Doncaster's Furry Faces #TheDogsOfDoncaster PART 2 #Doncasterisgreat

For this installment of #TheDogsOfDoncaster, I decided to take a look at the furry friends themselves and the ways they bring the community together. Going out with Finn has opened our family up to a world of people and their pets, who we wouldn’t know if it wasn’t for getting out with the dog. Dogs have been around as pets for centuries, and not only providing company to their owners, but also giving happiness to anyone who meet them. Meeting the dogs below and their owners shows you how there is almost a different community, a canine community, that is all around you and yet without a 4-legged friend, you wouldn’t even know. In this post, I hope to change this, and show you that anyone can find and love this range of dogs in Doncaster, right outside their door.


Sometimes, you may just come across another dog and owner on your daily route, and chances are, it’s their daily route too. It is always nice to meet another owner and your dog will adore making friends with another pup. Take Hamish here, who loved saying hello to Finn.
“Husband and Wife”

Other times, you will have the chance to meet a new furry face, or perhaps two, on your travels. It was truly a pleasure to meet these two marvellous mutts, whose owner, when asked how they are related, simply replied that they were “husband and wife”.


Now, it is always great to discover new furry friends out walking, but as we are in good ol’ Donny, you will probably know your next door neighbours and perhaps even their canine companions. Emo and Pegasus are right up our street (quite literally) and Finn adores having two friends so close to home.

Don’t forget the owners too! The canine community is very tight knit and friendly dogs, such as Kizzy here, will allow you to connect with your friends who have perfect pooches too. You probably didn’t even know that you had a common interest- your dogs.

Many dogs will give you a run for your money and love to leg-it out on the fields. Energetic hounds will give your dogs plenty of exercise if you let them run wild. Finn loved chasing frantically after Frankie, leaving both of them flopping down into the mud and panting their tongues off!

Finally, we must take a look at our own majestic mutts, who open us up to the Doncaster we didn’t know existed. When you have a dog, multitudes of exciting adventures await. Wherever you are, whoever you meet, you are always going to have a good ‘walkies’. After all, these playful pooches are why we meet new friends, discover new places, and have a bit of a runaround!
A big thank you to all of the owners for allowing me to photograph your dogs and a “Woof!” to all of the brilliant pups featured. 

CAST's Spring Season for 2016

Cast, Doncaster’s Performance Venue, announces its Spring 2016 season, which continues to bring quality shows to the region.

The voices of Yorkshire mining communities are brought centre stage in John Godber’s new play Shafted! and Gary Clarke’s Company’s COAL. A poignant reminder of the loss of a once mighty British industry that went in decline 30 years ago under Thatcher’s government and ended this year, with the closure of Doncaster’s own Hatfield Colliery in July and Kellingley, North Yorkshire earlier this month.

A new comedy by John Godber, Shafted! (Thursday 18 – Saturday 20 February) follows an ex-miner and his wife on how they fought back over the past thirty years after the 1984-85 strikes. Starring John Godber himself alongside Jane Thornton, Shafted! brings back to the stage Godber’s and Thornton’s BAFTA award winning partnership.

Shafted Artwork 2016
Shafted! poster artwork

Marking the 1984-85 strikes 30th anniversary, choreographer Gary Clarke Company’s new dance theatre show COAL (Saturday 5 March) delves on the darker underbelly and human cost of the mining industry. Commissioned by a consortium including Cast, and endorsed by The National Union of Mineworkers, COAL brings together on stage seven high class dancers, a community ensemble drawn from local mining communities and live music from Carlton Main Frickley Colliery Band in an ever relevant exploration of community and solidarity.

COAL Lead Image Landscape. Joe Armitage
COAL dance theatre

Another political drama of the season, United We Stand is a new production about the contested Shrewsbury 24 trial, which comes to the stage at the same times as campaigners call for the release of confidential documents alleged to show undue influence on the trial by the government at the time.

Further season highlights include a bold reimagining of Bizet’s Carmen set in an oil-rich, military dictatorship in Equatorial Guinea by Zimbabwean-born Bawren Tavaziva in Africarmen (Tue 23 February). The hard and uncompromising world of 1960s Newcastle rife with crime, sex and violence in Get Carter (Tue 5 – Sat 9 April), a new production by Northern Stage of the Ted Lewis’ novel, originally set in Doncaster and first made famous in the Mike Hodge film starring Michael Caine.

