Art Events in December/January

Visual Art

From Saturday 18 November to Sunday 24 December ACE Arts in Somerton hosts a new exhibition called ‘Impress’.   Showcasing the best of printmaking in Somerset.

From Monday 27 November to Friday 22 December at the Ilminster Arts Centre there is the ‘Christmas Collection’. There will be a cornucopia of hand crafted gifts for the festive season, including ceramics, textiles, jewellery, accessories and decorative items such as glass and pictures available to buy. Featuring gifts for all ages, presents for children and items for even the hardest-to-buy-for friend or relative!

From Monday 27 November to Friday 22 December at the Cafe Gallery in the Ilminster Arts Centre it is the South Somerset Embroiderer’s Guild ‘Ruby Collection’ exhibition. Stitchwork display celebrating the group’s ruby anniversary. During 2017 the group has been busy making a ruby table runner for another branch who also celebrated 40 years, worked together on a group banner, made ruby themed cards to exchange at their celebratory luncheon and worked toward this ruby/red exhibition. In 2018 they look forward to embroidering in ‘any colour but red!’

From Friday 1 to Friday 22 December from 9.30am to 5.00pm the Jerram Gallery in Sherborne has their Christmas Exhibition. New work by 15 selected artists.

From Tuesday 2 to Saturday 20 January at the Ilminster Arts Centre it is the Open Prizewinners’ Exhibition. This exhibition has the reputation of being a barometer of talent in Somerset and the local region and features a wide range of subjects, from carefully observed still life to colourful abstract landscapes. There is an equally broad scope of media on show too, including wood turned vessels, delicately nuanced drawings and prints, along with vibrant watercolours and oils.   Taking park in the exhibition are Leo Davey, the West Somerset based artist and illustrator who won first prize, and the joint second prize winners – painter and printmaker Marie Blake and Philip Winstone, a self-taught abstract impressionist painter whose work is inspired by the Dorset coast. Also returning to the Arts Centre is Liz Kent, a skilled wood turner who was a joint winner of the 3D prize, and Jenny Barron, a Watchet based artist whose realistic still life paintings in watercolour scooped the Visitors’ Choice Award.

From Monday 22 January until Saturday 10 February the Ilminster Arts Centre host ‘A Sense of Place’ exhibition. This show brings together an intriguing line-up of artists who take their primary inspiration from landscapes both rural and urban. Working across a range of media – including watercolours, oils, textiles, photography and sculpture – these artists each have their own way of capturing and conveying light, topography and a sense of place. From the Somerset Levels to Venetian lagoon, from the African plains to London’s theatreland, this exhibition is all about the power of perception, and its creative impact.


On Tuesday 12 December from 7.45pm at the Swan Theatre in Yeovil Yeovil Community Orchestra presents ‘A Christmas Concert’. They will be playing popular classics, including ‘The Snowman’ and ‘Leroy Andersons Christmas Festival’ plus favourites from film and musical theatre such as ‘Oliver’, ‘My Fair Lady’ and ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’ together with a fantastic Disney Extravaganza. Tickets £7.50.

 On Friday 15 from 7.30pm at St Bartholomew’s Church in Crewkerne there is a Midwinter Concert with Reg Meuross and Phil Beer. Songs, tunes, carols and a Christmas Tree Festival. Bar and mince pies available. Tickets £14, under 14’s £5 from 01460 76058 and the Town Hall.

On Friday 15 from 7.30pm at the Exchange in Sturminster Newton see ‘Rock and Roll: Back the Years’. Take a trip down memory lane with this critically acclaimed live 50s and 60s music show conceived at the iconic London Palladium and performed by the fantastic six piece band ‘The Fugitives’ and & female vocalists ‘The Tiffany Girls’ all recreating the sounds and the hits of this unforgettable era. With ‘Diddy’ David telling some not to be missed anecdotes from his experiences working with the stars and the music, which will have you dancing in the aisles by the end, this is an evening that will leave you wanting more. Tickets £18.

On Friday 15 from 8.00pm at the Ilminster Arts Centre enjoy the Alan Barnes Octet performing ‘A Christmas Carol’ with Karen Sharp, Bruce Adams, Robert Fowler, Mark nightingale and the Dave Newton Trio. Like the Dickens classic itself, Alan Barnes’s ‘Christmas Carol’ has something for everyone. A family night out that is also a treat for the jazz connoisseur; it will delight anyone who loves music or literature or just Christmas! A suite of pieces which takes the audience through the characters and scenes of ‘A Christmas Carol’.  Readings from the original Dickens tell the story, and after each scene eight virtuoso musicians bring the characters and scenes to life, switching audiences from hilarity to pathos with a skill that would have done credit to Dickens himself. Tickets £25.

