What's on in pictures

Bath Festival is back

THE Bath Festival is back – one of the first major arts events since the end of lockdown, the annual celebration of music and books runs from Monday 17th to Monday 24th May, with more than 40 events in some of the city’s most beautiful venues. Musical highlights include the already sold out Gesualdo Six at…

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New video and website for Food Drink Devon

AS restaurants, pubs and other hospitality businesses in Devon open their doors again, the county’s food group, Food Drink Devon, has announced the support off wine buff and television personality Oz Clarke, and a new video and website. Award-winning chef Peter Gorton (pictured), a recently appointed Food Drink Devon board member, says: “It has been…

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Lighthouse date for Pip Hare

PIP Hare, only the ninth woman in history to complete the Vendée Globe round the world race, is coming to Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre to give a talk on Tuesday 6th July. Pip has announced that she has renewed her partnership with Medallia and bought a foiling IMOCA yacht for her 2024 Vendée Globe campaign….

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Moviola is back

MOVIOLA, the region’s rural cinema scheme, is back after the prolonged Covid-19 shut-down, but predictably the programme is reduced as fewer village hall partners are ready to commit themselves to putting on film evenings. The most-requested film for September is Military Wives, which is being shown at Hanging Langford, East Stour, Halstock (on both 25th…

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After Medusa at Messums

ONE OF THE most harrowing images of human desperation, Gericault’s painting of The Raft of the Medusa, has been reimagined by contemporary artist John Beard. After The Raft Of The Medusa will be on show at Messums Wiltshire, at the medieval tithe barn at Tisbury, from 15th May to 11th June. The famous original shows…

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Open Air Theatre is only weeks away

THEATRE-lovers, eagerly awaiting news of when live performances can begin again, haven’t heard much from Downing Street in the past year. But now Badly Thatched Boy has thrown out a ray of hope with his latest  slogan – Hands, Face, Space, Fresh Air. Those last two words herald the permitted return of open air theatre…

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Concerts in the West are back

ANOTHER sign of musical life returning to the region comes with the news that from June, Concerts in the West will be organising tours of outstanding young chamber musicians to regular venues, including the arts centres at Bridport and Ilminster, and the Dance House at Crewkerne. The June tour features the Ferio Saxophone Quartet, Huw…

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Painted in lockdown

GEORGE Young returns to The Art Stable at Gold Hill Organic Farm, Child Okeford, with a new collection of paintings, Outside/In, running from 1st to 29th May. A gallery regular, George Young says his work starts with a real event or situation and often through several versions of paintings: “It moves from being more directly…

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Hepworth at Roche Court

THREE of Barbara Hepworth’s great monumental sculptures, collectively known as Family of Man: Ancestor I, Parent I and Youth (1970), are on view at the New Art Centre and Roche Court Sculpture Park, near Salisbury. The display of these powerful and moving pieces coincides with the major retrospective of Barbara Hepworth at The Hepworth Wakefield…

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Return of Salisbury’s free bank holiday festival

FAMILIES and theatre-lovers, starved of drama, dance, circus and live performance, are in for a treat over the late May bank holiday weekend, with the return of the free City Encounters festival. There will be performances, from Saturday 29th to Monday 31st May, in the Guildhall and Market Squares, the grounds of Salisbury Arts Centre,…

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A Dorset story of “county lines”

DORSET farmer George Streatfeild, the 2020-21 High Sheriff of Dorset, has had a short film produced to highlight the dangers of county lines drug gangs to young people in Dorset. It is the true story of ‘Sam’ (name changed) and aims to show the scale of the problem in Dorset, and to educate and improve…

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A taste of life afloat

IN these long months of lockdown with foreign travel still a dream, those of us who love to explore, whether it’s rural France, the American West or the Amazon jungle, have had to make do with films, newspaper articles and travel books. Di Murrell has lived and worked on waterways in this country for most…

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New Forest Pannage Ham – reviving a thousand year old tradition

AWARD-winning charcutier David Richards of Capreolus Fine Foods at Rampisham in West Dorset has created a new product which follows in a tradition dating back nearly 1,000 years – the commoners’ right of Mast (or pannage) in the New Forest. Working with New Forest commoner and farmer Jonny Burrell, David is producing New Forest Pannage…

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Lights Up! on comedy, tragedy, dance and more

THEATRE Royal Bath has announced a packed reopening programme of drama, comedies, thrillers, musicals and a Christmas pantomime, ready for the planned reopening in May. From Ralph Fiennes in the world premiere adaptation of TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, to Susan Hill’s blood-chilling The Woman in Black, from a musical about Henry VIII’s wives to Michael…

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New kids on Longleat’s block

