What's on in pictures

Spring tour for new dance work

DEVON-based choreographer Richard Chappell and his dance company are touring a new full-length work, Infinite Ways Home, coming to Salisbury Playhouse on 31st May and Exeter Northcott on 3rd June. Described by The Guardian as “… a choreographer to watch,” Infinite Ways Home is Chappell’s first full-length production for a mid-scale stage  The work features…

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Henry Moore at Hauser & Wirth

A MAJOR exhibition of work by the great sculp[tor Henry Moore opens at Hauser & Wirth Somerset, at Durslade Farm, Bruton, on 28th May and continues to 4th September. Henry Moore: Sharing Form has been curated by Hannah Higham of the Henry Moore Foundation in collaboration with the artist’s daughter Mary Moore. A comprehensive survey…

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Good times at Upton House

BRITPOP stars and hit-makers from the 1980s and 90s head the line-up for the three-night Upton House Concerts, near Poole, on Friday 27th, Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th May. The weekend also includes favourite tribute acts and top DJs, and with a pocket-friendly price of weekend tickets at £80 for two, it’s a great start…

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Singin’ in the Rain at Bristol Hippodrome

THE idea of producing a satire on the birth of talking pictures bounced around Hollywood for years, with one or two modest versions being filmed, before it landed on MGM producer Arthur Freed’s desk in the early 1950s. After a few more twists and turns, Gene Kelly and choreographer Stanley Donen took up the challenge…

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Catch Me if You Can, Theatre Royal, Bath

ONE of the most underestimated of Frank (Guys and Dolls) Loesser’s musicals, How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying, is rarely performed in this country, in spite of a fine score full of hummable solo and chorus numbers. The book was too strongly based in American business culture and humour to appeal to an…

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Climate and change at East Quay

THREE women artists, working in different media but all concerned with the climate crisis, are taking part in Better Than This, the first exhibition in the Climate and Change series at East Quay, Watchet, from 21st May to 31st August. Audio-visual artist Kathy Hinde, writer and artist Amy Howden-Chapman and spoken work artist Liv Torc…

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Polished and Worn at Fiddleford Manor

FOURTEENTH century Fiddleford Manor is the setting for a Dorset Art Weeks collaboration between contemporary jewellery designer  Karina Gill and wood sculptor Jamie Hart, from 20th to 29th May. They are showing a blend of new works in sculpture, woodcarving, silverware and jewellery against the backdrop of this important medieval manor house on the banks…

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Folk legend at Bridport

MARTIN Carthy, one of the towering figures of the British folk scene more more than 50 years,  is coming to Bridport Arts Centre on Wednesday 25th May. One of folk music’s greatest innovators, one of its best loved, most enthusiastic and, at times, most quietly controversial of figures, his concerts are always memorable. His skill,…

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Leeds prize-winner at Sidmouth

ISRAELI pianist Ariel Lanyi, the third prizewinner at the 2021 Leeds International Piano Competition, is giving a concert for Sidmouth Music at the town’s parish church on Saturday 28th May, rescheduled from February. Lanyi, the Roslyn Lyons Bronze Medal.at Leeds last year, is playing a programme of Schumann, including Kinderszenen, Albeniz’ Iberia Book III, and…

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Death throes of a marriage

LINDSEY Duncan and Hilton McRae star in a new version of August Strindberg’s The Dance of Death, at Bath Theatre Royal’s Ustinov Studio, from Thursday 19th May to Saturday 4th June. The production, adapted by Academy Award-winning playwright Rebecca Lenkiewicz and directed by Arcola Theatre’s co-founder and artistic director Mehmet Ergen, will also tour to…

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Dorset showcases creative talent

DORSET Art Weeks, this year from 14th to 29th May, is a major biennial celebration of Dorset’s artists and makers, this year attracting entries from more than 250 painters, potters, sculptors, photographers, textile artists and others, across the county. It is one of the country’s largest open studio and visual arts festivals, a showcase of…

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Invitation to the Bath party

BATH’S biggest free party is back, with the free opening celebrations of this year’s Bath Festival, on Friday 13th May from 5pm. After two years’ Covid-enforced absence, the festival organisers are delighted to invite the crowds back for a massive colourful party, taking over venues across the city. Whatever your taste in music, whether it…

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Moviola in May

THE Moviola calendar for May is dominated by two Oscar-nominated films, both thoroughly deserving of the acclaim – Kenneth Branagh’s semi-autobiographical Belfast and Steven Spielberg’s 2021 remake of West Side Story. Belfast, set in the city of Branagh’s birth at the start of the Troubles, is a gentle but profoundly moving black-and-white film about an…

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Return of the Dartford warbler

ONE of Britain’s rarest birds, the dimunitive Dartford warbler, which was threatened with extinction, with just a handful of pairs in Dorset in the 1960s, has made an impressive come-back, with 183 pairs recorded on RSPB reserves in 2021. The recently launched RSPB Ecology Report records this good news, which is attributed to concerted conservation…

