What's on in pictures

Earth Photo exhibition at Stourhead

THE National Trust’s Stourhead near Mere is hosting the Royal Geographical Society, Earth Photo 2024 exhibition, from 24th June to 9th September. Earth Photo is an annual, international open-call exhibition and awards programme for images and films that tell stories about our planet. Co-Directed by the Royal Geographical Society), Forestry England and Parker Harris, the…

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Party Games!, Bath Theatre Royal

IN chapter 26 of the King James version of the Bible you will find the line: “No man can serve two masters.” This world premiere of Michael McManus’ new politically-based play is inclined to ignore the truth of those words and rather falls between two stools. Of course, you can mix drama with comedy and…

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Listen to the river at Messums

Until 1st July, a sound installation created by Orlando Gough and Alastair Goolden continues in the ancient Messums tithe barn at Tisbury. De Nadder / di -næd.ər is “a season of no things”, and the soundscape is inspired both by the flow of the adjacent river Nadder and a play on the word “nada” meaning…

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Winterreise, Ustinov Studio, Theatre Royal, Bath

WHEN Laurence Boswell decided to move on after seven-plus highly successful years as artistic director of Bath’s Ustinov Studio, it was a little like Manchester United searching for a replacement for their legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Unlike United, who have had seven new leaders in the nine years since Sir Alex retired, the Ustinov…

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A Child of Science, Bristol Old Vic

GARETH Farr’s new play, A Child of Science, is clearly a heartfelt project for the writer and director – and by the end it has hauled on the heartstrings of everyone in the audience. It’s the true story of the development of In Vitro Fertilisation and the years of obstacles that the three pioneers, Patrick…

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Tolpuddle martyrs in the dock

DORSET’S New Hardy Players take a break from Thomas Hardy stories this year to bring to life – and new audiences – the true Dorset story of the men whose courage and sacrifice were the most important factors in the development of the English Trade Union movement. Six Men of Dorset will be performed in…

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Midsummer dreams at Lyme

THE 2024 Lyme Regis community play will be A Midsummer Lyme’s Dream, a local reimagining of the favourite Shakespearean comedy, at the Marine Theatre from 12th to 15th June. Locally based actor and writer Andrew Rattenbury, who has written the community plays for several years, has created an irreverent, modern-day blast through this enchanting comedy,…

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Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire … Bridport

THE shipping forecast celebrates its centenary this year, and Charlie Connelly, author of the best-selling book, Attention All Shipping: A Journey Round the Shipping Forecast, performs his hilarious and fascinating history of this important maritime service at Bridport Arts Centre on Saturday 22nd June. The shipping forecast started out as (and remains) an essential service…

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Nocturnal wildlife wonders on Brownsea

THE National Trust is running a series of supper and safari evenings on Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour on Thursday evenings throughout June. The aim is to give people a closer view of nature in a truly beautiful and tranquil setting. The evenings begin with a boat ride over to the island from Sandbanks, followed…

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You are invited to the ball …

TURN the clock in your head back to the time of Jane Austen and imagine you have been invited to a ball at Bath’s most fashionable venue, the Assembly Rooms. Then move forwards in time and here it is – an invitation to a ‘Fancy Ball’ on Saturday 15th June, from 6.30pm, at the elegant…

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Hardy novel opera premiere for Dorset Opera’s golden jubilee

DORSET Opera celebrates its 50th anniversary this year, with performances of one of the world’s best-loved operas and the premiere of an opera adapted from a favourite Thomas Hardy, with its roots firmly in Dorset. There will be seven performances of the two works at Bryanston School’s Coade Hall, Blandford Forum, from 22nd to 27th…

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BBC Young Musician pianist on tour

THE 2010 BBC Young Musician of the Year, pianist Lara Melda, comes to Dorset and Somerset for the June Concerts in the West series, with recitals at Bridport Arts Centre at 11.30am and Ilminster Arts Centre at 7.30pm on Friday 21st June and the Dance House, Crewkerne, on Saturday 22nd at 7,30. The talented young…

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The Dressing Book, The Rude Mechanicals, Abbotsbury and touring

JUST a short time before the powerful Bridgerton family burst into the London society, 30 miles away in Tunbridge Wells the social scene was already abuzz, and “fashion”, in all its many meanings, was the beating heart of life. There, coal merchant and magistrate Sir George Erstwhile daily reminded his decorative wife that she was…

