Summer sensations with Artsreach!

SUMMER 2019 brings a host of exciting, colourful and musical delights to Artsreach audiences across Dorset.The newly launched summer programme has nine different companies and performers visiting 18 rural venues, with everything from world music to wildlife puppets, outdoor drama to opera.

The season starts with virtuoso kora player Modou Ndiaye, songwriter, drummer and percussionist, brother of Seckou Keita and a member of the famous Cissokho family from Southern Senegal, from 9th to 11th May, at Wootton Fitzpaine, Buckland Newton and Shillingstone. Modou fuses modern and traditional beats, playing a variety of West African instruments including djembe, sabar, calabash, talking drum and his leading instrument, the mesmerizing 22 stringed Kora (West African harp). He is joined by Suntou Susso (Gambia) on drums and percussion, Amadou Diagne (Senegal) on percussion and Edd Bateman (UK) on bass guitar.

For one night only, 24th May at Corfe Castle, travel on a musically diverse, story-rich journey from America to Cornwall with Jim Carey and the Saboteurs with Riots and Lobsters, music first created for Kneehigh Theatre in the 1990s. Through folk song, ska, swing, lyrical laments and brass arrangements, tales of riots and lobsters, fishermen and miners, corrupt officials and power-driven politicians are all brought to life. The music, from shows including Ting Tang Mine, The King of Prussia and The Riot, has been re-imagined and arranged by the original composer Jim Carey.

Living Spit are back with their hilarious Living Quiz – every question is acted, sung, mimed or danced by Howard Coggins and Stu Mcloughlin. Armed with just a guitar, a double bass and a ukulele, they mix improvisation with their own performance style, subverting the familiar pub quiz format. With teams competing to win a very unique star prize, no two nights are ever the same!

An annual highlight of the Artsreach summer programme, students from Bristol Old Vic Theatre School present an adaptation of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales on their West Country tour. A colourful cast of characters, including the Miller, the Steward and the Wife of Bath, set off for Canterbury, competing to tell tales of love, lust, adventure and chivalry.

The ever-evolving gypsy folk-rock band Holy Moly & The Crackers return to Dorset for two re-arranged gigs, at Sturminster Newton and Halstock.

Miracle Theatre’s open-air summer show A Perfect World is a new adventure, following a feisty young woman as she ventures into a Boy’s Own world of undiscovered jungles, treasure maps, campfires and penknives. Leading her team of quarrelsome explorers she stumbles into a bountiful paradise, whose inhabitants seem entirely peaceful, productive and fulfilled. Is this tranquil place the best of all possible worlds? Or is it all too good to be true? Expect a rollicking music filled adventure in the great outdoors. Grab a blanket and pack a picnic for a night of theatre under the stars at Springhead, Sandford Orcas and Kimmeridge.

Manchester-based five-piece Kabantu bring music from around the world – vocal harmonies from South Africa blend, Celtic reels, Balkan folk music, Brazilian samba and beyond.

The season finale brings a first Artsreach performance by Opera Holloway, at Stalbridge, with a contemporary production of Puccini’s tragic love story, La Boheme. In a seaside town on the south coast in England, four young men are living the youthful dream, yearning for love and not working too hard, subsisting on take-aways, complaining about money and dodging the landlord. The company brings seven  talented young opera singers, supported by a quartet of musicians.

A foretaste of the Artsreach children’s summer workshop programme, Squashbox Theatre Company uses puppets, comedy and live music, plus lots of amazing natural history facts, to bring Curious Creatures to Blandford and Martinstown.

Pick up an Artsreach summer programme or visit

Pictured: Riots and Lobsters, photograph by Steve Tanner