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.


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.


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.

Thur 13 & Fri 14 June | DYT Junior & Intermediate | Double Bill

  • Dorchester Corn Exchange
  • Thurs 13 & Friday 14 June
  • 6.30pm
  • £7.50 adults / £4 Under 18s
  • Seated

Thursday 13 June

Friday 14 June

Join DYT Junior and Intermediate groups as they present a double bill.

Peggy The Pint Sized Pirate by D.M.Larson

Peggy is a small pirate with big dreams. Join her on a quest to save the pirates who have been captured by the sea monster. Performed with permission from

Murder Mayhem at Mayview Manor! by Alison Chaplin

As a group of strangers gather for a murder mystery weekend, it becomes apparent that several of them harbour secrets. But only one secret leads to a real murder…

Sat 22 June | Cara Dillon | Wanderer Tour

  • Dorchester Corn Exchange
  • Saturday 22 June
  • 8.00pm
  • £22 / £20 members and concessions
  • 1 Hour 30 Mins
  • Seated

This extraordinary Irish singer has been captivating audiences for over 20 years. According to Mojo magazine she has “Quite possibly the world’s most beautiful female voice”. Alongside a selection of favourites from her previous releases, Cara will be performing material from her new album “Wanderer” which is a collection of beautiful and moving songs recorded in an intimate setting with her husband and musical partner Sam Lakeman. Every note and word sung with a passion and confidence earned through a life of experience singing traditional songs. Legions of fans will attest to their impassioned performances with Cara’s warm and natural stage presence something to savour.

Thur 4 July | Dorchester Piano Quartet

  • Dorchester Corn Exchange
  • Thursday 4 July
  • 11.30am
  • FREE (donations welcome)
  • 1 Hour approx.
  • Seated

de Falla – Suite of Spanish Folksongs for violin and piano

Dvorak – Piano Quartet in D major

Manuel de Falla’s Spanish Folksongs (1914) proved so popular that they were arranged for a number of different instruments. In this version, the violin imitates the voice of the original and also the style and techniques of a Spanish guitar. 

Folksong, especially Slavonic-style melody, influenced Dvorak’s piano quartet. Dvorak wrote it at a time when composing came easily to him – the result is a fluent and sunny work.

Fri 5 July | Alistair McGowan | Introductions to Classical Piano

  • Dorchester Corn Exchange
  • Friday 5 July
  • 8.00pm
  • £17 / £15 members and concessions
  • 1 Hour 30 Mins
  • Seated

Alistair McGowan is a hugely popular impressionist, stand-up comedian, actor, writer…and latterly, pianist. 

After the success of ‘The Piano Album’ (Sony Classical) Alistair is on tour with this tremendous show bringing together all his  talents. The evening will feature classical piano pieces from his album, alongside short pieces by composers as varied as Philip Glass, Chopin, Grieg, Debussy, John Field and Bill Evans. Join Alistair as he talks a little about the history of each piece, each  composer  and  the problems and benefits of starting to learn the piano at the age of 49. 

Expect a lot of beautiful  music  (with  the  odd  mistake!) and  more than a  sprinkling  of  his  trademark  impressions. 

Photo credit: Christopher  Dunlop

Fri 12 July | A Perfect World | Miracle Theatre

  • Maumbury Rings, DT1 1QN
  • Friday 12 July
  • 7.30pm
  • £13 / £11 / £40 family (max. 2 adults)
  • 2 hours approx.
  • bring a chair and a picnic!

Dorchester Arts’ favourites Miracle Theatre present the story of a feisty young woman who ventures into a ‘Boys-Own’ world of undiscovered jungles, treasure maps, campfires and penknives on an action-packed adventure.

Leading her team of quarrelsome explorers she stumbles into a bountiful paradise, whose inhabitants seem entirely peaceful, productive and fulfilled.

