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HAPPY New Year – it’s a bit belated, but we wanted to take a good look at the 2017 programmes around the region so that we had plenty to tell you about.
It is easy to get down-hearted about the political situation but we do have a lot of exciting news for you and perhaps the most important message is to get out and do something – support your local theatres and arts organisations, buy locally from independent shops and businesses, and be prepared to stand up for what you believe in.
So much of what we see in the media sounds like tantrum-prone toddlers. In this week’s Leader, we explain why we put much of this down to the infantilisation of culture. And we need to stand up against this Orwellian dumbing down.
So what’s new? We have details of the spring seasons at Bristol Old Vic, Poole’s Lighthouse arts centre, Salisbury Playhouse and Yeovil’s Octagon Theatre.
There is a report on the brilliant Theatre Royal Bath Creative Fund – an unsubsidised theatre which makes money from tours and West End transfers of its productions and uses that money to support small local arts organisations.
If you are interested in new music, Mark Anthony Turnage is the lead composer for the BSO Composers Day.
The Marine Theatre at Lyme Regis last year staged a successful open-air community production, The Tempest at Lyme. This year there’s an even more exciting project – a community play about the Monmouth Rebellion.
In Eco-soundings, we have preliminary news about the proposed Stonehenge tunnel – taking the huge volume of traffic on the A303 underground and restoring the stones in their ancient ritual landscape. It’s controversial – of course it is, but this is an opportunity to get involved and have your say. Highways England wants to gather as many views as possible.
Bristol these days feels like the most exciting city in the country (OK, we are a long way from Hull) and one of its most inventive events is the Slapstick Festival, now in its 13th year. Read about this year’s films and speakers.
On the visual arts front, we have some exciting galleries and arts centres putting on world-class exhibitions. These range from the small and distinctive Sladers Yard gallery, cafe and showroom for furniture maker/designer Petter Southall at West Bay, and Kelly Ross’s Art Stable at Gold Hill Organic Farm in Child Okeford, to Hauser & Wirth at Bruton and Messums Wiltshire in the 700 year old tithe barn at Tisbury.
Messums currently has a powerful sculpture exhibition, Deformations/Transformations, and Hauser & Wirth Somerset has a major Elisabeth Frink show opening on 19th January. Check out our Private View pages for more information.
Despite cut-backs and austerity, we have a thriving arts scene in this region, exciting developments in the local food economy and plenty to look forward. Get involved, take part – and enjoy!