Somerset Digital Open Studios Opens 19 September

Take a tour of Somerset’s artists’ studios from the comfort of your home.

Somerset Open Studios goes online from Saturday 19 September until 4 October with an exciting new look as well as a special event programme featuring artists’ films, podcasts, interviews and live streaming. An enhanced digital guide gives audiences the opportunity to visit artists’ work spaces with links to their details on the Somerset Art Works website as well as to their own social media channels and websites.

The event programme will run over the 16 days of Open Studios with daily news, information and notifications published on the Somerset Art Works website so audiences can get involved. With an introduction from Somerset Art Work’s patron, Kevin McCloud, the programme will feature daily events including workshops, demonstrations and talks where audiences can find out more about artists’ processes and practice.

Digital Open Studios starts with the launch of the Somerset Reacquainted exhibition at the Rural Life Museum in Glastonbury, featuring work by 63 Somerset Art Works Members who took part in an ‘art in lockdown’ project earlier this year. Initiated by Sara Dudman RWA, in partnership with Somerset Art Works, the project provided a creative catalyst for artists in isolation, reconnecting their practice with the natural world.

Each weekend is ‘family friendly’ with a range of activities and workshops suitable for children and the chance to get involved in ‘how to’ events and demonstrations, as well as the final weekend linking to the world’s biggest drawing festival, ‘The Big Draw’.

Look out for the launch of the Open Studios digital guide at the start of September featuring work by more than 200 artists in over 100 venues. Visitors can use the guide to plan their own visits and see what Somerset Art Works members have been working on, and take a virtual tour around the county. Special editorial features focus on Somerset’s five creative regions, dipping into the county’s rich cultural heritage and celebrating the diversity of creativity, which now resides and works here.

Artists and makers have continued working in the privacy of their studios and some are now ready to share their artworks and welcome visitors by pre-arranged appointment. Contact the artist direct by telephone or email to check if they are open before arriving.

For more details, visit or email  Paul Newman at

Follow on Twitter @SAW_Somerset; Instagram at somerset_art_works and Facebook using hashtags #somersetartworks  #somersetopenstudios  #visitsomerset #somerset #culturematters #letscreate #openstudios #art   #thebigdraw  #familyfriendly.

Autumn Workshops Exploring Arts & Crafts at the Rural Life Museum

Somerset Rural Life Museum has teamed up with artists and makers from across the county to create a programme of workshops this autumn. Alongside the workshops the museum is hosting a new series of online talks exploring rural life.

On 19 September pottery teacher Rebecca Landrock will be at the museum to lead a clay and botanical workshop. In this two-hour workshop participants will create a vase and set of coasters and discover how natural materials can leave their unique mark in clay.


On 26 September the museum welcomes stained-glass artist Richard Pelham from Glastonbury. Richard has taught stained-glass making for over 20 years and he will guide participants through the process to create a stained-glass bee.

On 3 October willow artist Sarah LeBreton will be using traditional English techniques, and willow grown on the Somerset Levels, to teach workshop participants how to weave a willow basket.

This is followed, on 10 October, by a chance to make a traditional wooden rake using green woodworking techniques. This one-day workshop is led by Peter Codd, an experienced teacher of bushcraft and traditional crafts, from Explore the Great Outdoors.

Susie Simmons from the South West Heritage Trust said: “Our museum has long been a place to exhibit the work of makers and artists both through our historic collections and contemporary exhibitions. We are delighted to be extending this further by providing opportunities for visitors to get hands on and learn from Somerset’s talented makers and artists.”

This autumn the museum is also hosting a new series of online talks exploring various aspects to rural life. On 23 September writer, honey sommelier and bee consultant Paula Carnell will be giving a talk about bees. Paula will draw on her work around the world to discuss the connections between bees, humans and health.

On 7 October Bristol University’s Dr Richard Stone will talk about the ‘Golden Age’ of cider. Dr. Stone is a lecturer in Early Modern History and his research includes ‘Drink and Disorder in Early Modern England.’ He is also an award-winning cider maker.

