Category Archives: Arts and Culture

COMING UP THE REGAL THEATRE MINEHEAD

GUYS AND DOLLS
A Musical Fable of Broadway
Based on the Story and Characters of David Runyon
Music and Lyrics by FRANK LOESSER

The Regal Theatre presents it 2018 Summer Show at the Regal Theatre Monday 8 – Saturday 18 August with Guys and Dolls by Frank Loesser.  Opening on Broadway in 1950, the show received unanimously positive reviews from critics and won a raft of awards.  Frequently revived with star casts, this popular musical comedy is now performed at the Regal Theatre with an all-star cast of local talent

All the hot gamblers are in town, and they’re all depending on Nathan Detroit to set up this week’s incarnation of “The Oldest Established Permanent Floating Crap Game in New York”; the only problem is, he needs $1,000 to find a safe place for the game. Throw in Sarah Brown, who’s short on sinners at the mission she runs; Sky Masterson, who accepts Nathan’s $1000 bet that he can’t get Sarah Brown to go with him to Havana; Miss Adelaide, who wants Nathan to marry her; Police Lieutenant Brannigan, who always seems to appear at the wrong time and you have a set-up for a cracking show.

Based on the story and characters of David Runyon and with music and lyrics by Frank Loesser, this is a popular musical which includes favourites like ‘Fugue for Tinhorns’; ‘Luck Be a Lady’ and ‘Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat’.

Performances begin at 7.30pm and tickets priced at £9 (adults), £8.50 (Friends of the Regal), £4.50 (16 and under & ES40s) and £20 (family ticket), are now available from the Regal Box Office (01643 706430), 10am – 3pm Monday – Friday. Opening night offer £5 per ticket. Hurry before tickets sell out!  No performance on Sunday 12 August. No matinées.

Apologies that online booking is currently unavailable. The service will be restored very shortly.

Also coming up…

The first of a monthly Sunday afternoon Jazz club
PETE ALLEN HOT 4
On Sunday 12 August from 3pm to 5.30pm in the Regal Theatre Bar

The Pete Allen Hot 4 gather to present the first of a monthly Sunday afternoon Jazz club.

For those who love jazz, this will be an entertaining musical selection of happy traditional jazz that everyone can enjoy and understand. A lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon listening to Pete on saxophone accompanied by drums, bass and piano or guitar/banjo.

Tickets all cost £12.00 and are now available from the Regal Box Office (details as above).

The Jazz Club will continue to meet on the second Sunday of each month.  Next date will be Sunday 9 September

LUMEN PRIZE: ADVENTURES IN DIGITAL ART EXHIBITION AT CONTAINS ART

This exhibition, specially curated for Contains Art in Watchet features interactive and immersive digital artworks by three international artists previously selected for The Lumen Prize. These works explore what is social and collaborative about digital, celebrating the value of such experiences.

American artist Biwei Niu was a 2017 Lumen Prize finalist with her ‘Evolution of Rhythm’. The piece is an interactive touch-based installation about Qi, a principle that forms the basis of much Chinese philosophy and medicine. In the work, abstract and organic graphics are projected onto a large, vertical frame covered with white fabric.  By touching the fabric surface people make waves, or push the imagery around.

‘MOC’, by Lab 212 from France, was a 2015 Lumen Prize finalist. It explores the relationship between sound and image through simple interactions. An imaginary landscape passes before the viewer, who, by whistling into a microphone, can make trees grow and evolve in real time based on the sound produced.

‘Hyperplanes of Simultaneity’, by Italian artists Fabio Giampietro and Alessio de Vecchi, was the 2016 Lumen Prize Gold winner. The work combines the tradition of painting with innovative Virtual Reality (VR) technologies. The viewer is presented at first with a large-scale urban canvas, but has their experience of it transformed by seeing the work through a VR headset.

The exhibitions runs until 12 August and is open 11-4, Wednesdays to Sundays.

