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What’s on in July in Somerset

JULY 2018

La Fille Mal Gardee, Bristol Hippodrome, Weds 4 July – Sat 7 July

You didn’t know the Funky Chicken came from Frederick Ashton’s famous classical ballet? A young girl has to choose between loaded country bumpkin or penniless, hunky farmhand. It’s Love Island en point. Sort of.  Also involved in this Birmingham Royal Ballet’s production: a clog dancing widow and super cute miniature pony.


NASS Festival, Bath & West Showground, Shepton Mallet, Thurs 5 July – Sun 8 July

The world’s best skateboarders and BMXers,  street art and urban groove from Dizzee Rascal, Run DMC and co.


Frome Festival, venues around the town, Fri 6 – Sun 15 July

Around 200 events  – opera, pop, choral, jazz and folk music; theatre, workshops, exhibitions, films, walks and talks – with the full programme here. Names to conjour with include Aston Merrygold, Badly Drawn Boy, Tom Allen, George Egg and Leo Sayer (yes, he’s still alive and feeling like dancin’). With the Frome Food Festival on Sat 7 July.


The Scummy Mummies, Komedia, Bath, Fri 6 July

Sanity-saving must see duo for less-than-perfect parents (that’s all of us, right?)


Woman’s Hour Craft Prize, Bristol Museum & Art Gallery, Sat 7 July – Sun 2 Sept

A collaboration between the V&A and Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour (70 years old this year), showcasing the most innovative and exciting crafts in the UK.

LYC Haeckel I (detail), 2014, Vellum, Supernatural vellum, hair sheep leather, armature. Courtesy of Perrier-Jouet


Claire Martin & Ronnie Scott’s All Stars at the Somerset Gin Festival, Westlands, Yeovil, Sat 7 & Sun 8 July

Award-winning jazz singer Claire Martin on the Friday; house musicians from Ronnie Scott’s Soho club on the Saturday. Over 100 gins on offer throughout.


Ferment Fortnight, Bristol Old Vic & Arnolfini, Bristol, Mon 9 – Fri 21 July

A peep into the rehearsal rooms at this work-in-progress festival, with scratch performances from new and emerging talent across the South West.


The Frome Fashion Show, Cheese & Grain, Frome, Tues 10 July

Frome’s indy shops and boutiques showcase their clobber with local human and canine models.


Birdsong, Bristol Old Vic, Tues 10 – Sat 14 July

Can the First World War tearjerker’s stage offensive pack the same emotional punch as Sebastian Faulk’s knockout novel? Read our review to find out.

WW1 world war soldiers


Pop-up Opera Mozart Double Bill, Bath Assembly Rooms, Weds 11 July

Two comic operas for the price of one: Wolfgang wrote Bastien und Bastienne when he was just 12 years old  (clever bastien) and Der Schauspieldirektor when he was near the end of his life.


King Lear in Promenade, Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Thurs 12, Fri 13 & Sun 15 July

Join the actors from the Wells Theatre Company as they perform the play walking from scene to scene through the rooms and grounds of the Palace.  There’s a BBQ on offer too.


Adventures in Digital Art, Contains Art, Watchet, Fri 13 July – Sun 12 August

The Lumen Prize, celebrating art created through technology, with interactive and immersive digital artworks by international artists – on show in an art gallery in a container on Watchet harbourside.


Run away with the circus, Hauser & Wirth, Bruton Sat 14 & Sun 15 July

Circus-inspired performances, family activities, vintage fairground, arts & crafts, face painting, firework, live music, booze and grub. All proceeds go to Carymoor Environmental Trust.


Viv Goskrop: Vivalicious, Merlin Theatre, Frome, Sat 14 July

Viv’s latest work-in-progress is about being the best version of yourself you can be. In Viv’s case her most Vivalicious self.


The Play That Goes Wrong, Bristol Hippodrome, Mon 16 – Sat 21 July

When the ‘Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’ attempt to put on a 1920s’ murder mystery things don’t go to plan. This play has been a smash hit both sides of the pond. Read our review.


An Ideal Husband, Theatre Royal, Bath, Weds 18 July – Sat 4 August

Some well-known faces from TV and film, like Edward Fox (and son Freddie), Frances Barber, Susan Hampshire,  Nathanial Parker and Sally Bretton, in Wilde’s drama about political corruption, blackmail, scandal-loving journalists and the pitfalls of holding public figures to higher standards than the rest of us.


Harbourside Festival, Bristol, Fri 20 – Sun 22 July

Huge festival stretching from the SS Great Britain into the heart of the city, with tall ships, music Jimmy Cliff and Grandmaster Flash), dance, food, water display teams and circus acts.


Gertrude Jekyll: An Artist’s Eve,  Hestercombe House, near Taunton, Sat July 21 – Sun 2 Sept

She designed over 400 gardens around the UK, Europe and the US – including the formal gardens at Hestercombe near Taunton (her original plans for the garden were found in a potting shed in 1973). To mark her 175th anniversary, a room at the house has been given over to an exhibition about her with original drawings, artefacts and memorabilia, including her desk. Other events include a garden talk and supper with Hestercombe’s head gardener, a photography comp and family trail.


The Godney Gathering, Godney, Sat 21 July

Family friendly one-day festival with Feeder, The Correspondents and Tankus The Henge…


Bath on the Beach, Royal Victoria Park, Bath, from Sat 21 July

Hammocks, cabanas, palm trees, beach volleyball, boules and a beach bar – Bath’s version of the Caribbean.


Cinema Rediscovered,  venues around Bristol and Clevedon,  Thurs 26 – Sun 29 July

Digital restorations, contemporary classics and film print rarities back where they belong – on the big screen.


Audience with Helen Sharman, We The Curious, Bristol, Thurs 28 July

Who was the first British astronaut?  Hint: it’s not Tim Peake, despite all the media coverage to the contrary. Helen Sharman zoomed off into space in a Russian Soyuz spacecraft back in 1991 and spent eight days orbiting the earth in the MIR Space Station. Hear her story, as part of the museum’s Festival of What If (Weds 26 – Tues 31 July).


The Princess and the Giant, various venues around Somerset, from Sat 27 July

Folksey Theatre’s open air production about the princess kept awake by a grumpy old giant. Adapted from Caryl Hart’s book. At Shockerwick House Gardens in Box Sat 21 July; Hestercombe near Taunton Sun 22 July; Ammerdown near Radstock Tues 24 July; Ecos Amphitheatre in Frome Fri 27 July; and the Walled Gardens of Cannngton Sun 29 July.


In relation: nine couples who transformed British modern art, Royal West of England Academy, until Sun 9 Sept

When love and art collide. The nine couples include Ben Nicholson and Barbara Hepworth; Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant.



Summer Show, Atkinson Gallery, Street, Mon June 25–Fri 3 August

Annual show with work by artists from around the UK to admire and to buy.

Cubiform 9 by Pennie Elfick


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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset