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.

Pearl_Gala

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.

2 September • Landance

Landance is creating a unique and exciting promenade performance, starting at dusk at Maumbury Rings. Dancers from Impermanence Dance Theatre and local youth dancers, in combination with live music, costume and lighting, will animate this brilliant performance which starts in a Neolithic henge at dusk, then leads you into a fantastic urban landscape as darkness descends.

The performance will go ahead rain or shine, so please come prepared for the weather conditions.

Saturday 2 September

DANCE – Maumbury Rings

7.45pm

Tickets are free, but booking is necessary:

7 September • A Sophisticated Lady: The Songs of Ella Fitzgerald • The Frank Griffith Quartet feat. Tina May

Ella

 

 

 

 

 

 

Celebrating the rich century of song that Ella Fitzgerald has given us, internationally recognised British singer, Tina May, will be presenting her renditions of hand-picked songs from Ella’s varied repertoire including classics such as How High The Moon and Every Time We Say Goodbye. Tina will be accompanied by USA saxophonist and clarinettist Frank Griffith and his quartet (Robin Aspland, piano, Jeremy Brown, bass and Rod Youngs, drums), who came to our attention in last year’s Kind Of Blue – Revisited.

The show will also feature the premiere of Frank’s composition “Ellabration”  with lyrics by Tina May.

Thursday 7 September
Dorchester Corn Exchange
8pm (doors & bar 7.30pm)
£15/£13 members & concessions

 

8 September • Cosi Fan Tutte (Opera Holloway)


Opera Holloway visit Dorchester with a hilarious production of Così Fan Tutte. Set during World War Two, sisters Fiordiligi and Dorabella appear as Landgirls forced to watch their boyfriends go off to war earlier than expected. Through trickery and  plenty of comical disguises, their sweethearts seek to find out how faithful the two girls really are. With sublime music by Mozart and an astonishingly talented cast performing with string quartet and piano accompaniment, this will be a captivating show.


Friday 8 September

Corn Exchange
7.30pm
£18 / £16 (Members & Concessions)

 

 

20 September • Folklore

A new dance production inspired by folk tales from Dorset, Somerset and Devon.Trapped in a living state of limbo, Jay is controlled by her over-protective sister on one side and drawn to an intriguing creature offering her a sense of freedom on the other. Folklore is a tale of confronting inner fears and the struggles we go through with ourselves and loved ones. Original recorded music composed by Ninebarrow (BBC 2 Folk Award Nominees 2017). Before the show, participants from Dorset Youth Dance will perform a curtain raiser and the show will be followed by a question and answer session.

 

Off the Map Dance Company

Wednesday 20 September

DANCE – Corn Exchange

8pm (doors & bar 7.30pm)

£8 / £6 / £5 Live for 5 / group discounts available for youth dance groups, contact box office for more details.

24 September • Mikado Workshop

Come and join the Opera Anywhere team for their 2 performances of The Mikado on the 30th September and the 1st October!

Opera Anywhere will be running a Mikado masterclass for singers at Dorchester Arts on Sunday 24th September from 11am to 4pm (including a 1-hour lunch break). The cost per singer is just £25 and an additional £5 if you need a copy of the Mikado score to be provided.

Sunday 24 September
Corn Exchange
11am
£25

30 September – 1 October • Mikado (Opera Anywhere)


The Mikado by Gilbert & Sullivan

Set in Japan, The Mikado presents a tangled web of love. Nanki-Poo, the son of the Mikado, flees in search of his true love, YumYum, to avoid marrying a much older suitor. Yum-Yum, however, is betrothed to Ko-Ko, the Lord High Executioner, against her will. Things, as you can see, are complicated! But can everything be righted before someone loses their head? Expect high jinx, lots of energy and clever wordplay as all is revealed.

Saturday 30 September, 7.30pm (doors & bar 7pm)
Sunday 1 October, 3pm (doors & bar 2.30pm)
Corn Exchange
£18 / £16 (Members & Concessions) / £5 Live for 5

30 September  7:30pm   

1 October      3pm       

 

5 October • The Wind in the Willows: A Folk Opera

A brand-new musical adaptation by Chris Green of Kenneth Grahame’s well-loved classic aimed at adults and older children. Green Matthews (formerly Blast From The Past) and special guests Vicki Swan and Jonny Dyer use music and song to bring this timeless tale to sparkling life. Join Ratty, Mole, Badger and of course the irrepressible Mr Toad as they embark on adventures on the river, on the road and in the dark and dangerous Wild Wood. This folk music performance uses traditional English folk melodies set to new lyrics. The four musicians paint a vivid picture of Grahame’s world – from the humble comfort of Mole End to the grandeur of Toad Hall.

Green Matthews
Thursday 5 October
Music – Corn Exchange
8pm (doors & bar 7.30pm)
£14 / £12 members and concessions