A Christmas Carol at Bristol Old Vic

BRISTOL Old Vic brings its Year of Change to a triumphant conclusion with two five-star Christmas shows that underline the importance of imagination, courage and transformation. In the main house, the Old Vic’s artistic director Tom Morris pulls off a seemingly-impossible feat, stripping away the accumulated sickly sentiment to produce a fresh, taut and convincing…

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Mummers bring Christmas past to Shire Hall

SPIRITS of Dorset’s Christmases past will be brought to life in Shire Hall court room in Dorchester on Thursday 13th December, in an evening of entertainment and song to raise money for Dorset Mind in West Dorset. The New Hardy Players and Dorset band Tatterdemalion will perform plays based on court cases and historical events….

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Walking in the air at Poole

BOURNEMOUTH Symphony Or­ch­estra  and Poole’s Lighthouse have got together this Christmas to bring The Snowman and Little Red Riding Hood to their audiences on Sunday 16th December, at 3 and 7pm. Join the Snowman and James will be taking their magical journey through the winter sky in a special showing of the festive classic The…

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The magic of The Little Match Girl

CHRISTMAS Eve in London. Cold. A little girl struggles through the snow. Trying to stay warm, she strikes a match. The flame blazes to life, illuminating fantastic Christmas visions. So starts The Last Baguette’s magical adaptation of Hans Christian Andersen’s classic winter story, which continues its tour on 11th December at Devizes Library. There are…

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2-Tone hero in Frome

NEVILLE Staple brings his band to the Cheese and Grain in Frome on Friday 21st December, and the concert has a special significance for the 2-tone star. His grandson, Fidel, was fatally stabbed in Coventry on 1st Sept­em­ber.  Neville decided to honour his gig commitments, but to dedicate all his shows to Fidel’s memory and…

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The Churchfitters pull a cracker

WITH a double bass made out of scrap metal, passionate vocals and foot-stomping fiddle, The Churchfitters bring their unique folk-rock style to Dorset for three performances on 14th to 16th December, with Artsreach, the county’s rural touring arts charity. The three virtuoso musicians from England and France are multi-talented multi-instrumentalists, playing flute, banjo, dulcimer, tin…

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From grand opera to Neverland at Bath

WHEN you learn that a performer has appeared in Russian grand opera and is about to be a principal in a pantomime, your response might be “oh no, he isn’t” – but in this year’s Bath panto the actor who plays the boy who never grows up has appeared with English National Opera. Tim Edwards,…

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Aladdin at Yeovil Octagon

YEOVIL’S Christmas offering whisks its audience back to the Mar­tock suburb of Old Peking, all ready for the retelling of the story of the villainous Abanazar and his plans for world domination. In his way stands a boy, Aladdin, whose only motivation is love … and as we all know love wins the day. The…

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Maddy and the Carnival Band in Wimborne

MADDY Prior’s ever popular seasonal outing with the Carnival Band, Carols and Capers, comes to the Tivoli Theatre in Wimborne on Saturday 15th December. Maddy has been the voice of folk in the UK for decades, and her energy is legendary. As The Guardian’s critic recently wrote “ Her voice is clear as a bell.  It…

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Beauty and the Beast, Salisbury Playhouse

FANTASTIQUE is the only word for Andrew Pollard’s delightful and delicious version of Beauty and the Beast, on stage in Salis­bury until 13th January. He cut his teeth with Bath’s Natural Theatre, so there’s little Andrew doesn’t know about ob­ser­ving the public and adapting to their needs. And there’s nothing that Salisbury needs more than…

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Chloe and the Colour Catcher, Bristol Old Vic Weston Studio

BRISTOL Old Vic brings its Year of Change to a triumphant conclusion with two five-star Christmas shows that underline the importance of imagination, courage and transformation. In the newly-created Weston Stu­dio, Ad Infinitum joins with BOV to bring colour back into a grey world, in a show that’s aimed at audiences aged from four to…

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Raise your voice in celebration this Christmas

CELEBRATE Voice, the Salisbury based music festival, might have finished for 2018, but the team is looking forward to next year. And in preparation they have organised Christmas Night at the Opera, two performances of music  at the Medieval Hall in the Cathe­dral Close on 13th and 14th Dec­em­ber. The singers  will be Philip Smith…

