Events and things to do in Dorset - May 2016

PUBLISHED: 11:22 29 April 2016 | UPDATED: 11:22 29 April 2016

The lighting of the beacon at Sixpenny Handley Waistcoat Festival (Photo by Andrew Chorley)

The lighting of the beacon at Sixpenny Handley Waistcoat Festival (Photo by Andrew Chorley)

Andrew Chorley

Helen Stiles rounds up her pick of events happening around the county this month


Waistcoat Festival at Sixpenny Handley - 21 May

The inspiration for this festival came from a single spark at the wheelwright’s shed in the High Street on 20 May 1892 which nearly burnt the village to the ground. The 186 villagers survived and kind-hearted people donated so many clothes that it was said you could tell a Handley man by the number of waistcoats he wore. It was this tale that inspired the Sixpenny Handley Community Fund entertainments team who held the first biennial Waistcoat Festival in 2014. This year’s theme is centred around the little boy who buried his bread and cheese lunch in the garden to escape the fire, so expect wonderful artisan bread from Orchard Bay Bakery and cheeses from Chalke Valley Cheese to be in the heady mix, which also includes the Best Waistcoat Competition, live music, traditional crafts, local food and ale from Sixpenny Handley Brewery and Cranborne Chase Cider. Proceedings culminate in the lighting of the Sixpenny Handley beacon and a large community fondue at Church Farm campsite in the evening.

For more details and tickets visit


Shot at Dawn - 4-5 May

A compelling drama about two young soldiers from the Dorsetshire Regiment, staged at the Guildhall Poole. Box office 01202 280000.

42nd Street - 4-7 May

Poole & Parkstone Productions present the classic ‘star is born’ musical at Lighthouse Poole. Box office 01202 280000.

Tosca - 6 May

Ellen Kent and Opera & Ballet International perform Puccini’s opera about love and treachery Bournemouth Pavilion 0844 576 3000.

Susan Calman - 11 May

Enjoy the razor sharp wit of this awesome Scottish stand-up at the Studio, Lighthouse Poole. Box office 01202 280000.

Vuelos - 12 May

A magical journey into the world of Leonardo da Vinci by Aracaladanza with MOKO Dance. Pavilion Dance South West 01202 203630.

The Fabulous Bacon Boys - 12 & 26-28 May

Living Spit’s hilarious grown-up take on the three little pigs as Bacon Construction’s new house comes to the attention of Miss Wolf in planning. 12 May: Pamela Hambro Hall, Winterborne Stickland 01258 880920; 26 May Halstock VH 01935 891744; 27 May Sandford Orcas VH 01963 220208 (all at 8pm).

Birmingham Royal Ballet - 13-14 May

Global dance inspires this programme including David Bintley’s Four Scottish Dances and Hans van Manen’s sultry Five Tangos. Lighthouse, Poole 01202 280000.

May Contain Food - 19-20 May

Luca Silvestrini’s Protein captivate in this immersive dance and song performance revolving around our relationship with food. Pavilion Dance South West, 01202 203630.

So Comedy Live - 21 May

The producers of the Graham Norton Show bring you the rising stars of the stand-up scene Studio at Lighthouse, Poole 01202 280000.

Stig of the Dump - 24 May

It’s nearly 50 years since Stig and Barney’s adventure first saw the light of day but this timeless classic remains as charming as ever. Lighthouse, Poole 01202 280000.

Relative Values - 26-28 May

Wimborne Drama Productions return to the Tivoli with this satirical Coward comedy where Hollywood clashes with the English aristocracy. Box office 01202 885566.

Hollywood Dance: The Ballet of Aladdin - 28 May

A cast of 200 dancers from the age of 5-18 take you on the ‘magic carpet’ to an Arabian world of dreams and dance at Lighthouse Poole. Box office 01202 280000.


Home in the Morning - 5 May

An intimate acoustic evening with songsmith, broadcaster, activist and raconteur Tom Robinson. Corn Exchange, Dorchester 1305 266926.

Blake - 6 May

The fabulous male vocal trio entertain with their rich harmonies and classic songs. Regent, Christchurch 1202 499199.

Spring Concert - 8 May

Allington Strings perform Elgar, Mozart, Dvorak and Vivaldi at 3pm at St John’s Church, West Bay. More details at

The John Etheridge & Vimala Rowe Band - 13 May

Legendary guitarist John Etheridge joins sensational singer Vimala Rowe to travel musically together through India, Africa, the Middle East and USA. Lighthouse, Poole 01202 280000.

