What's on in pictures

Travelling through time, music and literature at Bath

THE 2024 Bath Festival, running from Friday 17th to Sunday 26th May, will take audiences on an astonishing and exciting journey through some of today’s most exciting writers, challenging thinkers, hilarious comedians and brilliant musicians, with subjects that range from the climate crisis to silent horror classic Nosferatu, from the Sky at Night presenter Dr…

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The Sleeping Beauty, Birmingham Royal Ballet, Bristol Hippodrome

IF there was such a term as “Grand Ballet”, you could use it to label The Sleeping Beauty. Every thing about it is on a grand scale – Tchaikovsky’s score, the second longest he composed for any genre, Marius Petipa’s original choreography, based in the Brothers Grimm’s interpretation of Perrault’s Sleeping Beauty, even the original…

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Sherlock Holmes – The Valley of Fear, Bath Theatre Royal and touring

THE punchline of the old joke about the local yokels’ reply to a passing motorist asking for directions: “I wouldn’t start from here in the first place”, in some ways fits this adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s story. The story takes us back and forth from late 19th century Pennsylvanian coal fields and the battle between…

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Slapstick – a play about Grimaldi, Old Theatre Royal, Bath

MOST theatre lovers and pantomime fans have heard the name Grimaldi and can possibly conjure up an image of the legendary clown, but know very little about the man or his life. That all changes with Sue Curtis’s new play Slapstick, getting its world premier at this year’s Bath Comedy Festival. The play, written in…

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The Thrill of Love, Shaftesbury Arts Centre

THE first performance of Shaftesbury Arts Centre’s remarkable production of Amanda Whittington’s The Thrill of Love co-incided with the exact moment of the 69th anniversary of Ruth Ellis’s shooting of her abusive lover David Blakely, which famously led to the last execution of a woman in Britain. The forensic play, with its cast of four…

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The Lover/The Collection, Ustinov Studio, Bath

HAROLD Pinter almost single-handedly invented the “theatre of menace”, and his successors took up the idea and ran with it. Watching his early 1960s television play The Lover again, in the brilliant production by Lindsay Posner currently on stage at the intimate Ustinov Studio in Bath, I couldn’t help but feel that he had invented…

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Ancient stories from Dorset

BRITISH Museum curator Sophia Adams will give a talk about the important Iron Age and Roman finds from a grave on Cranborne Chase, at the Dorset Museum in Dorchester on Thursday 18th April at 7pm. “Traditions and Transitions: The Story of the Chettle Grave Group” will discuss the 2003 discovery of a locally made bronze…

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Legacy helps Trust to plant 5,000 trees

A GENEROUS legacy has helped the National Trust to plant 5,000 trees as part of two new hedgerows on the Golden Cap Estate on Dorset’s Jurassic coast near Morcomeblake. Once established, the new hedges will become crucial wildlife corridors, absorb carbon, create shelter and provide a food source for a wide variety of birds, mammals…

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Mark Wigglesworth to be BSO’s new chief conductor

THE distinguished conductor Mark Wigglesworth has been announced as the new chief conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He will take up the role at the start of the orchestra’s 2024-25 season in September, when Kirill Karabits, the BSO’s inspiring chief conductor for the past 15 years, becomes Conductor Laureate and artistic director of the…

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Shaftesbury debut for Concerts in the West

CONCERTS in the West, the charity that brings rising stars of the chamber music scene and concert platform to venues in Dorset, Somerset and Wiltshire, makes its debut at Shaftesbury in April, when the Gildas Quartet give the fourth concert of their tour, at St Peter’s Church on Sunday 21st April at 3pm. All four…

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Classic favourites with BSO and Eric Lu

THE Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and assistant conductor Tom Fetherstonhaugh celebrate the Classic FM Hall of Fame in a series of concerts at Poole, Exeter and Portsmouth, from 18th to 20th April, with award-winning pianist Eric Lu (pictured) as guest soloist. The programme, presented b y Classic FM’s Anne-Marie Minhall, begins with Rossini’s delightful overture, The…

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Catching Purbeck’s puffins on camera

HIGH ropes experts have installed cameras on the cliffs near the National Trust’s Dancing Ledge in Purbeck to monitor the last known nesting site for puffins on the mainland of southern England. It is hoped that the cameras will reveal why these iconic birds are on the verge of extinction. In the early 1900s, puffins…

