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Skimmity Hitchers + Support

Skimmity Hitchers + Support

Since 2010 the Skimmity Hitchers have been ploughing a furrow through the West Country music scene unlike any other band. Their gigs are the stuff of legend - part hoedown, cabaret and folk-punk free-for-all - but always entertaining.

These cider-drinkin', badger-botherin' reprobates are regulars on the festival circuit and we're delighted to bring them back to Dorchester Arts to see if they can top last February's sold-out show.

Support comes from Dorchester's returning ska-reggae heroes Bluetown Rumble and apocalyptic surf outfit Palooka 5.

Sponsored by Hall & Woodhouse
Friday 28 Apr 20178:00pm Book Now


‘Burton’vividly presents the life of the great Welsh actor in his own words from humble beginnings to Hollywood mega-stardom. Beautiful women (not least Liz Taylor), alcohol, wealth, stage and screen are the threads woven into this sad, happy, exuberant often hilarious one-man show. Drink was the only real anodyne to his deteriorating health and mental state, his doomed tempestuous relationship with Taylor and his constant guilt over the abandonment of his family.

Wednesday 3 May 20178:00pm Book Now
Shappi Khorsandi - Oh My Country

Shappi Khorsandi - Oh My Country

OH MY COUNTRY!' From Morris Dancing to Morrissey
Shappi is celebrating the fortieth anniversary of her arrival in Britain.She's reclaiming patriotism, sending a love letter to her adopted land. Please don’t come if you’re a skinhead (though naturally bald folk are welcome).
‘She has plenty to say, and says it with pointedness and potency.’The Guardian
Star of Live At The Apollo, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, Friday Night with Jonathan Ross, Have I Got News for You and Q.I, she is back with a brand new show for 2016. She has whip-crack jokes and is effortlessly funny as she handles every subject with a razor sharp wit, softened only by her deliciouslymischievous delivery and endless charm.

Shappi Khorsandi is also the best selling author of ‘A Beginners Guide to Acting English’ and her debut novel ‘Nina is not OK’ is published by Ebury in July 2016. Shappi was also recently elected president of the British Humanist society.

'Seriouslsy funny and suprisingly filthy' The New Statesman
'Makes live comedy thrilling' London Evening Standard
Thursday 4 May 20178:00pm Book Now


Kokoro is the new music ensemble of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, committed to bringing contemporary music to the South and South West.

We are delighted to announce that this very special performance will feature the premiere of a new work by Hywel Davies, inspired by the county of Dorset, along with the following: Darius Milhaud - Trio Arvo Part - Mozart's Adagio Arvo Part - Fratres Shostakovich Piano Trio No 2.

Sunday 7 May 20172:30pm Book Now


In a world where would be starlets cry on talent shows and ex boy band members are considered credible, Ezio do what they do.

They deliver the most exquisitely crafted and varied songs today with a skill that can only come from having toured and recorded constantly for many years. Ezio's style has always been nearly impossible to describe. Their music can range from the highly rhythmical almost manic Latin feeling rock to delicate dreamy ballads that are heartbreakingly honest and deeply poetic.

An ex manager once proudly announced Ezio cannot be killed with conventional weapons and true to form they have come back with the strongest collection of songs Lunedei has ever written on their new album Daylight Moon.

"Lyrics like Morrison or Dylan but somehow more in the real world". The Scotsman

Friday 12 May 20178:00pm Book Now
Far From The Madding Crowd

Far From The Madding Crowd

“I shall do one thing in this life – one thing certain – that is, love you, and long for you, and keep wanting you till I die.”

As three very different suitors compete for her heart, spirited, independent Bathsheba Everdene must choose between them. Will she choose to marry for passion, for obligation or for true love and companionship? Or will she value her independence and not marry at all?

Celebrating their tenth anniversary, and following on from Emma, “perfect theatre with seemingly no effort at all” BBC Radio,  Persuasion - “pure theatre magic” **** The Stage and David Copperfield – “Brimming with wit and charm” Remotegoat, Hardy’s romance is brought to life with live music and Hotbuckle’s trademark ensemble style.