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PJ Harvey’s gifts to Dorset Museum

DORSET-born singer-songwriter, musician and poet PJ Harvey has visited Dorset Museum in Dorchester to present a hand-corrected proof of her dialect poem Orlam and a photograph showing her wearing traditional Dorset buttons. Accompanied by her mother Eva, she spent an afternoon at the museum, starting in the library. Here she presented the interim director Elizabeth…

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Living Spit tour is Virgin on the ridiculous

WE can’t get enough of the Tudors, can we? If you have been seduced by improbably glamorous casting for the appalling Henry VIII and endless costume dramas wafting through Montacute House and gardens, you are probably ready for the next reincarnation – Living Spit do Elizabeth I coming to a theatre near you. The daftly…

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Local stars headline Bristol’s Big Jubilee Lunch

BRISTOL-based singers and performers including Lady Nade and Phil King will be taking to the stage on College Grain for Bristol’s Big Jubilee Lunch on Sunday 5th June, a partnership between the cathedral and local community groups. This year’s Big Lunch is celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. It will be a full day free event,…

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Plays en plein air

THE value of open air theatre was never felt more keenly than in the early days of the pandemic, when indoor gatherings (unless you lived or worked in Downing Street) were prohibited. The many companies whose tours have been a regular feature of the summer months have built on that increased popularity, planning and announcing…

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Frome Festival tickets on sale

FROME Festival is back this year with the biggest ever line-up of more than 260 events and there is such a demand for some events that tickets have gone on sale early, before the box office opens on 22nd May. Early tickets for all festival events at the Cheese and Grain can be bought directly…

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New outdoor shows for Artsreach

THE summer 2022 programme for Artsreach, Dorset’s rural touring charity, brings some new names to the local outdoor theatre scene, including the hilarious Three Inch Fools, who delighted audiences at Stourhead last year, and open air circus company Brainfools. The summer programme, running from May to August features 11 productions visiting 14 communities, offering from…

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Farewell to Belshazzar’s Feast

FOLK stars Paul Sartin and Paul Hutchinson, who perform together as Belshazzar’s Feast, are on their farewell tour, coming to Chippenham Folk Festival on 28th May. After almost 30 years making music and performing together,  the farewell tour follows last December’s release of That’s All Folkies, their final album, and features new music plus fresh…

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Putting Devon on the gastronomic map

THINK of Devon and food and you instantly picture cream teas and the finest fresh fish, but the county has a lot more to offer on the culinary front, from brewery tours to wine tasting to food festivals. Here’s a taste of what’s available across the county this spring and summer: Brewery Tour at Salcombe…

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Explore the Somerset Food Trail

SOMERSET is home to some of the finest and most innovative food producers in the country. From traditional farmhouse Cheddar to milk-based vodka, the county has so much to offer. Some of these outstanding products will be showcased at this year’s Somerset Food Trail Festival, from 15th to 24th July. The food trail is an…

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Islands of imagination at Salisbury

SALISBURY International Arts Festival returns this year, after a Covid-induced, two-year hiatus, from 27th May to 18th June, with a programme that is in part inspired by islands, from our experiences as island dwellers, the drama and danger of islands and the mystery of remote isolated places. The festival, running for about a week longer…

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Shibden – before and after Anne Lister

AS the second season of Gentleman Jack returns to our screens, the interest of the audience will once again turn to Shibden Hall, the beautiful Tudor house where Miss Anne Lister grew up, and where she lived with her aunt, uncle and sister – when she wasn’t travelling, usually with her lover and wife, Ann…

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BSO open air spectaculars

SUMMER seems a long way off while winter storms are still drenching the land, but there will surely be a lot of interest – and early bookings – with the news that the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra will be back in the open air for two spectacular concerts in August. Proms in the Park, in Bournemouth’s Meyrick…

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Portraits of Somerset craftspeople

SOMERSET artist and writer Kate Lynch has a new book and accompanying exhibition reflecting two years of drawing and painting 30 traditional craftspeople and collecting their stories. These Somerset makers include the last sieve and riddlemaker in the country, a papermaker working in a mill powered by a waterwheel, hedgelayers, blacksmiths, brushmaker, dry stone waller,…

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Nick’s Bloomsbury set

WILTSHIRE artist Nick Andrew will be Artist in Residence at the Chelsea Fringe, in Bloomsbury Garden Squares next week, from 24th to 26th May. He will be in Queen Square Garden. on Tuesday 24th May, from 10am to 5pm, Cartwright Gardens, Wednesday 25th, 10am to 5pm, and Bloomsbury Square, Thursday 26th, 10am to 5pm. Nick…

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Game, set and … dead!

