MORE THAN 200 TO PERFORM EPIC SEA SYMPHONY AT EXETER CATHEDRAL FOR RNLI

Exeter Cathedral is set to host a large-scale performance of Ralph Vaughan Williams’ epic ‘Sea Symphony’ that will raise money for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) and help save lives at sea.

Members of choral societies in Exeter, Exmouth and Wellington will be joined by the musicians of the Exeter Symphony Orchestra for the celebratory performance, which will take place on Saturday 25 November at 7.30pm. They will be led by the music director of all three choirs Laurence Blyth.

Sue Ryan from Wellington Choral Society said: “Ralph Vaughan Williams is ranked among the finest symphonists of the twentieth century and so this is a big event for all three choirs and we want to raise as much as we can for the wonderful work the RNLI does. We certainly have a much greater appreciation of this and the costs involved since our recent visit to Exmouth Lifeboat Station – fascinating.”

Last year, RNLI lifeboat crews across the UK and Ireland rescued 8,643 people and saved 431 lives. It costs over £485,000 per day to run the RNLI, and the charity relies on donations from the public to continue its lifesaving service.

Chair of Exmouth RNLI’s fundraising team Don Hodgkinson says: “With a combined choir of 200 voices drawn from Exeter Choral Society, Exmouth Choral Society, Wellington Choral Society and the Exeter Symphony Orchestra, this is set to be a wonderful occasion. The RNLI relies on kind donations from the public to continue its work saving lives at sea and we are very grateful that these choral societies have chosen to support the RNLI.”

The concert is sponsored by The Vaughan Williams Charitable Trust, and there will be a retiring collection in aid of the RNLI.

Tickets are on sale at £15, £12 & £10 with accompanied under-16s free, from Exeter Visitor Information (tel. 01392 665885), online or on the door.

PHOTO: Musical Director and Conductor Laurence Blyth with Exmouth RNLI volunteers, courtesy Farwood Photography.

PILGRIMS’ WAY – STAND AT DELIVER AT HALSWAY MANOR

Pilgrims’ Way present a new album and show packed full of highwaymen, robbers, and brigands, their stories told through traditional English folk song and 1980s disco.

Avoided at all costs, scorned and mocked, these villainous figures have fascinated and alarmed the good people of England for years. Now they’re making an album about highwaymen.

Pilgrims’ Way are often accused of stealing a living, so for this, their third studio album, it made sense to draw from the rich seam of the highwayman ballad. From the derring-do of Robin Hood bashing the bishop, via Dick Turpin’s doomed attempt to obtain legal aid under a Tory government, to ‘The Box on her Head’, the dramatic and unforgettable tale of a young lady with a box on her head, the album covers centuries of inflated stories, glorified violence, sexual innuendo, and the common man breaking all the rules in a desperate bid to put right what once went wrong, and hoping each time that his next leap will be the leap home.

Incorporating over 40 instruments, a dozen songs, and a riotous feel-good energy throughout, this is a magnificent tour-de-force by a band at the absolute peak of their overdraft.

Expect energy, choruses, and gold-brocaded Hussars’ jackets galore! The powerhouse five-piece arrangements will send you home dancing, and with an overwhelming desire to hold up and rob some stagecoaches.

Halsway Manor in Somerset provides a permanent home for the enjoyment, study and development of folk music, dance and culture in England and draws on traditions from across Europe and beyond. Unique in the UK it hosts over 340 days of residential and outreach activity every year covering all facets of the folk arts from instrumental music, song and dance to traditional storytelling, crafts and instrument making.

Tickets are priced £10 / £4 for full-time students. Phone 01984 618274 or buy online: www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

PONY CLUB CHALLENGE AT WESTPOINT

Imagine performing as a young rider in front of a large crowd in an arena. The competitors in the Pony Club horse & hound show jumping challenge will do just that at Westpoint this December.

Introduced to the annual Westcountry Equine Fair nine years ago, the challenge now has a dedicated following from both pony clubs and audiences alike.

The Westcountry Equine Fair takes place at Westpoint in Exeter on Saturday 2 and Sunday 3 December. The event, now in its 21st year, is pleased to announce the four pony club teams taking part this year are:  East Devon Hunt Pony Club; Lamerton; Polden Hills and Poole & District.

The clubs will compete against each other in this fast-paced and thrilling competition. Riders will jump a course followed by runners and their dogs.

The Pony Club has a long tradition of being the starting point for a large majority of equestrian team members and medal winners including this year’s stars Grant Bazin and Alexander Bragg. Not only does the Pony Club offer nine exciting disciplines including Eventing, Dressage, Polocrosse and Tetrathlon, but it also provides instruction in horse care and riding for people up to 25 years.