The autumn workshops and online talks are part of a programme of activity, ‘Together Again’, which includes enhanced opportunities to engage digitally with heritage. Spaces for workshops are very limited and booking is essential for all workshops and talks.

The museum reopened on 12 August after almost five months of closure. It is open Wednesday to Saturday 10.00 am to 5.00 pm and admission is by advance booking only.

For more information and to book visit

Tomorrow – Sunday Midsummer Night Market Somerset at Bath and West Showground

A safer way forward for visitors to enjoy a socially distanced shopping experience with street entertainment, food and drink.
We have busker style music throughout the market and our street performers and costumers all appear at regular intervals.
Dinosaurs entertain the younger ones with our social distancing dinosaur rangers!
Entry is just £5 ( plus ticket fee) for age 14 and over and kids go free! Limited capacity via

Fb / insta @midsummernightmarkets
Link on fb

Concerts in the West – online from 20th August

Concerts in the West goes online with 18 specially pre-recorded classical concerts

20 August to 22 October 2020

Despite the restrictions imposed by Covid-19, classical music charity Concerts in the West is delighted to be in a position to invite its audiences to enjoy some wonderful classical music online in 18 unique pre-recorded concerts, giving people a taste of future live concerts.

The online concerts feature a fantastic line-up of top class musicians, including those who were due to play for Concerts in the West audiences this year, had not the pandemic sadly forced their cancellation, as well as those who have been invited to play in 2021 and 2022.

All these musicians have made a tremendous effort to perform together and record their music especially for Concerts in the West’s exciting series of virtual concerts. A short video explaining why Concerts in the West decided to create its Online Series can be viewed on You Tube:

Ranging in length from 30-45 minutes, the performances can be viewed from 20 August to 22 October 2020 – for one month from the date of transmission – on Facebook, YouTube and

Catherine Maddocks, the founder and director of Concerts in the West, has been working hard throughout lockdown organising the digital concert series, as well as rebooking this year’s musicians to play in 2021 and even in 2022. So audiences will still have plenty of live performances to look forward to.

Catherine remains positive about future concerts, saying: “It is wonderful to be able to start thinking ahead and we can’t wait to welcome the musicians and our audiences back again to our quirky and individual venues. In the meantime, we hope people enjoy our online series, which is being funded from our own resources. We aren’t selling tickets, so it would be lovely if our audiences could donate to support us and the musicians.”

Details of how to donate can be found on the Concerts in the West website:

Catherine is passionate about keeping the classical music concerts going despite the difficulties caused by Covid-19:

“Shock, sadness and fear clutched at everyone in March 2020. Gradually we adapted to the life we were being asked to live. For many, the thought that live music would disappear from our lives was appalling and so we have been working on what to do about it.

“As we gradually came to realise that live venue performances in the UK were going to take some time to get going again we had to make the decision to cancel 2020 and start again in March 2021. We are optimistic that we will be able to.

“In the meantime we want to keep music alive for our audiences and have therefore decided to create an online series, which will run over several weeks in the late summer and early Autumn. Riccardo Pes has been helping us with this, particularly on the technical side. He organised the Andrà tutto bene Festival early in the lockdown so is very active and knowledgeable in this field.

“We are delighted that a lovely group of musicians has agreed to take part. They have worked hard to find venues to work in safely and have only recently managed to get together under the Government guidelines.”

Riccardo Pes, Technical Director, said:

“It is thanks to organisations like Concert in the West that the music is surviving during this unprecedented time.”

Concert details:

  • 20 August – 6pm – Carmenco – Emily Andrews (flute/voice), David Massey and Francisco Correa (guitars). Programme: Ian Clarke, Amos Coullanges, Tarrega, Bizet, Garcia-Lorca, De Falla, Ravel, De Narvaez

  • 24 August – 6pm Solem Quartet – William Newell violin, Amy Tress violin, Stephen Upshaw viola, Stephanie Tress cello. Programme: Rimsky-Korsakov, Byrd, Schumann, Gabrieli, Bartók, Adès

  • 27 August – 6pm Mariela Shaker violin and Riyad Nicolas piano. Programme: Schubert, Mozart, Maias Alyamni