On Saturday 16 December from 8.00pm at the David Hall in South Petherton see ‘The Dylan Project’. Take four of Britain’s most talented Folk Rock musicians and a unique singer, add the repertoire of a genius, and you have got the recipe for a dream band. The musicians in question are PJ Wright on slide and electric guitar and pedal steel, Gerry Conway on drums and percussion, Phil Bond on keys, Dave Pegg on bass and the singer is Steve Gibbons. They present an exhilarating tribute to the work of arguably the greatest post war songwriter in the English language. Tickets £19.

On Tuesday 19 from 8.00pm at the David Hall in South Petherton see the ‘St Agnes Fountain’. They bring sparkling musicianship, humour and heartfelt renditions of your favourite Christmas tunes both original and those you know so well. Great musical talent, wit and invention in the form of founder member, David Hughes, Chris Leslie from Fairport Convention, Chris While and Julie Matthews. Tickets £19.

On Friday 29 from 8.00pm at the Exchange in Sturminster Newton see one of the UK’s supreme boogie piano players Ben Waters. Tickets £15.

On Sunday 31 at the David Hall in South Petherton from 8.15pm bring in 2018 with Ceilidh and Jigs for Gigs. Tickets £17, includes light supper.

On Friday 29 December from 8.00pm at the Exchange in Sturminster Newton see one of the UK’s supreme boogie piano players Ben Waters. Tickets £15.

On Sunday 31 at the David Hall in South Petherton from 8.15pm bring in 2018 with Ceilidh and Jigs for Gigs. Tickets £17 in advance only and includes light supper.

On Friday 5 January from 7.30pm at The Exchange in Sturminster Newton see the ‘Bowie Experience’. A must see for all David Bowie fans, the latest production promises an unforgettable journey of sound and vision, featuring all the hits from A to Ziggy. Bowie Experience continues to amaze audiences with an astounding attention to detail, bringing the golden years of David Bowie to theatres across the globe. Tickets £20.

On Thursday 11 from 8.00pm at the Exchange in Sturminster Newton see Paul Jones and Dave Kelly. Paul is a presenter on BBC Radio 1 R&B show and a thrilling singer and harmonica maestro. Dave is said to be Europe’s leading Bluesman and has played with many legends. Tickets £22.

On Friday 12 from 8.00pm at Ilminster Arts Centre pianist, Mike Denham returns. The format of the evening is Mike’s usual ‘speakeasy’ mix of vintage tunes, interspersed with entertaining stories and repartee. Mike Denham is a brilliant pianist with a profound and enduring love of early jazz, whose trademark repartee is studded with amusing and informative anecdotes about the world of jazz. Mike’s repertoire ranges across American jazz from the early 20th century ragtime through to 50’s Rock and Roll. Joining Mike for this journey back in jazz time is Enrico Tomasso, the UKs best known jazz trumpeter.   Tickets £14.


On Friday 19  January from 7.30pm at the Exchange in Sturminster Newton see ‘The Searchers’. With such classic hits as ‘Sweets for My Sweet’, ‘Needles and Pins’, ‘Don’t Throw Your Love Away’, ‘Sugar and Spice’ and ‘When You Walk In The Room’, they have contributed enormously in establishing the UK as the world’s leading nation in the music industry. They still have great appeal to audiences of all ages. They tour the globe as much today as they have done throughout a fantastic career spanning five decades. Their special ‘solo’ concert is a highly entertaining show and is combined with anecdotes and reminiscences, this fully self-contained concert includes all their famous hits, plus many album recordings, B-sides and a selection of other collector and well-known favourites. Tickets £20.

On Friday 19 from 8.00pm at the Ilminster Arts Centre go along to ‘Flying Folk’ for another instalment of top West Country folk music.   The line up includes Louise Jordan as well as The Good Ol’ Boys, a duo made up of Simon Durrant and Rob Mear who perform old time folk country and acoustic music. MC Jemima Farey will also sing and perform as a piano and guitar duo with Andrew Gilham. Tickets £10.

On Saturday 20 January from 7.30pm at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil see Elkie Brooks. It could be a particularly emotional rendition of one of her ballads, a powerhouse blues vocal or one of her trademark impossibly long notes that leaves the audience mesmerised. Elkie will be performing her biggest hits including ‘Pearl’s A Singer’, ‘Lilac Wine’, ‘Fool (If You think It’s Over)’ and ‘Don’t Cry Out Loud’. Tickets £29.