VISITORS returning to Longleat on Monday will have the chance to meet the new kids Meet Longleat’s new kids on the blockon the block – a pair of tiny African pygmy goats called Piglet and Peewee. The enchanting female kids were born at the end of March and are now making themselves at home in…

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Lifeline grants for theatres at Bath, Bristol and Poole – and many more

THREE of the leading theatres and arts centres in the region – Theatre Royal Bath, Bristol Old Vic and Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre – are among more than 2,700 arts organisations to share in the latest grants from the government’s Culture Recovery Fund. The awards are intended to help the culture sector to continue facing…

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Inshaw’s stories at Sladers Yard

DAVID Inshaw’s Dorset and Wiltshire Stories, prints and drawings, are on view online at Sladers Yard, West Bay, until 8th May. The collection includes stunning black and white etchings and coloured aquatints, rare and collectable artist’s proofs and final copies of small editions, illustrating Inshaw’s lifetime of occasional, experimental and brilliant print-making with three remarkables…

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Chalke Valley History Festival returns

THE Daily Mail Chalke Valley History Festival, the UK’s largest celebration of history, will be back this year, from 23rd to 27th June, returning after the pandemic caused the cancellation of all major festivals and events in 2020. The festival, at its spectacular setting on farmland at Church Bottom, Broad Chalke, will run from the…

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Mapping the taste of cheese

A MAP is an essential tool for any journey, says Devon cheese-maker Mary Quicke, introducing the Devon-based clothbound Cheddar producer’s Flavour Mapping Project, a new framework to enhance the world’s appreciation of cheese. The project is a response to the growing interest in artisan and farmhouse cheese. It charts the journey, from initial taste to…

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Luxury retreats with lion views

SIX cottages on the Longleat estate, some dating back to the 18th century, are being converted into rural escapes, with the first three due to be available for bookings from April. The project to transform a collection of cottages on the Longleat Estate into luxury retreats has revealed their fascinating history. As part of the…

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Feel good with new film festival

A NEW virtual film festival is being launched this month, created by the people who run the popular and successful Banff Mountain Film Festival. The Feel Good Film Festival celebrates positivity and the art of happiness, and continues until 7th May. The programme features a collection of hilarious and heart-warming short films guaranteed to put…

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Exciting line-up for Bath Festivals

RENAISSANCE music in the Roman baths, Mel Giedroyc talking about her new book, the super-musical Kanneh-Mason family and a guided walk around the Bridgerton locations – this year’s Bath Festivals promises delights and treats for all tastes. The festival, including music from medieval to contemporary, world, rock and more, and literature, comedy and poetry, will…

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Discover Bath’s Bridgerton locations

THE Netflix hit Bridgerton had viewers round the world hooked on the roller-coaster love affair of beautiful Daphne Bridgerton and her dashing Duke. Many of the scenes were filmed in Bath, and this year’s Bath Festivals will include a walking tour of the locations. The Regency romp was a storming success with more than 82…

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Light shines on the Purbecks

IT would be hard to imagine a better theme for a music festival in the post-Covid world than Light, chosen for this year’s Purbeck International Chamber Music Festival. Returning after last year’s festival was cancelled, the event, which brings some of the world’s finest chamber music musicians to beautiful venues across the Purbecks, will run…

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Kate Lynch celebrates old crafts

SOMERSET artist Kate Lynch, who is known for her paintings and books documenting aspects of rural life, is collaborating with the South West Heritage Trust on a new project to document and celebrate rural crafts and trades. For many years Kate, whose husband James Lynch is a distinguished landscape painter, is known for paintings and…

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Henry Taylor at Hauser & Wirth

THE American artist Henry Taylor makes his debut at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, with an exhibition of paintings and sculpture occupying all five galleries at Durslade Farm, Bruton, from 26th February to 6th June. Born in 1958 in Ventura, California, the youngest of eight children, and now lives in Los Angeles. He is best known…

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Open studios and more

WYLYE Valley Art Trail, moving from its usual end of May dates to the beginning of the month, was one of the first major visual arts events open to the public. It was also one of the most successful ever – a good sign for Dorst Art Weeks, which will take place from 22nd May…

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Grow your own taste of the sea

MARSH samphire – sometimes known as “the mermaid’s kiss” – has been making its salty, crunchy presence felt on restaurant and domestic tables in recent years, and now you can grow your own seashore delicacy, thanks to Wincanton-based Somerset Samphire. Samphire is already a native of Somerset, loving the salt marshes, where local farmers also…

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Friends in Florida – warm hearts and no Trumps!

