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!


529200_3664366164692_1678084866_n
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 10 Jan (Gala Premiere) & Fri 12 Jan • Kinetics Film Showings

Kinetics

DT2 Productions, in association with Band Films and Dorchester Arts

 

 

What can a teenage boy who is into free running and a middle-aged woman with Parkinson’s possibly have in common?

The desire to move….

Kinetics is based on the remarkable true story of two people seemingly at polar opposites. As Rose tries to come to terms with her diagnosis, an unlikely friendship springs up when Lukas comes tumbling into her life. But will the bond between them be strong enough when things go wrong?

Kinetics was written by Dorchester-based actor and writer Sue Wylie in reaction to her diagnosis with early-onset Parkinson’s. As a stage play it has toured the South West and London, selling more than 1500 tickets and receiving phenomenal feedback from audiences and medical professionals alike, for its bravery, honesty, humour and passion.

This film version will not only take the play to a wider audience but is also being used as a training and information resource for Parkinson’s nurses, carers, doctors and medical students.

About the stage version:

This is an amazing story that needs to be told. (Dorset Echo)

Watching your play was a very emotional experience for me, as much of what you are saying is how my journey has been…a wonderful vehicle to give the public a real insight to living with Parkinson’s. (Audience feedback)

Extremely brave and well constructed. Should be compulsory viewing for anyone caring for those with Parkinson’s. (Audience feedback)

Kinetics Gala Premiere
Wednesday 10 January
FILM – Plaza Cinema
6pm
£10 to include drinks reception at Corn Exchange after the film

Kinetics 2nd showing
Friday 12 January
FILM – Plaza Cinema
6pm
£7

 

Fri 19 January • The Surfin’ Birds • Fuelled by Cider

The Surfin’ Birds (Fuelled by Cider)

The Surfin’ Birds have earned a reputation for being one of the most exciting live acts in the area, and have been making waves further afield with stand-out appearances at Boomtown, Outcider, Cursus and Sark Roots festivals in 2017.

Their music is simultaneously raw and visceral yet highly crafted, with a desire for constant experimentation that puts them way ahead of their contemporaries. They appeal to fans of rockabilly, surf, psychedelic and good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll music, without ever being constrained by any one genre.

‘All My Dreams’ is the band’s second full length album and will be released on the Fuelled By Cider label, with copies available to buy at the gig itself. It is the product of a period of intense energy, vision and hard work from the band and looks set to push them on to bigger things in 2018.

Guitarist and frontman Paul Sharod told us: “’Surf, psychedelia, rock ‘n’ roll, blues, jazz, poetry and punk – this album has elements of it all. ‘All My Dreams’ is our most experimental and creative record to date. The whole process was laid back and grooving from the off, a purely organic process between four best mates.”

Support on the night comes from highly acclaimed Bristol rockabilly / soul band The Hawkmen, who are grabbing attention themselves with regular airplay on BBC 6 Music and a track on the latest Craig Charles compilation CD. Local singer-songwriter Amy Brown will open the night in style.

Friday 19 January
Dorchester Corn Exchange
8pm (doors & bar 7.30pm)
£11 / £9 members & concessions

Sat 20 January • A Viennese Whirl • Swansea City Opera

A VIENNESE WHIRL!

 

The acclaimed Swansea City Opera presents a captivating production – A Viennese Whirl, evoking the magic and music of Vienna and transporting audiences to the banks of the dreamy Danube River. Enjoy an enchanting evening of singing and soaring violin melodies from some of the most popular Viennese composers including Kreisler, Lehar, Kalman and Johann Strauss, as well as operettas such as ‘The Merry Widow’, ‘Die Fledermaus’ and ‘The Gypsy Baron’.

Echoing the wonderful voices of the era and including songs by Richard Tauber, a carefully selected cast of tenor, soprano, violin and piano accompanist has been assembled for this amusing and entertaining evening hosted by the charismatic Artistic Director of SCO, Brendan Wheatley, who introduces the music of the Viennese greats in his own inimitable style.

A Viennese Whirl is certain to delight and enthral its audiences.

 

 

 

 

Programme includes such gems as:

Adele’s Laughing Song (Die Fledermaus) – Johann Strauss
Girls Were Made to Love and Kiss (Paganini) – Franz Lehár
Vilja Song (The Merry Widow) – Franz Lehár
Love Unspoken (The Merry Widow) – Franz Lehár
Roses from Tyrol (Der Vogelhändler) – Carl Zeller
Vienna Blood (Wiener Blut) – Johann Strauss
Annen-Polka – Johann Strauss
Song and Czardas (Zigeunerliebe) – Franz Lehár
Vienna, City of my Dreams – Rudolf Sieczynski
Czardas, for Violin – Vittorio Monti
Liebesfreud – Kreisler

A Viennese Whirl (Swansea City Opera)
Saturday 20 January
OPERA – Dorchester Corn Exchange
8pm (doors & bar 7.30pm)
£16 / £14 members & concessions

Sun 21 January • Code Breakers • The Story of Enigma (Dr Mark Baldwin)

Codebreakers is one of the Second World War’s most fascinating stories.  Allied Codebreakers deciphered a vast number of German secret messages and used the intelligence gained to hasten Allied victory. Dr Mark Baldwin provides an entertaining and instructive account of the Enigma machine, the code-breaking work at Bletchley Park and U-boats.

