NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

PortWatch

April 3, 2014

British invasion

Firehouse draws inspiration from London for spring fundraiser

London’s Calling, and the Firehouse Center for the Arts is answering that call with its annual spring fundraiser next week.

Guests at the April 12 event will be transported from Newburyport’s Market Square to England as soon as they walk in the doors. The art gallery in the lower level will be transformed into the London Underground, complete with sound effects representing the city’s metro system.

“London is the ultimate theater city,” said Beth Falconer, managing director of the Firehouse. “After a long, long winter, we’re all dreaming of a getaway.”

Upstairs, the Arakelian Theater will host performances highlighting the Firehouse’s arts education programs, silent and live auctions, and late-night dancing on the stage. There will also be a quiz on British phrases and a photo booth complete with London-inspired props.

An English-themed menu prepared by Not Your Average Joe’s will feature fish and chips, tea sandwiches and scones, and roasted flank steak. Upon arrival, guests will be greeted with complimentary Pimm’s Cups, a popular British cocktail.

“We promise the food will be better than what their reputation promises,” said Falconer, who is co-chairing the event with Louis and Cyndi Rubenfeld.

Dressing up as a member of the royal family or other British figure is optional but encouraged, with prizes for the best hat/fascinator, best overall men’s costume and best overall women’s costume.

“As a theater, we always encourage and welcome costumes,” Falconer said. “I hear that Twiggy might be making an appearance, as well as some members of The Beatles.”

Items up for grabs in this year’s auctions include a one-week stay in a London flat courtesy of Kaitlyn Longley, who is stationed with the Navy in London.

“It’s right around the corner from Sherlock Holmes’ residence in central London,” Falconer said.

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