What's on in pictures

Lighthouse comes alive on the lawns

THERE is a palpable excitement and relief in the news from the team at Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre that live performance is returning in the form of Lighthouse: OUTSIDE, a short season of weekly shows outdoors.  There will be four events, in the amphitheatre to the side of the arts centre on four Saturdays in…

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Crying out for change at Messums

A BRILLIANT young dance theatre company brings two powerful dance and film events, exploring contemporary issues of social and cultural change, at Messums Wiltshire in the 700-year old Tisbury tithe barn. Matsena Theatre Company will perform The Geometry of Fear in the barn on Saturday 5th September, followed by a screening of Error Code 8:46…

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Chilled out at the Longleat safari park

  KEEPERS at Longleat Safari Park have come up with a selection of unique “ices’ to keep their exotic animals chilled out over the summer. From a “fruit salad” for giraffes to pear and apple lollies for red pandas, these gourmet treats are just what they need in these near-tropical temperatures. A particular favourite among…

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Waiting for Godot in the garden

AMATEUR Players of Sherborne were due to perform Samuel Beckett’s most famous play, Waiting For Godot in April … and they have been waiting ever since lockdown started. But the wait is over – the company is putting the play on in the open air with two al fresco performances, at 2.30pm on Saturday 5th…

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Beethoven concerts cancelled

THERE was disappointment on 6th August when Purbeck International Chamber Music Festival announced that the Beethoven concerts scheduled for 4th and 5th September had been cancelled. The statement from the festival said “Unfortunately, on 31st July the Government postponed the planned re-commencement of indoor concerts and this has left us with no choice but to…

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Something to celebrate? Have a cup of tea!

THIS is Afternoon Tea Week – a chance to celebrate a great British institution. Other nations have coffee culture or tea ceremonies, but we have a unique cultural culinary tradition of tea and cake, so between now and 16th August you should make the most of it! If you are lucky enough to live near…

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Lottery grant for new Windrose projects

A NATIONAL Lottery Heritage Fund grant will enable Windrose, the rural media charity known for its film archive of Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire life, to begin work on new community projects. All the current Windrose projects had been cancelled or postponed because of the Covid19 pandemic, says director Trevor Bailey: “It left very little to…

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Hooray! the open air season is about to begin

A FEW intrepid summer touring theatre companies have leapt at the chance to do their thing on the green sward, even in this year of Covid 19, so there is now a chance to see some open-air shows at a venue near you. Four of the 11 companies that traditionally tour the south and south…

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Museums and heritage centres reopen

SOUTH West Heritage Trust’s museums and heritage centres are re-opening to the public during August. The sites included are the Museum of Somerset, Somerset Rural Life Museum, Somerset Heritage Centre, Devon Heritage Centre and North Devon Record Office. To keep visitors safe, and comply with government guidelines, the trust has made some changes to the…

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Outdoor concert at Glastonbury Abbey

MUSICAL stars from the West Country are taking part in an outdoor concert at Glastonbury Abbey on 30th August. Overseen by choreographer and director Andrew Wright – well-known in previous years from shows at Strode Theatre at Street – with input from Cameron Mackintosh and Glastonbury Festival’s founder Michael Eavis, the event will feature a…

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Concerts in the West go online

LOVERS of chamber music and fans of Concerts in the West, the organisation which brings rising stars of the chamber music scene to venues in Dorset, Somerset and Devon, can enjoy a series of concerts online, from 20th August to 22nd October. Concerts in the West founder and director Catherine Maddocks describes the project as…

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Creative lockdown in Dorset

TEN artists and groups in Dorset have won funding for micro-commissions as part of Creative Communities in Quarantine, a project to create engaging work to help beat isolation during lockdown. In May, Dorset-based arts organisatioln Activate promoted an opportunity for artists and theatre makers to submit their ideas for ways to engage communities through the…

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Strode Theatre to be “mothballed’

STRODE Theatre at Street has had a digital programme throughout the lockdown, but as the Job Retention Scheme comes to an end, the theatre will be mothballed, says theatre manager Robin Peters. He described as “heart-breaking” the decision to enter redundancy discussions with the staff. The theatre has been supported during the Covid-19 crisis by…

