What’s on in September
September is sizzling in Somerset & Dorset, with a smorgasbord of festivals, markets, comedy, drama, music and art all yours for the taking
The Muddy pick of things to do, what to see and where to go in September around Dorset and Somerset (spoiler: lots of it involves food and drink). Let the good times roll….
Nick Cave & Warren Ellis, Lighthouse Poole, Thurs 2 Sept
On their first ever tour as a duo, with tunes from their new album Carnage.
Bournemouth Air Festival, Bournemouth seafront, Thurs 2 – Sun 5 Sept
Ear plugs at the ready for the UK’s largest air fest with displays from The Red Arrows, RAF Typhoon, Chinook and a Battle of Britain memorial flight, the amazing SuperPitts Muscle Bi-Plane and the AeroSuperBatics. Displays at sea and masses of aeronautical-related activities, food and drink on the ground.
The Festival of Scent, Keyneston Mill, near Blandford Forum, Fri 3 – Sun 5 Sept
A celebration of all things scented at the botanic garden and 50-acre private working estate, dedicated to perfume and scented plants. By day, immersive rooms, distillery and scented garden tours, mini workshops, exhibitions, yoga in the river meadow, botanical cocktails, all kinds of food and drink. By night, live Parisian jazz and outdoor cinema Midnight in Paris with dinner.
Eat:Festivals, Sat 4 Sept (Wellington), Sun 5 Sept (Wells, Little eat:Festival), Sat 18 Sept (Yeovil), Sat 25 Sept (Weston-super-Mare) & Sat 26 Sept (Tiverton)
The roving, free, Eat:festivals – showcasing loads of the top West Country food and drink producers – are popping up all over the joint this month. Come to browse, buy, eat, drink and be entertained. For a taste of what to expect, click here.
Myra DuBois: Dead Funny, Ustinov Studio, Bath, Sat 4 Sept
Fresh from the Edinburgh Festival and the singing siren from South Yorkshire, Myra DuBois, Sandwiched in between the Edinburgh Festival and the West End’s Garrrick Theatre comes the singing siren from South Yorkshire, Myra DuBois, ready to cast an irreverently sardonic side-eye at death, dying and the dramatics of grief.
Nature by canoe, RSPB Ham Wall, Meare, near Glastonbury, Sat 4 & Sun 5 Sept and other weekends in Sept
Explore this incredible wetland nature reserve by canoe in the company of an experienced instructor and expert wildlife guide. Suitable 6+
The Frome Independent, all over Frome, Sun 6 Sept
Masses of interesting stalls – up and coming and established designer-makers, local/regional food and drink producers, people selling sustainable products, new and vintage clothes, furniture, collectibles – and live music in the best street market in the South West. Lots of the independent shops on Catherine Hill and Cheap Street will be open too.
The Royal Society of Painter-Printers, Atkinson Gallery, Street, Mon 6 Sept – Thurs 7 Oct
Work by artists of the prestigious Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers: monoprints, relief printings, intaglio, screen prints, lithography and digital. The gallery, in the grounds of Millfield School, is open Mon to Thurs from 930am – 5pm or you can take a virtual tour here from Mon 6 Sept.
The Palace Comedy Experience, Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Weds 8 & Thurs 9 Sept
Nice little line up over the two days: Father Ted‘s Ardal O’Hanlon, Live at the Apollo and Taskmasters Phil Wang and Have I Got News For You’s Kiri Protchard-Mclean on the Weds; QI, Live at the Apollo and Have I Got News For You‘s Reginald D Hunter, Apollo’s Fern Brady and West Country superstar Jayde Adams on the Thurs. Bring your own refreshments.
b-side Festival, Isle of Portland, Thurs 9 – Sun 12 Sept
Subversive, contemporary, unique – we like the sound of this 4-day programme celebrating the island’s environment, folklore and heritage. Light projections, installations, guided tours, sculpture, film and immersive workshops from South West-based and international artists, including veteran showgirl Kiki Bogof, who’ll be touring in a horsebox trailer/Hollywood beauty parlour fitted with audios of conversations with carnival and beauty queens and offering makeup tutorials to boot.