On Saturday 20 from 8.00pm at the David Hall in South Petherton see Steve Knightley on his ‘Songs and Stories’ tour. He invites his audience on a musical journey, charting the winding roads of his unrivalled career. The Show of Hands front man showcases a setlist including classic gems such as ‘Cousin Jack’, ‘AIG’ and ‘Country Life’ with his inimitable passion and flair. A rare glimpse into the personal playlist of a songwriting legend, Knightley also pays tribute to some of his influences along the way, from Dylan to Radiohead. Tickets £19.

On Friday 26 from 8.00pm at the Ilminster Arts Centre see ‘The Power of Three’. Led by award-winning jazz pianist Craig Milverton, ‘Tricotism’ features Nigel Price on guitar and Sandy Suchodolski on bass.  While the group takes its name from Oscar Pettiford’s 1956 composition of the same name, it takes its musical lead from another Oscar, the legendary Oscar Peterson and his best selling 1970s trio.  Craig and friends will be playing the same sort of melodious, jazz in much the same style, showcasing their superb musicianship and skilful interactive playing.  The evening promises a treat in store for Somerset’s jazz fans – advance booking strongly recommended.  Tickets £16.

On Friday 26 at the David Hall in South Petherton from 8.00pm see ‘Megson’. Four times nominated in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and double winners of the Spiral Earth Awards, Stu and Debbie Hanna draw heavily on their Teesside heritage to create a truly unique brand of Folk music. This husband and wife duo brings an infectious mix of heavenly vocals, lush harmonies and driving rhythmic guitars.  Debs is on vocals, whistle, piano and accordion and Stu is on guitar, mandola and banjo. They have gained fame on the British Folk scene not only for their arresting and intelligent song writing but also for their exquisite musicianship and Northern humour. Tickets £16.

On Saturday 27 from 7.30pm at the Exchange in Sturminster Newton see the ‘Woodfalls Band’ present ‘Music from Stage and Screen’. Tickets £9.

On Monday 29 from 7.30pm at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil see ‘New Jersey Nights’. A spectacular celebration of the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons and takes the audience on a nostalgic musical journey through the career of one of the biggest selling groups of all time. From the back street studio in New Jersey where it all began, this vibrant production includes all of The Four Seasons’ greatest hits includingSherry’, ‘Rag Doll’, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, ‘Walk Like A Man’ and many more. The production features an award winning cast of singers, dancers and a rocking on stage band. Tickets £21.50.


From Friday 8 December to Sunday 7 January from 7.30pm do not miss the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil showing their Christmas family pantomime ‘Cinderella’. Once again, the show will be written by Paul Hendy and produced by Evolution. Tickets £13.50.

On Sunday 10 December from 7.30pm at the Jubilee Hall in Yetminster ArtsReach presents ‘Brilliance’. It is winter 1963. Everyone is gathering in the village hall. Daisy places her hand on the switch, presses it down, and life is never the same again. Long after its arrival in the city, the slow process of rural electrification is starting to illuminate every corner and crevice of village life. As the dark evenings hold us in, 240 volts of alternating current and the humble electric light bulb allows us to gather and sing long into the night. Tickets Adults £10, under 18’s £5, available from 01935 873719.

On Friday 12 January from 7.30pm at the Exchange in Sturminster Newton ‘Jethro’ is back after popular demand. ! Armed with nothing more than a microphone and delivered to you in a warm Cornish accent, Jethro has the rare ability to paint hilarious pictures in the mind of his audience. Tickets £20.

On Friday 12 from 7.30pm at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil see ‘The Transports’. It tells the incredible tale of a family destroyed by poverty and crime, but resurrected by exile to the new colony in Australia. With fresh script and musical arrangement, this famous show re emerges within a modern context of mass migration. The stellar line up for this exciting new production includes The Young’uns, Faustus, Nancy Kerr, Rachael McShane, Greg Russell and Matthew Crampton. Features musical arrangements by Paul Sartin of Bellowhead and Faustus. Two time BBC Folk Award Winners The Young’uns bring their trademark live dynamism. Further musical excellence comes from Nancy Kerr, Bellowhead’s Rachael McShane, Faustus’ Benji Kirkpatrick and Saul Rose and Greg Russell. Storyteller Matthew Crampton has created fresh narration for the show, amplifying its central tale into a broader exploration of exile and migration. Mass migration is a defining dilemma of today. This is not just a great music experience, but a sharp reminder of folk music’s power in portraying the way the world actually works. Tickets £20.50.

On Saturday 13 from 7.30pm at the David Hall in South Petherton Somerset’s Wassail Theatre Company presents ‘Reclaimed’. It had been an ordinary January day. That is until an extraordinary thing happened: the water came, and it didn’t go away. The community had been told to evacuate their homes and meet at the highest, safest point: the village hall. What happens when a community is in crisis? When tragedy is moments away and when your loved ones are nowhere to be seen, who do you turn to for help? The show places the audience in the heart of a fictional village under siege and brings the 2013/2014 flooding crisis to life in a story inspired by true events. Tickets £10.

