Category Archives: Arts and Culture


Following the sell-outs of Oliver and The Magic of The Musicals, the award-winning (several David Beach awards for Somerset in March 2018), local group ‘Fusion Young Performers’ comes to the Regal Theatre, Minehead to perform their latest challenge, Cats, with music by Andrew Lloyd Webber.

Based on Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats by T. S. Eliot, the show is packed full of memorable song and dance numbers such as Macavity, Memory, Skimbleshanks and many more.  It’s a kaleidoscope of song and dance and the audience is guaranteed to go home amazed by the energy. With dance numbers brought to life by Lorraine Ahern’s stunning choreography, vocal direction by Sarah-Jane Cross and an 11-piece band led by musical director David Pitts, this promises to be an exciting show that will leave everyone entertained and inspired by a hugely talented group of local young people.

Performances on Monday 2 – Saturday 7 April begin at 7.30pm and tickets are as follows: adults £12, Friends of the Regal £11, students £6, family ticket (2 +2) £32. They are available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am – 3pm Monday – Saturday.  You can book online at .
OPENING NIGHT OFFER – All adult tickets £8.00.


Somerset Art Works (SAW) is delighted to be involved in PROCESSIONS, a mass participation artwork to mark the centenary of the Representation of the People Act, which gave the first British women the right to vote.

PROCESSIONS will invite women* and girls across the UK to come together on the streets of Belfast, Cardiff, Edinburgh and London on Sunday 10 June 2018 to mark this historic moment in a living, moving portrait of women in the twenty-first century.

Somerset Art Works is one of 100 commissioned organisations, working with women artists in the lead-up to the event, as part of an extensive public programme of creative workshops to create 100 centenary banners which will form part of this vast artwork.

The banner-making workshops will focus on text and textiles, echoing the practices of the women’s suffrage campaign and will be places to consider the power of the vote today and our shared future. The banners made will represent and celebrate the diverse voices of women and girls from different backgrounds.

Bristol-based artist Dorcas Casey (pictured) has been commissioned by Somerset Art Works to lead creative workshops with students from Strode College in Street and Richard Huish College in Taunton.

Dorcas said, “I’m really excited about the Processions project and being part of a vast community of people all working towards such an important and ambitious event. I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with students, I love the idea of using fabrics and bringing people together through the process of making.”

PROCESSIONS is produced by Artichoke, the UK’s largest producer of art in the public realm, as part of 14-18 NOW, the UK’s official arts programme for the First World War centenary.

Helen Marriage, CEO of Artichoke, said: “The 100th anniversary of the passing of legislation which made universal suffrage unstoppable is a moment both for celebration and reflection. Individuals and groups up and down the country, including Somerset Art Works, will be at the heart of this UK-wide artwork. What they make and bring to their chosen procession on Sunday 10 June will form part of a unique living portrait of women today.”

*those who identify as women or non-binary

Processions Website:

About Somerset Art Works (SAW)
Somerset’s only county-wide agency dedicated to developing the visual arts, SAW initiates a wide range of projects in a variety of settings, working in partnership with other arts and non-arts organisations. SAW works to increase public engagement, weaving together communities and raising the profile of the vibrant contemporary visual, digital and applied arts in Somerset.

Somerset Art Works is shortly to become part of the Arts Council England’s National Portfolio of funded organisations for 2018-2022.



Coldplace, the world’s number-one tribute to the legendary Coldplay, comes to the Tiverton for one night only on 14 April at the Community Arts Theatre, as part of their 2018 UK tour.

Promising to be an unforgettable evening with an electric atmosphere of dazzling lasers and lights, tremendous sound and the songs you know and love from Coldplay, this really is an event not to be missed.

Formed in 2004 by frontman Shane Crofts, Coldplace have performed around the world with their leading tribute, and most recently have performed at Chris Evans’ Car Fest alongside Kaiser Chiefs, The Jacksons and Mel C. The band has also appeared on BBC Radio One and Two, The Gadget Show, Sky News, and performed alongside musical legends such as Sir Bob Geldof and Ringo Starr.