  • 3 September – 6pm Colin Scobie violin, Manuel Vioque-Judde viola, Zéphyrin Rey-Bellet cello. Programme to include Dohnányi Serenade In C

  • 7 September – 6pm Savitri Grier and Olivier Robin violins. Programme: Bartók, Leclair – Wieniawski – Pleyel

  • 10 September – 6pm Linos Piano Trio – Prach Boondiskulchok piano, Konrad Elias Trostmann violin, Vladimir Waltham cello. Programme: Debussy, CPE Bach, Beethoven

  • 14 September – 6pm Askew Sisters – Emily and Hazel Askew, voice and multi-instrumentalists. Programme: together they rework and reinterpret English folk music songs and dance tunes.

  • 17 September – 6pm Consone Quartet – Agata Daraskaite violin, Magdalena Loth-Hill violin, Elitsa Bogdanova viola, George Ross cello. Programme: Beethoven

  • 21 September – 6pm Katharine Dain soprano, Sam Armstrong piano. Programme: Debussy, Messiaen, Dutilleux, Kaija Saariaho

  • 24 September – 6pm Emma Halnan flute and Eblana String Trio – Jonathan Martindale violin, Lucy Nolan viola, Peggy Nolan cello. Programme: Mozart, Sibelius, Andrew Norman

  • 28 September – 6pm Pelléas Ensemble – Henry Roberts flute, Luba Tunnicliffe viola, Oliver Wass harp. Programme: Rameau, Bissill, Ravel

  • 1 October – 6pm Jubilee Quartet – Tereza Privratska violin, Julia Loucks violin, Lorena Cantó Woltèche viola, Toby White cello. Programme: Haydn, Schubert, Beethoven

  • 5 October – 6pm Trio Klein and Yuki Negishi piano – Kamila Bydlowska violin, Shiry Rashkovsky viola, Riccardo Pes cello. Programme: Gideon Klein, J Turina, Morricone

  • 8 October – 6pm Stephen Upshaw viola. Contemporary Programme: Benjamin Graves, Georgina Bowden, Heather, Stephenson, Marc Yeats, Jonathan Harvey

  • 12 October – 6pm Alasdair Beatson piano. Programme to be confirmed.

  • 15 October – 6pm Naomi Burrell violin, Gavin Kibble cello, David Gerrard harpsichord. Programme: Bach

  • 19 October – 6pm Fenella Humphreys violin, Cara Berridge cello, Daniel Grimwood piano. Programme: Beethoven – Archduke Trio

  • 22 October – 6pm Ferio Saxophone Quartet – Huw Wiggin, Ellie Mcmurray, Anthony Brown, Shevaughan Beere. Programme: A selection from their highly successful recordings Flux and Revive.

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Rare Plant Fair at The Bishop’s Palace, Wells

The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens in Wells, Somerset has announced it will be holding its autumn Rare Plant Fair on 13th September, 10am – 4pm

The event will be run in association with Rare Plant Fairs, manged by Ian and Teresa Moss, who are experts in bringing brilliantly curated selections of nurseries to stunning venues across the South West.

The events have proved to be extremely popular over the past few years, so this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the day will have a few changes to ensure everyone’s safety.

Admission to the event will be by advance ticket only (£7 per adults). Palace passholders will have free entry, but must book in advance. The tickets will have hourly allocated slots throughout the day, in order to spread the number of visitors. The nursery stalls will be laid out in a new arrangement with plenty of space to protect both the nursery owners and visitors to the event.

The nurseries attending are carefully selected by Ian and Teresa from Rare Plant Fairs to ensure that they are genuine growers who produce most or all of the plants that they sell themselves.

The range is chosen so that they can offer the widest possible variety of plants to visitors, including perennials, shrubs and trees, alpines, bulbs and exotic plants.

All of the nursery owners are experts in the plants that they grow and are happy to offer the advice that you need to select and grow the right plants for your garden.

The event is held entirely outdoors, but tickets for the fair include entrance to the Medieval Palace and 14 acres of RHS partner gardens and can be booked on The Bishop’s Palace website.