Saturday 13 May 20178:00pm Book Now
Sunday 14 May 20172:30pm Book Now
I Am Beast

I Am Beast

Captivating puppetry... An outstanding piece of theatre from start to finish. Raw and dark... this is a show that everyone should see." The Buxton Review

What happens when the wildest parts of our imagination take control? After the death of her mother, Ellie escapes into her own fantasy world of comic book superheroes and bewitching strangers, recreating herself as the ultimate vigilante.

Running amidst dark alleyways and sinister villains, she soon meets the wild and mysterious Beast and together they seek revenge. But as the walls of her new world begin to crumble, Ellie must finally face the truth behind her fantasies.

A visually stunning exploration of the power of grief and childish imagination, I

AM BEAST was developed with teenagers, therapists, psychiatrists and neurologists with support from an Arts Award from the Wellcome Trust and funding from Arts Council England.

Wednesday 24 May 20178:00pm Book Now
The Phil Beer Band

The Phil Beer Band

A spirited fusion of friendship and musicianship, the Phil Beer Band delve into the back catalogues of Phil's beloved country, rock, folk and blues influences throughout the years to create their infectious and unique 'folk n roll' sound. Throw in Phil's blistering guitar solos, a healthy seasoning of lively tunes and banter and a pint or three, and you know you're in for a cracking night.

Completing Phil's lineup are Gareth Turner (melodeons), Olivia Dunn (fiddles), Emily Slade (guitar, vocals) and Steve Crickett (drums).

Thursday 25 May 20178:00pm Book Now
Matt Forde

Matt Forde

Following the UK's most important referendum until the next one, host of hit show 'Unspun' Matt Forde celebrates why it's great/awful that we're in/out of the EU/UK/NATO/whatever the hell happens next.

As seen on The Royal Variety Performance 2015 (ITV), Have I Got News For You (BBC One), Mock the Week (BBC Two) and Question Time (BBC One).

'A first class comic' (Guardian).

'Highly engaging, inherently funny… an ability to ad-lib laughs out of thin air' (
Friday 26 May 20178:00pm Book Now
Juan Martin - Arte Flamenco Puro

Juan Martin - Arte Flamenco Puro

Juan Martin, a truly awe-inspiring guitarist, composer and all encompassing musician returns to tour the UK with a new flamenco programme of music, song and dance direct from Spain.

Martín’s latest show features the 18 year old flamenco dance star from Cadiz, Raquel Gonzalez and the extraordinary singer Antonio Aparecida. Gonzalez’s tremendous footwork, the passion of Aparecida’s voice and the unmistakable poetry and emotion of one of the world’s leading guitarists make for a performance not to be missed.

This is at the vanguard of modern flamenco and brings together ‘the cream of Spain’s dancers’ (The Times) with the intensity and emotion of one of the world’s finest guitarists. ‘He has a terrifyingly good technique and an absolute dominance of the guitar, filling the concert hall with crystalline clarity’ (El Mundo)

‘Juan Martin reminded us of the power and beauty of flamenco pure and simple. No meretricious stage tricks, just one long enthralling sequence of instrumental solos, songs and dances by the brilliant troupe’

The Independent, 5 stars

‘Juan Martin’s flamenco rhythm energy and passion will pin you to the wall’

Folk Roots

Thursday 1 Jun 20178:00pm Book Now
Dowland Works - The Consent of Speaking Harmony

Dowland Works - The Consent of Speaking Harmony

An intimate evening based around the music of John Dowland, in the company of the UK’s foremost early-music soprano, Dame Emma Kirkby, and a group of talented young singers and musicians, including the hugely talented lutenist Sam Brown.

Friday 2 Jun 20178:00pm Book Now
Eric Knowles What's It Worth

Eric Knowles What's It Worth

In What’s it Worth? the lad from Lancashire and star of The Antiques Roadshow takes the wraps off the antiques business, in which he has been immersed for over 30 years.

In the hour preceding the show, audience members can bring their treasures and heirlooms for Eric to peruse. The show then starts with Eric’s irreverent and hilarious reminiscences, ably supported by excellent images. The second part is devoted to Eric’s examination of some of the audience’s treasures from the initial meet and greet.