Rode Comedy Festival, Pitch Perfect Camping, Woolverton, Thurs 9 – Sun 12 Sept
Pop up comedy under canvas. An intimate performance of the Olivier Award-winning improvised West End show Showstopper! The Musical, plus performances by Jarred Christmas and beatboxer Hobbit. Stephen K Amos, Daisy Earl Spencer Jones, The Scummy Mummies, Mike Wozniak and Joel Dommett.
The Dresser, Theatre Royal Bath, Thurs 9 – Sat 18 Sept
The film was a classic, and this production starring Julian Clary and Matthew Kelly, promises to be a corker too. It’s 1942 and ageing thesp ‘Sir’ (Kelly) is struggling to cling on to his sanity and complete his 227th performance of King Lear ; devoted, long-suffering dresser Norman (Clary) has to ensure that he does.
Bristol Open Doors, around Bristol, Fri 10 – Sun 12 Sept
Explore the city with over 60 specially curated experiences, including a Queer Bristol Tour, Upfest, Circomedia, Puppet Place, an atmospheric audio tour in the Redcliffe Caves and a boat tour around a Changing Harbour.
Foodies Festival, Durdham Downs in Bristol Fri 10 – Sun 12 Sept and King’s Park in Bournemouth Fri 17 – Sun 19 Sept
MasterChef champs, Michelin stars, TV chefs and top local chef cook up the grub with artisan producers, food challenges (who can eat the hottest chillies?), kids stuff and loads of live music. Scouting for Girls headlining in Bristol; tributes The Killerz, Kylie on Show and Flash Queen Tribute Band in Bournemouth.
The Jane Austen Festival, around Bath, Fri 10 – Sun 19 Sept
If Bridgerton’s given you a passion for all things Austen, you’ll be in Regency heaven with 10 days of dressing up, tours, talks, performances, promenades, saucers of tea and a masked ball. Now in it’s 20th year, you can see the full festival programme here.
Thread Bearing Witness, Somerset Rural Life Museum, Glastonbury, Sat 11 Sep – Sun 31 Oct
Renowned textile artist Alice Kettle worked with migrants and Pakistani women’s groups, gathering stories and imagery to raise awareness of the global refugee crisis and the empowerment of women. The resulting exhibition includes a giant, immersive textile installation in the historic Abbey Barn.
Nyetimber Dorset Seafood Festival, Weymouth Peninsula, Sat 11–Sun 12 Sept
Learn more about the ocean’s bounty, discover new ways to cook it and fill your face with every kind of fresh fish and seafood, with chefs, demos and live music.
The Royal Ballet at Athelhampton, Athelhampton House , Athelhampton, near Dorchester, Sat 11 & Sun 12 Sept
Excerpts from the Royal Ballet’s repertory of classical and contemporary works accompanied by musicians from the ROH orchestra in the beautiful grounds of this historic house. Bring fizz and a picnic.
Sturminster Newton Cheese Festival, Sturminster Newton, Sat 11 – Sun 12 Sept
Does what it says on the tin– and some. An impressive array of West Country cheeses plus all sorts of other artisan nosh, booze and artsy craftsy stuff at this annual festival in the heart of the Blackmore Vale, once described by Thomas Hardy as ‘the vale of little dairies’.
Secret Postcard Auction, Royal West of England Academy, online Mon 13 – Thurs 23 Sept
Bid to win an original artwork by leading figures from the art and cultural world (though you won’t know who made what until you win), from as little as £40.
Simon Amstell: Spirit Hole, The Octagon Yeovil, Tues 14 Sept
Amstell’s (Benjamin, Set Free) new show, said to be a blissful, spiritual, sensational exploration of love, sex, shame, mushrooms and more.
Five Kanneh-Masons, St Andrew’s Church, Wiveliscombe, Fri 17 Sept
The Milverton Concert Society have managed to nab five members of ‘Britain’s most musical family’ to play in Somerset this September.