“Our 2018 tour is the biggest tour we have done to date across the UK, and we’re so excited to be coming to Tiverton,” says Shane. “We have developed our show production to a level now where it works in a theatre environment, which gives us more scope to enhance the show with pyrotechnics, lasers and visuals, which we’re really excited about. We have recreated the incredible spectacle of Coldplay’s recent ‘A Head Full Of Dreams’ sell-out tour, on a scale that is accessible to everyone.”

Having played over 700 shows in 28 different countries around the world, Coldplace are no strangers to being on the road, and they love exploring new places.

“We love coming to this part of the UK and meeting the fans, as everyone is so friendly and welcoming,” continues Shane. “We hope you all enjoy our new show that we have worked extremely hard on to produce for you.”

Coldplace is made up of lead singer Shane Crofts, lead guitarist Dean Stewart, bass player Asa Crofts and drummer Wayne Birch. Having performed so many times together, the band are very much in tune with each other, creating the harmony Coldplay itself delivers on stage.

“We spend hours and hours studying Coldplay, from the way they move on stage, their mannerisms, the way they hold their instruments, how they address the crowd, and what they wear, to ensure we create an accurate stage show,” explains Shane. “It’s not just a case of learning their songs, but how they are delivered. We want to guarantee fans an authentic performance.”

Tickets are available from and are priced from £20.




Friday 2 March at 7.30pm

AJ’s Big Band, the South West’s highly acclaimed 17- piece band, makes a welcome return to the Regal Theatre on Friday 2 March with a packed programme of swing and jazz classics from the big band era and beyond.

AJ’s Big Band, now into its 34th year, continues to delight audiences with its vibrant instrumental arrangements and beautiful vocals from songstress Paula Mitchell. Their new show, Still Swinging and Singing!, features some of the leading players in the West Country and is led by saxophonist Ken Parr.  This will be an unmissable evening of top-quality musical entertainment.

The performance on Friday 2 March begins at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £15. are available from the Regal Box Office.

Wednesday 7 March at 7.30pm
Ceri Dupree’s

The fabulous Ceri Dupree comes to the Regal on Wednesday 7 March with his One Man, 21 Women show. Audiences will enjoy a glamorous evening of hysterical comedy, amazing vocal impersonations and jaw-dropping, eye-popping costumes. This will be a chance to meet Adele, Cher, Joan Collins, Lady Ga Ga, Bjork, Shirley Bassey, Camilla and even the Queen! Ceri brings them all lovingly to life with a touch of Las Vegas class rarely seen in the UK today. Early booking is strongly advised.

“Dupree storms the stage with style, wit, glamour, and a pace that leaves you amazed.” TIME OUT.

“Slick and saucy, rude and risqué, fun and fantastic.” LEICESTER MERCURY.

“I’ve seen hundreds of men dress up as women over the years, most of them disastrously so. A handful of them get this particular art form right, Ceri Dupree is one of that handful.” THE TIMES

The performance on Wednesday 7 March begins at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £16.

Friday 9 March at 7.30 pm
Minehead and West Somerset Arts Society present

Minehead and West Somerset Arts Society present the latest concert in their Spring Programme when Florilegium (pictured below) comes to the Regal Theatre, Minehead, on Friday 9 March.

Performances in some of the world’s most prestigious venues have confirmed Florilegium’s status as one of Britain’s most outstanding period instrument ensembles. Since formation more than 25 years ago years ago, they have established a reputation for stylish and exciting interpretations, from intimate chamber works to large-scale orchestral and choral repertoire.

The programme comprises: Handel:  Concerto Grosso Op 3 No 3; Vivaldi:  La Follia; Bach:  Orchestral Suite No 2; Pergolesi:  Flute Concerto; Rameau:  Pièce de Clavecin en concert and Corrette: Concerto comiques ‘Les Sauvages’.

Florilegium regularly collaborate with some of the world’s finest musicians including Dame Emma Kirkby, Robin Blaze and Elin Manahan Thomas. Don’t miss this opportunity to see a dazzling programme performed by musicians at the height of their powers.