Eric is one of those rare individuals able to share his expert knowledge of antiques in a manner that is easily understood and he has become the friendly face of a business long shrouded with mystery.

Saturday 3 Jun 20171:30pm Book Now
Prescription For Murder

Prescription For Murder


directed by Melanie Hooley


This year we, the Somerleigh Players,  find ourselves in the depths of darkest Devon  enjoying  the humour  of Norman Robbins  as he takes us on a mysterious journey  full of twists and turns to its final destination.

Is Doctor Forth trying to get rid of his new wife, is his extremely wealthy ex girlfriend planning a murder and is the mystery man all he seems?

This rollicking whodunnit  is full of suspense. It is guaranteed to entertain  and  the red herrings will keep you guessing until curtain down.

Our wonderful actors 'the best amateurs in town'  look forward to sharing this live theatre with you.

Thursday 8 Jun 20178:00pm Book Now
Friday 9 Jun 20178:00pm Book Now
Jay Phelps Quartet

Jay Phelps Quartet

Trumpeter Jay Phelps came to our attention playing superbly in the Miles Davis role in Kind of Blue – Revisited (Sept 2016) and he now returns with his own Quartet.

This group of young musicians dedicated to contemporary jazz play with a clear understanding of what is both modern and traditional. The fresh and exciting band plays a mixed set of original compositions from the band leader and arrangements of jazz standards.

Friday 16 Jun 20178:00pm Book Now
DYT Junior & Intermediate

DYT Junior & Intermediate

Charlotte Holmes - Future Detective by Richard James

Young Charlotte Holmes may well be a 23rd century

descendant of Sherlock and is eager to do some detective

work. Her opportunity arises on a school trip to a museum

when it is discovered that Van Gogh’s ‘Sunflowers’

painting has been stolen.

Michael Morpurgo’s I Believe in Unicorns, adapted

for the stage by Danyah Miller and Dani Parr

Tomas loves playing in the mountains where he lives and

hates reading and school, but his world is turned upside

down the day he meets the Unicorn Lady in his local library...

Thursday 22 Jun 20176:30pm Book Now
Friday 23 Jun 20176:30pm Book Now
Twelfth Night (Rain or Shine)

Twelfth Night (Rain or Shine)

The first in our series of outdoor theatre. Rain or Shine

Theatre Company, widely acclaimed for their magical

open air productions, transport you to a land where

nothing is quite what it seems. When Viola finds herself

shipwrecked and separated from her brother, she sets

foot upon Illyria’s sandy shore. Lost and alone, she

disguises herself as a man and sets forth. Before long,

chaos ensues as mistaken identity, love, pride and

alcohol set a host of much loved characters on a series

of hilarious adventures. Hopeless romantics, drunken

knights, a pompous steward and fools galore abound

in one of Mr. William Shakespeare’s most celebrated

comedies. “If music be the food of love, play on!”

Sure to delight family audiences from age 6 to 96, this is

an ideal choice for an outdoor theatrical event.

Sunday 25 Jun 20177:00pm Book Now
Stompin' Dave Allen

Stompin' Dave Allen

Stompin’ Dave, described by Blues In Britain as “a

downright genius”, is an astounding performer whose

reputation has spread far and wide from his home town

of Bridport. Master of the guitar, banjo, fiddle, harmonica

and piano he is perhaps best-known for his old-time, flatfooting

style of tap-dancing – hence his stage name.

Dave was nominated for a British Blues Award in the

acoustic act category 2014 and was winner of the

FOAOTMAD old-time banjo competition 2011 and 2013.

Thursday 29 Jun 20178:00pm Book Now
Maria Kesselman

Maria Kesselman

End leading lady’s range with a wonderful cavalcade of

songs, anecdotes and marvellous memories spanning the

musical stage, cabaret and even a touch of opera. It is a

magical musical tour-de-force through the Great American

Song Book of Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein,

Sondheim, Bernstein and many more, with stops along the

way to explore the musical magnificence of Lloyd Webber,

Jacque Brel and Franz Lehar, to name but a few.

