Upcoming arts to see in Dorchester this season

Dorset is brimming with arts and there are some fabulous events going on this year for people living or visiting Dorset. Journalist Ruth Hayes brings us a roundup of some of the highlights coming up this year

Dorchester’s Arts Centre has long been regarded as the supplier of diverse entertainment to the town, and this spring and summer organisers can add a controversial comedian to their list of performers. Lee Nelson made his name ‘stagebombing’ the singer Kanye West when he headlined last year’s Glastonbury music festival, and he also caused a stir when he threw fistfuls of money at shamed ex-FIFA president Sepp Blatter during a press conference.

Who knows what will happen when he appears at Dorchester Arts Centre tonight (29 April), but there’s only one way to find out – get your tickets now before they sell out!

“I don’t really know what to expect, but I think it will be a memorable night!” said arts centre spokeswoman Laura Mulhern.

More classical music will also be coming to the arts centre, as an important addition to a very musical schedule.

Laura said: “The majority of this season is very musical, and we decided to add a lot more classical music.

“We dipped a toe into the genre last season, and it was well received, so this season we decided to schedule some more.”

Among the highlights is Swansea Opera Company’s History of Opera (Abridged) on 1 April, which offers a lighthearted introduction to the world of opera for those who think it might be a daunting experience.

World renowned pianist John Bryden teams up with viola player Matthew Souter on April 9 to perform Telemann’s Sonata in D, Six Studies in English Folk song by Ralph Vaughan Williams and Schubert’s Arpeggione sonata. After the interval, works will include Romanze by Bruch and Sonata by Rebecca Clarke.

And on May 15, the magnificently beautiful choir Tenebrae will perform a concert of sacred Russian Orthodox music in Holy Trinity Church, Dorchester.

More contemporary sounds are provided by a welcome return of legendary ska band The Beat (7 April), and singer-songwriter and radio presenter Tom Robinson (5 May).

The effects of Tourette’s Syndrome is highlighted in a tongue-in-cheek way by Jess Thom, who brings her show Backstage in Biscuit Land to the Corn Exchange on 13 April. “Jess says ‘biscuit’ 16,000 times a day, and hits herself every now and again, so it will be interesting to see what she brings to the show,” Laura said.

“She is spontaneous and doesn’t always stick to the script, and the show is a vivid look at her condition and how she copes with it.”

In June 2015, Dorchester Arts Centre moved from its previous, cramped premises in The Grove to the more spacious Corn Exchange in High East Street, and staff and performers have settled in well.

Laura said: “It is great being in the Corn Exchange because it is a central location, and we are much more visible than we were in The Grove.

We are also working well with the town council and the other regular users of this space, and having the room means we can bring bigger and better acts to the town, which audiences appreciate. We can also get more people in, so everyone wins!”

One thing is for certain, there’s lots to look forward to for all the family in and around Dorchester this year.

For full details of the arts centre season visit their what’s on section here or call 01305 266926, or visit dorchesterarts.org.uk.

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