The performance on Friday 9 March begins at 7.30pm and tickets costing up to £15. are available from the Regal Box Office

The Box Office (01643 706430), is open 10am – 3pm Monday – Saturday.  Book online at

Classical music ensamble Florilegium, led by Ashley Solomon. Photograph by Amit Lennon


Now the largest event in Somerset for visual artists and makers, Somerset Open Studios 2018 is now open for registrations. Somerset Art Works members working in any discipline can apply to be part of this bi-annual event.

Somerset Open Studios draws Art Weeks back to its roots, focusing on artists in their working environment. Between 15 and 30 September 2018, artists demonstrate how they make their work; their process, practice and inspiration. The event allows a rare opportunity to see inside artists’ studios, temporary working spaces and other locations to find out what goes on behind the scenes.

Open Studios visitors can find out first hand about the creative process through demonstrations, workshops, talks and visits, to educate, inspire and delight. Art appreciators of all ages are welcome at family-friendly venues and also at a family-friendly finale weekend, with workshops and activities for all. Open Studios showcases established names as well as introducing new and emerging artists.

To apply for membership and to register for this year’s event, visit the Somerset Art Works website, email art or phone the SAW office on 01458 253800 between 9am and 4.30pm Tuesdays and Thursdays.

The deadline for registrations is 15 March 2018.

Somerset Art Works aims to support artists who want to work professionally and are looking to promote their creative businesses across a range of disciplines; books, ceramics, drawing, film, furniture, glass, jewellery, metalwork, mixed media, painting,  photography, pottery, printmaking, sculpture, textiles and wood. SAW also continues to support emerging talent in Open Studios year with Creative Pathways bursaries and mentoring.

SAW is an artist-led organisation and Somerset’s only countywide agency dedicated to developing visual arts, weaving together communities and supporting the artists who enrich our lives, making Somerset a place where people expect to engage with excellent visual art that is surprising and distinctive.

SAW also develops projects and offers membership to support practising artists and organisations in Somerset: providing bursaries, developing commissions, supporting collaborative working and creating networking and showcase opportunities, including the diverse annual Art Weeks event.



North Devon Council is extending its temporary contract with Parkwood Creative for the management of North Devon’s theatres.

At a meeting of its Executive on Monday 5 February, councillors agreed to extend the existing contract with Parkwood until January 2019. Following the collapse of North Devon Theatres Trust last year, the Queens Theatre in Barnstaple and Landmark Theatre in Ilfracombe were forced to close temporarily. In April, the council entered into a 12-month contract with Parkwood to reopen the theatres while it prepared and tendered a longer-term contract for the operation of both theatres.

Preparing the tender documents (which involves undertaking condition surveys of both theatres) for the long-term contract will take more time than originally thought and the procurement will not be completed by April this year (when the short-term contract with Parkwood was due to expire).

Rather than a further closure period, the council has agreed to extend Parkwood’s contract until mid-January 2019. This will ensure that the theatres continue to recover from the unexpected closure last year and run as normal, unaffected by the procurement of operational contracts.

Since April last year, the main focus has been on developing a strong programme of events at the Queens Theatre, which has been very well received by local audiences. Now that the Queens is operating at full capacity again, Parkwood’s extended contract will include a requirement for more events at the Landmark Theatre. Several strong acts are already confirmed, including comedians Jason Manford and Ed Byrne and the new contract will see an average of one event each week at the Landmark, between April 2018 and January 2019 .

Executive Member for Parks, Leisure and Culture, Councillor Dick Jones, says: “We’ve been really impressed with what Parkwood has delivered since they took the theatres on in April. There has been lots of fantastic feedback and the panto was a massive hit. I’m very pleased we were able to get the theatres back up and running so quickly and that we can continue to keep them open while we work to secure a long term operator.”

Find out what’s on at the Queens Theatre and the Landmark at

PHOTO: by Nilfanion, on Wikimedia