What's on in pictures

Nick gets on his bike

RESIDENTS of East and West Coker are the first in Somerset to enjoy the return of live theatre, as Nick White, founder-director of Wassail Theatre, gets on his bike to bring a new short play into people’s gardens. Wassail and Reveal Productions are piloting performances of Heartbeat, a ten minute one-person play, adhering to social…

Read more...

Brewhouse plans for August opening

AS the country moves slowly towards a “new normal,” theatres, arts centres and concert halls begin to look at ways in which they will be able to reopen. The board of trustees off the Brewhouse theatre and arts centre at Taunton, have announced plans for a limited reopening in August. Val Hammond, the board chairman,…

Read more...

Venues welcome government cash for the arts

VENUES across the south west, including Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre and Bristol Old Vic were quick to welcome news of the government’s £1.57 billion rescue package for the arts, culture and heritage sector. Elspeth McBain, the Lighthouse chief executive, was on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme on Mondayt morning. She described the news as “an…

Read more...

Cathedral is open for worship

SALISBURY Cathedral is open for public worship from Sunday 5th July. The opening of churches and cathedrals – including Salisbury and Wells – follows three weeks in which they have been partially open for private prayer and contemplation. After more than three months lockdown, the first public service in the Cathedral will be a Eucharist…

Read more...

Summer at the Glebe Gallery

RACHEL Sargent is one of the artists with work in the summer exhibition at the Glebe Gallery, near Shaftesbury, on the Wiltshire-Dorset border. The exhibition, which runs to 12th July, includes paintings, prints and sculptures. The gallery, owned and run by James and Flora Harvey, specialises in traditional contemporary art. There are two mixed artists…

Read more...

Bausch classic on line from the beach

SADLER’S Wells will be streaming the Pina Bausch adaptation of Stravinsky’s The Rite of Spring for the whole month of July, raising funds for the north London theatre. Dancing at Dusk, starting at noon on Wednesday 1st July, was filmed on the beach at Toubab Dialaw, Senegal, just before the world moved into lockdown. It…

Read more...

Yoga in lockdown

MOST people think that yoga is about contorting yourself into weird shapes and learning to relax, says Blandford-based yoga teacher Sarah Ryan, who is offering an introduction to non-practioneers via her website. “You definitely do learn how to relax (and most people in our culture really need that), but it really isn’t about weird shapes…

Read more...

Digital premiere for Invisible Music

INVISIBLE Music, a live event created by Platform 4, associate artists at Poole’s Lighthouse centre for the arts, has been transformed into a digital piece, blending film and soundscape to create an immersive and intimate meditation on hearing loss. The work explores the sensation of losing your hearing. Platform 4 hopes that the digital world…

Read more...

Wildflower verges at Shaftesbury

JUST before the lockdown, Shaftesbury Town Council’s grounds team prepared four sites across the town for sowing with wildflower seeds. The team has now planted different seeds in the trial areas at the Christy’s Lane/ Linden Park junction, a strip on the Royal Chase roundabout, the  A30 Salisbury Road verge and New Road by the…

Read more...

High Ground at The Art Stable

IF you stand in the doorway of The Art Stable gallery in Child Okeford and look across the Gold Hill Organic Farm yard, you see Hambledon Hill, with its massive earthworks which date back to Neolithic times. The gallery reopens on Saturday 20th June with an exhibition of paintings by the Dorset-based artist Gary Cook,…

Read more...

Sladers Yard gallery reopening

SLADERS Yard gallery at West Bay will reopen on Wednesday 17th June, enabling gallery regulars to see in solid form the paintings, sculptures and ceramics they have been only been able to view online during the Covid19 lockdown. The exhibition From Dorset with Love features work by some of the gallery’s most popular artists, including…

Read more...

Inuit sculpture and Glastonbury paintings at Messums

IT would be hard to imagine more difficult backgrounds or subjects than two of the online exhibitions at Messums Wiltshire – paintings of the Glastonbury Festival, which celebrates its 50th birthday this year, and sculpture by Inuit people of the Canadian Arctic. In the early 20th century, many British sculptors were profoundly inspired by objects…

Read more...

