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.

1 December • An Evening with an Immigrant

Born to a Muslim father and a Christian mother in what is now considered by many to be Boko Haram territory, in 1996 award-winning poet and playwright Inua Ellams left Nigeria for England aged 12, moved to Ireland for three years, before returning to London. Littered with poems, stories and anecdotes, Inua will tell his ridiculous, fantastic, poignant immigrant-story of escaping fundamentalist Islam, directing an arts festival at his college in Dublin, performing solo shows at the National Theatre, and drinking wine with the Queen of England, all the while without a country to belong to or place to call home.

Written and performed by Inua Ellams.
Produced by Fuel Theatre.

Also at Bridport Arts Centre.

Inua Ellams
Friday 1 December
THEATRE/ SPOKEN WORD – Corn Exchange
8pm (doors & bar 7.30pm)
£12 / £10 members and concessions / £5 Live for 5 

3 December • Create a Christmas Lantern

We are leading a Christmas Lantern Parade for this year’s Christmas Cracker in Dorchester on Thursday 7 December.

Come and make your very own special lantern to carry on the evening during this workshop led by Megan our participation officer.

 

 

 

Sunday 3 December
JOIN IN – Town Hall
10am-12noon
£5 / £3 for siblings
Ages 6-10

3 December • Kathleen Ferrier – Whattalife!

 

Whattalife! is a new one woman play with music. Kathleen Ferrier was one of Britain’s phenomenal women of the 20th Century. Whattalife! tells her story from her debut as a singer in 1940, her meteoric rise and her tragic death in 1953.

Professional actress and contralto, Lucy Stevens has researched and created a unique and totally engaging performance, the text is taken straight from Kathleen’s letters and diaries. Sung music from her repertoire is woven through the text.

 

 

Sunday 3 December
THEATRE / Music – Corn Exchange
2.30pm (doors & bar 2pm)
£14 / £12 members & concessions

9 December • Police Dog Hogan

This event is now sold out.

Police Dog Hogan are a high-energy and eclectic eight-piece, combining fiddle, banjo and mandolin, bass and drums, accordion, trumpet and acoustic guitar. Add in knockout four-part harmonies and it makes for an exuberant fusing of country, pop, folk, and rocking bluegrass. With a line-up that includes banjo player and much-loved columnist for The Guardian, Tim Dowling, their literate and carefully crafted songs veer from the wistful and poetic to flat-out, foot-stomping tales of doomed barbecues, French mustard and condemned Victorian scoundrels.

‘One of our favourite new bands’ The Telegraph

‘Wonderful!’ Radio 2

Saturday 9 December
Music – Corn Exchange
8pm (doors & bar 7.30pm)
£15 / £13 members & concessions

17 December • A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas, and other pieces • Ligeti Quartet

A festive musical treat from one of the UK’s leading contemporary string quartets.

Adam and Charlotte Caird/Dylan Thomas: A Child’s Christmas in Wales

This wonderful adaptation for strings and narrator of A Child’s Christmas in Wales chronicles Dylan Thomas’s own childhood memories and remains one of his most popular and loved works. A festive musical treat.

Fodé Lassana Diabaté: Sunjata’s Time

Sunjata’s Time is dedicated to Sunjata Keita, the warrior prince who founded the great Mali Empire in 1235, which, at its height, stretched across the West African savannah to the Atlantic shores. Fodé Lassana Diabaté originally wrote the piece for the balafon, the 22-key traditional xylophone of which he is a virtuoso player. This brilliant arrangement for string quartet is by Jacob Garchik.

Stef Conner: Singing Strings: A Contemporary Quartet in Conversation

This is a musical and theatrical treatise on the contemporary string quartet, tracing sounds and their histories through the medium of a four-way conversation between voices and instruments. Musical materials take root in the sound world of the contemporary string quartet and evolve into gestures that evoke and extol the musicality of words about music.

Sunday 17 December
CLASSICAL MUSIC / SPOKEN WORD – Corn Exchange
3pm (doors & bar 2.30pm)
£16 / £14 members & concessions / £5 Live for 5 

18 December • Frozen Singalong

As we always have such an enchanting time with Elsa, Anna and the crew, we decided to do it all over again this season.

Disney’s Frozen will be shown on the big screen once more here at the Corn Exchange so all fans, both young and old are invited to come and sing along to one of the most charming animations the world has seen. A perfect Christmas treat for the whole family to enjoy whatever the weather – but hey…the cold never bothered us anyway…

 

 

Monday 18 December
FUNDRAISER – Corn Exchange
2pm (doors & refreshments 1.30pm)
£4

20 December • The Christmassy Christmas Show of Christmassy Christmassness

Ho, Ho, Ho!

Squashbox Theatre’s new family show is a celebration of everything Christmassy, from fir trees, fairy lights, stockings and sleigh bells to cookies, crackers, presents and puddings!

Meet a snowman who lives in the fridge, try and spot some naughty elves, hear the tale of the first Christmas Tree, play hunt the brussel sprout and endure the world’s worst Christmas jumper.

 

 

Wednesday 20 December
FAMILY THEATRE – Corn Exchange
2.00pm & 4.30pm
£6 / £20 family ticket (max 2 adults)