Africarmen image 2 credit DILLONROSE.COMB&W (2)

Also, from the team behind Birdsong comes a new production of the West End hit Shadowlands (Tue 26 – Sat 30 April), about the love story of beloved Chronicles of Narnia author CS Lewis.

SHADOWLANDS with title

For children and families Cast, in association with Manchester’s Z-Arts, brings a twenty-first century twist on the Hans Christian Anderson classic tale Snow Queen (Thu 17 – Sat 19 March), exploring modern families and online safety.

Snow Queen Hi res poster image with title-01
Snow Queen

Looking ahead to summer, Cast looks forward to hosting the world premiere of Northern Ballet’s Jane Eyre (Thu 19 – Sat 21 May), a new production for 2016 celebrating the 200th Brontë anniversary, and the return of Sadler’s Wells’ acclaimed international festival of hip hop dance theatre Breakin’ Convention (Saturday 7 May).

Northern Ballet Jane Eyre. Dancers Dreda Blow & Isaac Lee-Baker. Photo Guy Farrow
Northern Ballet’s Jane Eyre

Graham Whitehead, Head of marketing and communications at Cast comments:

“Cast’s continued success proves that Doncaster is a town where arts and culture can and does thrive, with over eighty thousand visitors coming through the doors this year. Our new Spring Season for 2016 sees some of the biggest national companies bringing new world-class shows to Doncaster, as we continue to establish Cast as the town’s cultural living room and a cultural powerhouse for the region.”

Tickets for Cast’s Spring 2016 season are available from Cast’s Box Office on 01302 303 959 or online at castindoncaster.com.

#Issue14 #DoncoGuide Reclaim The Night…

Image Take by Nazia Satta
Image Take by Nazia Satta


Hats off to all the #GirlBoss ladies and dudes of Doncaster, read Louise Harrison’s review here and find out how to get involved. 

On Saturday December 5th 2015, from 6.00 pm, Doncaster Women’s Aid, in conjunction with Unite the Community, hosted an event at Clock Corner, Doncaster town centre, to raise awareness about violence against women and girls, also to collect much needed funding for our organisation to help support the valuable work that we do to support these women.

Over 50 people attended ‘Reclaim the Night’ – a national event that is linked to 16 days of action for women’s rights, starting on 25th November through to 10th December. It aims to put the issue of women’s safety on the agenda, to give women a voice and a chance to reclaim the streets at night in a safe and empowering way.

Violence against women and young girls continues to occur every minute of every day and according to the British Crime Survey (2001) there are an estimated 47,000 rapes every year, around 40,000 attempted rapes and over 300,000 sexual assaults. Yet our conviction rate is the lowest it has ever been, one of the lowest in Europe, at only 5.3%.

A recent survey, by the young women’s magazine MORE in 2005, found that 95% of women don’t feel safe on the streets at night, and 65% don’t even feel safe during the day. 73% worry about being raped and almost half say they sometimes don’t want to go out because they fear for their own safety.

With cuts threatening most local Women’s Aid Organisations, Refuges and The Rape Crisis movements in the UK we need to show our public support for women, young girls and the essential women’s services that support them.

‘Reclaim the Night’ campaigns for justice for survivors and spreads the message that no woman is ever to blame for male violence against her.

For more information contact Louise Harrison at Doncaster Women’s Aid or 01302 326411.

Louise Harrison

Doncaster's Dog Walks #TheDogsOfDoncaster PART 1 #Doncasterisgreat

I cannot begin to recall the countless times my family have argued over where to walk our dog.

Searching on the internet, trying to find somewhere nice that isn’t too far away, is free to enter and above all, is dog friendly. And by this, I mean where Finn, my 2 year old goldendoodle, can run free and stretch his (very long) legs. Soon, I began to realise, why do we need to travel to find a beautiful spot to spend some time outdoors when there are perfect places to visit right on your doorstep. Here are my top 3 places to get outdoors with your dog in Doncaster.


3. Lakeside village

Most people have heard of Lakeside Village, a small outside shopping centre located near the Keepmoat Stadium, and some will know of the small lake and walk nearby – but you might not know the extent of how beautiful this place really is.

The main path follows parallel to the road to begin with, leading to a little pebbly beach where the swans of the lake swim and walk nearby. If you carry on walking down this path, you will find yourself walking over bridges to small islands in the middle of the water.

There’s parking available on the road and dogs are welcome, preferably on a lead (especially if your dog is uneasy with birds and swans). This is a picturesque area with beautiful views across the water – particularly at sunrise and sunset.

