Things to do in Dorset this April

Swinging at the Cotton Club gets Sturminster Newton hopping

Swinging at the Cotton Club gets Sturminster Newton hopping - Credit: Archant

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Dorset this month

Discover weekly events and photography in the links above


Brainiac Live - 3 April

Expect exploding dustbins, combusting microwaves and live daredevil stunts as the Brainiacs delve into the mysteries of science! Lighthouse Poole 01202 280000.

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A Heart at Sea - 4 April

Beards, boats, whales and puppets combine in this folktale about a boy who bottles up his heart and throws it into the sea. Dorchester Corn Exchange 01305 266926.

Alice in Wonderland - 5 April

Enjoy all your favourite characters from this classic story, with plenty of laughs … or off with your head! Weymouth Pavilion 01305 783225.

Dear Zoo - 10 – 11 April

Rod Campbell’s best-selling book comes to the stage with child-engaging puppets. 10 April at 1pm & 3.30pm; 11 April at 11am & 2pm. Lighthouse Poole 01202 280000.

The Gingerbread Man - 13 April

Stuff and Nonsense mix of puppetry, live action and humour combine in this retelling of a classic fairytale at 1.30pm. Lighthouse Poole 01202 280000.

Penguins - 20 – 21 April

Two chinstrap penguins find themselves going on an unusual adventure with Birmingham Repertory Theatre. Suitable for ages 3+. Performances Friday at 11am & 2.30pm; Saturday at 11.30am. Pavilion Dance South West, Bournemouth 01202 203630.

A Strange New Space - 21 April

Physical theatre with stunning puppetry and original music takes us on a voyage into space. Performances at 11am & 2pm. Sherling Studio, Lighthouse Poole 01202 280000.

Jay Foreman’s Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children - 22 April

Cheeky family-friendly show featuring songs, poems and comedy for children of all ages. Dorchester Corn Exchange 01305 266926.


Mad Science Easter Holiday Camp - 3–12 April

Awesome hands-on Easter holiday camp for 5-11 year olds at Knighton House, Blandford (3 – 6 April) and Trinity First School in Verwood (9 – 12 April). Topics include supersonic senses and earthquake and eruptions. 10am – 3pm. Booking essential or 01722 341537.

17th-century Archery at Corfe Castle - 3–15 April

Take a step into the past and learn about the uses of the longbow during the 17th century. Shooting displays as well as have-a-go archery. Runs 10am -5pm.

Fossil Art Class - 4 April

A wonderful opportunity for children to meet the internationally recognised artist John House and create works of art that look like real fossils and do some “cave painting” runs 10am – midday. Burngate Stone Carving Centre, Swanage 01929 439405.

Make a Fish - 4 April

Craft session at Dorchester Town Hall, making a decorative sea creature to move around and puppeteer yourself! Runs 3.45 – 4.45pm. Suitable for 7 -12s. Booking 01305 266926.

Bottle Rockets - 5 April

Create your very own bottle rocket under supervision at Learning Centre, Durlston Country Park, Swanage, starts 2.30pm.

Children’s Mountain Biking - 12 April

Try off road tracks and trails at Moors Valley Country Park & Forest led by qualified mountain bike instructors. Runs 9.30am – 12.30pm (8 to 9yrs) and 1.30- 4.30pm (10 – 11yrs). Cost £15 per child. Booking essential 01425 480811 or


A Question of Guilt: A Crime Writer’s Collection - Until 15 April

Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum in Bournemouth showcases the private art collection of Frances Fyfield and asks the viewer to solve a murder mystery.

Found in the Fields - 24 March – 11 April

Incorporating texts from the poet John Clare, the meadows of Kingcombe inspired many of Carry Akroyd’s drawings and paintings at the Jerram Gallery, Sherborne.

Bridport Stations of the Cross - 26 March – 2 April

Painted by members of the Bridport Art Society, this exhibition at St Petere’s in Eype features Stations of the Cross set against a local backdrop.

Landing Among the Stars - 30 March – 15 April

Photographer Kevin Ferrioli explores the starry skies in Dorset and beyond at this exhibition at the Fine Foundation Gallery, Durlston.

April at Town Mill Gallery, Lyme Regis

Contemporary Crafts showcases work from UK contemporary craft-makers in ceramics, glass, wood, metal, textiles and lighting (until 4 April). Inspired by walks in Dorset, The Light We Seek features paintings by Sue Lewin and Chris Goodman and sculptures by Greta Berlin (30 March – 11 April). Ways & Means (6 – 18 April) explores innovative mark making, collages, new printmaking techniques and varied approaches to drawing from life.


Crimes Under The Sun - 7 – 8 April

Murderous comedy thriller set in the English Riviera inspired by Agatha Christie, Hitchcock and film noir. Dorchester Corn Exchange, 01305 266926.

Toro - 12 April

DeNada Dance Theatre performs this Hispanic version of Beauty and the Beast set in a circus in dystopian South America. Pavilion Dance South West, Bournemouth 01202 203630.

Mitch Benn - 13 April

Satirical songs and jokes from the star of BBC Radio 4’s The Now Show. Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis 01297 442138.

Stolen - 13 April

Brilliant storytelling and music combine in the Land of No Return where you may bump into a glass man filled with wasps. Lighthouse Poole 01202 280000.