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Raise a glass to the Bristol Craft Beer Festival

BEER drinkers in Bristol will raise a glass – and a cheer – at the news that the Bristol Craft Beer Festival 2020 edition will take place at the Harbourside – the first such event for the city, and possibly the entire UK, after lock-down. The festival will take place on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th…

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Museums grant for young people

A GRANT of £83,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund will enable the four museums in the Wessex Museums group to offer new opportunities for children and young people. Dorset Museum, Poole Museum, the Salisbury Museum and Wiltshire Museum have received the grant for their Bridging the Gap project, which includes a programme of employability skills…

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Ropemaking goes rogue

BRIDPORT Museum’s ropemakers are “going rogue” this summer with a programme of activities outside the museum during the school holidays. Whilst the museum is closed, due to the Covid-19 lockdown, they will be making rope outside every Thursday when the weather is good. Come along between 11.30am and 1pm on 30th July, 6th, 13th, 20th,…

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Feltham’s Farm wins Best British Cheese in new Virtual Cheese Awards

RENEGADE Monk, a washed rind artisan cheese made by Marcus Ferguson of Feltham’s Farm, at Horsington near Wincanton, was awarded the Best British Cheese accolade at the inaugural Virtual Cheese Awards on 18th July,. More than 300 cheeses were entered in the all-day event, which was viewed by an audience of more than 3,000, and…

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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,…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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,…

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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,”…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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Bruton show goes online

THE annual summer Bruton Art Society exhibition is always one of the visual arts highlights of the season. Consistently attracting work by many of the area’s finest amateur and professional artists, it is not only a delight for visitors but also a major showcase for the participating painters, sculptors and print-makers. Covid-19 could have meant…

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Seeing red for hedgehogs

HEDGEHOGS are now officially on the Red List of endangered species published by the Mammal Society in July 2020. They are categorised on the list as Vulnerable to Extinction, which means there is still sufficient numbers for the population to return to healthy numbers again.  But that is purely up to us. We have been…

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Theatre Royal Bath on Red Alert

BATH Theatre Royal will join theatres and entertainment venues around the UK on Tuesday 11th August to take part in the Red Alert campaign, drawing attention to the difficulties which the industry continues to face, with the ongoing restrictions on indoor performances and social gatherings. Red Alert is the second national event in the Light…

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Looking for young Agatha Christies 

 THE annual International Agatha Christie Festival won’t be happening this year, but the organisers have launched a competition for young writers in Devon who are hoping to follow in the footsteps of the queen of crime, the world’s favourite crime writer who was born and raised in Devon. The IACF 2020 Mystery Short Story Competition…

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Double blow from Wiltshire Creative

THEATRE and performing arts audiences and supporters in Wiltshire heard the sad news at the end of July that Wiltshire Creative was beginning redundancy consultations with staff, and that the Salisbury Playhouse pantomime was being postponed to 2021. In a statement, marketing and communication manager Tim Croall, said that the staff had been advised that…

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David Inshaw at Sladers Yard

THE summer exhibition at Sladers Yard, West Bay, is Never and Always, recent paintings and works on paper by David Inshaw, continuing to 12th September. Inshaw, who is well-known to Sladers Yard regulars, is described as the consummate painter of the English landscape, a landscape that is peopled by dreamlike figures, birds and animals. The…

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Contemplation at The Art Stable

THE Art Stable is in contemplative mood with the new exhibition. Contemplation, an exploration of contemporary ceramics and furniture, which runs from 1st to 29th August, features  ceramics by Adam Buick, Nel Faulkner, Jonathan Garratt, Ali Herbert, Nigel Lambert, David Roberts, Jason Wason, and furniture by the Wiltshire-based maker Matthew Burt. On the walls there…

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Lighthouse reopening in September

POOLE’s Lighthouse centre for the arts will reopen to the public on Tuesday 15th September, six months to the day after closing in the face of the Covid-19 pandemic. The initial reopening will be limited and restricted to the cinema, the Beacon café, ticket office and some behind-closed-doors rehearsals, courses and classes. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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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….

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