Somerset Museums and Heritage Centres Reopening in August

South West Heritage Trust’s museums and heritage centres are re-opening to the public from the start of August. The sites included are the Museum of Somerset, Somerset Rural Life Museum, Somerset Heritage Centre, Devon Heritage Centre and North Devon Record Office.

To keep visitors safe, and comply with Government guidelines, the Trust has made some changes to the way its sites operate. These include revised opening hours and the need to pre-book visits to museums and heritage centres. Ahead of reopening the Trust consulted the public to seek their views on a range of issues.

Tom Mayberry, Chief Executive of the South West Heritage Trust, said: “We’re most grateful to everyone who responded to our online surveys. The results provided us with some very helpful information to guide reopening and told us what matters to our visitors. We’re now very much looking forward to welcoming the public back.

“We are launching a new programme, ‘Together Again’, which includes enhanced opportunities to engage digitally with heritage. We are working with local partners to open two new art exhibitions, which will be accessible onsite and online. We will also be launching a programme of online talks this autumn.”

The Trust closed its sites on 18 March as the country went into lockdown. During this time it has continued to share the heritage of the two counties by taking part in a variety of online initiatives such as Somerset Day and Devon Day, VE Day, Volunteers’ Week, Archive 30 and the Festival of Archaeology.

New Opening Hours

Museum of Somerset and Somerset Rural Life Museum: Wednesday to Saturday 10.00 am to 5.00 pm (from 12 August.) Admission by advance booking only.

Somerset Heritage Centre and Devon Heritage Centre:  Tuesday to Thursday with two bookable sessions each day, 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm (from 4 August)

North Devon Record Office: Wednesday to Friday with two bookable sessions each day, 10.00 am to 1.00 pm and 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm (from 5 August)

To book go to

Somerset’s Wildlife needs YOUR support


27th July 2020 – Somerset Wildlife Trust has launched an Emergency Appeal for Somerset’s wildlife in response to the devastating impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the charity’s ability to fundraise for its work to reverse wildlife declines, restore biodiversity and reconnect people with nature.

Already dealing with the financial challenges surrounding reductions in EU funding, and the immediate and enormous cost of the rapid onset of Ash Dieback disease on its nature reserves, now, as a result of Covid-19, the Trust is looking at a shortfall in its budgeted income for this year of at least £200,000.

At a time when the Trust should be at the peak of its fundraising activities, with membership recruitment and events happening across the county, and delivering vital habitat management programmes with the help of hundreds of volunteers, many of its staff and recruiters have been furloughed, events cancelled, and work programmes are far behind where they should be. Reserve teams are also under additional pressure to repair the physical damage on sites from anti-social behaviour that took place whilst staff was at its bare minimum.

 The Trust is appealing to members, supporters and those passionate about Somerset’s nature to support the charity now, when it needs help the most. The funds raised by its emergency appeal will help bridge the significant gap in its finances this year so it can continue its work for wildlife, capitalise on the current drive towards a greener recovery, and ensure Somerset can continue to play its part in addressing the national and global ecological and climate crises.

Katie Arber, Director of Fundraising & Marketing comments: “Along with members, supporters and volunteers, we are desperately disappointed to have had to cancel our key fundraising activities this year, particularly at a time when the environment, climate change and loss of biodiversity were at the top of the political agenda and high in public consciousness. The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge and immediate impact on our income and will for years to come.

“The fact that even more people have turned to nature to help them during lockdown however is brilliant news, and we hope local wildlife will continue to be part of their lives. We now need everyone’s help to continue to do our work to support wildlife and habitats here in Somerset, and every donation will enable us to do this.”

CEO, Georgia Stokes adds: “The UK is one of the most nature depleted countries in the world. To reverse nature’s decline we must restore and connect valuable habitats for wildlife and restore natural processes also providing essential carbon stores and helping to adapt to climate change.

Many of us have discovered during lockdown that we need nature to benefit our physical and mental health and recognised that nature really is the life support function for our lives, our communities and our businesses.

