Events and things to do in Dorset - July 2017

Step aboard the frigate Shtandart dating from 1703 at the Purbeck Pirate Festival

Step aboard the frigate Shtandart dating from 1703 at the Purbeck Pirate Festival - Credit: Archant

From outdoor theatre and world class opera to a new festival of literature and illustration for children, Helen Stiles rounds up her pick of local events


Othello - 1 July & 21 –22 July

SISATA Open Air Theatre Group performs a fast-paced tale of jealousy, love and ambition. 1 July: Priest’s House Museum & Garden, Wimborne Minster; 21 – 22 July: Max Gate, Dorchester 01305 267992. Book online at

Kermiz - 8–9 July

Inside Out present this one-off darkly comic event by Dutch circus performers Le Cirque du Platzak at North Quay, Weymouth as part of the Dorset Seafood Festival. Starts 3pm. Box office 01305 260954.

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The Lost World - 11 July

Prehistoric thrills and life-size dinosaurs abound in the walled garden at Castle Gardens, Sherborne in Illyria’s humorous adaptation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s ripping yarn. Box office 01935 814633.

The Third Policeman - 13 July

Maumbury Rings, near Dorchester, provides the stunning outdoor setting for Miracle Theatre’s adaptation of this surreal comedy set in a sausage-shaped world where policemen fall in love with bicycles. Tickets 01305 267992 or 01305 266926.

Striking Chords - 13 July

SoundStorm hosts this special evening in the Walled Garden of Upton Country Park, including Poole Grammar Orchestra, Dorset Youth Jazz Orchestra, Electric Guitar Ensemble, the BSO and Bath Philharmonia. Box office 01202 280000.

Hamlet & Macbeth - 18–22 July/ 25–29 July

Bournemouth Shakespeare Players perform in Priory House Gardens, Quay Road, Christchurch.

Pride and Prejudice - 20 July

Lizzie Bennett and Mr Darcy are thrown together in a Regency whirlwind of social events played out in the gardens of Kingston Lacy by the brilliant Illyria. Box office 0844 249 1895.

Slapstick & Slaughter - 25 July

Two men confront the absurdity of war with a surrealist toolbox in this outdoor performance at Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis at 12.30pm & 2.30pm. Box office 01297 442138.

As You Like It - 26 July – 11 August

Brownsea Open Air Theatre performs Shakespeare’s pastoral romantic comedy set in the Forest of Arden on a beautiful island in Poole harbour. Box Office 07845 782924 or online

Wind in the Willows - 27 July

Boxtree Productions bring this childhood classic to life as Mole, Ratty, Badger and Toad frolic in the gardens at Kingston Lacy. Box office 0844 249 1895.


Gabrielle Bill - Until 6 July

Pop up exhibition at 7 Bridge Street, Sturminster Newton, featuring Gabrielle’s large and colourful statement pieces inspired by nature.

Flourish - 6-26 July

Alison Potter, Belinda Brownlee, Cath Bloomfield and Linda Bristow share a passion for ceramics, print and design at Malthouse Gallery, Town Mill, Lyme Regis.

History, Heritage and Landscape - 7 July – 31 August

Finalists of Dorset Magazine Landscape Painter of the Year, photographers, Dorset Visual Arts and paintings by Tim Scott-Bolton feature at Milton Abbey.

The Continuous Thread - 8–30 July

The Slade Centre, Gillingham features the work of West Dorset weaver and printmaker Jacy Wall.

Dorchester Arts Open Exhibition - 12–28 July

Duke’s Gallery, Brewery Square hosts this exhibition featuring a varied selection of 2D and 3D work by Wessex artists.

Sheila Girling - Until 29 July

Admire the work of this remarkable artist whose vibrant oils, watercolours, papercuts and collages were infused with a Modernist spirit at Lighthouse Poole.


Spellbound - 1-2 July

This inaugural Festival of Literature and Illustration for Children and Young Adults, in collaboration with Arts University Bournemouth, gives youngsters the opportunity to immerse themselves in a world of talks and workshops with professional authors and illustrators at Talbot Heath School’s woodland campus.