No Pony? No problem! You can join in the fun at one of 500 Pony Club centres across the UK. So if the Pony Club challenge at the Westcountry Equine Fair inspires you, then look up your local Pony Club for more information.

In addition to the unrivalled entertainment, the Equine Fair also features a dedicated shopping village ‘for the horse, for the rider and for Christmas’, with over 200 companies offering helpful advice and great show offers on 1000s of products for horse and rider including many big name brands including Joules, Ariat, Toggi and Thorowgood. Also look out for the BETA Equestrian Knowledge Zone in hall 2.

Don’t forget you don’t need to carry those heavy shopping bags around with the shop and drop facility in the foyer – all donations to Devon Air Ambulance.

This is certainly the total equestrian experience for the dedicated rider! To book your tickets in advance and save money visit www.westcountryequinefair.co.uk or call 01392 421500 (office hours) and follow the event on Facebook and Twitter to stay updated.

 

BOOK SIGNING WITH JACKIE MORRIS TO CELEBRATE THE PUBLICATION OF THE LOST WORDS

Number Seven Dulverton is thrilled that renowned illustrator Jackie Morris has found time to visit Exmoor during her current national tour celebrating the publication of The Lost Words. This stunning book highlights the words that are sadly disappearing from our dictionaries to be replaced by contemporary terms for our increasingly technological world.

The Lost Words stands against the disappearance of wild childhood and is a joyful celebration of nature words and the natural world they invoke – without ‘Acorn’ there would be no woodland habitat, no owls roosting, no carpet of bluebells.

Award-winning writer Robert Macfarlane has written the most mesmerising acrostic spell-poems which are accompanied by Jackie’s distinctive watercolours creating an enchanting book that captures the irreplaceable magic of language and nature for all ages. Readers may be familiar with his best-selling titles ‘Landmarks’ and ‘The Old Ways.’

Throughout the day a collection of Jackie’s prints and originals will be on display, copies of the book will be available for sale and Jackie will be on hand to sign copies. She will also be reading and demonstrating her adept skills with watercolour and brush.

For further information do contact Davina Jelley info@numbersevendulverton.co.uk 01398 324457

DATE: Friday 27th October 11am – 4pm
VENUE: NUMBER SEVEN
7 THE HIGH STREET
DULVERTON
SOMERSET
TA22 9HB

HALF TERM FAMILY ACTIVITIES AS PART OF DARK SKIES FESTIVAL

The Exmoor Dark Skies festival from the 19 – 29 October 2017 has something for all and provides some great half terms activities for families.

Local children and adults can experience the marvels of the stars above during a mobile planetarium session at Lynton (23 October), Dulverton (24 October), or Dunster (28 October) as part of the inaugural festival, whatever the weather. The sessions, lasting from 45 minutes to 1 hour, offer a 360-degree-space learning experience. High-resolution images, movies and sophisticated computer simulations are projected throughout Space Odyssey’s inflatable dome – above, behind and all around the audience – to create a breathtakingly immersive and inspirational experience.

Every fascinating session will be led by Simon Ould, an experienced science teacher and Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society. Simon uses his extensive teaching knowledge to carefully adapt the delivery and content of each presentation for the particular group involved.  Simon said, “Adults and children are often blown-away by an experience in our dome. I’m delighted to be bringing our 6.5 metre Voyager dome to Exmoor as part of the Dark Skies Festival.

“For many children a session in the dome introduces them to the wider world, solar system and the universe for the first time. It really is unforgettable and can impact a child’s understanding for the rest of their life.”

The dome sessions start from just £3 for a child and £5 for an adult and advance booking is highly recommended. Sessions at Dunster also include some solar and stargazing and a workshop with astro-physics students from Exeter University. Visit www.exmoor-nationalpark.gov.uk/darkskiesfestival for more details, session times and booking. Alternatively call the Lynmouth National Park Centre on 01598 752509 (open 7 days).

There are over 35 events across Exmoor throughout the festival, which is sponsored by Airband. The festival is officially launched on Friday 20 October at Winsford Village Hall with the premier of a new short film on Exmoor’s Dark Skies followed by a presentation on Exmoor’s Dark Skies and opportunities to see the Northern Lights by presenter and astronomer Will Gater. Other events include a guide to Astrophotography with Dr Lillian Hobbs of the Royal Photographic Society on 19 October, special film showings of ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and ‘Space Odyssey 2001’ and opportunities for a glow stick night swim with Channel Adventure.

