Events and things to do in Dorset - February 2016

The Magic of Motown at Lighthouse Poole

The Magic of Motown at Lighthouse Poole - Credit: Archant

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


• Purbeck Literary Festival - 14 – 27 February

This lively locally-inspired literary festival features. creative workshops, poetry, performances, art exhibitions and events featuring the works of popular children’s author Enid Blyton, adventurer T. E Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia), derring-do author Percy F Westerman and contemporary authors, many of whom lived in or were inspired by Purbeck and Dorset.


• Alfred Stockham and His Cirlce - Until 28 February

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Sladers Yard in West Bay hosts this exhibition featuring works by Stockham and his contemporaries including David Inshaw, Simon Garden, Stewart Geddes, Stephen Jacobson and George Tute.

Find out more at

• British Wildlife Photography Awards - Until 28 February

Moors Valley Country Park, near Ringwood, hosts this touring exhibition of award-winning wildlife photography which includes Studland’s seahorses and a glorious image of a large white butterfly in flight over cliffs near Lulworth.

• Beast or Best Friend? - Until 13 March

This exhibition at the Russell-Cotes Gallery and Museum in Bournemouth is entirely inspired by animals - from adored pets to beasts that have been worshipped, hunted or exploited by man.


• Zulu Tradition - 4 - 5 February

Experience traditional drama, song and dance in this hugely entertaining and exciting journey into Zulu culture.

Starts 7.30pm - 4 Feb: The Exchange Sturminster Newton 01258 475137; 5 Feb: Cecil Memorial Hall Cranborne 01725 517883

• The Magic of Mowtown - 5 February

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of chart-topping single Reach Out I’ll Be There this show revels in hit after hit by solid-gold artistes including the Supremes, Temptations, Jackson 5, Isley Brothers, Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross.

Lighthouse, Poole 0844 406 8666

• Alexander O’Neal - 12 February

One of R’n’B’s most iconic names comes to the Regent in Christchurch to celebrate his 30 years as the undisputed Master of Soul Music.

Box office 01202 499199

• BSO Concert: Heroes and Aliens - 13 February

Join the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra in a galaxy far far away for a blockbuster concert of music from the best space movies of all time, including Star Wars, Star Trek and ET.

Lighthouse, Poole 0844 406 8666

• Craig Ogden - 14 February

The acclaimed classical guitarist performs a romantic programme specially selected to celebrate a musical Valentine’s Day afternoon at Dorchester’s Corn Exchange.

Box office 01305 266926

• Totally Tina - 19 February

Justine Riddoch steps into the shoes of leading lady Tina Turner and shimmies her way through some classic tunes at Weymouth Pavilion.

Box office 01305 783225

• Nicholas McCarthy - 19 – 20 February

A pianist of considerable talent, one handed pianist Nicholas McCarthy’s first album Solo received outstanding reviews and his programme includes Scriabin, Gershwin, Liszt, and Chopin.

19 Feb: Coffee Concert 11am Bridport Arts Centre; 20 Feb: The Hub, Lyme Regis 7.30pm. More details at

• Kodo - 20 February

Thundering drum beats transcend the real world to enter one with sacred beasts as this awesome troupe of taiko drmmers conjure up the spirit of Japan.

Lighthouse, Poole 0844 406 8666

• Extreme Baroque - 26 February

An evening of music with Roberto Sorrentino (cello) Bridget Pearse (viola/violin) and Wendy Staal (violin) at Sladers Yard with option of supper.

Book on 01308 459511 or visit

• Swing into Spring - 26 February

Hosted by BBC Radio Solent and Dorset Magazine’s Steve Harris, this Dorchester Arts gala night at the Corn Exchange includes cocktail reception, three course feast, live auction and Lindy Hopping to Company B jump jive band.

Box office 01305 266926

• Skimmity Hitchers - 27 February

Dorset’s festival favourites return from their recent USA tour with more cider-inspired tunes, badgers and general West Country weirdness.

Corn Exchange, Dorchester 01305 266926

• Heads South - 27 – 28 February

This sizzling Latin Jazz group combine Cuban and other Latin rhythms with tuneful melodies.

