Events and things to do in Dorset - August 2016

Hamlet is performed by the Festival Players Theatre Company at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens

Hamlet is performed by the Festival Players Theatre Company at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens - Credit: Archant

From Shakespeare in the garden to pop-up cinema on the beach, Helen Stiles rounds up her pick of events happening around the county this month


A Capability Brown Experience at Milton Abbey - 21 August

Lancelot ‘Capability’ Brown changed the face of 18th Century England, designing country estates and mansions, moving hills and creating flowing lakes and serpentine rivers, and creating the very essence of the quintessential English landscape. This year marks the 300th anniversary of his birth and this fabulous multi-media exhibition at Milton Abbey celebrates Brown’s work in the area. This encompassed Milton Abbey and the village of Milton Abbas which was integrated into the breathtaking 500 acre landscape and is regarded as one of England’s first ‘new towns’. This is a ‘must see’ exhibition about the ‘Shakespeare of the English garden design’ and his impact on Dorset’s landscape. Open daily 10am - 5pm.


The Summer Season - Until 3 September

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The Gallery at 41 in beautiful Corfe Castle specialises in the work of contemporary Dorset painters and sculptors. A little like the summer weather, ‘The Summer Season’ is a changing exhibition featuring an eclectic mix of styles and media. Painters include Richard Price ROI, David Atkins, Felicity House PS, Vicky Finding and Judy Tate and sculptors Moira Purver SWA, Sue Lansbury, Brendon Murless and Laura Pentreath.

Alex Lowry and Richard Batterham - Until 4 September

Sladers Yard in West Bay has two fabulous exhibitions this month. Painter, Alex Lowery shines a low angled transforming light on the landscapes of West Bay, Portland and Bath. ‘Richard Batterham at 80’ showcases Batterham’s stunning pots - made to enrich life rather than to adorn it. Discover why his work is recognised as the finest stoneware in this country at this comprehensive celebration of his talent.

Sladers Yard, West Bay, Bridport

Five Glass Artists - 23 July-3 August

Discover the beauty of kiln-formed glass through abstract sculptures, wall hangings and functional decorative vessels at this stunning exhibition at The Courtyard Gallery, Town Mill, Lyme Regis.

John Constable in Osmington - 18–20 August

The artist John Constable spent his honeymoon at The Vicarage in Osmington in October and November l816. This exhibition in St Osmund’s Church features Constable’s paintings with knowledgeable people on hand to enlighten.

Bridport & West Dorset Open Studios - 20–29 August

Over 60 artists will be throwing open the doors to their studios in some of the most scenic venues along the Jurassic Coast. Started in 1999, the event has become the definitive showcase for the thriving art community of West Dorset. Whether you end up investing in original artworks, or buying a print or card you will discover a plethora of art from veteran names to emerging artists. Pick up a free guide locally with maps directing you to the studios and galleries involved.


Two Gentleman of Verona - 27 July-12 August

Brownsea Open Air Theatre performs Shakespeare’s comedy about friendship and infidelity on this beautiful island in Poole harbour. A magical summer event.

Circus Raj - 1 August

Rajasthan’s elite street circus performs breathtaking acts, accompanied by the Rajasthan Heritage Brass band, against an ocean backdrop at the Theatre Square in Lyme Regis.

Starts 2.30pm. Box office 01297 442138

As You Like It - 2 August

Forde Abbey Gardens provide the natural amphitheatre for this Shakespearian play performed by Folksy Theatre. Start at 7pm.

Much Ado About Nothing - 4 August

The Lord Chamberlain’s Men perform Shakespeare in the gardens at Kingston Lacy.

0844 249 1895

Danny Champion of The World - 5 August

Illyria perform Roald Dahl’s story, of a son who seeks to save his father, in the dramatic setting of Corfe Castle.

0844 249 1895

Stars at the Beach - 13 August

Screening of The Full Monty on the beach at Studland with a fish and chip supper, in conjunction with Purbeck Film Festival.