Katrina Munro of the Exmoor National Park Authority said, “We’ve had huge interest in the festival with many events already fully booked, but there’s plenty of opportunities to enjoy the planetarium sessions and other events. Exmoor was the very first International Dark Sky Reserve to be designated in all of Europe and we are excited to be able to help people enjoy them during this festival. We’re hoping for clear skies but the vast majority of the events will be running whatever the weather.”

ANDY MAY TRIO AT HALSWAY THIS SUNDAY

The North East’s finest, the Andy May Trio, will make a rare appearance in the South West when they visit Halsway Manor as part of their short National tour. The trio will perform on Sunday 15 October at 8pm.

The Andy May Trio are three award-winning musicians from Newcastle – Northumbrian piper Andy May (Jez Lowe and The Bad Pennies, Baltic Crossing), guitarist Ian Stephenson (Kan, Baltic Crossing) and fiddler Sophy Ball (422, Bottle Bank Band). Together they play high-energy instrumental folk, inspired by the music of their native North East.

A typical performance might include traditional tunes from Northumberland, newly-composed material by all members of the band and an introduction to the pipes, all delivered with a warmth and humour which is sure to draw in both folk aficionados and newcomers alike for a dazzling show filled with virtuosity and energy.

There’s a certain connection only heard between musicians after many years’ playing together; after more than a decade’s music making together in various guises, the tight interplay and sense of fun between these three friends is sure to delight.

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, has been established as a charity since 1965. Nestling at the foot of the Quantock Hills Halsway Manor provides a year-round programme of events and activities in traditional folk music, dance, song, storytelling, folklore and related arts and crafts. There’s ample free parking onsite, a bar and – of course – beautiful atmospheric settings for concerts with wonderful acoustics, and a chance to catch-up with the artists over a drink afterwards!

Tickets are priced £10, with a concessionary price of £4 for children and full time students of any age. Call 01984 618274 (option 1), email office@halswaymanor.org.uk or buy securely online at www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

MEDEA TO BE PERFORMED AT CLEEVE ABBEY THIS AUTUMN

Washford’s Cleeve Abbey is set to be home to spectacular Ancient Greek production this autumn, courtesy of innovative and immersive theatre company, Four of Swords. The spectacular Cleeve Abbey near Washford will be host to Medea from Thursday 9 – Saturday 11 November 2017.

Freely adapted from the Greek masterpiece by Euripides, Medea is the ultimate heroine, villain and victim, all rolled into one! The Cistercian abbey of Cleeve is usually a haven of peace and tranquillity but this is all set to change as the dark and dastardly Medea takes centre stage. The play, which is suitable for audiences over the age of 11, will enchant and terrify through gut-wrenching performances, spine-tingling choral singing, and a finale featuring the Sun-god himself!

Sarah White, Four of Swords co-founder and the actress playing Medea, explains that the company is known for avoiding traditional theatres in favour of unique staging in unusual locations. “Audiences at a Four of Swords show are positioned up close and personal, right in the thick of the action, with events unfolding all around. We design our productions to be excitingly interactive but without the need for audience participation. First and foremost our work is about creating multi-sensory, unforgettable experiences.”

The Greek myths are a staple of storytelling, and the characters which they contain recur again and again throughout history. “These tales are ancient, but incredibly relevant,” explains director Philip Kingslan John, “Medea tackles themes of nationalism, colonialism and xenophobia, as well of course as the unfair treatment which Medea receives on account of her gender.”

Myths and legends feature on both primary and secondary school curricula, and Euripides’ Medea is a staple text at A-level and university. Four of Swords has built up an impressive portfolio of outreach work, and will be complementing its production with workshops at schools, colleges and libraries.

Tickets for Medea at Cleeve Abbey are £15. For these or more information on the company’s educational work and its Argonauts-related workshops visit four-of-swords.com

“an exuberant production from the excellent Four of Swords”
The Stage on Jason and The Argonauts (2015 production)

Cast and Production Credits:

Adapted & directed by: Philip Kingslan John
Starring: Sarah White, Ben Miall Yates, Charlie Coldfield, Benjamin Akira Tallamy, Philip Kingslan John, Joanna Hruby, Duncan Taylor
Stage Manager: Rhiannon Wood
Music arranged by: Benjamin Akira Tallamy & Jonathan Kirby
Produced by: Four of Swords

Jason & The Argonauts / Medea Tour:

Wed 25 – Sat 28 October 2017 – Western-super-Mare, N Somerset, Theatre Tropicana
Marine Parade, Weston-Super-Mare, N Somerset, BS23 1BE
Jason & The Argonauts: 2pm / Medea: 7.30pm

