds
Captain Jack Sparrow with Glen Ostins
Pirate belly dancers

Olly launches music spectacular at Merry Hill

Singing star Olly Murs performed an intimate gig at Merry Hill on Sunday 25th September to launch a music spectacular.

The exclusive show, saw the X-Factor sensation sing a four-song set after hours, including his chart topping hits ‘ Please don’t let me go’ and ‘Heart skips a beat’ to 300 lucky listeners of BRMB, Beacon, Wyvern and Mercia Radio who successfully won tickets to the show.

The current Xtra-Factor presenter, who stopped off at the shopping centre last year to switch on the Christmas lights, was also joined by new girlband Parade, to launch this year’s Live 2011 pop concert which takes place at the LG Arena on November 26.

During the event, Pixie Lott was announced as the first act to appear at the concert, which last year saw the likes of The Script, Alexandra Burke, The Wanted, Example, McFly, James Blunt and Mark Ronson and Olly Murs perform.

More chart-toppers set to appear at the concert will be announced over the airwaves over the coming weeks.

For more information about Live 2011 tickets, visit

Olly performs for his adorning fans

Live 2011: The Launch!

Last year’s event saw the likes of The Script, Alexandra Burke, The Wanted, Example and Mark Ronson perform, and now brmb Live is coming back to the LG Arena for a night of top pop music on Saturday 26th November! Are you ready?

We’re more than a little excited, and we hope you are too. Especially as we can now reveal that OLLY MURS is helping us get the party started.

Olly will perform at a special invite only launch at Merry Hill on Sunday September 25th – and YOU can be there. To be in with a chance, just fill out the quick form on the link, then sit back and wait to see if you get an invite!

Olly’s performing an intimate set at Merry Hill as a treat for fans! He won’t be able to be at brmb Live 2011 due to Xtra Factor filming, so this is your only chance to get up close and personal with Mr. Murs!

Get in to the launch and not only will you see Olly perform live but you’ll also get the chance to WIN TICKETS TO LIVE 2011, as well as some great prizes thanks to Best Buy.

At the Live Launch we may even give you the gossip on who is coming to Live 2011…if you’re lucky! Make sure you’re listening to Foxy & Giuliano on Monday 26th September at 8am for the first artist announcements!

So what are you waiting for? Be at the launch of Live 2011 with Merry Hill & Best Buy – enter now!