​Arts & Culture

Published: April 18, 2022 | Updated: April 18, 2022

Jason Ward’s round-up of the area’s best new music artists, theatre writers & creative events

By Andrew Diprose, editor

We have packed a lot of creativity into this month’s column with some of the area’s best new music artists, theatre writers and creative events, writes Jason Ward.

We find out how going to the theatre saves the NHS money and is good for our mental health and we hear from one of our area’s brightest young creative entrepreneurs: Emma Rowland, Creative Director of Poole’s Pen Gallery.

Keep an eye out in the next month:

3rd & 4th May: Midnight, Atlanta. Written and produced by AUB graduate Jacob Trup featuring AUB students, alumni and DYMK drag superstar Daniella Queen.

This will be your first chance to experience film maker Jacob’s work onstage in a play set during the AIDS crisis in 80s Atlanta. Sherling Studio, Lighthouse Poole. Tickets: lighthousepoole.co.uk

6th – 7th May: Thom, Upshaw and Armstrong. Outstanding classical music from this acclaimed young trio in Bridport, Ilminster and Crewkerne. Part of the Concerts in the West Series. Tickets: concertsinthewest.org

Until 26th June: Life’s A Beach. By Martin Parr. Spanning five decades of everyday coastal life through the extraordinary lens of one of the best-known documentary photographers of our time. More information: giant.space

Reviews – Focusing on new music.

Forgotten – Bite the Boxer: Shaftesbury-based Bite the Boxer is back with a beautiful dreamy electronica and hazy trip hop infused track. The song starts out like the soundtrack to a moody Scandi TV show before releasing a soulful emotional core with beautiful female vocals and widescreen production. It’s not all about Hovis ads in Shaftesbury! Available on iTunes and all major music stores. bitetheboxer.com.

Shore – Carley Varley: As the evenings grow lighter you will be looking for that perfect bright, folky song to become your summer soundtrack and Carley Varley, pictured, has delivered. Shore is a wonderful, melodic piece of pure pop with hints of Florence, traces of Taylor and a large helping of Carley’s trademark honest lyricism. Available on iTunes and all major music stores. For live dates and more, see carleyvarley.com.

The Barn Sessions – Cee Luna: Remember that party you didn’t get invited to? The one you heard about with bonfires, Hells Angels, and a group of circus performers? The soundtrack to that party was Cee Luna’s The Barn Sessions. With guitar solos, funky Hammond organ, and super tight rhythm all topped off with a soaring vocal, this Dorchester group could be the future of rock! Available at ceeluna.bandcamp.com.

Emma Rowland, Pen Gallery.

Emma has built up Poole’s Pen Gallery to become the ‘go to’ hub for young creative talent in our area. She has been featured in The New York Times and is key to the area’s creative renaissance.

Here Emma shares her ideas on creativity and inspiration.

What inspires your best creative ideas?

I find that I make my best creative ideas when I reflect on what I feel is missing from my area. With Pen, and exhibition ideas, I try and find things that are different to what is on show, or what we have here. I am also an avid social media user and try to get ahead of trends to offer what people want to experience next!

Why are arts and culture important to everyone?

Arts & Culture are imperative as they inspire better ideas, and give people a chunk of time to immerse themselves in something different. They inspire people to perhaps think slightly differently. Seeing other people’s worldview expands your horizons. It’s also a great reflection of the moods, feelings and views of the local community. It is interesting to see what recurring themes you get from local artists.

What advice would you give to a business to help them become more creative?

Giving time to not always being perfect, and not being right first time. Investing in days out of the office, maybe going to a gallery or taking part in a workshop. I run creativity workshops for businesses and try to get them to just play, forget deadlines and have a go! I also think that the 9-5 structure is not always the best for creativity, the classic adage is that people have their best ideas in the shower. So perhaps not forcing ideas to be created in a solid structure. Giving more flexibility to work when it feels right.

Who is your creative hero?

That’s a hard question! I have too many. I’ve been watching the Andy Warhol documentary series on Netflix and really love his work. He knew how to play with his art. He also was so ahead of the world in many ways, he understood how important brand image was long before many others. He was in the middle of many art waves in New York and I would have loved to have been in Studio 54 with him. Locally, I love the work Caroline Beale-Johnson is doing with Seeking Refuge, I think the topic is ever relevant. She is always passionate about the project and has brought in the work of multiple other artists. I always feel like she is doing something important and her work reflects her kind and creative nature. What a star!

What piece of creative work are you most proud of?

Pen Gallery as a whole. It still feels slightly surreal that it has become such a hub for local  creativity. I currently have a risograph showcase I co-curated at the AUB gallery, and a mention of Pen Gallery up in Giant gallery in Bournemouth. Pen really has become a place to be!

What are you working on right now?

Personally, I’ve enjoyed getting back into the studio silversmithing. Reminding myself how bad I am setting stones! We also have an exhibition running until May 1st; Tiles Told. It is an amazing collaboration between ceramicist Gem Mordle and illustrator Bridie Cheeseman. There will be pieces for sale in person and via our website. I’m also curating summer shows behind the scenes which I love and which gives me a lot of satisfaction. I am also launching Pen as an online store, which feels like a very exciting direction.  Watch this space!

According to research from TRG Arts, the UK public is returning to live entertainment at a faster rate than those in the US, Canada and Ireland.

This is important for the country because a report by DCMS and UK Theatre/SOLT suggests that the contribution live theatre make to our wellbeing is saving the NHS £102m a year.

The report found that the NHS saves an annual total of £11.91 for every person enjoying live theatre from a reduction in GP visits and use of psychotherapy services.

Why is this?

Psychologists suggest that watching others express emotions can trigger that emotional response in us and theatre shows us that it’s ok and healthy to feel emotional and express empathy.

Do you need a better reason to treat yourself (and your team) to a live show?!

Check out next month’s column for more creative insights or contact me directly for personalised support.

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Contact: jason@dawsonward.co.uk

Instagram: @jasonwardcreative

Patreon: patreon.com/jasonward