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Snowy tale from Soap Soup

SOAP Soup Theatre brings the enchanting children’s show, The Snow Baby, to Taunton Brewhouse from 12th to 16th December and to Bridport Arts Centre on Saturday 22nd December, an ideal entertainment on the eve of the festive season. Deep in the remote snowy forest an icy wind blows and snowflakes fall from the sky. Doris…

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Two Wise Men (?) on tour

BELSHAZZAR’S Feast, the folk duo of Paul Sartin and Paul Hutchinson, are out on their annual Christmas tour, and the next stop in our region is at The David Hall at South Petherton on Saturday 15th December. The show mixes traditional folk music and seasonal material with a  liberal dose of classical, pop and music…

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Billionaire Boy, Nuffield Theatre City, Southampton

DAVID Walliams can add musical triumph to his varied CV, in a career which seems to have settled him into a successful role as a writer of children’s books. They may not be great literature but they are hugely enjoyable, relevant and POPULAR. He was at the new Nuffield Thea­tre in Southampton on Wednes­day for…

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Turn again towards the Lighthouse

DICK Whittington and his cat are heading for Poole Lighthouse from 7th to 31st December, all ready to take on London’s rats, followed by the Lord Mayoralty. This favourite pantomime story has our hero walking to London to make his fortune, and, of course, falling in love along the way. The cast includes popular children’s…

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Your Toys in the Slot Machine

SLOT Machine Theatre takes all your favourite toys on a combined adventure in Your Toys, on at the Sherling Studio at Poole’s Light­house from Wednesday 12th to Monday 24th December. The company’s puppetry skills bring Buzz Lightyear, Barbie, the blue Brontosaurus and more to life in a heart-warming story about friends pulling together. Full of…

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Garwood at Haydon

MULTI-instrumentalist Duke Garwood comes to Haydon Chapel on Saturday 15th December for an intimate and atmospheric evening of dirty British blues. At the invitation of Russell Denman and Eleanor Goulding (Denman-Gould), Duke will be playing in their studio outside Sherborne. Known for his soulful, stripped-bare sound, unhurried grooves and desert slithers, long -time collaborator Mark…

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The Nutcracker at the Merlin Theatre, Frome

SAY “The Nutcracker” and you im­mediately think of a vast Christ­mas tree, centre stage – and that’s just what you get in Scott Ward and Amy Maughan’s production at Frome’s Merlin Theatre, on until 15th December. This totally delightful show, with its book and lyrics by Jenifer Toksvig (sister of Sandi) and memorably tuneful music…

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Mrs Beeton Says, BOVTS at the Redgrave Theatre, Bristol

THERE’S the world premiere of a musical play on at the Red­grave Theatre in Bristol until 13th December, performed by students at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. With music and lyrics by Eamonn O’Dwyer and words by Helen Watts, it reunites the team behind Dorset Corset’s Frankenstein in 2010, a collaboration that continued in the…

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Ben Elton opens at Frome

BEN Elton is heading out on his first live tour in 15 years next Autumn, and the first date of the “work in progress pre tour” is at the Cheese and Grain in Frome on  Saturday 14th September. Ben exploded into the national consciousness more than 30 years ago, hosting Channel 4’s Saturday Live. Known…

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English Country House reborn

THE story of England’s country houses in the decades after the Second World War was often an unhappy one. Many had been commandeered by the War Office, and suffered the general depredations of troops preparing for battle and less than mindful of the centuries-old grandeur of their surroundings. Others became schools as children were evacuated…

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Jack and the Beanstalk, Northcott Theatre, Exeter

 BILLED as “a giant of a family pan­tomime”, Steve Bennett’s new version of Jack and the Beanstalk is on stage in Exeter until 6th Jan­u­ary. Steve has not only written the script, but directs AND plays Dame Dotty Trott in this traditional telling of the story of a village under greed siege and how a…

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Back by popular demand

FIRST seen two years ago, Gareth Machin and Glyn Kerslake’s adapation of The Night Before Christ­mas returns to the Salberg Studio at Salisbury Play­house from 10th to 30th Decem­ber. This delightful musical version of the famous story is magically staged. Adrian Grove returns as Father (the role he created in 2016) and is joined for…

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Dorset Christmas traditions kept alive

A GROUP that began as part of a Heritage Lottery funded project to explore the cultural history of the landscape of the South Dorset Ridgeway is now an established part of the Dorset music scene, and this Christmas sees the Ridgeway Singers and Band with more concerts than ever, starting at West Bay on Friday…

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