Is this tranquil place the best of all possible worlds? Or is it all too good to be true? A rollicking music-filled adventure touring the great outdoors this summer!

A rollicking music-filled adventure making the most of the great outdoors this summer!

Written & Directed by Bill Scott with original music by Tom Adams

Miracle is a touring theatre company based in Cornwall with a reputation for producing, comical, highly entertaining and thought provoking shows suitable for anyone & everyone.

Since 1979 they have been touring to the far flung corners of the South West. Miracles outdoor productions have become a ‘must do’ activity and pop up in unexpected and extraordinary, including gardens beaches, castles and clifftops.

Our guide to getting the best out of your evening

  • Come prepared! – Bring whatever you need for a cosy afternoon or evening. Sun shades, sun cream, 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 day or 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 for evening performances.

  • Bring a Picnic – Although refreshments are also available from an hour before each performance.


Fri 26 July | Spooky Men’s Chorale

  • Dorchester Corn Exchange
  • Friday 26 July
  • 8.00pm
  • £22 / £20 members and concessions
  • 1 Hour 30 Mins
  • Seated

The Spooky Men wooed us with an outstanding concert at the end of summer 2018 and now they’re back! They are the gift that keeps on giving… as thunderous as a herd of wildebeest, as sly as a wagonload of Spike Milligans and as sonorous as a cloister of monks. They emerged blinking-eyed from the Blue Mountains of NSW fifteen years ago and armed with no more than their impressively cavernous vocal chords, a nice line in deadpan, improbable facial hair and an ill-matched set of hats, have been gleefully impressing audiences throughout Australia, NZ and the UK ever since.

Their 2019 tour includes material from a brand new album, and a winning spectrum of Georgian songs, pindrop-beautiful ballads, highly inappropriate covers, and immaculate man anthems.

You must see them. Really, you must.

‘Inspired – and a triumph of choreography! Catch them on the road – a fantastic night out is guaranteed!’ Mark Radcliffe, BBC Radio 2

Sun 28 July | A Summer Sunday with Dillie Keane

  • Whitcombe Manor
  • Sunday 28 July
  • 12 noon
  • £30
  • Seated

This year we have a real treat for our summer fundraiser at beautiful Whitcombe Manor! 

The outrageously funny, Olivier Award-nominated actress, singer and comedian Dillie Keane is making a special trip to Dorset for one afternoon only to play and sing her repertoire of original songs – from gorgeous songs of love to songs of downright filth. 

Not for the fainthearted!  But very very funny.

Join us for a unique experience in lovely surroundings – as ever, your ticket includes a complimentary glass of bubbly and delicious canapes, creating a perfect summer afternoon of pleasure.

 “Keane, whose piano-playing remains as sprightly and inventive as ever, prompts gales of laughter with merely the raising of a quizzical eyebrow.”  The Times

By the kind invitation of Minette and Alec Walters

Sponsored by The Gallery on the Square

Thur 8 August | The Pirates of Penzance |

  • Nothe Fort
  • Thursday 8 August
  • 7.00pm
  • £16 / £14 / £45 family ticket (4 people, max. 2 adults)
  • 1 Hour 30 Mins
  • Bring a chair

Join us at seaside for the jolliest maritime musical comedy of all time in the wonderful setting of Weymouth’s Nothe Fort.

A swashbuckling farce of brilliant humour and razor-sharp wit, the Pirates of Penzance is complete with brave(ish) pirates, a completely dotty Major-General, his beautiful unwed daughters and a bumbling bunch of hopeless but hilarious policemen.

With such famous songs as I Am The Very Model Of A Modern Major-General, A Policemen’s Lot Is Not A Happy One, and Poor Wand’ring One to name but a few, this is a fantastic family friendly mix of comic characters, witty dialogue, and great tunes. Perfect entertainment for a summer’s evening…

The young singers bring rich tones and harmony to the work along with impressive acting skills…a musical event to remember (Dorset Echo, of The Mikado)