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New music for ancient trees

DORSET musicians Emily Burridge, cello, and Karen Wimhurst, clarinet, join sound artist Adrian Newton for All Trees Are Clocks, a multi-media performance celebrating ancient trees and woodlands, at Dorchester Corn Exchange on Sunday 21st April at 2.30pm. The musicians play live, accompanying field recordings and video curated byAdrian Newton, documenting how ancient woodlands are changing…

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Life before Lawrence at Clouds Hill

TINY Clouds Hill, near Wareham, where TE Lawrence – Lawrence of Arabia – lived in the 1930s, is now open for the 2024 season. A previously undiscovered photograph shows one of the families who previously lived in the remote cottage – and gives an insight into its appearance before Lawrence. One of the National Trust’s…

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Festival of Blossom in Salisbury Cathedral Close

JAPAN is famous for its cherry blossom season, when people flock to admire the ethereal and transitory beauty of the trees in full bloom. This spring, the National Trust team at Mompesson House in Salisbury’s Cathedral Close is launching a Festival of Blossom, with a trail around the Close until 4th June. You can pick…

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Call-out for From Devon With Love

PERFORMERS and writers are invited to submit applications to Villages in Action, Devon’s rural touring arts organisation, to take part in this year’s From Devon With Love, the annual scratch festival in September. The festival is open to Devon-based artists working in live performance with a new piece of work they are ready to test…

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Ralph Fiennes 2025 season at Bath

BATH Theatre Royal has announced a season of plays next summer, in which the actor will star in David Hare’s Grace Pervades, and will direct Harriet Walter and Gloria Obianyo in Shakespeare’s As You Like it. Booking opens for both on Wednesday 27th March (if you are an Associate member) or, for Friends, it’s Friday…

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It’s nothing … at Messums West

THE programming at Messums West, the gallery and art centre in the ancient tithe barn at Tisbury, gets ever more adventurous, with a collaboration this year with Salisbury International Arts Festival and a two-month sound installation, created by Orlando Gough and Alastair Goolden, which draws its inspiration, in part from the river Nadder. Running from…

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Family Fun at Dorset Museum

ARE you and your children looking for fun and adventure this Easter? Dorset Museum & Art Gallery in Dorchester has a choice of activities and exhibitions for all tastes, including a chance for youngsters to dress up as birds (pictured). As well as the brilliant exhibition of Elisabeth Frink’s work and life, on until 21st…

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Somerville at The Art Stable

THE new exhibition at The Art Stable, at Gold Hill Organic Farm, Child Okeford, until 20th April, is a return visit by the popular printmaker Liz Somerville, with new work on the theme of Place. After some years living on her own near Crewkerne, Somerville is now married and living halfway up the dramatic Eggardon…

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Bristol date for McKellen’s Falstaff

BRISTOL Hippodrome is one of four regional theatres chosen to host a tour of Player Kings, director Robert Icke’s adaptation of King Henry IV parts 1 and 2, starring Sir Ian McKellen as Falstaff. The nearly four-hour reworking of the two plays will be at Bristol from 3rd to 6th July, following the end of…

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Regional bookshop win for Folde

A SHAFTESBURY bookshop, which specialises in nature writing, has been named as the best independent book retailer in the South West. FOLDE Dorset has won the British Book Awards Independent Bookshop of the Year competition for the South West, organised by The Bookseller magazine and judged by a prestigious panel of industry specialists, authors, journalists…

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Tate Gallery’s Pompeii painting comes to Somerset

AS part of the Museum of Somerset’s Spotlight Loan programme, from 23rd March to 2nd June 2024, the Tate Gallery is lending The Destruction of Pompeii and Herculaneum (1822) by John Martin. It is a vast and vividly colourful work which caused a public sensation when it was first shown. It also has an important…

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Elisabeth Frink – life and work

THE Dorset Museum at Dorchester is presenting a major exhibition of sculptor Dame Elisabeth Frink’s life and work, on until 21st April 2024. The works are drawn from the collection that Dorset Museum acquired from the Elisabeth Frink Estate in 2020, featuring sculptures, prints, drawings, and personal possessions. Many of these items, including working plasters…