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The Lost Songs of Scilly

POOLE Lighthouse and Pound Arts at Corsham are among the venues for a June tour that explores the stories and songs of the Isles of Scilly. Lost Songs of Scilly is a collaboration between Piers Lewin and John Patrick Elliott, creating music to celebrate and explore a sense of these very special islands off the…

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Somerset Printmakers at the Rural Life Museum

THE historic setting of Somerset Rural Life Museum at Glastonbury, with the ancient tithe barn, is the setting for a showcase of artwork by 13 printmakers living and working in Somerset, from 25th May to 1st September. Somerset Printmakers are a group of professional artists dedicated to creating original prints and pushing the boundaries of…

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Birthday Day, Wassail at The Speedwell, Crewkerne and touring

WASSAIL, known as Somerset’s resident theatre company, is back with a bang (or at least a strawberry pavlova) in a new show called Birthday Day, currently touring until the beginning of September. Based on a short story by company founder Nick White, it does what Wassail does best – get into the heart of the…

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Thirty plays from 21 companies in the open-air this summer

IT’S hard to imagine sitting in the open air on a balmy summer’s evening after the winter and spring we have had, but that clearly hasn’t deterred any of the touring theatre companies from planning a 2024 season full of delights to suit all ages and most tastes. The post-COVID doldrums have receded, and new…

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Hamilton, Bristol Hippodrome

IF you describe opera as being a story set to music which has virtually no spoken word, then this rap-style, sung through musical is an opera. Such a description would not be welcomed with open arms by the producers, because, whereas modern and classical ballet have, to the benefit of each, embraced each other, classical…

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Love Riot, Miracle Theatre, ECOS Frome and touring

IT’S good to see the Cornish-based Miracle Theatre back on the summer touring circuit, and this year they have chosen what they describe as a reimagining of Hannah Cowley’s play The Belle’s Stratagem and entitled it Love Riot. The company has been touring a huge variety of plays over more than two decades, so it…

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A Midsummer Lyme’s Dream, Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis

MORE than 40 worthy residents of Lyme Regis, and scores more volunteers making sets, props and costumes, and moving them and the audiences around the Marine Theatre – that’s what it takes to mount a community play, and this group is now very good at it. Locally-born writer Andy Rattenbury, on this fifth community play…

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A family torn apart by sudden death

‘Grief is love that has nowhere to go’ – Anon WHAT happens to a happy family when one member dies suddenly? This is the poignant and powerful theme of Sue Ashby’s new play, Sweet Sorrow, which will be staged by SNADS – Sturminster Newton Dramatic Society – at the Exchange on Friday and Saturday 21st…

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Crime, comedy … and Ben Hur!

SIDMOUTH is once again getting ready for its unique summer programme of entertainment – the beautiful south Devon town’s Manor Pavilion theatre hosts the country’s only surviving summer rep season, from 24th June to 21st September. This year audiences for the three-month series of plays will be treated not only to the familiar mix of…

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An artist rooted in nature

PAINTER Julie Herring attributes her love of nature and its importance in her work to her parents. Her new exhibition, Rooted in Nature, at the Fine Foundation Gallery at Durlston Country Park, Swanage, from 12th to 27th June, is dedicated to them. She says: “My work in this exhibition is dedicated to my late parents….

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Moviola in June

A FILM about a grumpy classics teacher and a bereaved school cook, forced to spend Christmas at school with a few students with nowhere to go, doesn’t sound like a great premise – but The Holdovers has been a huge critical and box-office success, and will be Moviola’s most screened movie in June. Paul Giamatti…

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Stourhead in bloom

STOURHEAD Gardens are beautiful at any time of the year – gorgeous in the full colours of autumn, magical on a frosty or snowy morning, verdant with freshly opening leaves in early spring – but May and June sees the gardens at their most colourful. Henry Hoare’s paradise looks its best with vivid rhododendrons and…

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Clean lines at Sladers Yard

CERAMICIST Yo Thom and painter Vanessa Gardiner do not immediately have much in common, but when you see their work together – as you can at Sladers Yard gallery at West Bay until 14th July – you see synergies and a shared sense of structure in the clean lines of their very different artworks. North…

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Midsummer, Barn Theatre Cirencester

DAVID Grieg’s new “play with songs,” Midsummer, made a triumphant premiere at Colchester’s Mercury Theatre, and now plays at the Barn at Cirencester until late June. I can’t urge you enough to go and see it. Musicals are strange things these days. Some of them gain immediate cult status and continue for season after season…

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