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May 2017

Simonsbath Festival, venues around Simonsbath, Exmoor,  Mon 1 May-Fri 23 June

Opera, jazz, classical and world music festival on Exmoor, including South African band Mankala (6 May) and a talk by food writer Mattthew Fort (21 June). Look out for little sketchboxes around the area – slip in a drawing or line or two if you’re feeling creative.

Elisabeth Frink’s ‘Transformation’, Hauser & Wirth, Bruton, ends Sun 7 May

Last chance to see this major exhibition of sculptures by the late Elisabeth Frink including her distinctive bronzes (like these chaps with the shades).

The Mentor, Ustinov Studio, Bath, until Sat 6 May

Officially the best-selling production ever at the Ustinov stars Hollywood’s F. Murray Abraham (Salileri in Amadeus), as a cantankerous writer and pedant still basking in the glories of yesteryear who agrees to mentor a young literary star : cue clash of huge egos all round. Returns only (but it’s worth a go).

Joe Swift: A Man About A Garden,  The Brewhouse, Taunton, Weds 3 May

Gardener’s World’s Joe Swift was at the Curzon in Clevedon last month with his one man show – and he gave us some gardening tips while he was at it. If you missed him then, catch him here.


Shappi Khorsandi, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Sat 6 May

The daughter of an exiled writer and comic from Iran celebrates the 40th anniversary of her arrival in Britain (she says: please don’t come if you’re a skinhead, tho’ bald people are welcome).

Family Saturday, Hauser & Wirth, Bruton, Sat 6 May

This month’s family workshops are based on Elisabeth Frink’s printmaking (you thought she was just about the sculpture?) and use nature as inspiration.

Frome Independent Market and the Clevedon Sunday Market,  Sun 7 May

First Sunday of the month and it’s the splendiferous Frome Independent market and what must be a couple of hundred stalls selling stuff by designer-makers, vintage experts and food producers, set against a backdrop of music and arty type events. Check out the smaller scale but still cool Clevedon Sunday Market in the Hills and Sea area.

Wonderland, Bristol Hippodrome, Mon 8-Sat 13 May

Someone famous from a soap heads up the cast of West End stalwarts in the UK tour of the musical version of Alice in Wonderland. Wendi Peters (aka Cilla Battersby-Brown from Corrie) is The Queen of Hearts, with Dave Willetts as the White Rabbit and Kerry Ellis as Alice. Check out the Muddy review.

Classic motorbike auction, Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Weds 10 May

Pick up a set of rather special wheels. Hands off this Lambretta, it’s mine.

Obsesssion, NT Live, various cinemas across Somerset, Thurs 11 May

Jude Law. Do you need to know more? Oh alright, he’s starring as down-at-heel, magnetically handsome (natch), drifter Gino in a new stage adaptation of the 1943 Visconti film. Gino meets a couple in a roadside cafe and falls in love with the woman,  you can guess it doesn’t end well. Screened live from The Barbican. Find a cinema near you.

Made in Somerset, The White Hart, Somerton,  Thurs 11 May

To coincide with Somerset Day (a celebration of the county and apparently the occasion in 878 when King Alfred the Great ousted some Vikings and got back to not looking after those cakes).  This is an artisan shopping event (pretty stuff, foods and drink) in aid of the Kenyan-focused Etatu charity. 10am-3pm.

Mitsuko Uchida, Cedars Hall, Wells, Fri 12 May

Legendary pianist plays Mozart’s Piano Sonata in C and Schumann’s Kreisleriana and Fantasie.


The Levelling, various cinemas across Somerset, Fri May 12

Aren’t many films set on the Somerset Levels. In this debut film by Hope Dickson Leach, Clover returns home to Somerset when her brother commits suicide after the 2014 floods. Said to be gripping if not a barrel of laughs.

The Sound of Silent, Celebrating 100 years of Music and the Movies, Hauser & Wirth Somerset, Bruton, Fri 12 May-Sun 14 May

A weekend festival of film screenings (including Battleship Potemkin, Charlie Chaplin’s Circus, Singin’ in the Rain and Harold Lloyd shorts), live music, talks, workshops and other stuff for all ages – all part of a collaboration between acclaimed musicians Matthew Trusler,  Ashley Wass & H&W.  Dress up for a Gatsby-themed cocktail party on the Fri evening.

The Mendip Tour, Wells Cathedral, Sun 14 May

160 vintage and classic vehicles motor 85 miles around Somerset and park up on the Cathedral Green from 1-5pm for everyone to admire.

FRACKED! Or Please Don’t Use the F-Word, Theatre Royal, Bath, Mon 15-Sat 20 May

Big names James Bolam and Anne Reid star in a black comedy about guess what?

Moonlight, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Weds 17 May

The Oscar-winning film that nearly wasn’t, this is a moving coming of age story about a boy from a rough Miami neighbourhood – the first all black and first LBGT film to win the Academy Award for Best Picture (and Mahershala Ali, winner of Best Supporting Actor).

The Antiques Roadshow, West Somerset Railway, Minehead  Station, Weds 17 May

Of course, you have absolutely no interest in the value, all you want is to find out more about your great Aunt Hilda’s ring, that mystery object you found in the loft or your latest car boot find. Fiona and the rest of the gang will be on hand to identify and hopefully bring you financially beneficial tidings. From 9.30am-4.30pm.

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf  NT live screening, various venues across Somerset,  Thurs 18 May

Photo: Johan Persson

Broadcast live from the Harold Pinter Theatre, London, the brilliant Imelda Staunton gives Liz Taylor a run for her money in this 5 star production of Edward Albee’s play.

Find a cinema.

Horrible Histories: The Best of Barmy Britain, Playhouse Theatre, Weston-super-mare, Fri 19-Sat 20 May

Boudicca, King John and the Magna Carta, Henry VIII, Guy Fawkes, Dick Turpin and more – a whistlestop tour of Britain’s history with all the bogies and burps left in.

The Bath Festival, various venues across Bath, Fri 19-Sun 28 May

A 10-day celebration of music and literature :  talks, performances, workshops, readings by the likes of  Mary Berry, Salman Rushdie, Victoria Hislop, Stephen Isserlis, India Knight, Simon Callow, John Simpson, Madeleine Peyroux (above)…. I could go on but why don’t you check out the festival brochure and see for yourself?

Curzon Music Festival, Curzon Cinema Arts, Clevedon, Sat 20-Sun 21 May

The awesome Songs from the Shed are putting on the second Curzon Music Festival, with back-to-back live bands, local and global street food, a cocktail bar and local ales and ciders. Headliners: Reef frontman Gary Stringer on Sat and Show of Hands on Sunday.

My First Ballet, Bristol Hippodrome, Sat 20 & Sun 21 May

With a narrator to help the young audience follow the story, and a shortened version of Prokofiev’s score, My First Ballet is the perfect introduction for little ballet lovers.


Great Somerset Colour Run, Wincanton Racecourse, Wincanton, Sun 21 May

Whizz, walk or dawdle around a 5k course while a load of people throw coloured powder paint at you – all in the aid of St Margaret’s Hospice. Registration at 11am; race at 1pm.

The Independent Bath Market,  Bath, Sun 21 May

Specially selected independent family businesses, makers, growers, artisans and producers from Bath and Somerset gather together on Abbey Green for your edification and delight. The brainchild of Silvana Soissons from the funtabulous Foodie Bugle is sure to be something special. 10am-4pm.

La Cage Aux Folles,  Bristol Hippodrome, Tues 23-Sat 27 May

Georges, manager of a St Tropez nightclub, and partner Albin, drag queen and the club’s star attraction live happily together. When Georges’ son Jean-Michel announces his engagement to daughter of a right wing politician determined to shut club down, Albin has to play the role of his life.  I Am What I Am. First ever tour of the award-winning play, starring Marti Webb.


Antony & Cleopatra, RSC Live, various cinemas across Somerset, Weds 24 May

The story picks up from where Julius Caesar ends: Mark Antony’s in charge but decides to spend most of his time with lover Cleopatra with tragic consequences (of course).

Find a cinema near you.

Shindig Weekender, Gilcombe Farm, Bruton, Fri 26 & Sun 28 May

House party, gig, circus show, crafts, a kids’ bash, boutique camping and a wellbeing retreat – so something for everyone. No large stages but a massive line up in a series of stretch marquees set in glorious Somerset countryside.

Wells Comedy Festival, various venues, Wells, Fri 26-Sat 28 May

England’s smallest city hosts a big stand up, in four venues over three days. There’s a fab female line-up, including Sara Pascoe and Bec Hill (that’s her above). See the full programme.

Toyah: Classics, Hits & Anthems, McMillan Theatre, Bridgwater, Sat 27 May

Over 35 years, pocket rocket Toyah Wilcox has amassed 13 top 40 singles, recorded 24 albums and one teensy weensy little Muddy Stilettos interview….Performing live with her band.

Rashid Johnson: ‘Stranger’, Hauser & Wirth, Bruton, Sat 27 May-Sun 10 September

Solo exhibition by the gallery’s new artist-in-residence – painting, sculpture, installation and drawing – and a large-scale installation to be shown in the Threshing Barn.

The Emperor’s New Clothes, ECOS amphitheatre, Frome, Sun 28 May

You’ll know the story but this is a production by the brilliant Illyria Theatre so there are sure to be lots of surprises. It’s outside in the amphitheatre (bring cushions and a picnic) – let’s hope for the Emperor’s sake it doesn’t get too cold.

Fantastic Mr Fox, Theatre Royal, Bath, Tues 30 May – Sat 3 June

Join Mr F as he outwits stinky, mean Boggis, Bunce and Bean in this juicy tale of greed, pride and the power of friendship – a brand new production in celebration of Roald Dahl’s centenary.

Find more ideas here

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