Inside Out Dorset, around the county, Fri 17 – Sun 26 Sept
The biennial international outdoor arts festival includes Luke Jerram’s installation Gaia, a 7m scale model of Earth created using NASA photography, at the Moors Valley Country Park and on the first weekend and the Symondsbury Estate on the last; outdoor circus events, walking trails and live performances in Poole, Christchurch and around the Symondsbury Estate.
Boogie on the Beach, Sandbanks, Poole, Sat 17 Sept
Sand polo, beach rugby and a charity pony race on the beach in the afternoon; live soul, Motown and disco, and DJs at the Sandbacks Beach Party as the sun goes down. Shake your booty to Heatwave, Brit-Award winner Shola, flamenco-soul band Bamboleo and more.
Luna Cinema, Royal Victoria Park, Bath, Fri 17 – Sun 19 Sept
Flicks under the stars against the backdrop of the city’s iconic Royal Crescent: Notting Hill, The Geatest Showman and Star Wars: A New Hope. Churros, BBQ, crepes, ice cream and booze will keep you going.
Somerset Open Studios, around Somerset, Sat 18 Sept – Sun 3 Oct
The chance to have a nose around the private and pop-up work spaces of some 300 established and emerging Somerset artists and makers who are part of Somerset Art Works (SAW). Meet them in their natural habitat, find out what inspires them, how they work and maybe buy some of their stuff. See all the details of the artists and where to find them.
Horrible Histories: Barmy Britain, The Brewhouse Taunton, Sun 19 Sept
Whistlestop tour through some of the hideous highlights of our history, with Martin Brown, the illustrator of the original books, signing copies (exhibition on at the nearby Museum of Somerset until Sun 31 Oct).
Bridget Christie: Who am I? Lighthouse Poole, Sun 19 Sept
The brand new show from critically-acclaimed stand-up (Rose d’Or and South Bank Sky Arts Award winner, star of her own Netflix special and BBC Radio 4’s Bridget Christie Minds the Gap and Mortal).
Dulverton Trail Fun Run and Canicross on Exmoor, Sun 19 Sept
Canicross aka cross country running with your dog, or on your tod. Choose from 2km, 5km and 10km runs alongside the picturesque River Barle and across beautiful Exmoor countryside around Dulverton.
Lucy Porter: Be prepared, The Brewhouse, Taunton, Tues 21 Sept
Dig out your Brownie uniform! Lucy Porter returns and we reckon your tea making badge may come in handy. Despite what Brown Owl told you, an emergency 10p for the phone box and a competent knot, cannot solve everything. Life’s slightly more complicated than that.
The Interrogation, (Tues 21 – Sun 26 Sept), An Elephant in the Garden, (Fri 24 & Sat 25 Sept), Learning to Fly (Tues 28 & Weds 29 Sept) Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol
Three great shows from the innovative theatre: The Interrogation takes you on a GPS-guided walk through the streets of Bristol to discover what Charlene did and what you can do about it. An Elephant in the Garden is Micheal Morpugo’s tale celebrating love in the face of hate during WWII (age 9+). Learning to Fly is James Rowland’s story of a friendship between a lonely, unhappy teenager and the scary old lady who lived in the spooky house on his street.
The Great Bath Feast, Milsom Street and around, Bath Fri 24 Sun 26 Sept
Bath’s culinary stars, including Michelin star Chris Cleghorn from The Olive Tree, MasterChef winner Ping Coombes, James Golding from The Pig-near Bath, Noya Pawlyn from Noya’s Kitchen, Pravin Nayar from Castle Farm – plus Cornwall’s Nathan Outlaw and Celebrity MasterChef Ulrika Jonsson come together for the last weekend in September. Stalls with the best local and international food and drink, chef demo areas
Miranda Sykes and Hannah Martin, Chapel Arts Centre, Bath, Thurs 30 Sept
Two of British folk’s finest voices, Miranda Sykes (Show of Hands) and Hannah Martin (Edgelarks, Gigspanner Big Band) join forces on their debut tour, with a programme of songs taking them back to their shared roots. Expect spine-tingling harmonies and inspired improvisation.