Bournemouth University’s Festival of Learning - 8–12 July

Endurance athlete Anna McNuff, one of the top female adventurers of our time, is just one of the speakers at this festival which features over 140 free events and activities at Bournemouth University and locations across Dorset.

Festival of Archaeology - 17-27 July

Take a sneaky peek into the archaeological treasures held at Dorset County Museum. Guided tours, object identification workshops, and a special Bones & Bodies day on 24 & 27 July. Find out more and see full lsitings at


The Big Mix - 1 July

Vibrant outdoor music festival in Lyme Regis with the Jurassic Coast as backdrop.

Bellamont House Fair - 1 July

Gothic revival house in Long Bredy hosts traditional barn dance, stalls and country teas from 1pm. Following day, exhibition at St Peter’s Church of flowers, wedding dresses, and paintings by local artists.

Boogie Woogie Festival - 7- 9 July

From swing dancing to boogie woogie at the mill, enjoy 35 music and dance events in Sturminster Newton.

Gin Festival - 8 July

Have your taste buds tantalised by the 120 different gins from around the world at Lighthouse Poole. Box office 01202 280000.

Swanage Jazz Festival - 14- 16 July

Nearly 50 sessions featuring bands from across most of the spectrum of jazz.

Dorset Volksfest - 14 – 16 July

Volkswagen enthusiasts descend on Worgret Road Showground, Wareham. Mountain bike and BMX shows and VW Trekker display.

Stoke Abbott Street Fair - 15 July

Starts 1.45pm with ‘Stoke Abbott Sick Club’ parade. From 2pm stalls, live music plus a Children’s Fancy Dress and Dressing the Well.

Sturminster Marshall Summer Fête - 15 July

Traditional games, donkey rides, miniature steam train and scrumptious cream teas around St Mary’s Church from 2pm.

Branksome Beer and Bluegrass Festival - 21-22 July

Bluegrass music accompanied by a dazzling array of real ales and ciders at Victoria School and Gardens.

Emergency Services Family Fun Day - 22 July

Kings Park, Bournemouth hosts this free event which provides a platform for all of the local ‘blue light’ services to demonstrate their appliances and skills to the public.

Leigh Food Fair - 29 July

Taste and buy some of the best food and drink from the local area, then admire a wonderful display of vintage and classic cars and motorbikes.


Pavilion Dance South West (PDSW) host Discover, Play, Dream: Dance! Running 1 - 9 July it features spectacular dance performances and activities in everyday places with most events free to attend.

The Imagination Museum - 1 & 2 July

Three dancing tour guides bring Poole Museum’s artefacts to life. Tours at 11am, 1pm & 3pm.

Of Man & Beast with Company Chameleon - 2 July

Discover the many faces of masculinity in Boscombe pedestrian precinct. Perfromances at 12pm & 3pm.

Whist - 3 & 4 July

Immerse yourself in an art and sound installation, where you choose your own storyline. Every hour at PDSW 10am – 8pm.

Drawing Dance - 7 July

Draw dancers at Arts University Bournemouth’s Drawing Studio 6.30 – 8.30pm. Book in advance.

Smashed with Gandini Juggling - 9 July

80 apples, 9 performers, 4 crockery sets take over the Pavilion Dance Terrace at 2pm & 4.30pm.

Full listings at or call 01202 203630


Persuasion - 26–27 July

Chamber Opera Chicago gives Jane Austen’s novel, set in Lyme Regis, a musical adaptation with chamber orchestra, Regency costumes, and Irish dancers at the Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis. Box office 01297 442138.

Made in Dagenham - 26–29 July

The award-winning Highcliffe Charity Players get groovy with this musical about the Dagenham female factory workers who made history fighting for women’s rights. Regent Centre, Christchurch. Box office 01202 499199.

Dorset Opera Festival - 26-29 July

Enjoy a full country-house opera experience featuring internationally-renowned singers, a chorus of 60 and a full orchestra. This year’s productions are Gounod’s Faust, featuring African-American bass-baritone Mark S Doss in the signature role, and Rossini’s Le Comte Ory - an hilarious rom-com involving mistaken identity and cross-dressing. Option to pre-order luxury picnics or Opera Dinners. Box office 01202 499199;