01929 450500

The Hound of the Baskervilles - 19 August

Chapterhouse Theatre channel Sherlock Homes and Doctor Watson as they grapple with evil in the grounds of Athelhampton House.

01305 848363;

The Railway Children - 23 August

Chapterhouse perform E Nesbit’s heart-warming story of steam train and adventure in the Yorkshire hills at Corfe Castle.

0844 249 1895

Hamlet - 27 August

The Festival Players Theatre Company, an all-male company, performs Shakespeare’s play at Abbotsbury Subtropical Gardens.


Highcliffe: From Slop Pond to High Society - 2 August

Hattie Miles’ guided circular coastal walk takes in the life of shopping magnate Harry Selfridge and the area’s fascinating geology. Includes light lunch or cream tea at Cliffhanger Restaurant. Walks at 10am & 2pm.

01425 278058;

Victorian Villainous Thriller Walk - 3, 10 & 17 August

Local amateur dramatic group, Double Act presents a mystery thriller at Corfe Castle. See and hear the evidence, question the suspects and decide who is the villain.

0844 249 1895


Tudor Adventures at Corfe Castle - Until 29 August

Step back to the late Tudor period 1572 - 1603 at Corfe Castle and meet Tudor luminaries such as explorer Sir Francis Drake and Queen Elizabeth’s Spymaster Sir Frances Walsingham.

Medieval Encampment - 6–7 August

The Medieval Combat Society has pitched their tents at Nothe Fort, Weymouth. Knights in armour battle it watched by squires and servants, demos of crafts of the period plus archery and medieval dancing make this a tip top weekend 14th century style.

Victorian Weekend - 20-21 August

Break out your bonnets and ear defenders for this colourful festival involving re-enactors from the Nothe Fort Artillery Volunteers brandishing bugles, drums and cannons with live firing displays with cannons, muskets and rifles.

Monmouth Rebellion - 27–28 August

The scene is set for the Monmouth Rebellion at Forde Abbey. Join the Taunton Garrison as they prepare for battle with weaponry demonstrations, drill displays and musket firing. Meet the redcoat soldiers who fought against the rebel uprising of 1685 and experience the living conditions of a 17th century foot soldier.


Stompin’ on the Quomps - 6 August

The popular free smooth jazz festival in Christchurch is headlined by Lola’s Day Off a fusion of rhythm and blues, hip-hop, jazz, and deep funk grooves.

Poole Town & Country Show - 6–7 August

The beautiful grounds of Upton Country Park host this annual event which features birds of prey, working dogs, ferrets, terrier racing, arts, crafts, gifts and food marquees.

Lyme Regis Regatta & Carnival - 6–14 August

Celebrations happen both on and off the water, with fireworks, carnival procession, races and activities for all the family.

The Wessex Festival - 11-14 August

Venues from the majesty of Wimborne Minster to the Georgian splendour of Merley House and the intimacy of Kingston Lacy Church feature at this summer music festival which includes choral concerts, opera, folk, recitals, choral services, singing workshops and masterclasses.

Christchurch Carnival - 13–14 August

There’s fun and fireworks on the quay on Saturday and a carnival procession on Sunday.

Weymouth Carnival - 16–17 August

A two day event held on the seafront and adjacent areas of Weymouth, with carnival procession and family fun.

Bridport Carnival - 20–21 August

A fun-packed extravaganza concluding on Sunday with Bridport’s famous Torchlight Procession at 9pm from Bucky Doo Square to West Bay for the firework display.

Melplash Show - 25 August

The Showground at West Bay hosts this agricultural show by the sea which is packed with traditional events and delicious local food and drink.

Purbeck Valley Folk Festival - 25–28 August

Set on a farm on the Jurassic Coast this year’s toe-tapping line up includes The Proclaimers, Eliza Carthy, Boo Hewerdine, Nizlopi and The Churchfitters.

Stock Gaylard Oak Fair - 27–28 August

This special wood-inspired event at Sturminster Newton features woodcraft, timber, the countryside and conservation.