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.

21 Jan • Megson

Megson Rob Bridge Standing for web

Dorchester Corn Exchange

8pm (doors and bar 7.30pm)

£14/£12 members and concessions / £5 Livefor5

Three times nominated in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and double winners of the Spiral Earth Awards Megson draw heavily on their Teesside heritage to create a truly unique brand of folk music.

The husband & wife duo bring an infectious mix of heavenly vocals, lush harmonies and driving rhythmic guitars. Comprising Debs Hanna (Vocals, Whistle, Piano Accordion) and Stu Hanna (Guitar, Mandola, Banjo) Megson have gained fame on the British folk scene, not only for their arresting & intelligent songwriting, but for their exquisite musicianship and northern humour. As fRoots Magazine puts it ‘if you don’t like the music here then you have a problem’

Summer 2016 saw the release of their much anticipated new studio album GOOD TIMES WILL COME AGAIN gaining them much critical acclaim. “One of the most original political folk sets of the year. Ewan MacColl would have been impressed.” said The Guardian. “Relevant, thought-provoking songs that would make Woody Guthrie proud”  said Acoustic Magazine. While folk broadcasting legend Mike Harding described it as “One of the top albums of 2016.”.

And during all this time, Stu even managed to be involved with other artists producing  & recording award winning music for Show of Hands, The Willows, Sam Kelly and many others.

‘Simply Brilliant’ The Sunday Express

‘A force in the folk revival’ Neil Spencer – The Observer

‘The most original duo on the British folk scene.’ Robin Denslow – The Guardian

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22 January • Lavolta

File 26-10-2016Corn Exchange
2.30pm (doors & bar 2pm)
£14 / £12 members & concessions

This wonderful 11-piece chamber ensemble, featuring vocalists Kate Westbrook and Sarah Owen, present a concert of extraordinary 20th century music. Highlights include William Walton’s Façade 2, which sets Edith Sitwell’s outlandish poetry to bold and mischievous music, and Luciano Berio’s Folk Songs, featuring songs from the United States, Armenia, France, Sardinia and more. The programme also features works by Judith Weir, Kurt Weill and Vaughan Williams, whose setting of A E Houseman’s Along the Field is another delight for a Sunday afternoon.

 

 

 

 

 

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27 January • From Ibiza to the Norfolk Broads

ibiza_webDorchester Corn Exchange
8pm (doors and bar 7:30pm)

£12/£10 and £5 Livefor5

Adrian Berry’s acclaimed sell-out production returns in this tale of a young David Bowie obsessive

Martin is a boy with problems – an illness no-one understands and a head full of sound and vision. So when an unexpected gift arrives on his birthday, Martin embarks on a thrilling journey in the footsteps of his obsession, leading him to discover some long-hidden truths about himself. What follows will change his life forever…

Powerful and touching, music and magic realism collide in this darkly funny and moving tour-de-force solo show featuring Alex Walton and the voice of comedian Rob Newman. With a blistering Bowie soundtrack, the life of the pop fan is dissected in this tale of unnatural teenage wildlife

This brand new and updated production sold out runs in London, Edinburgh and Germany .

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28 January • Zoe Lyons: Little Misfit

 

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Zoe hits the road with a brand new show for 2016 after a year that has seen her appear on Live at the Apollo (BBC2), The John Bishop show (BBC1) and win the Chortle Best comic award. You might also recognise her from Alan Davies as Yet Untitled, and her regular stints on Mock the Week and The News Quiz.

Not bad for a girl who has never really felt part of the gang. She was the awkward gay kid at school with a different accent and quite a severe bout of alopecia. Never easy for a girl to fit in if she is sporting a massive comb over while harbouring secret desires for Charlies Angels (The blonde one mostly, but with a comb over, who can afford to be fussy?).

Thankfully Zoe has reached that point in her life when the thought of actually fitting in would be utterly terrifying. She doesn’t want to be in anybody’s gang, she is now far happier being a Little Misfit.

Lyons has what it takes to delight any crowd” The Guardian
Confident and razor sharp” Observer
Quick fire observational gags delivered with utter conviction” Chortle
“Proper laugh out loud one liners” The Herald

Watch some clips of Zoe’s TV performances here.

28 January, 8pm

Tickets: £15 /13 (members & concessions)/ £5 Livefor5

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11 February • Jo Harman

Jo is an award winning vocalist, songwriter and band leader who has performed at some of Europe’s most prestigious venues.
The Daily Mirror called her ‘the finest female soul blues vocalist in the UK’ and Huey Morgan (Fun Lovin Criminals) said on his Radio 2
programme ‘sometimes you hear a voice that leaves you speechless…I am’.

Jo has also been asked to perform at a number of high profile events including Amnesty’s International’s Ambassador of Conscience Awards
in Berlin where she performed for, and with, Joan Baez and Patti Smith. In 2014 she was won ‘Female Vocalist of the Year’at the British Blues Awards and was runner up in the ‘Songwriter of the Year’ category.
In her live show, Jo performs a mixture of her own compositions and covers, ranging from hard rock to heart melting ballads
– all performed with utter conviction alongside her first rate band.

Not to be missed.

Tickets: £17 /£15 (members & concessions)

 

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12 February • Instant Sunshine

INSTANT-_webFollowing their side-splitting performance at our 2015 Summer Sunday fundraiser, Instant Sunshine return by popular demand! This unique musical comedy team has been entertaining audiences for years with their blend of witty songs and hilarious routines. They take a sideways look at every day life in a beguiling and very funny style all their own, and this drop of comical sunshine will definitely brighten up the dark winter days…

 

 

2.30pm (doors & bar 2pm)

£14 / £12 members & concessions

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