Preview May 2024

New chief conductor
Poole, Exeter and touring

THE distinguished conductor Mark Wigglesworth has been announced as the new chief conductor of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra. He will take up the role at the start of the orchestra’s 2024-25 season in September, when Kirill Karabits, the BSO’s inspiring chief conductor for the past 15 years, becomes Conductor Laureate and artistic director of the Voices from the East programme.

The orchestra has a packed programme of weekly concerts at its home, Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre, from September to June, with regular concerts at Exeter, as well as occasional visits to Westlands at Yeovil and Weymouth Pavilion, and recitals by chamber groups through Artsreach, Dorset’s rural touring charity.

Wigglesworth, who has been the BSO’s principal guest conductor since 2021, is one of the world’s leading conductors, recognised for his outstanding musicianship, extraordinary interpretations and breadth of repertoire. He has worked with the Berlin Philharmonic, London Symphony, New York Philharmonic and Royal Concertgebouw orchestras and performed at the world’s most prestigious opera houses. He will be the first British conductor to hold the BSO post in more than 60 years. He is expected to conduct five weeks in his first season, with this number increasing to nine weeks from 2025/26.

The new principal guest conductor will be Chloé van Soeterstède. The announcement follows her recent guest appearances, where she has won praise from the BSO’s musicians and audiences alike. She was appointed the Taki Alsop Fellow 2019-21 by former BSO principal conductor Marin Alsop and was a Dudamel Fellow with the Los Angeles Philharmonic in its 2021-22 season. She trained as a viola player before launching a career as a conductor, and is a passionate advocate for music education.

BSO chief executive Dougie Scarfe says: “We’re excited to share the truly world-class live performances that both Mark and Chloé will undoubtably bring to people throughout the South West over the coming years. Life-empowering live music is at the core of what we do, and we’re thrilled Mark and Chloé share our vision for how an orchestra can proudly serve communities in and beyond the concert hall.”

Remembering D-Day

THIS year marks the 80th anniversary of the D-Day landings, the beginning of the end of the war in Europe, as huge numbers of Allied troops gathered along the south and west coast of England, preparing to invade France and free Europe from the curse of the Nazis.

In Dorchester, a group of history students has been researching historical archives, unearthing stories, memories and intriguing facts about D-Day and Dorchester for a unique community theatre project.

Their discoveries will be transformed into seven small (10-minute) performances, to be presented simultaneously around the town in an immersive story trail, in early June.

Meanwhile, you can get in the mood (pun intended) with the Glenn Miller Orchestra, coming for a Dorchester Arts event on Saturday 11th May, at Thomas Hardye School theatre at 7pm. Directed by Ray McVay, the band takes the audience back into the 1940s, with arrangements of all Glenn’s wartime hits, including Moonlight Serenade, American Patrol, Little Brown Jug, Tuxedo Junction—and, of course, In The Mood.

The UK’s only official Glenn Miller tour features the exact line-up devised by Glenn, alongside the harmonies of the Moonlight Serenaders, the featured vocalists and the orchestra’s own swinging jazz band, The Uptown Hall Gang.

A recycling adventure on the high seas

DORCHESTER Corn Exchange is the venue for a fun show for all the family that has a serious message—WhatNot Theatre’s Flotsam and Jetsam’s Adventure To The Great Trash Vortex is on Wednesday 29th May at 2pm inviting landlubbers to join them for bottle-top treasure, sea shanties and a giant plastic bag squid.

Legendary pirates Flotsam and Jetsam are not the buccaneers of folklore, they are the founding members of the PPPI—Plastic Plundering Pirates Initiative. Aboard the great PolymerPoseidon, the most pliable ship on the high seas, constructed from mere water bottles, Flotty and Jetty are on a quest to boldly go where no pirate has gone before—the Great Pacific Trash Vortex.

The show is an interactive experience about recycling, with the odd movie reference and a pirate twist.

He’s the cat’s pyjamas

THE multi-talented comedian, broadcaster and actor Griff Rhys Jones is back on the road with his much-anticipated new stand-up tour, and will be sharing his funny observations and comic stories with the audience at Bridport’s Electric Palace on Friday 31st May at 8pm.

