What's on in pictures

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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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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Shhh – there’s dancing in the streets

NIGHT-owls in the Bournemouth, Poole and Christchurch may get a surprise if they are out walking or looking through their windows after dark from 6th to 10th April. Pavilion Dance South West is bringing its Dancing in the Streets project to the conurbation with the English premiere of Invisible Dances. This global phenomenon brings dance…

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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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First Dorset date for eat:Festivals

SOMERSET’s successful eat:Festivals will be holding a first Dorset event this year, at Lyme Regis on Saturday 24th April. The festivals, which celebrate local and regional food and drink, were founded by Bev and Sarah Milner Simonds, as a social enterprise, in Burnham-on-Sea in 2012. The events now include towns across Somerset, in Devon and…

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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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Budget £10 million boost for Octagon plans

THERE was a £10 million boost for South Somerset District Council’s plans for the Octagon Theatre in Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget statement. The investment will support the development of a regional cultural infrastructure project, helping to fund the refurbishment and development of the Octagon and transform it into a flagship venue for arts and entertainment…

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Bath prepares to party

GET your dancing shoes on and be prepared to party as Bath Festivals’ finale weekend on the Rec in the heart of the city brings some big names to Bath over the weekend of Saturday 7th and Sunday 8th August. Bath Festivals and music promoters Orchard Live have announced the re-scheduling of the music festival…

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Theatre Royal Bath gets ready to reopen

THE Theatre Royal Bath is busy preparing to welcome audience members back into its three auditoria in line with the government’s roadmap for re-opening in May 2021. The director, Danny Moar, says: “Following the Prime Minister’s announcement and the setting out of the roadmap for easing lockdown, we are now finalising plans for a season…

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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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New women leaders join arts organisations

A PROGRAMME designed to bring more women into arts management and address the gender imbalance in the sector has resulted in 16 new associates for eight south west regional arts organisations. Women Leaders South West (WLSW) the new associates from more than 350 applications for a training opportunity at the eight arts organisations – The…

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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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The art of furniture as art

FRED Baier is not a household name, but for those interested in cutting edge furniture design –  the point at which function is almost secondary to art, he is one of the most exciting and creative makers in the world. And he lives and works in Wiltshire. Described by historian and curator Glenn Adamson as…

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Three-year grant for Artsreach

DORSET Council has announced a three-year funding programme for Artsreach which will keep touring arts alive in rural communities across the county. The small team at Artsreach is understandably delighted at the news that the application to the Dorset Council Organisational Revenue Support Fund had been successful, securing the future of rural touring for the…

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The Mother of All Pageants inspires documentary

FANS of the Mapp and Lucia books and television adaptations may remember the pageant (in which Lucia, predictably, played Elizabeth I), EF Benson was inspired by the popularity of pageants in the years of the 20th century – and one of the finest was staged in Sherborne. A documentary film inspired by the Sherborne Pageant…

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On tour with Inch by IN:CH

AN artist-led project, curated by the Bath-based artist group IN:CH, is bringing contemporary art out of the gallery and into the communal areas of our everyday lives with Inch by IN:CH, a “portable travelling exhibition”. The 11 artists, all working in the South West, practise a variety of art forms, and in this new project…

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Lighthouse after Covid

POOLE’s Lighthouse centre for the arts is closed, as part of the Covid-19 lockdown, but the team is looking ahead, announcing events for the summer,. These include a performance of Elgar’s The Dream of Gerontius by Bournemouth Symphony Chorus, in memory of the choir’s trustee and music advisor, Sandrey Date, on Sunday 13th June at…

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10 Parishes Festival turns over a New Leaf

REGISTRATION is open for the 2021 biennial 10 Parishes Festival, which is planned to run from 11th to 19th September. The festival promotes and celebrates visual and performing arts in the parishes of Wiveliscombe, and the surrounding villages, Fitzhead, Milverton, Clatworthy, Brompton Ralph, Huish Champflower, Chipstable, Waterrow, Stawley and Ashbrittle. The usual January festival launch…