Wed 1 – Sat 4 November 2017- Beer, Devon, Beer Quarry Caves
Quarry Ln, Beer, Seaton, East Devon, EX12 3AT
Medea: 7pm & 9pm performances

Thurs 9 – Sat 11 November, Washford, Somerset, Cleeve Abbey
Abbey Rd, Washford, Watchet, Somerset, TA23 0PS
Medea: 7pm & 9pm performances

More dates to be confirmed: Check website for details

PHOTO by Matt Austin

SOMERSET RURAL LIFE MUSEUM ANNOUNCES AUTUMN PROGRAMME

Following a £2.4 million redevelopment, Somerset Rural Life Museum re-opened earlier this year with a fresh new look and a line-up of wonderful events offering real-life experiences inspired by rural traditions.

The autumn programme has been announced and includes seasonal celebrations, workshops, courses, talks and exhibitions. The programme offers visitors a chance to discover more about Somerset’s heritage including its landscape, food and farming and rural crafts.

Visitor Services Manager Robin Savill said: “In addition to being a much-loved museum we are now offering new hands-on heritage experiences. The former farm, with its orchard and farm yard, offers a unique and historic venue in which to learn more about the county’s heritage. Alongside our special autumn events we also have regular family fun days and Toddler Explorer sessions.”

Autumn has always been an important time for rural communities and An Autumn Celebration carries on the tradition of celebrating harvest time. On 7 and 8 October the Museum grounds will be filled with all things autumnal, from apple pressing and giant pumpkins to rural crafts and folklore.

The Museum will hold its Living History Day on 5 November when the former dairy farm will be alive with the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of ancient skills and crafts. From woodworking and weaving to cookery and corn dollies, a visit will be like stepping into the past.

From 23 September to 11 November the wonderful foureteenth-century Abbey Barn will host an installation produced in partnership with Somerset Art Works and Craftspace. Gather-ing is a contemporary art exhibition exploring the use of ancient barns to gather and collect people, animals and crops.

Kate Lynch’s stunning FARM exhibition also continues until 3 December, featuring more than 40 paintings and drawings made on local farms. To complement the exhibition, Kate will be at the Museum on 28 September to give a talk about her documentary art projects.

On 25 October painter James Lynch is giving a talk and demonstration in using the ancient medium of egg tempera. James has spent many years mastering this technique and his much-admired landscape painting at the Museum is a stunning example of this work.

Blighty Bushcraft will be at the museum on 24 September to lead a Foraging Course around the Glastonbury countryside. The morning expedition will explore the local hedgerows to discover what nature’s larder has to offer. Blighty Bushcraft returns on 22 October for a ‘Slab and Stick’ Stool-Making Course.

Normal admission applies to seasonal days and exhibitions with charges and booking required for workshops, courses and talks. For full details please visit SRLM.org.uk

Somerset Rural Life Museum is part of The South West Heritage Trust, an independent charity that protects and celebrates our rich heritage.

THE WILDLIFE EXPRESS COMES TO THE WEST SOMERSET STEAM RAILWAY

Somerset’s Own ‘Great British Bake Off’ Star, Val Stones, Avoids a Soggy Bottom by Taking a Comfy Seat on the Wildlife Express

Coinciding with the launch of the new series of the Channel 4 show, Somerton-based, much loved TV baking celebrity, Val Stones, has teamed up with Somerset Wildlife Trust and West Somerset Railway to help raise funds for Somerset’s Wildlife

Somerset Wildlife Trust’s special fundraiser returns for a second year and is proud to present the ‘Steam Tea Wildlife Special’  steam train ride on Thursday 26 October.  This year it returns with a special VIP guest – Val Stones from TV’s ‘Great British Bake Off’.

Winning the hearts of millions, and much loved for her cheeky comments, Val will be joining the vintage afternoon tea-time adventure and will be judging those ticket holders brave enough to bring their own scones and jam for Val’s judgement!  All profits from the ticket sales will be kindly donated to Somerset Wildlife Trust so please come along and fill up the carriages!

Greeted by Val and Somerset Wildlife Trust staff, the steam train leaves Bishops Lydeard at 2.45pm, travels through the Quantock Hills and along the Somerset coastline to Minehead and then returns by 5.45pm. Ticket holders will be travelling in style in VIP carriages on one of WSR’s iconic steam trains, during which they will enjoy a tasty cream tea.  The trip can be enjoyed by all, but if you are also a keen baker, then bring along your homemade scones and hedgerow jams and on the return journey Val will judge the winner  who will receive a Miles Tea Gift generously donated by Miles Tea.