‘COAST’ EXHIBITION AT WHITE MOOSE

If you love the sea and you are an art fan, don’t miss ‘Coast’ – an exhibition at White Moose Gallery in Barnstaple, that takes place between 20th July and 7th September, showing the work of four well-established North Devon artists all responding to the area’s coastline:

Ilfracombe ‘Plein Air’ painter Mark Rochester captures dramatic viewpoints looking from dizzying heights into the isolated bays along the North Devon coastline. Walking to his chosen sites, carrying all his painting equipment, sometimes presents quite a challenge, especially in all weathers!

Barnstaple-based Mike Woollacott beautifully and skilfully captures the area’s estuaries and seascapes. Painting in acrylics, his work is highly collectable and can be found in private collections across the UK.

Duncan Hopkins, based in Bideford, is fascinated by the waves, movement and reflective light of the sea in his fabulous drawings, pastels and paintings.

Complimenting these three painters, Chittlehampton ceramicist Roger Cockram will be showing his porcelain-ware, inspired by the rock pools along the North Devon coast. Roger’s work is collected world-wide and he’s often asked to exhibit and give lecture tours abroad, most recently to India.

For information on the ‘Coast’ exhibition and the artists, please see; www.whitemoose.co.uk or contact info@whitemoose.co.uk

TOP: Duncan Hopkins’The Hour Glass Shore’

HELEN SEAR PROSPECT REFUGE HAZARD 2: EXHIBITION AT HESTERCOMBE

Internationally acclaimed artist Helen Sear presents a large collection of new and recent work at Hestercombe Gallery this summer. Consisting of works made since 2015, this will be her most ambitious exhibition in the UK to date. Sear’s technique is characterised by exploring the crossover between photography and fine art, and focusing on the co-existence of the human, animal and natural worlds.

The exhibition runs from 14 July until 28 October 2018.

Helen Sear has exhibited around the world and was the first female artist selected to represent Cymru yn Fenis/Wales in Venice with a solo exhibition at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015. Producing high-quality, conceptually rigorous work, her current work incorporates photography, sound and video within a sculptural context, exploring the potential for her artwork to activate and elicit feeling.

“The photographic/moving image in art practice,” Sear says, “has never been so diverse or contested and, with the acceleration of new digital technologies, the function and presence of the image as both material and permeable is an ongoing challenge in the meaning, making and reception of my work.”

Her practice has evolved from a fine art education in performance, film and installation work in the 1980s and is rooted in an interest in Magic Realism, Surrealism and Conceptual Art. With photography a central subject in her work, she often challenges the dominance of the eye and the fixed-point perspective associated with the camera lens, placing the viewer in intriguing new relationships with the image.

The title of the exhibition comes from the 1975 book by Jay Appleton The Experience of Landscape where he developed the prospect-refuge theory of human aesthetics.

Helen Sear studied Fine Art at Reading University and University College London, Slade School, with her work rising to prominence in the late 1980s, when she worked primarily through installation, performance and film. Her photographic works became widely known in the 1991 British Council exhibition, De-Composition: Constructed Photography in Britain, which toured Latin America and Eastern Europe. Since then she has exhibited widely including About Face at the Hayward Gallery, London, 2004; La Mirada Reflexiva at the Espai D’Art Contemporani in Castellon Spain, 2005; Inside The View, shown at Gallery Harmonia in Finland in 2006; Klompching Gallery New York and Bildkultur, Stuttgart, 2010-12. This year she produced a new video and sound work commissioned during a year-long residency at The Forestry Commission England, Dalby Forest, in partnership with Crescent Arts and as part of Forest Art Works.

She is represented by: Klompching in New York, Martin Asbaek In Copenhagen and Galerie Pennings in Eindhoven.

Top: Forest Operations, 2018.

TAKING THE RUFF WITH THE SMOOTH IN LEADING TAUNTON THESPIANS ROLE

The Taunton Thespians’ newest “leading” lady is preparing for her first pawformance in the touring production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona starting on Tuesday 10 July.  Mavis won the hearts of the Thespians’ audition panel although she is the youngest member of the cast and has never acted before. She is looking forward to lapping up the applause and smiling for the pupp-arazzi.  This is no shaggy dog story: Mavis is a 12-month-old Cockerpoo and will be playing the role of ‘Crab’.

