Beaminster Festival

FROM the Black Death to baroque theatre music, from fun in the sun to late-night jazz, the 2019 Beaminster Festival programme has a mouthwatering range of entertainments, concerts, talks and drama.

The festival begins on 22nd June with the Party in the Park at the Memorial Field, from 5pm, with Scoot, the Phoenix Band from the youth club, food from local suppliers, a bar, and Strawberry Jam on hand to entertain the children with tricks and balloons.

On Sunday 23rd, there is Shakespeare in the garden, with Rain of Shine Theatre Company (there’s a clue in the name – take a mac or umbrella if the weather looks inclement), bringing the Forest of Arden alive in the grounds of Beaminster Manor, with As You Like It, from 2.30pm.

One of the world’s greatest tenors, Mark Padmore, with his friend and collaborator, guitarist Morgan Szymanski, will sing songs of love and loss at St Mary’s Church, on Thursday 27th at 7.30pm.

On Friday 28th, two quartets – the Ferio Saxophone Quartet and the Marmen String Quartet – take centre stage. The Ferio give a coffee concert at Beaminster School at 11.30am, the Marmen are at St Mary’s at 7pm, and the two quartets combine at 9.30pm for No Strings Assaxed, a “classical mixtape from Bach to Bernstein.”

The finale President’s Concert, on Sunday 30th June at 7.30pm in St Mary’s, features the 12 Ensemble, a young unconducted string orchestra who will play Grieg’s Holberg Suite; Vaughan Williams’ Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis and Schubert’s Death and the Maiden.

Opera lovers have a treat on Tuesday 25th when Rose Opera performs Mozart’s sophisticated and witty Cosi Fan Tutte, at St Mary’s at 7.30pm.

The packed chamber music programme includes 20 year old pianist Eric Lu, at St Mary’s, on Sunday 23rd at 7.30pm, a violin recital with Emmanuel Bach and accompanist Jennifer Hughes at St Mary’s on Monday 24th at 11.30am, an organ recital at 11.30am on Tuesday 25th at Perrott Hill School, with Hugh Morris, a piano recital by Lauren Zhang at St Mary’s Academy on Wednesday 26th at 10.45am, clarinettist Emma Johnson with John Lenehan, piano and Paul Clarvis, percussion, exploring some of the elements that fused to create jazz – ragtime, cakewalks, popular song, habanera, swing – at St Mary’s on Wednesday 26th at 7.30pm; and Duo Dorado playing baroque delights at St Mary’s at 11.30am on Thursday 27th.

Spoken word events include AN Wilson talking with Daisy Goodwin about the far-reaching influence of Prince Albert, at St Mary’s at 2.30pm on Monday 24th, Tom Glover’s Comedy Club that evening at 8.30pm, Minette Walters talking about her two historical novels about the Black Death in Dorset, in St Mary’s at 2.30pm on Tuesday 25th, novelist Victoria Hislop talking to Daisy Goodwin about Those Who Are Loved, her new novel set in Greece during and after the German occupation in the Second World War, at St Mary’s on Wednesday 26th at 2.30pm, and Histories of the Unexpected with Sam Willis and J Daybell on Thursday 27th at St Mary’s at 2.30pm.

Pictured: The Marmen String Quartet, the Ferio Saxophone Quartet and 12 Ensemble.