There is no specific theme—the show varies as Griff rambles through the many topics that swirl around us, from the national permacrisis to getting old, from family to fraud, nostalgia to the Tik Tok generation, smuggling crocodiles to dogs, drinks and midnight trains. He takes questions from the audience and lets rip as his associations wander.

Rep season auditions
Lyme Regis

AUDITIONS are being held at the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, on Tuesday 30th April from 5pm and Wednesday 1st May from 1pm, for the theatre’s 2024 summer rep season.

Following last year’s debut Marine Theatre in-house production of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross, the auditions provide an opportunity for local amateurs to meet the professional team and find out what is proposed.
Audition slots must be booked—

Folk star trio

LADY Maisery, one of this country’s finest all-female folk trios, comes to Bridport Arts Centre at Sunday 12th May at 7.30pm, playing songs from their successful fifth studio album, Tender.

The combined vocal and multi-instrumental talents of Rowan Rheingans, Hazel Askew and Hannah James make up the uniquely captivating band which has been delighting audiences all over the UK and Europe for well over a decade.
Individually multi award-winning artists, Lady Maisery have a unified voice, carrying stories of sisterhood, human struggle, the joy of living and the vitality of song with the “freshest possible take on traditional music” (Folk Radio UK). Their long-standing collaboration has been described as “adventurous and beautiful” (Mark Radcliffe, Radio 2) “exquisite and thrilling” (The Guardian) with “a generosity of spirit and joie de vivre that seems to emanate from every minute of their recorded output as well as from their exuberant live shows” (Folk Radio UK).

Tender, released at the end of 2022, explores the power in vulnerability, the tenderness of collective wounds and the strength in kindness. It spent a whole year in the Official Folk Chart’s top 40.

Pocket Sinfonia on tour
Concerts in the West

THE May series of Concerts in the West brings the quartet Pocket Sinfonia to Bridport Arts Centre on Friday 17th May at 11.30am, Ilminster Arts Centre that evening at 7.30pm and the Dance House at Crewkerne on Saturday 18th at 7.30pm.
Emil Duncumb, piano, Eleanor Corr, violin, Rosie Bowker, flute, and Thomas Isaac, cello, formed Pocket Sinfonia, using both modern and period instruments, to recreate the atmosphere of 19th century living room parties, where the intimacy of chamber music performance could be applied to orchestral-scale pieces.

This is made possible via various transcriptions by composers of the 19th century, including Hummel and Clementi. Pocket Sinfonia also make their own arrangements, applying spontaneity and vigour to creations that are not merely smaller versions of great pieces, but are new and artistic in their own right. The group has performed across the UK and Europe including the Brighton Early Music Festival. They have recently recorded their debut CD, the Symphony Reimagined.
The programme for the Concerts in the West series includes Mozart’s overture to The Magic Flute, arranged by Hummel, CPE Bach’s Flute Quartet in A minor, Haydn (arr. M Clementi) Symphony 102 in B flat major, Fanny Mendelssohn’s Overture in C major and Mozart (arr. Hummel) Symphony No 41 in C major, K551, Jupiter.

Electro-jazz fusions

CHUBE, a young fusion band based in Cardiff, comes to Bridport Arts Centre on Thursday 23rd May at 7.30pm, bringing their exciting mix of folk and electro-acoustic music.

The trio is led by Ben Creighton Griffiths (electric harp and keyboards) with Ashley John Long (basses) and Jon Bradford-Jones (drums). They draw their inspiration from a wide variety of artists and genres and write music that pushes the boundaries of their instruments.

Ben uses effects processors to take the harp from its regular, classical sound to a rock guitar through distortion, an ambient synth through delays and phasers, and much more. Combined with innovative percussion and groovy bass riffs it all goes to creating a totally unique jazz fusion.

Reincarnations in dance

INDIAN classical dancer Vibha Selvaratnam comes to Bridport Arts Centre on Friday 24th May 7.30pm with Dashavatara (Ten reincarnations of Vishnu, one of the principal deities in Hinduism).