Val said, “If you looked at Somerset as your favourite cake – you’d say it’s made with fabulous ingredient;  glorious scenery, spectacular wildlife, lovely people and really strong communities – it’s a winning combination.  For me, having lived here for 35 years, the icing on the cake is being able to see and enjoy the wonderful wildlife around me.  I am proud of Somerset as a county and so pleased to support an organisation that exists to ensure that it is there for my grandchildren. Everyone should have a slice of Somerset!

The limited number of tickets, which are priced at £29.50 (includes a cream tea), will sell fast, so to find out more and to book your tickets to support this wonderful Somerset Wildlife Trust Fundraiser and get a chance to meet  Val,  please visit www.somersetwildlife.org/shop or phone 01823 652400.

SOMERSET ART WEEKS PROSPECT FESTIVAL AT WATCHET

Watchet will, once again, be a key destination during Somerset Art Weeks Festival 2017 (23 September to 8 October), the annual, county-wide art trail celebrating the visual arts. Three venues in the centre of Watchet are open daily and the town is a great base for exploring other West Somerset venues, clustered nearby around Crowcombe, Washford, Williton and Old Cleeve and westward to Minehead and Exmoor.

‘New Wave’, an exhibition curated by Toni Davey, at Contains Art’s gallery, on Watchet’s harbourside, promises to be a highlight of the festival. In a reunion of alumni from West Somerset College, the exhibition presents the work of more than 30 professional artists, designers and makers who are carving out successful careers in a range of creative fields, after beginning their education in the Arts at The West Somerset College. Work is linked through themes suggested by Katsushika Hokusai’s iconic woodcut print ‘The Great Wave’. A must-see for young people contemplating a career in the arts the show also invites reflection on the future of art education in England.

Alongside New Wave, Contains Art opens its studios, with work on view by resident artists Sue Lowe (printmaking), Georgina Towler (painting), Valerie Berry (ceramics and painting) and guests Cecilia Leete (jewellery) and Adam Grose (painting and print).

Just a short walk away, in Anchor Street, Watchet’s planned new Radio Museum is the venue for five more local artists: Jill Newton (illustration), Scarlet von Teazel (multimedia), Martyn Lintern (sculpture), Jenny Barron (painting) and Jan Martin (printmaker) present work exploring the world of broadcasting and communication under the exhibition title ‘Echoes … Currents…’.

All work is on sale at reasonable prices, but visitors are welcome to just browse and chat, finding out more about the artists working in and around the town.

Several events during the fortnight help to celebrate the creative festival:

Friday 22 September, 6 – 8pm, is the launch event for ‘New Wave’. All are welcome to come to Contains Art to meet artists taking part and enjoy a glass of wine and a relaxed look at the exciting work on display in the gallery and studios.

A community event on 23 September, 2-5pm, offers papermaking and paper-craft activities for children and families, plus music, food and drinks for all enjoy. This forms part of the ongoing heritage project, involving a number of Watchet organisations in celebrating the history of Wansbrough Paper Mill. The heritage exhibition, launched last week, continues on The Esplanade and in the Watchet Market House Museum throughout September.

Also on Saturday 23 September the artists at the Radio Museum have an evening opening, from 6pm. All welcome.

Sunday 1 October is Watchet’s regular, monthly Street Fair. There will be stalls on The Esplanade selling crafts, produce, food and snacks. Visitors are welcome to relax in Contains Art’s courtyard during the day.

On the evening of Tuesday 3 October, at 7.30pm, presentations and talks about the New Wave exhibition will offer further insights into the work on show, the artists represented and the case for the Arts in education. At Watchet Methodist Church Schoolrooms.

During the final weekend of the festival, 7-8 October, venues are encouraged to offer Family-Friendly activities. In Watchet a town trail guide, with questions and puzzles to solve, will be available on Saturday 7 October to take families on a treasure hunt walk around the town, encouraging curiosity about all the many things that artists do.

All in all there is something for everyone in Watchet during Somerset Art Weeks 2017.

Find out more: www.containsart.co.uk
Radio Museum: T: 07802 761993 W: www.jillnewton.co.uk

All three Watchet Art Weeks venues are open daily throughout the festival, 11am to 6pm.

School and group visits are welcome, please let Contains Art know in advance. An education pack for New Wave is available on request.

The Arts Weeks Festival Guide is available now at Contains Art and Watchet Visitor Centre or can be downloaded here.  somersetartworks.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/SAW_GUIDE_2017-email.pdf

Pictured: ‘Identity’, digital print, Sarah Ward, New Wave at Contains Art Gallery