This summer, Artsreach continues to bring professional performances to rural venues right across Dorset, with the launch of its brand new and exciting programme, supported once more by local legal firm Blanchards Bailey. There’s a whole variety of things on offer, with ten brilliant productions visiting eighteen venues across the County; everything from Spanish circus and comedy theatre to American stringband music and pop up opera!

Acclaimed seven-piece gyspy folk-rock band Holy Moly & The Crackers make a welcome return to Dorset with two special gigs for Artsreach as part of their national tour. In the perfect collision of rowdy tunes, pumping danceability and compelling storytelling, this wrangling folk group present a medley of original songs and old time drinking tunes, both hilarious and thrilling, and sure to entertain! With eight albums and over a decade of touring under their belts, The Foghorn Stringband is considered the present day shining gold standard for American Stringband music. Old-time square dance tunes rub shoulders with Cajun waltzes, vintage honky-tonk songs and bluegrass picking, creating a bubbling and intoxicating musical brew. Artsreach offer two opportunities to see this outstanding American group in Dorset. Seckou Keita has arguably become the most influential and inspiring kora player of his generation. Seckou fuses the traditional forms and instruments of Senegal with those of other cultures and, in his award-winning album 22 Strings, gives us the kora in its purest guise. Combined with evocative vocals, expect an unforgettable musical experience.

A whole host of Artsreach favourites will also be treading the boards with brand new productions over the coming months. It's June's big day! Time to crack out the bubbly, overly large hats and grandma's pearls for a proper wedding, the happiest day in any woman's life. However, what with an overly joyous father of the bride, nervous groom, lost best man and disgruntled mother-in-law-to-be, where is June? Throw the confetti, and save room for cake as Theatre Exchange make their Artsreach debut with ‘Our June’s Wedding’. Then, join Living Spit in the starting blocks for another adrenaline fuelled theatrical lap! Told (once again) entirely in rhyme and song, ‘Tortoise vs Hare’ promises to be an epic tale of romance, redemption and rural running rivalry that you'll never forget. As always, early booking is certainly advised! Set in the fictitious fishing village of Llareggub, the future stars of Bristol Old Vic Theatre School take a twenty four hour peek into the lives and loves of the likes of Captain Cat, Polly Garter and Willy Nilly, in Dylan Thomas’ ‘Under Milk Wood’; a beautiful, bawdy, affectionate, reckless and deeply original play. Returning once more on their popular open-air theatre tour, Cornwall's Miracle Theatre tackle Flann O’Brien’s ‘The Third Policeman’. Fans of this cult classic and newcomers alike should expect the unexpected!

The Artsreach summer programme also features two exciting firsts for the scheme; in April, Max Calaf Seve performs ‘Anyday’, a Spanish comedy circus show featuring breath-taking trampoline skills and hilarious clowning in a brilliant and unique show for all the family. Then in June, we are excited to bring the acclaimed cast of Pop up Opera to Dorset for one night only. These professional opera singers are dedicated to making opera enjoyable and inviting, without losing the quality of musical performance, and early booking is strongly advised for their performance of one of the most successful comic operas, Il Matrimonio Segreto (The Secret Wedding).

Families in Dorset don’t have long to wait until the release of the Artsreach Children’s Summer Workshop programme but, in the meantime, PaddleBoat Theatre Company invites you help set up camp with them at The Kingcombe Centre, and enjoy the greatest campfire story ever told: where sleeping bags evolve into monsters, rucksacks become friends and torches highlight the forest's closest secrets. ‘Rustle’ is an interactive family adventure jam-packed with puppets, songs and outdoor surprises.

Artsreach Co-Director Kerry Bartlett said “Following a buoyant spring season we are excited to unveil this varied summer programme, and are grateful to our season sponsors Blanchards bailey for their ongoing support. We are also excited to reveal shortly a brand new website, where you will be able to find full programme details including dates, venues and how to book. Outlets where you can pick up a copy of the new programme include libraries, arts centres and tourist information centres across Dorset.”




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