What's on in pictures

Mark Rylance is Dr Semmelweis

YOU may never have heard of Dr Semmelweis, but if you are a woman who has had a baby in hospital you owe him a greater debt than you can imagine. His story is now being told in an eagerly anticipated world premiere drama at Bristol Old Vic, running to 12th February. What does it…

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Regenerative farming – good for the land, the animals and us

FORGET “Veganuary” – meet “Regenuary.”  Well no, you probably don’t like either of these made-up words, and the idea that any given month or week or day should be designated to make us change the way we eat or drink or think. But beneath the tiresome ad-speak there is a serious message here, and it’s…

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Folk, by Nell Leyshon, Hampstead Theatre Studio

THERE’S something that professional musicians sometimes describe as “the tyranny of the dots”, and I was reminded of it during Nell Leyshon’s multi-layered play, Folk, now on at Hampstead Theatre Studio. Set, as is so much of Leyshon’s best work, in her native Somerset, it centres on the lives of two sisters. One of them,…

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Attic Stories at The Art Stable

MICHAEL Taylor, who has a solo show, Attic Stories, at The Art Stable at Gold Hill Farm, Child Okeford, from 5th February to 5th March, has lived and worked in the  village for more than 30 years and has known owner Kelly Ross since she opened the gallery in 2006. He says he is particularly…

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Thatchers launch community orchard project

COMMUNITY groups and charities keen to plant or extend community orchards this spring can apply for help from Somerset-based Thatchers Cider. The Somerset cider-maker’s Community Orchard Project is being launched this month, with 250 apple trees to be donated to groups either undertaking new planting this year, or looking to extend a community orchard they…

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New young people’s category for Yeovil Literary Prize

YEOVIL Community Arts Association (YCAA) has announced a new category for a Children’s and Young Adult Novel in its 2022 international literary competition, which opened on 1st January. Now in its 19th year, the Yeovil Literary Prize continues to attract more entries each year from accomplished and aspiring writers around the world. Money raised through…

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Stories from the land

MULTI Story Theatre Company brings Hefted, a play made up of stories across six centuries in Hefted, to Litton Cheney village hall on 29th January, at 7.30pm and Blandford on 30th at 7pm. Hefted is a play told through nine stories embedded in the landscape, history, and psyche of rural life, presented by four actors…

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A year of being kind

THE UK riots of August 2011 shocked performer Bernadette Russell so deeply that she set out on a mission to be kind to a stranger every day (plus one) for a year . The result is 366 Days of Kindness, a unique performance which Russell is bringing to Buckland Newton village hall on 30th January, at…

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Mrs Delgado, Ustinov Studio, Bath Theatre Royal

Mrs Delgado, Mike Bartlett’s isolational, observational solo play, opened in Oxford in December 2021, and comes to Bath in the very week that the nation has been focused on the rules that accompanied the arrival of Covid-19 and how we kept them. Set in a small section of an urban street, it’s all about those…

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Artsreach tour for ALAW

ALAW, the Welsh folk supergroup (as described by Songlines), returns to Dorset in January for a three-date tour with Artsreach at Portesham on 28th January, Langton Matravers on 29th and Chetnole on 30th, all at 7.30pm. The three musicians bring a wealth of experience to a shared passion for the traditional music of Wales. Nia…

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Di and Viv and Rose, Swan Theatre, Yeovil

LITERATURE, mythology and the stage are peppered with depictions of male friendship, and undoubtedly it can be heroic and special. But female friendship is also special, and much less shown. Di and Viv and Rose is just that – a play about female friendship which looks at this relationship with kind but honest eyes, unflinchingly…

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Sarah on the road again

SINGER and songwriter Sarah McQuaid is touring again in the next couple of months, returning to the venues where her scheduled gigs were cancelled during successive Covid lockdowns. She will be introducing her growing army of fans to the songs on her new album, The St Buryan Sessions. “Every gig is a gift,” she Sarah…

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Sondheim masterpiece coming to Bath

INTO The Woods, one of the best-loved masterpieces of the late Stephen Sondheim, is coming to Bath Theatre Royal in the summer, after London’s Old Vic theatre pulled the plug on a production by former Monty Python star Terry Gilliam. The musical, with book by James Lapine, will open at the theatre on Friday 19th…

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Talking Heads at Dorset Museum

DORSET Museum has a fascinating new exhibition, My Creative Life: Talking Heads, clay sculptures inspired by the work of Elisabeth Frink, on in Dorchester until 6th March 2022. The heads on display are the expression of a creative process during six workshops which began at the museum in March 2020. They were aimed at adults…

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The Hound of the Baskervilles, Bath Theatre Royal

THE best known, and most oft adapted for stage, screen, radio and TV, of all Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories, there would be few members of any audience who would not know the story of The Hound of the Baskervilles. And that knowledge is certain to add to the fun of watching Steven…

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Rachel Sargent workshops

PAINTER and print-maker Rachel Sargent, who has her studio at Gold Hill Farm, Child Okeford, has a series of four workshops over the next few months, covering printing, drawing and lino-cutting. The first two are at the beautiful Springhead Mill and gardens at Fontmell Magna in February and March when the snowdrops and spring bulbs…

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For the love of snowdrops

LOVERS of galanthus should make a bee-line for North Dorset in February, when Shaftesbury has its annual snowdrop festival, with drifts of the delicate white blooms all round the town. And don’t miss the snowdrops at Springhead, just down the road (A350) at Fontmell Magna, where the snowdrops will be in full bloom around the…

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Virginia Woolf and music

VIRGINIA Woolf was one of the greatest writers of all time, an icon of feminist thought – but not somebody you immediately identify with music. This is the basis of Lucy Stevens’ new one-woman play with music, at Dorchester Arts at the Corn Exchange on Sunday 30th January at 8pm. As the late January BBC…

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Paw-fect start for new eat:Festival year

BURNHAM-on-Sea based eat: Festivals has had a great start to 2022 with the news that they are finalists for the Dog Friendly Business of the year in the Bristol, Bath & Somerset Tourism Awards. Joint organiser Sarah Milner Simonds says: “We work really hard to make our one-day food and drink festivals welcoming for the…

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Radiance at Sladers Yard

SLADERS Yard at West Bay hosts another of its occasional exhibitions on the theme of Radiance, opening on 22nd January, featuring the work of artists Rachel Fenner, Alfred Stockham, Martyn Brewster and Sally McLaren, with the furniture of resident designer-maker Petter Southall. The exhibition, which runs to 5th March,  features work inspired by the natural…

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Little Red in Bell Street

SHAFTESBURY Arts Centre brings its version of Little Red Riding Hood to the stage of its Bell Street theatre from 27th to 30th January and 2nd to 5th February, and tickets are selling fast. Audiences are delighted that a pantomime is back on stage, and are keen to see this new version of the famous…

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Moviola in January

BENEDICT Cumberbatch is everywhere you look at present. He stars in the darkly brilliant western, The Power of the Dog (available on Netflix), plays the artist Louis Wain, best known for his quirky paintings of cats, in The Electrical Life of Louis Wain, with Clair Foy as his wife, reprises his role as Dr Strange…

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A “gert lush” delight from Feltham’s Farm

THE ever-inventive Marcus Fergusson at Feltham’s Farm near Wincanton has produced an enticing addition to his range: a bloomy, white-rind organic cheese called Gert Lush, which came out just in time for Christmas and New Year cheeseboards. As any Somerset person knows, “Gert Lush” is a dialect phrase meaning “really lovely” (lovely as in attractive),…

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