Sausage maker is first with eco-packaging

WEST Country sausage-maker Westaways has become the UK’s first meat producer to use eco-friendly packaging that can be put on your compost heap rather than adding to the nation’s waste problem. “If you walk down a meat or dairy aisle in a supermarket you will see that just about every product is wrapped in plastic,”…

Read more...

Elephants in Boscombe

A NEW large-scale mural that has been unveiled on along Boscombe high street pays homage to the town’s bygone era. The 29 metre wide painting by Krishna Malla, commissioned by Bournemouth Emerging Arts Fringe (BEAF), is displayed on the front of the Sovereign Centre . Krishna Malla, commonly known as Tech Moon, was commissioned to…

Read more...

All set for a picnic

WHILE our friend Joanna was working on a newspaper in a godforsaken, drought-stricken mining town in Queensland, she sent us a postcard of people doing a rain-dance. The message read: “Can Fanny come and organise a picnic, please?” My reputation for ensuring wet and/or cold weather if I so much as say the word is…

Read more...

UK’s first online jam festival

PRESERVE specialist Rosemary Jameson, the founder of the Guild of Jam and Preserve Makers, has organised the UK’s first-ever online jam festival to take place from 25th July – 2nd August. Rosie, the founder of Rosie Makes Jam and Love Jars, is based in Rutland. She has a life-long passion for jam-making and in the…

Read more...

Regional hub to boost West Country farmers and food producers

A NEW regional food organisation has been set up to develop a “world-class,” sustainable supply chains across the South West, to link farmers and food producers with outlets for their produce, particularly public organisations such as the NHS and schools. The South West Food Hub Community Interest Company (CIC), which was launched on the late…

Read more...

Springhead looks ahead

THE coronavirus pandemic arrived at a bad time for everyone and every business, including Springhead, the environmental education and cultural centre at Fontmell Magna. Springhead has been closed like so many businesses, unfortunately, says director Edward Parker, coinciding “with our busiest and most important time of the year – a time when there are usually school…

Read more...

Dorset Artists Emergency Fund launched

THE arts are essential for our morale, our mental health, our wellbeing and for bringing us together and are needed now more than ever. A group of Dorset arts organisations has set up an emergency fund to help freelance artists who are facing the complete collapse of their income as a direct result of the…

Read more...

Splendid isolation

WILTSHIRE photographer Nigel Hudson is using his skill as a professional photographer with more than 40 years experience to support Swindon’s Great Western Hospital charity, Brighter Futures. Nigel’s personal lockdown photographic project, Splendid Isolation, has developed into a fund-raising project. The collection includes studies of flowers, clouds, and ordinary domestic objects in extraordinary light and…

Read more...

Stars support Theatre Royal Bath fundraising campaign

TWO of Theatre Royal Bath’s most popular visitors, actor David Suchet and comedian and panto star Jon Monie, are supporting the theatre’s fundraising campaign, during the Coronavirus closure. David Suchet starred in the acclaimed TRB production of Arthur Miller’s The Price, which transferred to the West End, as well as delighting millions of television viewers…

Read more...

Prince Charles supports cheesemakers campaign

THE Prince of Wales has backed a campaign calling for the public to support small cheesemakers, as the Covid-19 pandemic threatens the futures of many of the country’s most celebrated farmhouse and artisan cheeses. This message of support, which was accompanied by one of the Prince’s favourite recipes – for Cheesy Baked Eggs using British…

Read more...

From Dorset with love

THE new online exhibition from Sladers Yard at West Bay is From Dorset With Love, a collection of paintings, sculpture, carvings and ceramics by some of Dorset’s leading artists, on view until 21st June. The work in this selling exhibition includes recent paintings by Julian Bailey, Martyn Brewster, Vanessa Gardiner, Anthony Garratt,  Frances Hatch and…

Read more...

Chutney cheers for the Cathedral

SALISBURY Cathedral celebrates its 800th anniversary this year. The celebrations began with a special service on the actual anniversary of the laying of the foundation stone on 28th April 1220 – online because of Covid-19 – and the launch of a remarkable art exhibition in the Cathedral and in the Close. They continued, the following…

Read more...