To find directions to Lakeside, go to Lakeside, Google Maps.

Chilling on the pebbly beach at Lakeside

2. Warning Tongue Lane wood

My family fondly refer to this as “the Yorkshire Wildlife wood” due to it being (quite literally) next door to the wildlife park.

With its long and mossy clearings to the sloping paths, Warning Tongue Lane wood is the perfect place for your dog to run.

Tennis balls are easily lost due to the mossy undergrowth (you have been warned!), however prepare yourself for an amazing experience with your furry friend, whatever the weather.

Great for dogs of all shapes and sizes, even larger dogs will find this wood the most exhilirating place to let loose. Dogs off leads are encouraged, so make sure to be careful letting your pup off near the main road.

There is a small turn-off for parking and you may need to pull up near and on bushes and brambles. Don’t let this stop you from visiting such a lovely place that is tucked away in the most obvious of places.

To find directions to Warning Tongue Lane wood, go to Warning Tongue Lane, Google Maps.


1. Melton Woods

And finally, the best place to walk your dog in Doncaster goes to… Melton woods!

If your furry friend enjoys a good long walk, then this is the place for you. What sets it apart from other walks is the wood isn’t thick and dense meaning daylight doesn’t get blocked out, and the long winding paths make you feel as though you could be anywhere in the world.

There’s something different around every corner; one minute you’re walking under a canopy of emerald leaves, the next you’re staring up at the towering trees reaching towards the golden sun.

Your dog will love it too; there are all sorts of smells for your dog to sniff and you’re bound to bump into another friendly dog and owner who will give your pup a proper play.

There’s a little car park outside from the road and your dog deserves to be off lead in this fantastic location.

A couple of pointers:

  1. Sometimes there are hunters shooting guns behind the wood and although they will bring no harm to your dog, they may make him/her jump a bit.
  2. Due to the large trails, horse riding groups may come from time to time but as long as you keep your dog under control, you should all be fine.
  3. Finally, if you are planning to go after a substantial amount of rain, I strongly recommend wearing wellies and bringing a towel to dry your pup’s muddy paws with! All that said, if you do get chance then head down to Melton Woods and trust me, you won’t regret it.

To find directions to Melton Woods, go to Melton Wood, Google Maps.

Having a good run in Melton Woods

And there you have it. The first installment of #TheDogsOfDoncaster. Check back next time for some more about Man’s Best Friend in the Doncaster area!

Photos taken by Jo Brook

#Issue14 #DoncoGuide Odd Job Men

Odd Job

I’ve heard so many people over the years tell me that the way to change the world is through storytelling.

Stories are the key to change, they’re the world without its make-up on and they’re the best way for people to establish a connection with each other.
I’ve got high expectations for Odd Job Men – I always do when I come to Cast to see a play. The environment here feels exciting and electric to me, and it always builds me up in anticipation.
As we’re taking our seats I look at the set. Reminiscent of home, domestic work and, well, stories. I hope it’s enough for the two actors to draw from.
Odd Job Men is a collection of stories, beautifully portrayed in the same way you’d tell a funny tale to your friends at the pub. Nick and Matt set themselves a goal – a goal of exploring the people of Donny, by doing odd jobs in exchange for stories.
The theatre is completely packed out, we’re all huddled up close together. The actors get everyone’s attention and introduce themselves.
I couldn’t envisage how this play would be delivered, and even in the introduction I’m feeling a little apprehensive. Nevertheless, they get into character and Odd Job Men begins.
The first story we hear is a nostalgic tale about a tennis ball and a pint of Guinness. The room slowly fills with laughter. My apprehension is immediately put at ease.
The pair recount their experiences through mimes and impressions, each story slightly funnier than the last. We hear about a loft clearance that brought with it an unexpected discovery; a daring trip to the faraway lands of Maltby; a stolen bus; a pineapple plant; and plenty of other simple, humble memories from people who’ve lived in Doncaster for many years.
Throughout Odd Job Men I feel a steady increase in my pride for Doncaster. This play has picked out the many lovable characteristics our residents hold, and showcased them in a lovely way.
Nick and Matt round up the show by encouraging us all to share stories in our day to day lives more often, a lost art that if regained would probably results in us all getting along a bit better.
As we leave I glance at the time and can’t believe almost an hour and a half has passed – it flew by! I have to run to catch my bus, so I don’t manage to ask another theatre goer what they thought, but the warm atmosphere I leave behind is enough to confirm that everyone else enjoyed it as much as I did.
Written by Frances Bibby