“Whilst Covid-19 has hit us at the worst possible time, we mustn’t lose the momentum that existed before lockdown for building a more environmentally sustainable, wildlife-rich county, and urge everyone who turned to or connected with the natural world for the first time to continue their support and give if they can to help us continue the work we do during what will be difficult times ahead.”

To donate to Somerset Wildlife Trust’s Emergency Appeal, visit the website here: or ring 01823 652429.

Film screenings at Westlands Yeovil

Screenings In The Ballroom are proving a hit! Westlands Entertainment Venue reopened to the public on Monday 6th July for film screenings in line with government guidance to reopen cinemas.

Here is a summary from the venue about what they have planned.

Over 950 people have now enjoyed a film screening in the Ballroom with excellent feedback on the safety measures in place. We have now announced a further two weeks of screenings building on the success and popularity of the films available. For horror fans we present ‘Friday Night Fright Night’ with late night screenings of the best horror films each Friday night with ‘Get Out’ staring Daniel Kaluuya, and the horror classic ‘A Nightmare on Elm Street’ coming up. Wes Craven’s seminal horror terrified a generation and spawned numerous sequels. It made a star of Robert Englund and was an early role for Johnny Depp. Don’t miss the chance to see it on the big screen in all its terrifying glory! Our audiences are clearly missing live theatre with our NT Live screenings and live musical being some of our most popular events – so much so that we are bringing some of them back. The London Palladium lavish production of Rodgers and Hammerstein’s ‘The King and I’.

We are also bringing back the West End production of ‘Kinky Boots’. ‘Thursday Night is Theatre Night’, each Thursday we are screening ‘live’ recordings from the National Theatre, continuing with Andrew Scott (BBC’s Sherlock, Fleabag) in Noël Coward’s provocative comedy Present Laughter. Captured live from The Old Vic in London, Present Laughter is a giddy and surprisingly modern reflection on fame, desire and loneliness. Followed by ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, Shakespeare’s most famous romantic comedy was filmed live from the Bridge Theatre in London staring Gwendoline Christie (Game of Thrones). Directed by Nicholas Hytner this production takes audience to a dream world of flying fairies, contagious fogs and moonlight revels, surrounded by a roving audience following the action on foot. We continue to screen some of the best films with ‘Sonic’ for families, ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ for Queen fans and the new film ‘Love Sarah’ starting on Monday 3rd August. Celia Imrie and Rupert Penry-Jones star in this new British film where a young woman wishes to fulfil her mother’s dream of opening her own bakery in Notting Hill, London. To do this, she enlists the help of an old friend and her grandma.

We are delighted to work with Yeovil Pride to screen the documentary ‘Are You Proud?’ on Saturday 8th August before Yeovil Pride host their online evening celebration. The film shows rare archive footage, interviews across a spectrum of historical campaigns and current activists in the United Kingdom celebrating the LGBTQ+ Pride movement’s landmark achievements.

Arts and Entertainment Manager, Adam Burgan, said “we have been delighted with the response from audiences so far to our screenings. As our only source of income at the moment it is vital that the screenings are a success to support both Westlands Entertainment Venue and The Octagon Theatre. It has been fantastic to welcome audiences back and to do what we do best – offer fantastic entertainment and an escape for a few hours”. The safety measures being put in place are following government guidelines and those released by the UK Cinema Association. Measures for your safety include: – Reduced capacity – about a third of our normal operating capacity for screenings. – Social distancing maintained throughout the venue, including seating layout, and one-way systems in place. – Enhanced cleaning measures.

For further information please visit  or call the Box Office on 01935 422884.

Taunton’s Brewhouse Theatre opens in August

It’s “lights, camera and action” as The Brewhouse prepares to welcome back film fans and families to the riverside theatre in August.

The last few months have proved challenging for theatres around the world (to say the least). But thanks to the hard work and determination of Staff and Volunteers over the years, TTA (Taunton Theatre Association, who run The Brewhouse) are positive about their situation and look forward to seeing audiences return.