At the end of the concert Maria will be hosting a post

show talk during which you will have the opportunity

to discuss any aspect of her amazing career. A rare

opportunity to engage with one of the world’s greatest

leading ladie

Friday 30 Jun 20178:00pm Book Now
DYT Performance Co - Buckets

DYT Performance Co - Buckets

Join Performance Company as they explore a universal

dilemma: how do you deal with the fact that time always

runs out?

This is an amateur production by arrangement with

Nick Hern Books

Wednesday 5 Jul 20177:30pm Book Now
Thursday 6 Jul 20177:30pm Book Now
Cloudbusting - Kate Bush

Cloudbusting - Kate Bush

There can only be one Kate Bush! But those who missed

out on her live shows will love Cloudbusting, the UK’s

longest running and most highly-rated tribute.

Cloudbusting recreates Kate’s distinctive sound palette with

the most authentic emulations available: the electric grand

from the Tour Of Life, the chugging cellos from Hounds of

Love, the sublime fretless bass from Babooshka.

Whether you sit back and absorb the full audio/visual

experience or get up and dance along to your favourite

Kate song, their show is for you...

Friday 7 Jul 20178:00pm Book Now
Nick Capaldi

Nick Capaldi

Local boy Nick Capaldi is proving that, when it comes to

innovative rock/pop, he’s producing some of the freshest,

most relevant sounds on our musically creative shores,

and his debut single stayed in the Amazon Top 20 Best

Selling New Release list for five weeks.

Radio 2’s Bob Harris is a big fan, and a track from his debut

EP made a highly acclaimed appearance on the MOJO

Songs In The Key of Paul album. Nick has come a long way

since his early days gigging in local pubs and picking up

local ‘Best Band’ awards with his first band Emphasis.

Saturday 8 Jul 20178:00pm Book Now
The Drive

The Drive

The company who brought us the wonderful Ballad of

Martha Brown return with The Drive, an unexpected

Nordic road trip which sees two estranged friends

thrown together on a tense journey from London to Oslo.

Spliced through with humour, slick physicality, an original

contemporary soundtrack and video projection, The Drive

is a show about friendship, grief, the fragility of memory,

turning 40, and coming of age in the 1990s.

‘Angel Exit weave stories with more than a little

theatrical magic. There is so much vivid theatricality and

inventiveness at work here.’ Lyn Gardner, The Guardian

Also at the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis

Wednesday 12 Jul 20178:00pm Book Now
The Third Policeman

The Third Policeman

Miracle Theatre return with their adaptation of The

Third Policeman, one of the comic masterpieces

of European literature: a surreal adventure, with

hilarious characters, streaks of dark humour and an

unforgettable plot twist.

Written by Flann O’Brien, adapted by Bill Scott,

Meiert Avis & Robert Bayley.

Thursday 13 Jul 20177:30pm Book Now
The Swingles

The Swingles

For more than half a century, The Swingles have pushed

the boundaries of vocal music. The seven young singers

that make up today’s London-based group are driven by

the same innovative spirit that has defined the five-time

Grammy winners since they first made waves in the 1960s.

At a time when a cappella music is more popular than ever,

The Swingles are recognised as masters of their craft.

Friday 14 Jul 20178:00pm Book Now
Mark Thomas

Mark Thomas (U)

Few predicted the events of 2016. And even fewer seem

to know where we are going. Mark Thomas sets out to

discover what the future has in store for us by collecting

and examining his own predictions and those of his

audiences before gambling on their outcome. By making

futurologists of us all, he will create a fantastical, hilarious

and possibly accurate vision of the world. And maybe

even make a few quid on the side.

Wednesday 19 Jul 20177:30pm Book Now
Craig Ogden & Jacqui Dankworth

Craig Ogden & Jacqui Dankworth

Jacqui is one of the most highly regarded vocalists in the

UK, whose unique musical palette draws on jazz, folk,

soul, classical and blues. Craig Ogden is a Dorchester Arts

favourite and one of the world’s finest classical guitarists.

