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Muddy Guide: Thurs 30 June-Weds 6 July

Frome Festival and Open Studios, venues across Frome, Fri 1-Sun 10 July

2016-Banner-AWOver 200 events at venues throughout the town over 10 days, with the theme of celebrating 400 of years of Shakespeare. Musical highlights include singer/songwriter and activist Billy Bragg, the Ukulele Orchestra of GB and chart-topping Reef.  There’s also comedy (including Romesh Ranganthan), theatre, art, dance, workshops, even opera. You can find full programme details here or you can download their mobile app (yep, the Festival even has its own app). You can also check out the town’s many talented artists and makers: it’s Frome Open Studios Sat 2 until Sat 10 July.

Celebrating the Tree, Hauser & Wirth, Bruton, Sat 2-Sun 3 July

dywxMjkwO2gsNjAwO3MsdW5pZm9ybTtxLDk1O2YsaHdzLzIwMTYvMDUvc3VtbWVyLXBhcnR5LWU3YTU3Yi5qcGc=Roll up, roll up, it’s time for H&W’s summer party, celebrating the tree. The extravaganza takes its inspiration from Subodh Gupta’s wonderful, newly installed steel Banyan tree sculpture and focuses on local woodland, natural history and folklore.  The party kicks off with live music and fireworks on Saturday evening, with a traditional fair, falconry, archery, story-telling, trails, creative workshops  – and rodeo bulls – on Sunday. The Roth Bar & Grill BBQ and some of the best local food and drink will be in attendance. Nature-inspired fancy dress encouraged.

Sara Pascoe, The McMillan Theatre, Bridgwater, Sat 2 July

303_cropped_730x4122.1453008543Fast-paced, self-deprecating humour that makes you think, from one of the UK’s best-known female stand up comedians – and an Essex girl to boot. Should be good.

Torchlit summer evenings, The Roman Baths, Bath, Fri 1 July- Weds 31 August

maxresdefaultEvery evening in July and August, the Roman Baths will be staying open until 10pm. You’ll be able to walk over 2,000 year old pavements and see the steaming waters by the light of flickering torches – sounds amazing.

Tea-tasting workshop, Hestercombe House, nr Taunton, Fri 2 July

tea-party-1001654_1280Forget wine or even gin tasting: astound your friends by being able to tell your lapsang from your flowering jasmine with just one quick sip or sniff.  Experts will show you how, explain how leaves are picked and made into the stuff we chuck in a pot (or in my case, mug) – and they’ll throw in an afternoon tea as well.

Retro Fundraising, Martock, Sun 3 July

IMG_0638Don’t be put off by the uninspiring name of this great little event in the small town of Martock. If you like retro/vintage cars, bikes and caravanette thingies, you’ll love it. There’s 300+ car cavalcade through the streets and onto the local rec, where you can admire, stroke or even sit in many of the lovingly restored vehicles. There will be stalls selling crafts, vintage stuff,  food and drink, etc, too. All proceeds to a local charity.

Chicago, The Bristol Hippodrome, Mon 4 July-Sat 8 July

CHICAGO. Hayley Tamaddon as 'Roxie Hart' and John Partridge as 'Billy Flynn'. Photo by Catherine AshmoreThis tale of murder, greed, corruption, exploitation, adultery and treachery is based on real events back in the roaring ’20s. Nightclub singer Roxie Hart (Hayley Tamaddon) shoots her lover, ends up in jail and fights to keep other murderesses off death row with the help of smooth-talkin’ lawyer Billy Flynn (John Partridge). Sam Bailey, who plays matron Mama Morton, should feel right at home – she was a prison officer just before winning X Factor.


Full Colour, Andelli Art/Heritage Courtyard Studios, Wells, Sat 2-Tues 26 July

Trout Mask Replica, 2012

Trout Mask Replica, 2012, Anthony Frost

Cheer up this grim, grey summer with some bright, bright colour:  go see this vibrant exhibition of painting and sculpture from 20th Century and contemporary artists. They include Anthony Frost, Stuart Low, Alastair Michie, Allan Milner, Patricia Volk and Heather Jane Wallace.

The Taming of the Shrew, The Bristol Hippodrome, Weds 29 June-Sat 2 July

The Taming of the Shrew_BRB, Hortensio; Mathias Dingman, Lucentio; Cesar Morales, Gremio; Valentin Olovyannikov, Bianca; Karla Doorbar, Katherina; Nao Sakuma, Baptista; Jonathan Payn, Petruchio; Tyrone Singleton, Whores; Ana Albutashvili, Celine Gittens, Innkeeper; James Barton, Priest ; James Barton,

Shakespeare en pointe: the internationally renowned Birmingham Royal Ballet comes to the Hippodrome with John Cranko’s comic Taming of the Shrew. Petruchio tries – and of course, fails, even despite these impressive jumps – to bend the feisty, independent and tempestuous Katherina to his will.


The Story of Children’s Television, M-Shed, Bristol, Sat 2 July-Sun 25 September

children-403582_1280Re-live your childhood with this exhibition at created by the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry and the University of Warwick. From Muffin the Mule to CGI: seven decades of iconic objects, memorabilia, merchandise, clips and images (and probably a well-stocked gift shop).

Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie, across Somerset, opens Fri 1 July

AbFab-e1462034571416-1Edina and Patsy are still oozing ‘glamour’, eyeliner and Bolly, and living it up in London Town – until they accidentally push Kate Moss into the Thames. Pursued by the parazzi they flee, penniless, to the French Riviera,  and hatch a plan to stay there for ever. According to the previews, it’s silly, funny and packed to the gills with A- to Z-list star cameos (tho’ strangely, Victoria Beckham is not among them).  See for yourself at a cinema near you. Up at the Curzon in Clevedon next Friday, the most glamourously/outrageously dressed member of the audience gets a free bottle of Prosecco!

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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset