What's On in Devon, July 2022

The cast pose in costumes whilst smiling

Much Ado About Nothing, Sun and Moon Theatre company - Credit: Matt Austin

We reveal all the amazing things happening in Devon this month.

Festivals and Shows

1. Dartington Summer School and Festival

The world-famous Dartington Summer School was first held in1947. In the intervening years it has grown to deliver four weeks of workshops and classes alongside an impressive programme of performances. After being hit by covid last year, this summer the Dartington Estate will be full of life with an exciting mix of concerts and events.

To encourage more people to visit, there are family events for everyone to enjoy. Sara Mohr-Pietsch, Artistic Director, says the programme includes some things postponed from previous years. “It’s falling beautifully into place and we are very excited for the artists, participants and local people,” she says. “The Dartington Summer School and Festival offers so much to different groups. For the young artists there’s expert tuition from the greatest musicians in their field and the chance to connect with people who are going to be their audience. It’s really enlivening for them."

The Summer School and Festival is July 24-August 20. Book online at Dartington.org.

A man plays at a grand piano in front of a pale stone fireplace

Pianist Florian Mitrea will perform at Dartington - Credit: Kate Mount

2. Budleigh Music Festival

Returning for a week of stunning classical music, Budleigh Music Festival has an impressive programme of performances at St Peter’s Church, in Budleigh Salterton, which chair of the festival Kate Somerby says is destined to be the best yet.

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Headlining the Festival in the Legends Series is Danielle de Niese. Regarded as one of the finest lyric sopranos, she has sung lead roles at all the main opera houses including Sydney, The Met, Covent Garden and Glyndebourne. 

Making a welcome return to this year’s festival is the interactive sensory experience, Colourscape – a large walk-through labyrinth of colour, light, and music. This family-friendly experience will bring a most enjoyable element to the Festival offering visitors the chance to wander freely through
interlinked chambers, and the chance to interact with musicians, artists, and dancers.

For information go to budleighmusicfestival.co.uk.

3. Festival of St Thomas Stories

Theatre Alibi have been creating community work in St Thomas since 2019 when a thousand people visited an exhibition to share their memories and stories of living in this part of Exeter. The stories were used as inspiration for work which culminates in a weekend of live events (July 8-10) with live Jazz, Morris Dancing, exhibitions, creative workshops and a skatejam.

A centrepiece to the festival (July 1-10) is a compelling new piece of theatre, River Land, inspired by over local 75 stories which will be performed at Emmanuel Hall. 

For information go to theatrealibi.co.uk

4. Dunsford Village Show

This is a quintessential country show at its very best and is the perfect way to spend a fun-packed time in the Dartmoor National Park with a woodland backdrop. Entertainment includes the Mountain Bike Aerial Display Team, Parkour workshops, archers, a hawking display on horseback,
bouncy castle, vintage games and a Dog and Horse Show. Refreshments cover everything from cream teas to barbecues. From Exeter, the showground is on the B3212 after Briton Street Lane - follow the signs.

For information on the show on July 2, go to dunsfordshow.co.uk.

USA SailGP Team helmed by Jimmy Spithill and Australia SailGP Team helmed by Tom Slingsby in action

The USA and Australia SailGP Teams in action in Plymouth in 2021 - Credit: Jon Buckle for SailGP

5. SailGP

The exciting SailGP event returns to Plymouth – Britain’s Ocean City – for the Great Britain Sail Grand Prix and a weekend of fast-paced action. Ten competing nations will race it out on Plymouth Sound in identical F50 catamarans reaching speeds exceeding 60mph.

This is the third event in the global championship’s calendar, after races in Bermuda and Chicago. Last year’s Plymouth event drew an estimated 27,500 spectators and won gold in the Devon Tourism Awards, for Tourism Event/Festival of the Year.

Visit SailGP.com/GreatBritain for details of the event on July 30-31.

Theatre

1.Breathless

An intensely personal play about the knife-edge of hoarding by a Plymouth writer has won support to take the work to the Edinburgh Festival after a short run at the Theatre Royal in Plymouth. Laura Horton, Plymouth’s Laureate of Words, used her own experience of clothes hoarding to write the funny, honest and stylish Breathless. It centres on late thirties-something Sophie who is exploring long repressed sides of herself. When a secret she’s keeping from those she loves, and even from herself, threatens to unravel it all, she has to make a choice. Who or what will she decide to give up?

It was chosen for a National Partnership award by the Pleasance in Edinburgh to bring work from important regional venues to the Scottish festival.

Breathless is at TRP 20-23 July (theatrroyal.com), then Edinburgh Fringe for the whole of August.

2. Much Ado About Nothing

Devon-based Sun and Moon Theatre are touring this summer with a joyous, emotional and vibrant production of Much Ado About Nothing , one of Shakespeare’s best loved comedies, which they have set in 1945, after the war has ended. Suitable for all ages, enjoy a stirring performance of
Shakespeare’s boldest and most enduring romantic comedy with live music. 

Sun and Moon Theatre are at The Walronds, Cullompton (July 8), Reforge Retreat, Beaworthy, (July 22) and Rougemont Gardens, Exeter (July 29-30). For information go to sunandmoontheatreuk.com.

A man poses beside a motorbike on stage in front of a red background

Bat Out of Hell is packed with hits - Credit: Chris Davis

3. Bat Out Of Hell

The Bat Out of Hell album, written by Jim Steinman for Meat Loaf, is one of the best-selling records in history, selling over 50 million copies worldwide. Steinman took the songs from this and his follow-up album for a stage musical, which is coming to Plymouth.

This epic story of rebellious youth and passion includes hits You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth, Bat Out of Hell, and I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).

Bat Out of Hell is at the Theatre Royal Plymouth (theatreroyal.com) July 12-23.

4. Dreamgirls

This multi award-winning musical is on its first ever tour of the UK and is heading for the Theatre Royal Plymouth. Dreamgirls (July 26-August 6) is the story of three talented young singers – Effie, Lorrell, and Deena – and is set in the turbulent 1960s, a revolutionary time in American music history. They go on a musical rollercoaster ride through a world of fame, fortune and the ruthless realities of show business, testing their friendships to the very limit.

Book at theatreroyal.com

Three women look at the camera with powerful facial expressions.

Three friends seek fame in Dreamgirls - Credit: Matt Crockett

5. Cinderella

Chapterhouse Theatre Company have found the perfect location for the enduring tale of Cinderella – a real castle! Powderham plays host to a show set in an enchanted kingdom in a faraway land with magical creatures and fairy godmothers. Full of song, mirth and joy, this is a family friendly production and everyone is invited to dress in their favourite fairy tale characters and join the midsummer ball dance. You can also bring your own picnic.

Book online (powderham.co.uk) for the show on July 31

Music

1. Saltines

A best-selling book has inspired a magical collaboration between the author and folk giants The Gigspanner Big Band. Saltlines has traditional songs alongside words by Raynor Winn, Ambassador of the path which celebrate what she described as “630 uninterrupted miles of coastline, crossing wild headlands with the calls of oystercatchers, and the smell of salt laden air ever present”.

Saltlines is at The Brewhouse, Taunton on July 8, The Landmark Theatre, Ilfracombe, on July 9, The Marine Theatre, Lyme Regis on July 13, The Pavilions, Exmouth, on July 14 and the Lighthouse Theatre, Poole, on July 17. For information go to gigspanner.com.

A headshot of Paloma Faith wearing a large pink hat

Paloma Faith will perform in Plymouth. - Credit: palomafaith.com

2. Central Park Gigs

Two giants of the pop world will perform outdoors in Plymouth’s Central Park this summer. Double platinum and BRIT award-winning artist Paloma Faith (July 9) is on her The Age of Optimism tour with favourite hits and songs from her new album Infinite Things.

The following day it’s the turn of Simply Red’s Blue Eyed Soul tour which promises “all the hits” live. The band, with lead singer Mick Hucknall, started out together more than 35 years ago. 

Tickets from ticketmaster.co.uk

3. Billy Boy Miskimmin

This renowned Blues Harmonica player will appear with his band Mercy Lounge at the Marina Bar in Sutton Harbour, Plymouth, on July 7. He has worked with Stiff Little Fingers and Marc Almond amongst others and in 2003 was recruited to join The Yardbirds performing at the legendary BB King Blues Club and earning praise from the likes of Alice Cooper, Jimmy Page and Scotty Moore.

Book tickets on 01752 266937.