With a string of No. 1 CDs to his name he is instantly

familiar to listeners of Classic FM and BBC Radio 3.

Jacqui heard Craig on Classic FM recently and was so

moved by his playing that she asked if they could record

an album together. Together their sound is classic,

timeless, and delicately beautiful, and their programme

includes songs by everyone from Paul Simon and James

Taylor to Henry Mancini and Michel Legrand.

Thursday 20 Jul 20178:00pm Book Now
Kathy Lette

Kathy Lette

“Women are each other’s human wonder bras – uplifting,

supportive and making each other look bigger and

better.” So says Kathy Lette, funny, feminist author, who

invites you to her new show, Girls’ Night Out.

It’s a psychological strip-tease taking us from Puberty

Blues to Menopause Blues, with tales of love, lust, men,

marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, mastitis, sexist bosses,

teenage-daughter-wrangling, ageing, toy-boys, making

the Queen laugh, hiding Julian Assange in her attic and

Close Encounters of the George Clooney Kind, en route.

So, grab your girlfriends and come along. Wit, warmth

and full frontal frankness, guaranteed. (Men, attend at

your own risqué!)

Saturday 22 Jul 20178:00pm Book Now
A Summer Sunday with Kit & McConnel

A Summer Sunday with Kit & McConnel

Celebrate summer with Dorchester Arts, as we welcome the acclaimed and hilarious singing duo Kit and McConnel to perform their particular style of musical brilliance. The pair’s unique take on any subject under the sun - from the perils of fast food to Donald Trump and Andy Murray - will have you weeping with laughter.

We are delighted to return to the beautiful surroundings of Whitcombe Manor, at the kind invitation of Minette and Alec Waters.  With delicious canapés and a complimentary glass of bubbly on offer, we are all set for an afternoon of musical fun.

‘The duo make beautiful musical comedy together...Catch this splendid show’ London Evening Standard

Sunday 30 Jul 201712:00pm Book Now
Addictive TV: Orchestra Of Samples

Addictive TV: Orchestra Of Samples

In association with the One World Festival, Dorchester

welcomes Addictive TV with their project Orchestra of

Samples. The group have spent the last five years filming

improvised sessions with more than 200 artists playing

all manner of instruments in over twenty five countries,

from singers in Bhutan to musicians playing bagpipes

made from whole goats, via Stereolab singer Laetitia

Sadier, and Motörhead’s original drummer Lucas Fox.

The project comes together to make an unforgettable

live audio-visual event, for which they will be joined by

Dorchester’s own Glyn “Bigga” Bush.

Friday 4 Aug 20178:00pm Book Now
The HandleBards: As You Like It

The HandleBards: As You Like It

The world’s first cycling theatre company, The

HandleBards, pedal from venue to venue with all the set,

props and costume necessary to perform environmentally

sustainable Shakespeare across the globe. Join their

all-female troupe for a bicycle-powered production of

Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ like no other. In usual

HandleBards style, expect riotous amounts of energy, a

fair old whack of chaos, and a great deal of laughter.

And what’s the play about? Well - Rosalind and Orlando

have been forced into exile in the Forest of Arden. As

lovers, they become entangled in a bizarre game of lust,

love and mistaken identity.

Also at the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis and

Bridport Arts Centre

Thursday 24 Aug 20177:30pm Book Now
Spooky Men's Chorale

Spooky Men's Chorale

The Spooky Men’s Chorale are the gift that keeps on

giving…thunderous as a herd of wildebeest, sly as a

wagonload of Spike Milligans and sonorous as a cloister

of monks. They emerged blinking-eyed from the Blue

Mountains of Australia fifteen years ago and armed with

no more than their cavernous vocal chords, a nice line in

deadpan and improbable facial hair, have been gleefully

wooing audiences around the world ever since.

For their 2017 UK tour, they revisit their much loved

b(l)ack-catalogue, alongside forays into immense

Georgian anthems, tender arrangements of traditional and

contemporary classics, and their own uniquely entertaining

songs and choreography.

Wednesday 30 Aug 20178:00pm Book Now