SOMERSET’s brilliant and inventive theatre company New Old Friends bring their latest comedy thriller to Bath Theatre Royal, from 24th to 28th May, for its world premiere, ahead of a UK autumn tour. Crimes On Centre Court, written and directed by the Bath-based company founder Feargus Woods Dunlop, is set on the courts of Whombledun,…

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Larger than life Brian makes Bridport debut

IT is usually a cliche, but “larger than life” really does describe actor, writer and presenter Brian Blessed, who makes his debut in Bridport, at the town’s beautiful Art Deco venue, the Electric Palace, on Wednesday 18th May. Brian Blessed is known for his hearty, king-sized portrayals on film and television. A giant of a…

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Out of this world with Pavilion Dance

THE future is landing in Bournemouth over the weekend of 27th and 28th May as Pavilion Dance hosts a summer festival double bill, featuring Future Cargo and Geophonic. The spectacular Future Cargo and exciting Geophonic dance experiences will be performed in exciting locations in the heart of the town as part of the Out of…

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French Dressing, Swan Theatre, Yeovil

THE name of the French fin de siecle comic dramatist Georges Feydeau is synonymous with bedroom farce – but, in the age of #MeToo and the constrictions of cancel culture, is there still a place for his fizzy confections of mistaken identities and thwarted illicit pleasures? That may be the inevitable response to a Feydeau…

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Family-friendly festival at Burley

IF music be the food of love, play on… and if it’s good enough for Shakespeare, the organisers of this year’s comeback Burley Festival in the New Forest, on 27th to 29th May, could not be happier to follow suit. So, to complement the festival’s delicious menu of fine artisan food and drink, they are…

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Spend a penny at the Rondo

URINETOWN, The Musical is a brilliantly funny but savage satire on capitalism, greed and corruption, set in a Gotham-like city in a not-too-distant dystopian future. It is the spring production by Merriman Productions, at Bath’s Rondo Theatre from Wednesday 18th to Saturday 21st May. A terrible water shortage caused by a 20-year drought has led…

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Academy takes the stage

BATH Theatre Academy is taking to the stage at the Theatre Royal’s Egg for a three week residence from Thursday 12th May to Saturday 28th, ending with a production of Sondheim’s darkly comic musical, Sweeney Todd. The residency by The Egg’s in-house training school starts with a double bill featuring It Snows and The Wardrobe,…

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Brian Graham’s Great Heath paintings at Sladers Yard

BRIAN Graham, the Swanage-based abstract landscape painter, is one of the featured artists in the Dorset summer show at Slader’s Yard, West Bay, from 14th May to 2nd July. The distinguished artist, who work explores prehistoric structures, man’s footprint on the landscape and our connections to the past, has turned his attention to a local…

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Sarah’s latest tour

SARAH McQuaid, the singer and songwriter whose St Buryan Sessions album made the “best of” lists of 2021 on three continents, sets off on a new UK tour in May, making five stops in the South West. Following concerts in Ireland, Scotland and the north, she comes to Netley Abbey near Southampton on  Wednesday 25th…

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Paperworks at Quercus Gallery

QUERCUS Gallery, originally in Bath and now in Bradford-on-Avon, has an exhibition of contemporary paper-related artworks, from 30th April to 28th May. Paperworks features collectable items from cards to collage, works on paper, prints, artist-designed cards and wrapping paper, decorations and jewellery. The artists taking part include Alison Bernal, Vanessa Coles, Alysa Freeman, Clarissa Galliano,…

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Agatha Christie at Shire Hall

SHIRE Hall, Dorchester’s award-winning social justice museum, turns to crime this summer. The fascinating museum, which includes the court-room where the Tolpuddle Martyrs were tried and convicted, is hosting an exhibition focusing on Agatha Christie. From Miss Marple to Hercule Poirot, from murder at the vicarage to murder on the Orient Express, Christie created characters…

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Ballet at Hatch is back – with Ukrainian special guests

BALLET Under the Stars returns to the beautiful walled garden at Hatch near Tisbury this summer after a Covid-enforced two-year hiatus. There will be three evenings of stunning classical and contemporary ballet, with leading dancers including two special guests from the National Ballet of Ukraine. Hatch House performances have become renowned for their exciting mix…

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Barry Humphries takes off the mask

BARRY Humphries, writer, actor, comic and creator of Dame Edna Everage and the legendary Australian cultural attache Sir Les Paterson, is on a national tour, bringing The Man Behind the Mask to Bournemouth Pavilion on Wednesday 25th and Yeovil’s Octagon Theatre on Saturday 28th May. Australia’s best-loved and funniest entertainer will take audiences on a…

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Top forensic scientist at new crime festival

ONE of the country’s leading forensic scientists will be among the speakers at a new literary festival, Lyme Crime, at Lyme Regis from 23rd to 25th June. Angela Gallop, a practising forensic scientist for more than 45 years, who personally oversaw the cases of Rachel Nickell, Damilola Taylor, Roberto Calvi and Stephen Lawrence, will be…

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