Madam Butterfly - 14 April

Exquisite sets and antique wedding kimonos make this performance of Puccini’s opera by award-winning producer Ellen Kent a feast for the eyes and ears. Bournemouth Pavilion 0844 576 3000.

Dad’s Army Radio Hour - 14 – 15 April

Some of the greatest comedy scripts of all time feature in this radio-style show based on the legendary TV series. Dorchester Corn Exchange, 01305 266926.

My Fair Lady - 18 - 21 April

Milton Musical Society celebrate their 50th anniversary with the fabulous Lerner and Lowe musical that sees a cockney flower girl transformed into a lady. Regent, Christchurch 01202 499199.

Robin Ince - 19 April

The Infinite Monkey Cage star combines love, death and art - with a teeny bit of physics in his latest comedy show. Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis 01297 442138.

BalletBoyz: Fourteen Days - 19 April

Playing with the concept of balance and imbalance, this exciting programme includes choreography by Strictly’s Craig Revel Horwood. Lighthouse Poole 01202 280000.

Murder by Gas Light - 20 April

Sherlock Holmes recounts highlights of his darkly thrilling crime-busting career. Shelley Theatre, Bournemouth 01202 413600.

Promise of Departure - 26 – 28 April

Norwegian dance troupe Panta Rei explore the promise of connection and the departure. Starts 7.30pm. 26 April: Pavilion Dance South West, Bournemouth 01202 203630; 27 April: Gillingham School 01747 833844; 28 April: Buckland Newton 01300 345455.

Touch of Evil - 27 April

Cabaret miscreant Joe Black celebrates the musical numbers of the finest villains and baddies. Shelley Theatre, Bournemouth 01202 413600.

Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok - 27 – 28 April

Sacrifice and survival across three generations mingles with a shared passion for food. Lighthouse Poole 01202 280000.

Bilal Zafar: Biscuit - 28 April

Join the Hackney Empire New Act of the Year winner as he explores the confusing world of online dating. Lighthouse Poole 01202 280000.


Back to Bacharach - 6 April

Revel in the music of Burt Bacharach, one of the most accomplished popular composers of the 20th Century. Weymouth Pavilion 01305 783 225.

Albion Quartet - 6 April

Music by Dvorák and Schubert played by the effervescent Albion Quartet features in this 11am Coffee Concert at Bridport Arts Centre. Box Office 01308 424204.

Kusanganisa - 7 April

World music and jazz combine with four musicians from different traditions lead by Chartwell Dutiro from Zimbabwe. Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis 01297 442138.

Pete Lockett - 11 April

The award-winning percussionist, who has worked with Peter Gabriel, Bjork and Kodo, blends world rhythms with captivating visuals at Lighthouse Poole. Box office 01202 280000.

Feast of Fiddles - 12 April

Started as an idea in a folk club 25 years ago this highly strung collective has been dubbed Britain’s fiddling supergroup. Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne 01202 885566.

The Sprig of Thyme - 12 April

Enjoy British folk song settings by Britten, Grainger and Holst in this lunchtime concert at Sherling Studio. Lighthouse Poole 01202 280000.

Swinging at the Cotton Club - 14 April

The exhilarating dance and music of Harlem’s hottest nightclub is recreated by the Lindy Hop Dance Company, The Harry Strutters Hot Rhythm Orchestra and guest vocalists. The Exchange, Sturminster Newton 01258 475137.

Wimborne Voices - 15 April

A cappella song with instrumental solos from Dorset Rural Music School. 3pm, St Michael’s Church, Colehill.

Coastliners: Sea Shanty & Folk Festival - 21 April

Old Poole Town hosts this family-friendly festival celebrating the cultural heritage of sea folk in the South-West.

Ninebarrow Album Launch - 21 April

The talented duo showcase their songs rooted in the landscape of the British Isles as well as their native Dorset. Lighthouse Poole 01202 280000.

Tokio Myers - 26 April

Britain’s Got Talent 2017 winner performs tracks from his debut album Our Generation at O2 Academy, Bournemouth.

Budapest Café Orchestra - 26 April

Traditional folk and gypsy-flavoured music combines with jazz and swing at Dorchester Corn Exchange. Box office 01305 266926.

The Dream of Gerontius - 28 April

Five Dorset choirs and a professional orchestra perform Elgar’s magnificent setting of Cardinal Newman’s mystical poem. Lighthouse Poole 01202 280000.

Covent Garden Comes to Dorset - 28 April

Dorset Opera Festival and the Royal Opera House introduce some opera stars of the future at this concert at Milton Abbey. Box office 01258 881235.

Bach Before Leipzig - 29 April

Violinist Elicia Silverstein and harpsichordist Christopher Bucknall perform music by one of the great masters of the baroque. Dorchester Corn Exchange, 01305 266926.


Lucy Worsley: Jane Austen at Home - 12 April

The ‘Queen of TV history’ considers what home meant to Jane Austen through the rooms, possessions and places she knew and reveals a witty woman who refused to settle for anything less than Mr Darcy. Regent, Christchurch 01202 499199.

The Great Gambo - 20 April

Paul Gambaccini reveals how a Bronx boy became Britain’s Professor of Pop and reveals some of the myriad of pop stars he met along the way. Lighthouse Poole 01202 280000.

Henry Blofeld: 78 Retired - 28 April

The golden voice of cricket celebrates his retirement with a brand-new show that is jam-packed full of unheard anecdotes from on and off the pitch. Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis 01297 442138.