The show is followed by a question and answer session and a hands-on demonstration of one of the very few surviving Enigma machines.

 

 

“Dr Mark Baldwin’s enthusiasm and knowledge had the audience spell-bound as he unravelled the mysteries, workings and dedication that went on at Bletchley Park.” (Susan Bailey, BCS Branch Committee)

 

Code Breakers – The Story of Enigma (Dr Mark Baldwin)
Sunday 21 January
Entertainment – Corn Exchange
2.30pm (doors & bar 2pm)
£14 / £12 members and concessions / £5 Live for 5

Wed 24 January • Sultans of String

Three times JUNO (Canada’s Grammy) nominees Sultans of String are an “energetic and exciting band with talent to burn!” (Maverick Magazine, UK).

Thrilling audiences with their genre-hopping passport of Celtic reels, Flamenco, Gypsy-jazz, Arabic, and Cuban rhythms, fiery violin dances with kinetic guitar, while funky bass lays down unstoppable grooves. Throughout, acoustic strings meet electronic wizardry to create layers and depth of sound. Celebrating a milestone 10 years together, Sultans of String have hit #1 across Canada on world music charts, #6 on Billboard (world), and received multiple awards and accolades, including a SiriusXM Award, 1st place in the ISC (out of 15,000 entries), 3 Canadian Folk Music Awards, plus invitations to perform/record with such luminaries as The Chieftains, Sweet Honey In The Rock, and David Bromberg.

Bandleader/violinist Chris McKhool (Jesse Cook, Pavlo), a Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medal recipient, was raised in a Lebanese-Egyptian household just bursting with music and diversity. Growing up, he was fed a steady diet of delicious musicality alongside Middle Eastern cuisine and violin lessons. When he first heard founding guitarist Kevin Laliberté’s (Jesse Cook) rumba rhythm, their musical synergy created Sultans of String’s signature sound – the intimate and playful relationship between violin and guitar. From this rich foundation, the dynamic duo grew, featuring such amazing musical friends as in-the-pocket bass master Drew Birston.

Sultans of String have been touring many taste-making forums such as UK’s legendary Celtic Connections, NYC’s Birdland and The Lincoln Center. They recently sold out Koerner Hall (Toronto’s Albert Hall), and performed with Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Stratford, Ontario and Niagara Symphony Orchestras, as well with Kingsfield POPS in Maine and Maryland’s Annapolis Symphony. Sultans of String were recently filmed by MPBN’s Maine Arts! in a feature concert, and performed live on BBC TV, BBC Radio, Irish National Radio, and the internationally syndicated shows WoodSongs, World Cafe, and on SiriusXM in Washington.

“Chris McKhool and the boys are fantastic!”
Bob Ezrin (Producer–Pink Floyd. Kiss)

“Sultans of String are one of Canada’s hottest new musical exports, dynamically embodying their homeland’s values of tolerance and respect for diverse cultures.”
International Celtic Connections Festival, UK

“Impressive, considerable virtuosity and tasteful arrangements… its positive vibes are irresistible”
Songlines UK

“Absolutely brilliant”
BBC Radio

“It seems that Sultans of String can’t get themselves out of bed at the moment without finding themselves nominated for one award or another. In a word: Magnificent”
R2 – Rock ‘n’ Reel – UK – 5 Star review

Sultans of String
Wednesday 24 January
FOLK MUSIC – Corn Exchange
8pm (doors & bar 7.30pm)
Duration: 2x 45 min sets with interval
£13 / £11 members and concessions

 

 

Sat 27 January • Bessie Smith • Empress of Blues & Jazz

BESSIE SMITH “EMPRESS OF THE BlUES”

 

Bessie Smith (15th April 1894 – 26th September 1937)
Nicknamed the “
Empress of the Blues”, Bessie Smith was the most popular female blues singer of the 1920s and 1930s. She is often regarded as one of the greatest singers of her era and was a major influence on other jazz singers.

Ma Bessie (Julia Titus) and her blues troupe (internationally acclaimed drummer, Sam Kelly with Musical Director, Paul Jobson on keyboards, Tony Qunta on acoustic guitar, Richard Sadler on upright bass, Chuck Lloyd on saxophone and Kevin Davy on trumpet) perform to a narrated show, featuring music from the era and showcasing many of Bessie’s songs.

 

The show chronicles her life from a one-room shack in Blue Goose Hollow, to becoming the highest-paid black entertainer of that time, to the tragic accident on Route 61 in September 1937 that ended her life aged 43 years.

Saturday 27 January
Dorchester Corn Exchange
8pm (doors & bar 7.30pm)
Duration: 2x 45 min sets with interval
£15 / £13 members & concessions

 

Friday 9 February • Emily Maguire

A classically-trained multi-instrumentalist with five albums and two books to her name, Emily Maguire is truly “a talent to be reckoned with” (R2 Magazine), her strong, thought-provoking lyrics, supremely expressive vocals and stunning live performances winning her fans across the globe.  After living in a shack in the Australian bush where she made her first two albums, Emily returned to the UK to tour with American legend Don McLean and make her third album ‘Believer’, a ‘masterpiece’ according to Maverick Magazine, with two singles playlisted on Radio 2. Her latest album ‘A Bit Of Blue’ was released in February 2017.

 

 

Friday 9 February
Dorchester Corn Exchange
8pm (doors & bar 7.30pm)
Duration: 2x 45 min sets with interval
£13 / £11 members & concessions / £5 Live for 5