From Monday 15 to Saturday 20 January at 7.45pm the Swan Theatre Company in Yeovil presents ‘Whistleblower’. A present day affair set in a corporate world where personal values conflict with the possibility of serious financial gain, and where individuals find that they question themselves and each other. A UK defense company is finalising a tender to win a contract from a threatened African Republic. If the contract cannot be secured then the company may go bankrupt! The management team has decided that it has to win the business. But the deal can only be finalised by the making of an illegal payment to the key decision maker. How does the company ensure that it wins the business it needs to survive? Can it hide a breach of the international business code of ethics? And when an insider ‘blows the whistle’ to the Serious Fraud Office, what other secrets will be revealed? A ‘whodunit’ without a murder, this is a story of trust and mistrust, a story about when it is right to be honest and when it is necessary to deceive. It is the writing debut of Adrian Harding, who has been involved with the local theatre community in Yeovil and Sherborne for 32 years. Tickets £12.

On Friday 19 January from 7.30pm at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil see ‘Voodoo VaudEvil’.   This spectacular show features an amazing amalgamation of bizarre and fantastic circus acts all woven into a sensational shock/horror story – taking the show to a whole new level. It is driven by a mostly original soundscape and performed with a forked tongue firmly in each cheek. This show is not for the faint hearted. Tickets £19.

From Tuesday 23 to Saturday 27 at 7.30pm at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil Yeovil Amateur Pantomime Society presents ‘Beauty and the Beast’. Enter the little French town of Morts Ennuyeux where inventor Maurice, his beautiful daughter Belle and a whole host of colourful characters are and where he stumbles across the castle of The Beast, the once handsome Prince Dacey, now magically transformed by the Enchantress for not giving her shelter from the storm. Can Maurice and Belle save him from forever being this terrible monster? Fancy dress and audience participation is encouraged. Tuesday and Wednesday tickets £13, other performance tickets £16.

On Tuesday 30 from 8.00pm at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil see comedian Ed Byrne. He will be performing his spoiler alert stand up show. Tickets £25.


On Tuesday 9 January at Westland’s Entertainment Centre in Yeovil there is a screening of ‘Othello’. This is Iqbal Khan’s acclaimed 2015 production of Shakespeare’s Othello which was for the RSC. Othello is the greatest general of his age. A fearsome warrior and revered defender of Venice against its enemies. But he is also an outsider whose victories have created enemies of his own, men driven by jealousy and prejudice to destroy him. As they plot in the shadows, Othello realises too late that the greatest danger lies not in the hatred of others, but his own fragile and destructive pride. Tickets £14.

On Wednesday 10 from 7.30pm at the Digby Church Hall ArtsLink Flicks see ‘My Cousin Rachel’. A young Englishman plots revenge against his late cousin’s mysterious, beautiful widow, believing her responsible for his death. Based on a novel by Daphne du Maurier. Tickets £6 from Sherborne TIC on 01935 815341 or on the door. Pre film supper for £12. (See ‘Movies Around the Towns and Villages’)

For Children


On Saturday 16 December from 8.00pm at Westlands Entertainment in Yeovil hosts the biggest 80s party to get you in the festive mood! Dance the night away to all the best hits as our DJ plays hits from Wham!, Bananrama, Rick Astley, Bronski Beat, Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson. There will also be amazing live performances from Toyah and Modern Romance! With confetti, balloons, your favourite tunes from the 80’s and Christmas party tunes plus prizes for the ‘best dressed’ it will be the best Christmas party ever! Tickets £12.

On Sunday 17 December at Westland’s Entertainment Centre in Yeovil from 7.30pm see ‘BBC Somerset Christmas Extravaganza’. Presenters from the radio station will be joined on stage by special guests and a live big band for an evening of festive swing. Be dazzled by glitzy and glamorous toe tapping dance routines and enjoy Christmas classics made famous by the likes of Nat King Cole, Bing Crosby, Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. Tickets £5.

On Saturday 20 January from 2.30pm at the Exchange in Sturminster Newton see Michael Portillo talk about his journey. It took him 10 years to get a seat in the Commons and then rise in power and esteem to a point where he was a favoured leader of his party and possible future PM. A track record like that suggests to many, a privileged friend of the rich and famous. But since leaving the House a decade ago Michael has endeared himself to many with his obvious respect for solid workmanship and creative energy, as found in our great Victorian railways, and the daily toil of the working man. A historian at heart he has used a Victorian railway guide to take millions of viewers on a historical voyage of discovery throughout the UK, Ireland, Europe and the USA. Tickets £17.50.