Starts 7.30pm. 27 Feb: Pamela Hambro Hall, Winterborne Stickland 01258 880920; 28 Feb: Studland Village Hall 01929 450204


• A Night to Remember - 4 February

Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan Cole leads his cast on a journey of music and dance in a spectacular night of theatrical entertainment.

Lighthouse, Poole 0844 406 8666

• The Forbidden Door - 4 – 6 February

The Devil’s Violin breath new life into the ancient art of storytelling, drawing on music from folk to classical and transporting you into a world of the imagination.

Starts 7.30pm. 4 Feb: Springhead Trust Fontmell Magna 01746 811853; 5 Feb: Broadoak VH 01308 424922; 6 Feb: St Nicholas Church Sandford Orcas 01963 220208; 7 Feb (8pm) Martinstown VH 01305 889202

• The Jewels of Duckula - 6 February

Count Duckula is a vegetarian, more interested in broccoli than blood. But can he save Castle Duckula by finding the hidden treasure in this live stage show of the children’s TV classic.

Regent, Christchurch 01202 499199

• Dracula - 10 – 13 February

David Mynne gets his teeth stuck into Bram Stoker’s Gothic pot-boiler in this one-man show of batty tales and dark deeds.

Starts 7.30pm. 10 Feb: Gillingham School 01747 833844; 12 Feb The Portman Hall Shillingstone 01258 860319; 13 Feb: Broadmayne Village Hall 01305 854205

• Just Gotta Dance - 13 February

The nation’s favourite ballroom couple, Anton Du Beke and Erin Boag, dance their way through an exhilarating programme of musical numbers accompanied by the London Concert Orchestra at the Pavilion Theatre, Bournemouth.

Box office 0844 576 3000

• Monkey! - 13 – 17 February

Live music and a script by Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen features in this bewitching PuppetCraft tale about a mischievous Chinese superhero.

Starts 4pm. 13 Feb: Winfrith Village Hall (VH) 01305 852117; 14 Feb: Cerne Abbas VH 01300 341332; 15 Feb: Martinstown VH01305 889202; 16 Feb: Durweston VH 01258 488883; 17 Feb: Wootton Fitzpaine VH 01297 560948

• Lighthouse Puppet Festival - 13- 20 February

This biennial event offers families half-term fun with The Ugly Duckling, Pongo’s Party, The Magic Beanstalk and Oliver Twist as well as evening puppet entertainment strictly for the grown-ups, such as The Scottish Falsetto Sock Puppet Theatre.

• Shaftesbury Fringe Variety Show - 20 February

Compered by comedienne Adrienne Coles, this show previews some of the acts for the Shaftesbury Fringe arts festival in July including comedy, music, theatre, dance and a circus act.

Shaftesbury Arts Centre, 01747 854321

• The Best Thing - 25 February

Vamos, the UK’s leading full mask theatre company, perform a Sixties-inspired show at the Layard Theatre.

Box office 01202 847525

• An Evening with Sunny Ormonde - 26 February

Sunny, who plays Lillian Bellamy in Radio 4’s The Archers, reveals behind-the-scenes stories from the radio soap. Fine Foundation Gallery, Durlston Castle.

Box office 01929 4244434


• From Stourhead to Stanpit - 11 February

Ron Taylor follows the River Stour from source to sea meeting millionaires, millers, smugglers and spies along the way. Starts 2.15pm. The Wessex Hotel, Bournemouth.

More details

• Stargazing at Durlston - 13 February

Join the Wessex Astronomical Society for a short talk and chance to use telescopes to view the Moon, Jupiter, galaxies and the winter constellations Starts 7.30pm. Weather dependent call 01929 424443 to confirm.

• The Wild Animals of Dorset - 19 February

A widescreen digital photographic presentation and talk by Colin Varndell hosted by the Dorset Mammal Group at Wareham parish church hall at 7.30pm.

• The Wessex Military History Group - 25 February

Meeting on the last Thursday of the month at The Keep Military Museum, Dorchester, this month’s topics are the Battle of Agagia 1916, and St Nazaire Raid 1942.

Starts 7pm. More details 01258 817216

• Thomas Hardy Talk - 25 February

Jonathon Memel discusses Thomas Hardy and education at Dorset County Museum. Starts 7pm.

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