The story is presented, with English narration, through the Bharatanatyam, a beautiful, ancient, internationally popular Indian classical dance style.

Vishnu descends to earth to save the world from its own excesses to restore peace and harmony. As the world becomes more aware of the troubles it faces, due to reckless human actions, the concepts in the show have great relevance to issues facing us all.

Vibha Selvaratnam was awarded a Devon Ignite commission from Exeter Phoenix arts centre for the initial development of this work.

Where there’s a will …
Honiton, Lyme Regis

ARTHUR Conan Doyle’s immortal creation, Sherlock Holmes, tackles another curious case in Sherlock’s Excellent Adventure, a comedy adventure by James Barry, coming to the Beehive Centre at Honiton on Friday 17th May, the Palace Theatre at Paignton on Wednesday 22nd and the Marine Theatre at Lyme Regis on Thursday 23rd.

Follow Sherlock Holmes and his incomparable sidekick Dr John Watson on this riveting, hitherto unpublished case … Damsel in distress Lucy Matravers engages Holmes and Watson to resolve a dispute over a family will. Little do they know that this small case brings Holmes straight into the clutches of his arch enemy, James Moriarty.
This riotous spoof is played by four actors, with minimal furnishings and a ton of jolly-good fun! It went down at storm at the Edinburgh Fringe where it was described as “a wacky farcical adventure, which had the audience laughing and delighting in moments of silliness.”

The tour also includes a performance on 8th June at Tiverton Community Arts Theatre.

New venue for Dallahan frontman

FOLK quartet Dallahan’s founding member and frontman Jack Badcock releases his first solo album, Cosmography, early in May, and is heading out on a 16-venue UK tour to introduce his many fans to the new songs.
He will be at Bridport’s British Legion Hall on Saturday 18th May, and at Ashburton Arts Centre two days later—the only stops in the south of England.

The gifted guitarist has been lead vocalist of Dallahan (dubbed ‘the flying aces of Celtic folk’), for the past decade. Jack was born in County Kilkenny, raised in Yorkshire and now hails from Glasgow. The former finalist in the BBC Young Traditional Musician of the Year is known for his soulful tenor voice and enigmatic, thought-provoking lyrics. Hear the new songs in Bridport, at the Grade II listed hall in Victoria Grove.

Contemporary folk at the Marine
Lyme Regis

TWO of the big names of the contemporary folk scene are coming to the Marine Theatre at Lyme Regis in May—the high-energy Talisk will be appearing on Thursday 16th, and Peter Knight’s Gigspanner Big Band with Raynor Winn follow on Monday 20th.

Talisk, Mohsen Amini (concertina), Benedict Morris (violin) and Charlie Galloway (guitar), are a Scottish trio who have become one of the most talked-about folk bands of the 21st century, tearing up folk stereotypes and redefining the genre for almost a decade. They have played to sell-out crowds across five continents—from Paris to New York, London to Tokyo, Glasgow to Vancouver—alongside headline appearances at global festivals.

Their many awards include five from BBC Radio 2 and BBC Radio Scotland, as well as two highly coveted BBC Alba Scots Traditional Music Awards.

Saltlines is a folk phenomenon that has its roots deep in the south west. It is a prose and music collaboration, that brings together the bestselling author Raynor Winn and folk-roots supergroup, the Gigspanner Big Band, which features some of the most celebrated names on the British folk scene.

Together they have created an emotional odyssey which explores the beauty, stories and traditions of the region. The Salt Path, Raynor Winn’s best-selling first book, is the chronicle of how she and her husband Moth channelled loss into hope and rediscovery against the backdrop of the South West Coast Path.

Such a well-trodden trail holds many more stories of love, loss and the natural world, told in traditional songs, collected, archived and waiting to be revealed afresh. Saltlines is based on compositions by Raynor artfully wrapped around songs and tunes that were originally gathered, from what would become the South West Coast Path, by the great song collectors Cecil Sharp and Sabine Baring-Gould.