New year, new resolve…

by Karen Malim

Who hasn’t made promises for the New Year, ones that we are convinced we’ll keep, NO MATTER WHAT, and usually give up on just a week or two in?  I know I have. For instance, I have lost count of the number of years I have resolved to do something about my ‘baby weight’ and have failed miserably at the first hurdle – which usually takes the form of leftover Christmas cake or my daughter’s famous Yorkshire puddings.  I wonder…will this be the year I finally succeed?  After all, it’s over 22 years since the last of those babies appeared on the scene and, to be perfectly honest, the excuse is sounding a bit lame – even to me!

Or that novel…the one that’s been running around in my head for a decade or two and I keep telling everyone is just about to be written…could this be the year that a first draft at least sees the light of day? Hmmm…sadly I have my doubts!

This year my resolutions include a new addition, one I really do intend to keep – and which is a darned sight easier than losing weight or writing novels!

A bit of background…

Following my appointment as the Fundraising and Development go-to person for Dorchester Arts, I have had the opportunity to see an eclectic mix of top-notch performers…and shamefully I have not taken full advantage of this.  I missed Marcus Brigstocke, Forest Forge’s Woman of Flowers and Craig Ogden.  I did, however, get to see the wonderful Swan Lake, the thought-provoking Fracked or Fiction, and, earlier in the year, Angel Exit Theatre’s brilliant Ballad of Martha Brown (twice, it was so good).  I also had a huge amount of fun at the ‘Would I Lie to You’ wine tasting I organised early in December, and was thrilled to see nearly 100 other people having a great time too.  We raised over £1,200; a really encouraging result for what was our first major fundraiser.

Back to those resolutions…

In 2015 I am going to take full advantage of our artistic director Mark’s imaginative and enticing programming, starting with the jam-packed-with-goodies spring season.  I’ll be getting tickets for the Piaf – The Songs on Valentines’ Day, the sophisticated and sultry singer-songwriter Eleanor McEvoy and the quirky and intelligent The Little Unsaid.  I also do not want to miss the adaptations of 3 Bronte classics, Forest Forge’s illuminating and playful Leaves on the Line and Gerard Logan’s Oscar Wilde double bill.

As much as anything in the programme next season, I am looking forward to welcoming you to our special fundraising and 30th birthday celebration event, The Pearl Gala.

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Like so many arts organisations, we face challenges with our funding and in our current facilities only a limited percentage of our income can come from box office and earned income.

In order for us keep the magic alive and to deliver more great art to more people, we need your support.  The Pearl Gala promises to be a brilliant evening and one to remember – as well as being an opportunity for you to help us continue to give the gift of the arts to Dorchester.

I truly believe that where the arts thrive, people and places do too.  And I know that without the arts in my life – and on my doorstep – I would be very much the poorer.       I am looking forward to sticking to my new New Year’s resolution this year and seeing as many Dorchester Arts’ performances as possible.  Not a difficult one to keep when there’s so much excellence on offer.

 

DA Staff Guest Blog: From Indian Dancing to Marketing & Fundraising Assistant

This month we are delighted to welcome our new Marketing and Fundraising Assistant Tasha Lummes to Dorchester Arts. Here are a few words from her…

 

tashaDorchester Arts feels a bit like a second home to me! I have had a go at just about everything from traditional Indian dance classes to African drum workshops. I even had a disco in the Arts Centre for my 14th birthday party. More recently I have enjoyed various folk gigs and volunteering for the Dorchester Festival.

I was a member of Dorchester Youth Theatre from juniors through to seniors when there were only two groups, now it has become so popular they are four sessions spanning an entire Tuesday evening, which is absolutely fantastic. The annual summer project Combined Arts week, was always the highlight of my summer. I always enjoy helping out with set and costumes along with other DYT alumni, keen
to give something back to an organisation that we all had so much fun being a part of. In 2013 I was proud to be part of the National Theatre Connections project, which culminated in a sell-out performance at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth and a standing ovation at the National Theatre in London.

A date that is always in my Dorchester Arts diary is Miracle Theatre’s annual performance in Maumbry Rings, such a great evening with a picnic huddled under lots of sleeping bags and copious layers of jumpers, you just have to keep your fingers crossed that it doesn’t rain! (Having said that, I have experienced heroic stoicism from both performers and local audience members in carrying on and staying during massive down pours which is a testament to Dorchester folk’s avid appreciation of great theatre!)

This season I have already seen Shanty Theatre’s ‘Story Giant’ with it’s creative set, myriad of accents and compilation of exotic stories with multiple academic references meant that this play really did have universal appeal for the whole family. If you missed it there is still an opportunity to see it at Bridport Arts Centre on 25th October! I would definitely recommend it. I have also worked behind the bar for Tir na nOg, very beautiful haunting voices mixed in with some silly songs. It was really lovely chatting to people who had seen them perform in the late ‘70s and were delighted to have the opportunity to hear them play again.

Having grown up touring around various arts centres and village halls in Dorset to see Forest Forge, I am very excited to see their latest production ‘Woman of Flowers’, coming to Dorchester Arts on Saturday 25 October. I am really intrigued to see how they interweave sign language and subtitles into the fabric of their performance, along with live music, dance and video. It is so important to me that the arts are inclusive, and it really does promise to be a multi-disciplinary and multi-sensory experience!


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I am also excited to see Winter Mountain perform on 29th November because I love listening to live folk music. The last thing that I really looking forward to see this season is Swan Lake by Ballet Theatre UK at the Corn Exchange Wednesday 17th to Thursday 18th December. Having seen them perform an interpretation of Dickens’ ‘A Christmas Carol’ last year, I am excited to expect innovative choreography and exquisite costumes. We really are lucky that the company brings such amazing ballet productions to Dorchester!

Whilst I am working at Dorchester Arts it is my personal aim to get more young people through our doors, whether it is volunteering on the bar or the box office for events or reaching them via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram so that they know about our great programme of events, from gigs to comedians to theatre performances. It is also important to me to assist Karen Malim our Fundraising and Development Officer in securing funding to allow Dorchester Arts to continue to offer the fantastic variety of arts I have been lucky enough to experience and join in with over so many years!

 

I look forward to seeing you at some of the next events over the coming season,

Tasha

 

 

 

 

 

 

Arts Council Announcement

Dorchester Arts

Arts Council England has announced its decision in regard to the National Portfolio funding for arts organisations across the UK. While Dorchester Arts was unsuccessful in its application to remain within the NPO framework, Artistic Director Mark Tattersall says,

“Although we are of course disappointed not to remain part of the Arts Council National Portfolio it’s business as usual for Dorchester Arts as we have made sure that we are not reliant on one stream of funding alone. We have the support of so many other people and organisations – our Board of Trustees, our members, West Dorset District Council, Dorchester Town Council, our sponsors, volunteers and perhaps above all the ever growing audiences and participants who show us week in and week out how much we are valued by our local community. Our Arts Council funding continues for the next nine months and we are already discussing other funding routes with them outside the NPO framework. In the meantime we will be talking to all those who support us to make sure that Dorchester continues to have the arts at its heart all the year round”.

We remain optimistic for the future of Dorchester Arts and we look forward to welcoming you to our next exciting events of theatre, music and comedy. Click here to see What’s On.

14 October • The Canterbury Tales • Blast From The Past

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Dorchester Corn Exchange

8pm (doors and bar 7:30pm)

Blast from the Past present six of the best-loved tales, told in a variety of styles. Taking visual inspiration from medieval mystery plays and complete with a touring set which has been specially constructed to resemble a medieval travelling theatre, the three-man cast use drama, verse, physical theatre and song to bring Chaucer’s characters to riotous life, telling tales packed with colourful characters and strange situations. This is definitely not a dry academic take on English literature – the show is fast, furious, occasionally filthy and invariably funny!

Suitable for ages 12+

£12/£10 members and concessions

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27 October • Halloween Masks •

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Dorchester Town Hall

10am-12 midday

Join Megan, our Participation Officer, to create some spooky masks this October Half Term at Dorchester Arts! Use recycled & unusual materials to make something that scare off even the most ghastly ghouls this Halloween…perhaps even a few parents too!

Age guidance: 8-12 years

Please note: parents/carers are welcome to stay or can leave the children for the duration of the workshop.

£8/£6 for siblings

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27 October • A Wessex Autumn Fundraiser •

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Ashton Farm Barn

6:30pm (doors 6pm)

Join us for a celebration of the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness, taking place at Ashton Farm Barn – a special place you never knew was there; but which you will never forget.

To complement this magical setting, we have created an evening of entertainment that will be a celebration of the senses and a journey of flavours; tasting local ciders, brandy, apple cake, bread, cheeses and meats. Folk musician and story-teller Tim Laycock will provide traditional music and stories; and author Christopher Nicholson will read from his novel Winter – a story of Thomas Hardy and the Hardy Players. Tickets to include a complimentary welcome drink; food and drink tasting.

All profits go to Dorchester Arts.

£18

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Turner Associates

9 December • A Christmas Carol • Living Spit Theatre

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Dorchester Corn Exchange

8pm (doors and bar 7:30pm)

Christmas is coming,

The Goose is panicking,

And Living Spit are back

To start your Christmas with a zing!

Hard-hearted Ebenezer Scrooge hates the season of goodwill. Until a visit from three Phantoms one memorable Christmas Eve makes him rethink his miserly ways and turn his wicked life upside down… blah blah blah.

We all know the story. We’ve all seen the film(s). But who’s the best Scrooge of all time? Albert Finney? Alistair Sim? Patrick Stewart?

Well, just hold your horses there, Sir/Madam! Because you’ve yet to witness the actor Howard Coggins’s unique take on the eponymous anti-hero of Dickens’ festive masterpiece.

Like a coiled spring he waits in the wings, ready to take up the mantle and give the performance of his career as the mean miserabilist, Ebenezer Scrooge. And he’s brought Stu Mcloughlin along for the ride to dress up, sing, dance and generally act like a complete idiot whilst playing ALL the other parts.

With silly songs,  and more Dickensian daftness than you can shake a selection box at – a feast of festive foolery! This is definitely not the family favourite you know, this is a Christmas show most definitely for adults!

★★★★ “A glorious celebration of silliness, fully appreciated by a packed home crowd.”
The Stage on Elizabeth I: Virgin on the Ridiculous

‘Brilliantly bonkers’
Bristol Culture

Suitable for ages 14+

Also at Marine Theatre and Bridport Arts Centre.

£12/£10 members and concessions/ £5 Livefor5

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10 December • The Producers • DA Blues

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Dorchester Corn Exchange

8pm (doors and bar 7:30pm)

A warm welcome back to Dorchester for The Producers as they come to the end of their nationwide 25th Anniversary tour. Over the past quarter of a century they have established themselves as one of the UK’s top blues bands and have played as far afield as New Zealand, Australia, the USA and the Bahamas, alongside regular tours throughout Europe. They have also been featured in session on the Paul Jones Blues Show on BBC Radio 2 and have been praised by Johnnie Walker and Bob Harris. Book ahead to avoid disappointment and be prepared for an early Christmas party – you never know what to expect from these guys!

£13/£6.50* IN ADVANCE: £14/£7* ON THE DOOR Senior Citizen ticket: £11 advance/£12 door.*Under 18 or with N.U.S. Card

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16 December • Joglaresa •

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Holy Trinity Church

7pm (doors 6:30pm)

Celebrate Yule with the luscious five female voices of Joglaresa – there’ll be nowells, wassails and Christmas lullabies (including the gorgeous Nuns of Chester Christmas lullaby). Accompanying themselves on fidel, harp, bells, bagpipes and percussion this is possibly our tinkliest and twinkliest Christmas programme to date…

“Joglaresa are at the forefront of singers and instrumentalists whose study of improvisation and ethnomusicology informs and shapes their imaginative re-creation of medieval music-making” The Times

“One marked highlight at St. John’s Smith Square’s Christmas festivities was Joglaresa – it was packed with punters, for Belinda Sykes’ spirited medieval ensemble” The Independent

£14/£12 members and concession

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18 December • Mad Dog Mcrea •

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Dorchester Corn Exchange

8pm (doors and bar 7:30pm)

Following the sell out show last year here at the Corn Exchange, Mad Dog Mcrea and their famous Purple Happy Bus return to Dorchester with their infectious mix of folk rock, pop, gypsy jazz and bluegrass.

Expect another hearty mix of original songs about adventure, drinking, love and life, to traditional songs of gypsies, fairies and legless pirates. This talented tribe never disappoints!

‘This is rowdy, heartfelt, room-shaking and spirit- stirring music that only the dead can’t enjoy’ Itdstate.com

£15/£13 members and concessions

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