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5 things to do in Somerset this week

RSC Live, The Tempest, various venues across Somerset, Weds 11 Janw05-thetempest-rsclive

Wow, wow and wow. Simon Russell Beale returns to the RSC after 20 years to play Prospero in this groundbreaking family production of Shakespeare’s The Tempest at the RSC, and it’s being broadcast live to cinemas on Wed 11 Jan. The Tempest’s tale of Prospero, a magician able to control the very elements and bend nature to his will is being produced in partnership with Intel – you read that right – using advanced technology in a bold reimagining of the play, so the mind fair boggles but it sounds like the perfect introduction to Shakespeare for young theatregoers and their families. To find a venue, click here. And if you want to see it live, it’s at in Stratford until Jan 21, and at the Barbican Theatre in London from 30 June-18 Aug.

Creative writing workshops, Halsway Manor, Crowcombe, from Sun 8 Jan


Channel your inner Man Booker Prize winner over the next four Sundays at four, day-long, creative writing workshops led by author Alice Maddicott, resident writer for the Bath Festival in 2015. These are the first of a series of arty workshops being held at Halsway Manor, the National Centre for Folk Arts,  this year (songwriting, dance and arts and crafts are all coming up).  The writing workshops, which are for adults of all abilities, are from 10am to 5pm and include a roast lunch.  You can attend just one for £45 per workshop or for all four for 150.

The Play That Goes Wrong, Theatre Royal, Bath, Tues 10-Sun 15 January


This Olivier-award winning comedy started out as a fringe production with only four paying members of the audience but is now enjoying its third sell-out year in the West End – and its major UK tour starts here in Somerset at Bath’s Theatre Royal this coming week.  Expect fast-paced farce and Buster Keaton-inspired slapstick in this highly physical show as the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society attempt to put on a 1920s murder mystery.

Yeo river and Cheddar reservoir walk, Cheddar, Sun 8 January

black-necked-grebe-1653255_1280Blow away the cobwebs with a bracing walk in the company of members of the Somerset Wildlife Trust who will be on hand to tell you the names of all those little birdies, furry creatures and plants that you may see along the way. Meet at Sharpham Road car park, Cheddar at 2pm. For more info contact Ged Keele on email [email protected] or phone 01278 769010.

A day at the races, Wincanton Racecourse,  Sat 7 January

horsem-horses-316932_1280Nothing to do with the Marx Brothers or Queen, this is the ‘ossies . If you’ve always fancied a day at the track but (like me) know nothing about horse racing, here’s your chance to find out all about it. This Saturday is Newcomer’s Day at Wincanton Racecourse, where you can tour the weighing room, walk the course and hear from all sorts of experts from trainers,  jockeys and valets, have the mystery of betting explained – and watch horses leaping over the fences as they race towards the finish line, too.  ITV will be there filming the day’s racing.


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The Urban Guide to the Countryside - Somerset