Screen Bites support for food producers

THERE won’t be a Screen Bites Second Slice food film festival this year – thanks Covid-19 for another loss from our cultural calendar – but organiser Susanne Harding is still doing her best to support local food producers. “Obviously the Screen Bites Festival is not taking place this year (unless things miraculously change for the…

Read more...

Food Aid Support Service at Shaftesbury

SHAFTESBURY Support Group has launched a Food Aid support service to supply food boxes for people who are in urgent need. More than 100 volunteers have joined the group, including the Shaftesbury-based private chef and food writer Philippa Davis, who is providing professional help and advice. The support group has teams in place to meet…

Read more...

Mender Alert – Coward in Bath

WHO better to shine light at the end of the tunnel than Noel Coward, and that’s what Nigel Havers has in store for Bath audiences in October. In the fervent hope that theatres will be open for business by the time 1st October comes, Wiltshire resident Havers intends to launch his new company with a…

Read more...

Farming charity’s guide to coping with Covid-19 stress

YELLOW Wellies – officially the Farm Safety Foundation – is one of the charities boosted by cash from a £32 million support package announced by NFU Mutual, to help customers, communities, employees and agencies during the Covid-19 crisis. The Farm Safety Foundation, which is affectionately known as Yellow Wellies, is a small independent charity founded and…

Read more...

Keep culturally connected with Artsreach

THIS year is the 30th anniversary of Dorset’s rural touring arts charity Artsreach – and there were some interesting and exciting birthday plans, including what would have been the first visit to Dorset by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre on Tour. But, rather than doing what it does best, bringing communities, audiences, professional artists and volunteers together,…

Read more...

Shaftesbury Community Radio emergency programme

SHAFTESBURY’s community radio station, Alfred, is due to start FM broadcasting next year, but the volunteers behind this not-for-profit service have started producing a 30-minute programme of Shaftesbury area news and information, seven days-a-week. “Things are changing by the minute, particularly concerning business operating hours and the support services available for self-isolating residents in Shaftesbury…

Read more...

Herbal heritage at Lytes Cary

MUGWORT doesn’t have the most appealing name in English, but its scientific name “artemisia” will be familiar to anyone interested in the history of herbs. Its medical uses included preventing weariness on a journey, according to a 16th-century medical text that is the inspiration behind a herbal border at the National Trust’s Lytes Cary Manor…

Read more...

Westlands reopens

YEOVIL’s Westlands entertainment venue has reopened for film screenings in line with government guidance to reopen cinemas, with a reduced capacity and additional cleaning measures will be in place. The venue, operated by South Somerset District Council, will be operating screenings in the ballroom using a sofa configuration. The July programming includes three screenings a…

Read more...

Shows launch farming platform

DORSET’s two agricultural shows, Dorset County Show and Gillingham & Shaftsbury Show, have got together for the first time to bring British farming to the public’s homes via a new virtual content platform – Farming @ Home. In a year when the public can’t go to the two shows , because the one-day Gillingham and…

Read more...

BFI’s emergency fund boost for Lighthouse

AN emergency grant from the British Film Institute has “really lifted our spirits as an organisation,” says Elspeth McBain, chief executive of Poole’s Lighthouse centre for the arts. The award of £5,000 is part of the BFI’s allocation of £1.45m emergency funding to independent exhibitors across the UK through the Covid-19 Resilience Fund managed by…

Read more...

Devon Guild reopens

THE Devon Guild of Crafts is reopening the shop and galleries at Bovey Tracey on Wednesday 8th July. The charity, the Devon Guild of Craftsmen, has been kept afloat and will continue to run the Guild for the craft makers and visitors. A statement from the Guild has thanked everyone who has supported the organisation….

Read more...

Stunning setting for new arts festival

SCULPTURE by the Lakes, the home and outdoor gallery of sculptor Simon Gudgeon and his wife Monique, is the setting for a new three-day Dorset Arts Festival, from 3rd to 5th July. The festival, set in and around the lakes at Pallington, near Dorchester, will be a showcase of art and music, with more than…

Read more...

Remembering Frink as Messums reopens

MESSUMS Wiltshire, based in the 700 year old tithe barn and adjoining buildings at Tisbury, reopens on 4th July with a series of exhibitions celebrating Elisabeth Frink and including a recreation of her Dorset studio The focus of the exhibitions in the barn and the long gallery is The Artist’s Studio, including work by sculptor…

Read more...

Two steps to save grassroots music venues

LIVE music venues, including the David Hall at South Petherton, the Cheese and Grain at Frome, Taunton’s Creative Innovation Centre, Exeter Phoenix, Bristol’s Fleece and Fiddlers, Southampton’s Joiners, and Moles, Komedia and Chapel Arts Centre at Bath, have signed an open letter to the UK Government highlighting the need for an immediate £50 million financial…

Read more...

Sustainability at heart of new shop

IT is brave to open a new business in the middle of the pandemic – but Carlee Wakefield hopes that it is the right time for her new Warminster town centre shop, Iris and Olive. She is focusing on products that are sustainable, many by makers and artisans from the south and west, plus selected…

Read more...

Grants for the Egg

BATH Theatre Royal’s Egg, a flexible space for children’s and young people’s theatre and experiment, has received two grants, from Innovate UK and from Arts Council England, to encourage online engagement and outreach work through the coming months. The grant, from Innovate UK, will enable the Egg to develop online platforms for young theatre makers…

Read more...

Difficult times at Ilminster Arts Centre!

THERE is some sad news from Ilminster Arts Centre, where the lockdown and Covid-19 crisis has resulted in a decision to make all paid staff redundant. A statement says that difficult decisions are having to be taken for the future of the arts centre in Ilminster’s historic Meeting House: “The challenges include the fixed costs…

Read more...

Festival support for new food businesses

THE organisers of Somerset’s award-winning eat:Festivals are inviting applications from new businesses for bursaries and development support to enable them to make their first steps into trading. The bursaries, sponsored by Thatchers Cider, are for food and drink producers who have not engaged in business start-ups to consider festival trading. The successful producers will have…

Read more...

Quicke’s brings joy to food lovers

DEVON-based clothbound cheddar-maker Quicke’s, based near Crediton, has launched two food parcels with a difference – Joy Boxes, Devon-sent selections of award-winning food and drink, providing everything needed for a memorable meal in the garden or that long-awaited picnic in the park. Designed to spread some much-needed joy, whether sent as gifts, enjoyed al fresco with…

Read more...

Fingers crossed as Wells LitFest reveals first big name

THE future of any performing arts events or arts of literary festivals taking place this year is hanging in the balance. But the organisers of Wells Festival of Literature, are taking an optimistic view and have announced one of their big names for this year’s event, scheduled to take place from 16th to 24th October….

Read more...

Common Thread at Roche Court

THE spring exhibition at the New Art Centre at Roche Court, Winterslow, is Common Thread, celebrating the diversity of contemporary textile art The exhibition – online at www.sculpture.uk.com – examines the cultural and technological expression of culture through woven and dyed fibres throughout history and today. The artists with work on show are Jodie Carey,…

Read more...

David Hall launches crowdfunding appeal

THE David Hall at South Petherton, one of the region’s finest live music venues, has launched a crowdfunding campaign to help it through the Covid-19 lockdown crisis. In common with arts and entertainment venues across the UK, the David Hall is closed and it is not clear when it will be able to re-open. The…

Read more...

Mill grinds flour again

THE ancient mill on the Stour at Sturminster Newton is grinding flour commercially for the first time in 50 years, in response to the demand from home bakers during the Covid-19 crisis. Sturminster Mill, beloved of painters and photographers, dates back to the Domesday Book and was a working mill until 1970. Since then it…

Read more...

Independents adapt for local communities

AS part of its wide-ranging support for small retailers and producers during the Covid-19 crisis, the Guild of Fine Food has been gathering and sharing ideas from across the UK’s independent food and drink retail community. With many in the south west nimbly adapting their offerings, the Guild hopes these stories will inspire the sector…

Read more...