DONALD Trump is not someone with whom you would associate any kind of literary or cultural interests, so who would have dreamed that the former reality star turned president would have played a part in introducing two new Friends to the Wells Festival of Literature? Last year, Richard Gibson and Reinhart Unger from Florida realised…

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Four new plays from Bath Theatre Academy

YOUNG people’s theatre is coming back to exciting life at Bath Theatre Royal’s Egg, with a mini season of four new productions by Bath Theatre Academy, starting on Friday 13th May. Two of the four plays can be watched live at the theatre over the three-week run, and all four will be live-streamed, to watch…

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The original Bond artist at Salisbury

SALISBURY Museum celebrates the release of the 25th and much-delayed Bond movie, No Time To Die, with an exhibition that celebrates the life and work of writer, illustrator and teacher Richard Chopping (1917 – 2008), who was best-known for illustrating the original James Bond book covers. Chopping was a master of the trompe-l’œil technique, producing…

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Music returns to Tincleton

MUSIC will be returning to Tincleton Gallery at the Old School, Tincleton near Dorchester, in June, after a year in which the pandemic forced cancellation of the planned series of chamber concerts. The concerts will follow the same format, two recitals, on Friday and Saturday, both at 8pm, usually with the same programme; booking is…

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Bere Marsh Farm gets buzzing

BERE Marsh Farm, the Countryside Restoration Trust’s showcase farm by the Stour near Shillingstone in Dorset, will be at the heart of a pioneering  project to make the Blackmore Vale a hive of activity for bees and bee enthusiasts. Gardening clubs, schools, parish councils, allotment holders, indeed any organisation or group, will be invited to…

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Go wild at new festival

ADVENTURER and television Bear Grylls has got together with the Royal Marines Charity to create an adventure led family festival at Powderham Castle near Exeter this summer. Many festivals and events have been postponed, but the Nature Valley Gone Wild Festival with Bear Grylls will go ahead on the August Bank Holiday weekend, offering families…

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Bridport Food Festival is back

BRIDPORT Local Food Group has announced that the town’s food festival will be happening this year , although there will be some changes necessary to allow for social distancing rules. The usual week-long event will be extended and will run from Sunday 13th to Friday 25th June. The first week will be dedicated to promoting the…

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The joys of cheese on toast

AFTER months of lockdowns, and with the gradual reopening of pubs, cafes and restaurants, we can now look forward to enjoying eating out. But it is also a chance to look back at how we all spent our time and for many it seems that Cheese On Toast was an important part of our lockdown…

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Harry introduces Pink Rhubarb cider

SOMERSET craft cider producer Harry’s Cider Company of Long Sutton, has launched a new Pink Rhubarb cider as part of Southwest Cider Week. The new addition to Harry’s fruit cider range has a delicate and refreshing flavour, with a hint of nectarine and some vanilla notes on the finish. Light pink in colour, it is…

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A world of chocolate in Somerton

WE were driving through Somerton, on our way back from some photography for our new book, Deepest Somerset, when we spotted a sign for a new chocolate shop. Who can resist? Well, not us. New Street leads off  Broad Street, to the east of this pretty ancient town, once the capital of Wessex. It’s a…

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Devon Guild re-opens

THE Devon Guild of Craftsmen is open again, after the long winter Covid lockdown, giving art-lovers a chance to see the current exhibitions at the Riverside Mill in Bovey Tracey. The galleries showcase and sell work by more than 160 South West makers, a special exhibition, The World of Puppets, a selection of ceramics from…

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Ralph Fiennes in Bath

RENOWNED stage and screen actor Ralph Fiennes is to direct and star in the world premiere stage adaptation of TS Eliot’s Four Quartets as Theatre Royal Bath re-opens this summer Ralph Fiennes, most recently seen with Carey Mulligan in the beautiful Netflix film, The Dig, will direct this adaptation of one of the greatest achievements…

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A Mozart treat for Dorset Opera fans

DORSET Opera will be back this summer – good news after last year’s sad Covid-related cancellation – with a very different programme, which will certainly delight some regular opera-goers. Running from 19th to 24th July, this year’s festival, at the usual venue, Coade Hall, at Bryanston School, will, for the first time in its 47…

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Poole play commission for our Covid times

A NEW play, commissioned by Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre, which will be performed in the open air in June, will explore the lives, hopes and dreams of young people in Poole. Writer Andrew Muir’s play will provide a snapshot of the struggles they have faced living with the extraordinary pressures of the coronavirus pandemic. Commissioned…

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Black Swan reopens with SAW show

SOMERSET Art Works has joined forces with Black Swan Arts in Frome for an exhibition of SAW members’ work, which will be the first at Black Swan Arts since last year’s coronavirus lockdown. In Pursuit of Spring has been inspired by poet Edward Thomas’ account of his journey by bicycle between London and Somerset to…

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