Mavis lives in Puriton with Uncle Alan, her manager and canine companions.  Mavis is sure to pick up some acting tips from her puppy pal Flora, a golden retriever whose stage credits include Annie.

Mavis and the rest of the cast will be performing from Tuesday 10th to Saturday 21st July at ten stunning locations across Somerset including Blackmore Farm near Cannington, Cleeve Abbey in West Somerset, Brympton D’Evercy near Yeovil, Dillington House, Muchelney Abbey, the  Mount Somerset Hotel and Queen’s College in Taunton and Wellington School. Venues will open at 6pm for picnics before the show, which starts at 7.30pm  Tickets are valid for any performance and are available from the Taunton Visitor Centre, online at tauntonthespians.org.uk  or from any venue on the night.

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is one of Shakespeare’s most charming comedies so bring friends, chairs and a picnic and prepare for Shakespeare as you have never seen it before.

PHOTO: Mavis and Flora

Tickets are priced at £12 and £5 (concessions for children, students and the unwaged) and the dates and venues are as follows:

Tuesday 10th July
Six Acres Resource Centre Roman Road, Taunton, TA1 2BD

Wednesday 11th July
Mount Somerset Hotel Lower Henlade, Taunton, TA3 5NB

Thursday 12th July
Brympton House Brympton d’Evercy, Odcombe, Yeovil BA22 8TD

Friday 13th July
Blackmore Farm Cannington, Bridgwater, TA5 2NE

Saturday 14th July
Cleeve Abbey Abbey Road, Washford, Watchet, TA23 0PS

Tuesday 17th July
Wellington School South Street, Wellington, TA21 8NT

Wednesday 18th July
Dillington House Ilminster, TA19 9DT

Thursday 19th July
Muchelney Abbey Muchelney, Langport, TA10 0DQ

Friday 20th July
Queen’s College Trull Road, Taunton, TA1 4QS

Saturday 21st July
Hartwood House Crowcombe Heathfield, TA4 4BS (SSAFA Benefit)

 

WOMEN’S RIGHT TO VOTE EXHIBITION

Somerset Rural Life Museum and Somerset Art Works are delighted to present a new exhibition marking the centenary of the Representation of the People Act. The Act gave the first British women the right to vote.

Processions: Two Banners, One Voice has just opened at the Museum. It displays a rare original suffrage banner created by the Weston-super-Mare branch of the National Union of Women’s Suffrage Societies alongside a contemporary banner created by students from Strode College in Street.

The students worked with Bristol-based artist Dorcas Casey to create the banner. It is one of 100 commissioned centenary banners that formed part of PROCESSIONS*, a mass participation artwork that took place on 10 June. Students from Strode College joined women and girls from across the UK who came together in London to process the banners.

Curator Bethan Murray from the South West Heritage Trust said: “The exhibition will allow visitors to discover how the women of Somerset played their part in the fight for women’s suffrage and their continuing roll in working for women’s rights today.”

Beccy Swaine from Somerset Art Works said: “Look closely at the new banner and you will see the enthusiasm, passion and creativity of the women and girls who represented Somerset in London as part of Processions 1918-2018.”

Artist Dorcas Casey worked with students from Strode College Art Department to design and create the contemporary textile banner. It was influenced by original Suffrage banners and encorporates the unique culture of the county. Glastonbury Festival wrist bands are woven into the design.

Dorcas said: “The process of making suffrage banners fostered a sense of collective, collaborative progress for the women who were fighting for equal rights. It’s hard to imagine how subversive and incendiary these embroidered banners were when they first appeared in public. Beneath their beautiful, meticulous surfaces, lies a story of strength, courage, and collaboration.”

The exhibition at the museum

The exhibition is on display at Somerset Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury from 16 June to 2 September.

For more information about the project to create the banners visit the blog somersetprocessions.wordpress.com

*PROCESSIONS is produced by Artichoke and commissioned by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s arts programme for the First World War centenary. Somerset Art Works is one of 100 commissioned organisations www.processions.co.uk

TOP PHOTO: Somerset Art Works at Processions photo by Ben McCluskey.