Puttin’ on the Ritz! - 13 May

The Pasadena Roof Orchestra re-create the glories of popular music from the 1920’s and 1930’s with classics from the Great American Songbook. Regent, Christchurch 01202 499199.

Dorset Chamber Orchestra - 14 May

Concert at St Mary’s Church, Dorchester (7.30pm) features Dvorak, Arriga and Brahms’ Violin Concerto with Frida Backman.

The New Elizabethan Singers - 14 May

The popular local choral group celebrate their 50th anniversary by performing Fauré’s Requiem. St Mary’s Church, Bridport, 7.30 pm.

Dorset Police Male Voice Choir - 14 May

Enjoy an evening of song at St Mary’s Middle School in Puddletown, starts 7.30pm.

Russian Treasures - 15 May

Tenebrae perform a collection of rare choral gems from Russian Orthodox Church including works by Rachmaninov and Tchaikovsky at Holy Trinity Church, Dorchester at 7pm. Box office 01305 266926.

Windsong - 15 May

Music for wind instruments including Brahms Clarinet Sonata at St. James’ Church, Holt. Starts 7.30pm.

Repicco and Friends - 20 & 21 May

Baroque music performed by world class musicians feature in these two Concerts in the West events. 20 May (11am) Bridport Arts Centre, 01308 424204; 21 May (2pm) Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis, 01297 442138.

Guitar Echoes - 21 May

Enjoy garden photos by Josie Elias (RHS Photographer of the Year 2012) while award-winning classical guitarist Samantha Muir performs works by Bach, Villa-Lobos and others at Bridport Quaker Meeting Hall. Starts 6.30pm.

Nigel Kennedy - 23 May

The maverick British violinist performs an acoustic version of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons taking on new interpretations of the music at Bournemouth Pavilion. Box office 0844 576 3000.

Ron Goodwin Gala - 28 May

BSO Benevolent fund concert features the music of renowned British composer Ron Goodwin whose iconic film scores include Where Eagles Dare and Those Magnificent Men in Their Flying Machines. Lighthouse, Poole 01202 280000.


Blandford Georgian Fayre - 2 May

The Georgian architecture of Blandford is a fitting backdrop to this street fayre where locals and stall holders dress in historic costume and parade along East Street to the Corn Exchange at 10am.

Diesel Gala and Beer Festival - 6-8 May

Expect an impressive line-up of diesel locomotive at Swanage Railway as well as a fine range of quaffable local beers.

Cursus Festival - 13-16 May

Cider and live music festival at Sixpenny Handley. More at

Mini Steam on the Quay - 14 May

Celebrate the age of steam with mini traction engines at this festival on Poole Quay.

Bournemouth 7s Festival - 27-29 May

Over 400 rugby, netball, hockey and dodge ball teams compete against a backdrop of live music in East Parley.

Lyme Regis Jazz & Blues Festival - 27-29 May

Jazz and blues old and new feature at this May Bank Holiday live music event.

B-Town Throwdown - 29-31 May

Bournemouth’s free festival of hip hop culture with battles, workshops and master classes.


Gone but Not Forgotten - Until 2 May

The ‘Somerset &Dorset 50’ touring exhibition at Priest’s House Museum in Wimborne Minster marks the final days of this local branch line, which ran from Bath across the Mendips through Dorset to Bournemouth, before it was closed in 1966. Find more at

Saxons & Vikings: Siege of Wareham - 30 April–2 May

Witness re-enactments and battles and explore the Saxon village at this Corfe Castle event which runs daily from 10am to 5pm. More at

Portland House Spring Opening - 6–8 May

A rare opportunity to peek inside this stunning 1930s art deco holiday villa that has been beautifully restored in Belle Vue Road, Weymouth. More at

Companion Dog Show - 29 May

Gates open at noon at the Brit Valley Show Ground on West Bay Road for this fundraiser for Canine Partners, Diabetes UK and Rotary Charities with pedigree and novelty classes.

West Bay Pirate Day - 29 May

Shiver me timbers! West Bay’s themed day, held on the Sunday of the Spring Bank Holiday, features a bevy of pirates, splat the rat and walk the plank from 1pm at Harbour Green.

Giant Craft Fair - 30 May

Weymouth Pavilion hosts this free event featuring over 50 stalls of handmade goods by local crafters, artists and designers. Find details at

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