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.

Wed 23 May • Stacey Kent • I Know I Dream

The internationally acclaimed, Grammy-nominated vocalist, Stacey Kent, returns to Dorchester for a very special show, featuring music from her latest album ‘I Know I Dream’ (Sony Music/Okeh).

This beautiful collection of songs, includes American Standards, Bossa Nova classics, Chansons, as well as original songs and reprises of some of Stacey’s most loved repertoire – including numbers co-written by Nobel prizewinner Kazuo Ishiguro, whose songwriting partnership with Stacey has formed an essential plank of her repertoire.

 

Stacey’s international touring schedule keeps her on the road for most of the year, so her return to Dorchester provides a rare opportunity for UK fans see her ‘live’ in concert.

Wednesday 23 May
Dorchester Corn Exchange
8pm (doors & bar 7.30pm)
£23 / £21 members & concessions

Wed 23 May • Following Paul Robeson’s Footsteps

Following P Robeson's Footsteps

Ahead of his performance here at Dorchester Arts, Nigerian-born Tayo Aluko presents his talk about his Paul Robeson-inspired play, ‘Call Mr Robeson’.

As part of the upcoming ‘Journey to Justice’ exhibition at Shire Hall, Tayo Aluko will be talking about his play ‘Call Mr Robeson’ which he will be performing the following evening here at Dorchester Arts.

Aluko originally trained as an architect, until a chance conversation led to him discover the story of American actor, singer and civil rights campaigner Paul Robeson. It was a moment that would send him on a very different life path: one that has taken him around the world with his play Call Mr Robeson, including a visit to Dorchester in 2011.

In this presentation linked to the play, Aluko seeks to explain how better-known civil-rights figures are following in Robeson’s own footsteps. With recent developments in America and elsewhere, the journey’s end still remains elusive, and he asks, “which way now?”

Shire Hall and Dorchester Arts are working in partnership as Aluko will be performing his play, ‘Call Mr. Robeson’ here at Dorchester Arts the following night, Thursday 24 May 2018.

If you buy combined talk and Call Mr Robeson play tickets you will receive a £1 discount on your purchase.

Shire Hall
Wednesday 23 May
7.30pm

Thurs 24 May • Call Mr Robeson: A Life, with songs

Paul Robeson: world-famous American actor, singer and civil rights campaigner. When he gets too radical and outspoken for the establishment’s liking, he is branded a traitor to his country, is harassed, and denied opportunities to perform or travel.

This roller-coaster journey in words and music through Robeson’s remarkable life highlights how his pioneering and heroic political activism led many to describe him as the forerunner of the civil rights movement. It features some famous songs (including a dramatic rendition of Ol’ Man River), speeches, and a spectacularly defiant testimony to the Senate House Un-American Activities Committee.

Show length: 80 minutes (no interval)

Ahead of his performance at Dorchester Arts, Nigerian-born Tayo Aluko will be presenting a talk about this Paul Robeson-inspired play, ‘Call Mr Robeson’ at Shire Hall on Wednesday 23 May.

If you buy combined talk and Call Mr Robeson play tickets you will receive a £1 discount on your purchase.

Corn Exchange
Thursday 24 May
8pm
£13 / £11 Members and concessions
Live for £5

 

Wed 30 May • Persuasion

Theatre6’s world premiere of Jane Austen’s final novel adapted for the stage by Stephanie Dale (known to many through her links with Dorchester’s Community Plays) and directed by Theatre6’s Kate McGregor (who also directed the 2016 tour of Sue Wylie’s Kinetics). Filled with live music, drama, laughter and romance from a cast of actors and musicians, Theatre6’s Persuasion is not to be missed.

On previous Theatre6 shows Gabriel and The Scottsboro Boys:

‘A rewarding, haunting evening’ The Telegraph

‘A show that boasts a brilliant ensemble’ The Guardian

Wednesday 30 May
Corn Exchange 8pm (doors & bar 7.30pm)
£13 / £11 members & concessions / £5 Live for 5

Thurs 31 May • Stones and Bones • Squashbox Theatre

SQUASHBOX THEATRE presents:

 Stones and Bones

Come on a journey to Ancient Cornwall…
A land of fiery volcanoes and strange prehistoric creatures…
A land of myth and legend, giants and druids…
A land of ancient stone circles and mysterious monuments…
A land of Stones and Bones…

Squashbox Theatre’s new show is a marvellous mix of history and mystery!

Find out all about archaeology and fossils, say hello to one of your stone-age ancestors, hear stories of giants and wizards, see a volcano erupting before your very eyes, and maybe even glimpse a dinosaur or two…

There will be thrills and spills galore, but also lots of laughs, plenty of puppets, songs, slapstick, tall tales and crazy characters – all presented in that unique Squashbox style!

Stones And Bones is 50 mins long and suitable for everyone aged 5+.

“Slick, original and funny, Stones and Bones is a one man whirlwind tour of prehistoric Cornwall, and is a must see for all Dinosaur lovers, young and old alike.” Sophia Richards, guide2bristol.com

“Craig’s success lies in the fact that he talks to, rather than at, his young audience, and he does it all with a huge sense of joy and fun that is as inspiring as it is infectious. An engaging entertainer to be treasured.” Frank Ruhrmund, The Cornishman

 “Craig Johnson is totally at ease with his audience, adult and child alike, and combines an innate understanding and delight in storytelling with fantastic comic and musical skill.” Mike Shepherd, Founder and Artistic Director, Kneehigh Theatre

Thursday 31 May
Dorchester Corn Exchange
11am & 1.30pm (doors half an hour before each performance)
£8 / £6 members, concessions and under 18s / £25 family ticket (max. 2 adults)

Thurs 31 May • Calan

Fiddles, guitar, accordion, bagpipes and step dancing explode into life

Introducing a new generation to Welsh music, Calan are bringing their infectious rhythms and high energy routines to celebrate the release of their latest album, Solomon.

They come with accordion, harp, guitar, fiddles and Welsh bagpipes along with a virtuoso performance from a champion step dancer.

A fresh and vibrant sound with a pounding beat set against the backdrop of old traditions. Songs include the legend of Wales’ very own fairy realm with a tale of magic, myth and mischief along with some of the most beautiful and haunting melodies.

‘…..a diverse ride between giddy Welsh reeling, healthy acoustic folk-pop with upfront attitude and brashness of youth.”  (FROOTS)

“…there’s nowt as dear as folk – especially when played with the grace, daring and sheer joy this multi- instrumental five-piece bring to a winning selection of reels, jigs and hornpipes” (THE MIRROR)

“Folk just got a kick up of the Noughties… ..stunning use of instrumentation, gorgeously crafted songs, sprightly foot-tappers, verve and raw excitement” (BELFAST TELEGRAPH)

Thursday 31 May
Dorchester Corn Exchange
8pm (doors & bar 7.30pm)
£16 / £14 members & concessions