FOLK TRIO LEVERET AT HALSWAY MANOR

Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts are delighted to be welcoming acclaimed instrumental trio Leveret to perform at the Manor on Saturday 16 June at 8pm. ​

“Classy players … their intuitive way with tunes is glorious” Mojo

Leveret is a unique collaboration between three of England’s finest folk musicians. Andy Cutting (melodeon), Sam Sweeney (fiddle) and Rob Harbron (concertina) are each regarded as exceptional performers and masters of their instruments. Together their performances combine consummate musicianship, compelling delivery and captivating spontaneity. Leveret’s music is not arranged in the conventional sense and instead they rely on mutual trust, listening and responding as they perform live. Their playing is relaxed and natural, drawing audiences in and inviting them to share in music making that is truly spontaneous and yet deeply timeless.

“This is all about the joy of playing and the intoxicating thrill of three masters of their craft … the empathy between them as the music ebbs and flows is exceptional; you can also see the smiles and winks between them. The feel-good warmth they generate is palpable.” Colin Irwin [fROOTS review of In The Round]

Fiddler Sam Sweeney was the 2015 BBC Folk Awards Musician of the Year, directs the National Youth Folk Ensemble and is known for his work in Bellowhead, Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band, The Full English and his own Made In The Great War project. Melodeon genius Andy Cutting, a three-time BBC Folk Awards Best Musician, is a compelling solo performer and currently works with Blowzabella, Topette, June Tabor, and Roger Daltry. Concertina wizard Rob Harbron leads the English Acoustic Collective summer school and is known for his work with The Full English (Best Group and Best Album BBC Folk Awards 2014), Emma Reid, Fay Hield, Jon Boden and others.

“You won’t find English folk music played better than this”R2

Leveret’s music is firmly rooted in the English tradition but sounds fresh and new.  With their albums New Anything and In The Round and over a long string of sell-out gigs, the trio have built a strong reputation as consummate musicians and captivating performers. Latest release Inventions brings Leveret’s trademark groove, energy and intuitive playing to bear on a set of new tunes composed by the trio, three of today’s finest tunesmiths in the folk field.

“Sublime, exquisite music – don’t miss them” Martin Simpson

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 £15. Call 01984 618274 (option 1), email office@halswaymanor.org.uk or buy securely online at www.halswaymanor.org.uk.

ALAUDIAE TAKE TO THE STAGE AT ST LUKE’S FOR SIMONSBATH FESTIVAL

After a brilliant evening in the company of ENPA chief executive Sarah Bryan, the fantastically talented opera singers Miranda Westcott and Claire Egan will take time out from their busy schedule of performances at prestigious venues such as the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, to give a concert at St Luke’s on Saturday 26 May at 7.30pm.

Members of the vocal trio Alaudiae, mezzo-soprano Miranda Westcott, from North Devon, and soprano Claire Egan return to Simonsbath Festival to present a hugely varied mix of songs celebrating A Woman’s Love and Life, from sixteenth-century madrigals to reimaginations of recent pop hits such as John Legend’s ‘All of me’ and Beyonce’s ‘Halo’.  At the centre of the evening’s programme is Schumann’s cycle ‘Frauenliebe und Leben’, balanced by a selection of folk music from the British Isles, with many other delights.

Miranda and Claire are joined by Arngeir Hauksson (theorbo, renaissance guitar, lute, percussion) and Marc Verter (piano).

Arngeir regularly performs for Shakespeare Globe productions and Marc performs in the UK and abroad at venues such as the Wigmore Hall, Barbican Centre and St John’s Smith Square.

Tickets cost £15 to reserve the seat of your choice; standard tickets £10 (£11 on the door); student/unemployed £7.50; with free admission for 14s and under.  Refreshments are available and a snack may be booked in advance for the interval.

And it’s your last chance to catch this year’s fabulous Simonsbath Festival Art Exhibition, now in its final week and closing on 28 May, at The Old Pottery, Simonsbath, in the centre of the village just by the Exmoor Forest Inn. One of the printmakers will be on hand on most days to explain the processes they use to produce their work. Phone Sandy Schott on 01643 831844 for details.