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I Should be so Lucky, Bristol Hippodrome

“YESTERDAY upon the stairs I met a man who wasn’t there” – so starts William Hughes Mearns’ poem Antigonish. If you replace “woman” for “man”, you have a description of a very important contributor to this show who sadly from the audience point of view, appears only via video images rather then in person. The…

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From Page to Screen – celebrating the word on screen

BRIDPORT hosts the country’s only film festival which celebrates the art of adapting the written word for the silver screen. This year, From Page to Screen runs at the arts centre, with more than 20 films, from 24th to 28th April. The guest curator is Rebecca Lenkiewicz, who wrote the screenplay for She Said and…

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Musical walks with Ninebarrow

DORSET’s much-loved folk duo Ninebarrow – James LaBouchardiere and Jon Whitley – are almost as well known for their love of walking as they are for their beautiful harmonies and charming original songs. For some years they have been leading walks and writing books to introduce their fans and fellow-walkers to different areas of their…

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A year at Daylesford

DORSET artist Gary Cook has spent much of the past year sketching in the landscape around the Daylesford estate on the Cotswolds, and the results can be seen in a new exhibition, ReWolding, at Daylesford from 16th to 29th April, capturing the unique atmosphere and beauty of this area of sweeping hills, wooded valleys and…

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The Passion of Living Spit

THE iconoclastic Living Spit, led by Stu McLoughlin, now sadly without the late Howard Coggins, tackles one of the greatest stories of all – The Passion, in their latest show, touring this spring, with local performances at the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, on Wednesday 17th April, and the Exchange at Sturminster Newton on Friday 19th….

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European rice – ancient heritage, modern agriculture

YOU probably know that rice is grown in Europe – mainly in Italy. Carnaroli, arborio and vialone are three varieties of rice which are used for risotto and are readily available in good food shops and supermarkets. You might think that was “European rice” – but in fact European rice is something different, grown in…

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Moviola in April

THE story of Nicholas Winton, a man who helped to rescue hundreds of Jewish children from Czechoslovakia on the eve of the Second World War, is told in the film One Life, starring Anthony Hopkins as Winton in later life and Johnny Flynn as the young stockbroker and humanitarian. The film is the most popular…

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Theatre school explores the art of darkness

AN exciting partnership has been formed between the Theatre Royal Bath Theatre School and Mary Shelley’s House of Frankenstein in the city. The students and the museum will be producing a new production to explore the life and writing of Mary Shelley, the creator of the gothic horror story, Frankenstein. Around 20 young people, aged…

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New exhibition aims for the stars

A SPRING exhibition at Durlston Country Park’s Fine Foundation Gallery features spectacular photographs by Kevin Ferrioli. Landing Among The Stars, at the Swanage gallery from Wednesday 27th March to Sunday 14th April, is a celebration of Dorset’s dark skies. The exhibition takes a different look at the natural beauties of Dorset and the night-time sky…

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Constellations in the Cotswolds

THE brilliant and multi-award-winning Constellations, by Nick Payne, is the spring production at the Barn Theatre, in Cirencester, from Friday 29th March to Saturday 18th May. Described as a high-concept romance, “a Sliding Doors to the power of 100”, Constellations is a drama about time and memory, about death and grief and the power of…

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Memories and stories from rock’s great past

DURING the 1960s and 70s, if you were a music fan living in Bournemouth or Poole, or could get there easily, there was one shop that you would always make for, Jon’s Bus Stop Records, next to the Grand Cinema in Westbourne. Here you could not only find the latest chart hit you were looking…

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Story of a former slave

AN important new display at Dorset Museum & Art Gallery reveals the little-known story of John Brown, who escaped slavery in the USA and lived in Dorchester during the 1860s. On show until 30th May, the exhibition has been curated by Jordan Cole, a student at Bath Spa University, and uses research from a number…

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Fashioning Our World at Salisbury

A MINIATURE model of a cape once worn by the Queen singer Freddie Mercury is one of the star attractions at an important exhibition of fashion and costume at the Salisbury Museum, on until 12th May. Fashioning Our World exhibition will feature fashion items from the past which tell powerful stories of sustainability and includes…

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