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Yeovil Literary Prize

THE Yeovil Community Arts Association (YCAA) has launched its 2021 international Literary Prize, an annual writing competition with cash prizes in four categories. All money raised supports talented, local youngsters training for careers in the performing and creative arts. Now in its 18th year, the Yeovil Literary Prize has become a highly regarded writing competition,…

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Spring joy as galleries reopen

WEST Dorset artists are looking forward to meeting art-lovers in person, and seeing their work exhibited in galleries that are finally able to open, after the long winter Covid-19 lockdown. There are two local exhibitions, both opening on Monday 12th April, in attractive West Dorset venues, with plenty of opportunities to also enjoy coffee or…

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Anna takes her final bow

BATH Theatre Royal’s marketing manager, Anna O’Callaghan, is retiring on 16th April after completing more than 38 years of full-time service at Bath’s historic theatre. Theatre Royal director Danny Moar says: “Not only is Anna one of the longest serving marketing managers of any UK regional theatre, but she has made a remarkable contribution to…

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Recovery grant and new chief executive for Wiltshire Music Centre

WILTSHIRE Music Centre at Bradford-on-Avon has been awarded £56,898 from the government’s latest culture recovery fund and has announced the appointment of its new chief executive. The grant, announced by Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden, is to help the music centre to recover and plan for the reopening in the summer. WMC is one of more…

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Adela Powell – recent work

FOR decades, the Birkenhead-born ceramicist Adela Powell has lived and worked close to the Devon-Cornwall border, developing techniques and ideas that draw strongly on her knowledge of the natural world and natural sciences. A collection of her recent work is on show, initially online, but from 14th April, hopefully open to the public, at Sladers…

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Sea Arch supports seahorse charity

DEVON-based alcohol-free spirits company Sea Arch Drinks is working with The Seahorse Trust to help boost awareness of the charity and raise much-needed funds to support its research and conservation work. Both based in Devon, Sea Arch and The Seahorse Trust share a passion for the coast and a commitment to protecting the natural world….

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Ceramics at Messums

EXHIBITIONS by some of the world’s leading ceramicists will all be on view at Messums Wiltshire, in the tithe barn and galleries at Tisbury, until 24th April. The galleries will reopen on 15th April, and anyone interested in contemporary ceramics will be able to see “in the flesh” the works that have so far only…

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Baird and Crozier at The Art Stable

TWO new exhibitions on the website of The Art Stable, at Gold Hill Organic Farm, Child Okeford, until 17th April,  are Unlocked, recent paintings by Charlie Baird, and Printing with Colour, a retrospective of prints by William Crozier (1930-201l). Unlocked is a series of paintings from the past year, reflecting the limited possibilities for travel….

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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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Hepworth at the New Art Centre

THERE is a wonderful Barbara Hepworth sculpture at the New Art Centre at Roche Court, Winterslow, near Salisbury. Three Forms, made in 1970, is an exceptional example of Hepworth’s later work and exemplifies the period in her life when she was experimenting with casting in bronze. It retains the rendering of simple shapes that characterises…

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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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Dorset composer’s Song for Dorset

ARTSREACH, Dorset’s rural touring arts charity, and Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre have jointly commissioned Dorset-based composer Karen Wimhurst to create a Song for Dorset, as part of a nationwide project responding to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. The aim of A Song for Us is for leading music creators across genres to write new…

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The songs of the lacemakers

A FASCINATING insight into the working lives of women and girls in lace schools is revealed in a YouTube video by Windrose Rural Media Trust which works across Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire.. Somerset folk singer and collector Amanda Boyd found out more when she was putting together a Zoom presentation for people with dementia during…

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New Gormley sculpture for Wells

A NEW work by Antony Gormley will be exhibited on the West front of Wells Cathedral, on loan from the artist, from the end of August this year. In conjunction with Wells Art Contemporary (WAC) and Project Factory Community Interest Company, Wells Cathedral is collaborating with Antony Gormley to produce the new work, which will…

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Reading Is Magic – and free

FREE access has been extended for events in last year’s successful Reading is Magic Festival, organised by Bath Children’s Literature Festival. The autumn event, featuring a line-up of top children and young adults’ writers and illustrators, reached more than 155,000 children in 30 countries. Festival organisers, who realised that they weren’t able to put on…

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