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 June • Juan Martín – Arte Flamenco Puro

Juan Martin Flamenco Trio 17 webDorchester Corn Exchange

8pm (doors and bar 7:30pm)

Juan Martín, a truly awe-inspiring guitarist, composer and all encompassing musician travels to Dorchester Arts with a new flamenco programme of music, song and dance direct from Spain.

Martín’s show features Raquel Gonzalez, the 18 year old flamenco dance star from Cádiz,  and the extraordinary singer Antonio Aparecida. Gonzalez’s tremendous footwork, the passion of Aparecida’s voice and the unmistakable poetry and emotion of one of the world’s leading guitarists make for a performance not to be missed.

 

‘Juan Martín reminded us of the power and beauty of flamenco pure and simple. No meretricious stage tricks, just one long enthralling sequence of instrumental solos, songs and dances by the brilliant troupe’ The Independent, 5 stars

‘Juan Martín’s flamenco rhythm energy and passion will pin you to the wall’ Folk Roots

£15 / £13 members and concessions

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3 June • Eric Knowles: What’s It Worth

Eric pic for Artistes & AgentsIn What’s it Worth? the lad from Lancashire and star of The Antiques Roadshow takes the wraps off the antiques business, in which he has been immersed for over 30 years.

In the hour preceding the show, audience members can bring their treasures and heirlooms for Eric to peruse. The show then starts with Eric’s irreverent and hilarious reminiscences, ably supported by excellent images. The second part is devoted to Eric’s examination of some of the audience’s treasures from the initial meet and greet.

Eric is one of those rare individuals able to share his expert knowledge of antiques in a manner that is easily understood and he has become the friendly face of a business long shrouded with mystery.

Saturday 3 Jun 2017
Corn Exchange 

3pm (doors and valuations 1:30pm)
£14 / £12 (Members and Concessions)

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8 & 9 June • Prescription For Murder (Somerleigh Players)

PRESCRIPTION FOR MURDER

Directed by Melanie Hooley

MAYHEM, MURDER and MYSTERY

This year we, the Somerleigh Players,  find ourselves in the depths of darkest Devon  enjoying  the humour  of Norman Robbins  as he takes us on a mysterious journey  full of twists and turns to its final destination.

Is Doctor Forth trying to get rid of his new wife? Is his extremely wealthy ex girlfriend planning a murder? And is the mystery man all he seems?

This rollicking whodunnit  is full of suspense. It is guaranteed to entertain and the red herrings will keep you guessing until curtain down.

Our wonderful actors ‘the best amateurs in town’  look forward to sharing this live theatre with you.

Thurs 8 & Fri 9 June
8pm
Corn Exchange
£12 / £10 (Members / Concessions)

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16 June • Jay Phelps Quartet


Trumpeter Jay Phelps came to our attention playing superbly in the Miles Davis role in Kind of Blue – Revisited (Sept 2016) and he now returns with his own Quartet.

This group of young musicians dedicated to contemporary jazz play with a clear understanding of what is both modern and traditional. The fresh and exciting band plays a mixed set of original compositions from the band leader and arrangements of jazz standards.

Friday 16 June
8pm (doors and bar 7.30pm)
Corn Exchange
£12 / £10 members & concessions / £5 Live for 5

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22 & 23 June • DYT Junior and Intermediate

IMG_0611 web versionCharlotte Holmes – Future Detective by Richard James
Young Charlotte Holmes may well be a 23rd century
descendant of Sherlock and is eager to do some detective
work. Her opportunity arises on a school trip to a museum
when it is discovered that Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’
painting has been stolen.

Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe in Unicorns, adapted
for the stage by Danyah Miller and Dani Parr
Tomas loves playing in the mountains where he lives and
hates reading and school, but his world is turned upside
down the day he meets the Unicorn Lady in his local library…

Thursday 22 & Friday 23 June
Corn Exchange
6.30pm (doors & bar 6pm)
£7.50 Adults / £4 Under 18s

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25 June • Twelfth Night (Rain or Shine) (Maumbury Rings)

The first in our series of outdoor theatre at Maumbury Rings, Rain or Shine Theatre Company, widely acclaimed for their magical open air productions, transport you to a land where nothing is quite what it seems. When Viola finds herself shipwrecked and separated from her brother, she sets foot upon Illyria’s sandy shore. Lost and alone, she disguises herself as a man and sets forth. Before long, chaos ensues as mistaken identity, love, pride and alcohol set a host of much loved characters on a series of hilarious adventures. Hopeless romantics, drunken knights, a pompous steward and fools galore abound in one of Mr. William Shakespeare’s most celebrated comedies. “If music be the food of love, play on!” Sure to delight family audiences from age 6 to 96, this is an ideal choice for an outdoor theatrical event.

Bring a chair!

Sunday 25 June
7pm (refreshments from 6pm)
Maumbury Rings
£12 / £10 (Members & Concessions) / £35 family ticket (max. 2 adults

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Our guide to getting the best out of your evening

  • Come prepared! – Bring whatever you need for a cosy evening. Warm woollies, blankets, waterproofs and insect spray!
  • Bring your own seat – Low backed chairs, rugs and a cushion are always nice. Combine comfort and style!
  • Gather a posse! Bring friends and family (family tickets are available). The more the merrier for a fun night out!
  • Arrive Early – Pick a great spot and enjoy the atmospheric surroundings
  • Bring a Torch – It’s very helpful to safely find your way back to the car.
  • Bring a Picnic – Although refreshments are also available from an hour before each performance.