Gareth Peebles, Marketing & Communications Manager notes that “before lockdown, filling our auditorium to the rafters to entertain and inspire audiences was a top priority, but a lot has changed in the three months since we closed our doors to the public. Our top priority now is ensuring the safety of our much loved Volunteers, associated acts, Staff and of course our loyal audiences, without whom we would not be here and who’s support we still need in order to thrive and survive”.

Changes on-site include a new and adaptable “one way system”, making use of the entrance on the St James Street side of the building. Dedicated arrival times for screenings, split in to two ‘bands’ to minimise the number of people arriving at the same time, plus reduced seating capacity, catering for social distancing. Not forgetting all of the now common place CV19 safeguarding measures including increased cleaning, hand sanitizers and PPE for Volunteers and Staff.

BrewCinema fans have grown to expect certain standards from this much loved independent cinema and Augusts’ line up doesn’t disappoint. The month starts with the multi-award winning, Parasite, followed closely by 2020 Jane Austin adaptation, Emmaand The Invisible Manstarring Elizabeth Moss. While topical cult classics, Spike Lee’s, Do the Right Thingand Priscilla Queen of the Desertcomplete the line up, offering audiences a chance to reflect on recent cultural shifts.

For theatre fans who have missed the true experience of a live performance, Event Cinema provides the opportunity to see stage mega hits including The King & I, Kinky Boots, 42ndStreetand a 25thanniversary celebration of Riverdance.

But cinema isn’t the only thing back on offer this August, as the summer welcomes the return of the Brewhouse’s popular season of FREE outdoor family activities;Mosaic Making, Willow Weavingand walkabout theatre with The Naturals, all outside in the fresh air and with strict social distancing measures in place.

For those still not able to Take Part on-site, a range of Online Youth Masterclasses gives 11-18yos the chance to write stories, compose music for the sound track of a community film, make masks and learn dance moves with the stars of West End shows including Six, Hamilton, We Will Rock You and Wicked!

The arts have provided respite for the entire world during lockdown. Purchasing a ticket or making a donation are great ways of showing your support for the arts and will help the Brewhouse to continue its mission to entertain and inspire audiences now and in to the future.








The Bishop’s Palace Outdoor Theatre Season

The Bishop’s Palace & Gardens in Wells, Somerset has announced its revised Summer Outdoor Theatre Season.

The normal schedule was disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic, as theatre companies cancelled rehearsals and performances. Following the recent government advice about outdoor performances, the Palace has now secured three performances which will take place in the historic Palace Gardens.

The first performance is a brand new and up to date show by Heartbreak Productions entitled “Alice in Lockdown”. The show will take place on 18th August 2020, starting at 7pm, with doors opening at 6pm.

Join Alice as she ventures through the Lockdown Looking Glass and explores a curious world filled with Cheshire Cats, White Rabbits and Red Queens, all while keeping a safe distance of 2 meters and using PPE to do her shopping. Whether battling Tweedle-dum and Tweedle-dee for the last loo roll or attending the Mad Hatter’s tea party via Zoom, Alice’s socially-distanced adventures are the perfect antidote to the stay-at-home blues.

This is a family show (recommended age, 5+) and tickets are £15 Adults, £10 Child, £10 Key Workers.

The second show takes place on 26th August and is a Storytelling evening, with seasoned storyteller Beth Webb telling the story of “Gawain and the Green Knight”. This medieval tale of blood and honour is aimed at adults and will be told over the course of an hour by the terrace near the Rose Garden. Tickets are £15 Adults, £12 Palace Members and Key workers and the doors open at 5:30pm for a 6pm start.

The final offering is a performance of Shakespeare’s most famous love story, “Romeo and Juliet” on Tuesday 15th September.However, well-established theatre troupe The Handlebards, will be giving this classic tale their unique spin, so the audience is guaranteed lots of laughs as well as tears in their slick 90 minute production.

Doors open at 6pm for a 7pm performance. Tickets are £18 Adult and £10 Child. A small number of Key Worker tickets are available at £10.

For all performances, audience members will be well spaced, and will need to bring their own low-backed seating or rugs. Picnics and drinks are encouraged, and the shows will go ahead whatever the weather, so be prepared!