To buy tickets for Saturday’s concert, visit www.simonsbathfestival.org.uk, email tickets@simonsbathfestival.org.uk or telephone Marian Lloyd on 01643 831451.

To receive a full colour, printed festival programme or to join the mailing list email info@simonsbathfestival.org.uk or to find out about becoming a Friend of Simonsbath Festival and enjoy ticket discounts and priority booking while also supporting the festival, email friends@simonsbathfestival.org.uk or call Polly on 01643 831302.

ANDREA OKE BEGINS ARTIST RESIDENCY AT HALSWAY

Somerset Arts Works, in partnership with Halsway Manor, are pleased to announce a new and final Somerset Art Works commission as part of ‘A Landscape of Objects’ funded by Arts Council England.

Somerset visual artist Andrea Oke will take up a residency at Halsway Manor, National Centre for Folk Arts, deep in West Somerset. With parts of the building dating from the 15th century and with a mention in the Domesday book, Halsway Manor is imbued with a rich folk heritage that encompasses dragons, devils, murder and Odin’s ghostly blacksmith. Yet much of this folk history is now forgotten creating a borderland of shadows and concealments. Through the combination of traditional craft and digital media Andrea will reanimate Halsway Manor’s landscape by exploring some of the forgotten people and the stories that shaped the bedrock of this place.

In the ‘Shadowland Project’ Andrea says “By creating a visual landscape of folklore and placing Halsway at its centre I hope to start new conversations that prevent both the stories and the storytellers from being lost to us forever.”

During the project Andrea will be researching the folklore and history of Halsway and its immediate surroundings, utilising resources from within Halsway’s library collection and Somerset’s Heritage Centre, as well as talking to people and visiting local sites. The research will inspire and inform a pop-up exhibition of original artwork at Halsway Manor that can be visited as part of Somerset Open Studios (Thu 27 – Sun 30 September, 10am – 5pm. Admission free). There will also be opportunities to meet the artist (Sat 29 September, 2pm) and participate in family friendly workshops (Sun 30 September, 10am-12noon and 2-4pm. £10 per family. Places should be booked in advance via Halsway Manor – 01984 618274).

Crispian Cook, Chief Executive of Halsway Manor said “We are delighted to be hosting Andrea Oke here as Artist in Residence. It is particularly exciting that she is here at a time when we are undergoing changes with our restoration project and widening our creative engagement. Andrea’s work here will enrich what we are doing and provide a wonderful chance for members of the public to experience an artist at work during Somerset Open Studios 2018.”

Andrea is keeping a blog throughout her residency, visit shadowlandproject.wordpress.com to follow her progress.

Shadowland Project is the final commission of Somerset Art Works project A Landscape of Objects, funded by Arts Council England. A Landscape of Objects has consisted of a series of site-specific commissions, residencies, bursaries and curated shows, including new work from local to international artists, during 2017-18. This is a major artistic programme by SAW to encourage research by artists into the spirit of the place, local identity and rural context in the making and presenting of contemporary arts and craft, investigating innovative and imaginative uses of important man-made landscapes and our relationship to them.

BARNSTAPLE’S ANNUAL BLAST OF SMALL-SCALE THEATRE FUN IS BACK AND BIGGER THAN EVER

The countdown has begun and very soon Fringe TheatreFest will be back in Barnstaple animating venues across the town in a riot of theatre, dance and live performance. Featuring over 60 shows from across the UK, from Thursday 30 June until Sunday 1 July, TheatreFest has been boosted this year by a very welcome grant from North Devon TAP Funding. The grant of £2,605.73 will be helping to kit out some exciting new venues including The Castle Centre and The Southgate who are coming on board for the first time in 2018.

Fringe Theatrefest Artistic Directors, Bill Buffery and Gill Nathanson, are delighted with the way this year’s festival is taking shape. Gill says, “The tap funding couldn’t have come at a better time with these new Fringe venues. Both spaces need complete kitting out to make them perfect for Fringe audiences to enjoy the fantastic programme that we have on offer this year.”

The full line-up for inside shows on offer at Fringe TheatreFest 2018 can be viewed online at www.theatrefest.co.uk.

Tickets will be on sale online via the website from 1 June.