​Arts & Culture

Jason Ward’s essential monthly arts round-up including showbiz royalty Griff Rhys Jones OBE

By Staff Reporter [email protected]

Published: March 15, 2023 | Updated: 16th March 2023

This month we celebrate the feast of incredible arts and culture heading to our area in the next few weeks.

We have an interview with showbiz royalty Griff Rhys Jones OBE who is performing in Wimborne and Bridport while actual royalty (kind of) with Diana, The Untold and Untrue Story is at Lighthouse, Poole. Continuing the tenuous royal theme, The Palace Court Theatre in Bournemouth reopens with the regional premiere of Jonathan Larson’s multi-award winning musical Rent.

And if you want to be the first to see new work then check out new musical Hugh which might be the first-ever Dorset written musical.

In fact, there is so much great arts and culture happening that this month’s Lookout preview section is almost Wagnerian in length. But rest assured it is totally full of creamy creative goodness that will set you up for a wonderful month.

Coming up soon.

Hugh The Musical (Stlll A Work In Progress) – March 23, Kings Arms Dorchester, and March 25, The Chapel, Bruton.

This hilarious new show is written by North Dorset-based Joni de Winter and Susan Grant. The musical has been described as a comedy ‘masterpiece’ that follows two strong women with busy lives, their friendship and a mysterious letter from someone called Hugh, but can the performers carry it off  to an unsuspecting audience whilst dodging the many plot holes and without falling out? Book here.

Triple Bill by VERVE, March 31, Pavilion Dance South West.

International touring company VERVE land at PDSW with a visually striking, highly physical triple bill of new contemporary dance works by award-winning choreographer Jamaal Burkmar, Faye Tan and acclaimed Spanish duo KOR’SIA. Book here.

Noughts And Crosses, March 21-25, Lighthouse Poole.

This award-winning production, based on Malorie Blackman’s book, is the latest high quality play to come to Poole. The gripping Romeo and Juliet story, by acclaimed writer Malorie Blackman and adapted by Sabrina Mahfouz, is a captivating drama of love, revolution and what it means to grow up in a divided world. Voted as one of the UK’s best-loved books, Noughts & Crosses is a true modern classic. Book here.

Diana The Untold and Untrue Story, March 25, Lighthouse Poole.

This show has been packing in audiences all over the country. Combining drag, multimedia, audience interaction, puppetry and a lot of queer joy – this unique celebration of the people’s princess is as hilarious as it is tasteless. Writer and Performer Linus Karp is a comic genius and this Awkward Productions’ show was described by London Theatre Reviews as ‘The tonic we all need’. Book here.

RENT, March 16 – 18, Palace Court Theatre, Bournemouth.

The first public show back in this jewel of a theatre after more than 40 years is Jonathan Larson’s groundbreaking musical RENT, performed by the AUB & BU Performing Arts Society. This is the first time RENT has been produced in our area and is a genius choice for the venue with its focus on young bohemian creatives. Book here.

Griff Rhys Jones OBE.

Comedian, writer, actor, producer and TV presenter Griff Rhys Jones OBE is one of the UK’s best loved creatives. He is about to set out on tour with his new one man show, The Cat’s Pyjamas, which comes to both Wimborne and Bridport in the next couple of months.

What inspires your creative ideas?

Everything and anything really. It is a constant trawl. You try to keep the fishing nets out, but it helps to sit down quietly and mull over things a bit, with, you know, that useful tool – a deadline on the way. I do like to tell stories, and some people do run a mile when they see me coming. But a good dinner, great friends, a lot of chat and suddenly some old event or embarrasment becomes a funny thing and everybody is laughing and I think others might like to hear it too.

Why are arts and culture important to everyone?

I don’t think they are, with a broad brush. I think we all like different things. But some artistic endeavours have complexity built in. Great films are expensive things to make. I wholly admire people who risk all to make them, using private money, and end up with a work of genius like ‘There Will Be Blood’. The arts are a process of engagement with other human beings. Speaking and listening. I don’t expect everybody to share my taste. I am just really grateful when I find a painting, or an opera, or a play, or a book that speaks to me. It is a privilege and extension to the expereince of my life. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be able to listen to La Traviata or to experience ‘Apocalypse Now’. But I note that I wanted different things when I was much younger. We are not universal.

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

Well don’t get too creative if you are in business. Too many creative inventions can waste people’s time. Edit. Try and find out what people need. And put yourself in the customers’ shoes. I am always amazed when I stay in some places and it seems that the owner has never actually been in a hotel themselves.

Who is your creative hero?

Christopher Wren at present.

What piece of creative work are you most proud of?

Nothing I have done really. It’s all work in progress. I was proud of a series I made for BBC Two about tribal art. I have been very happy on stage in great productions and very funny parts and I have done quite a few from Moliere to Brecht to Ben Travers, which often seems to surprise people.

What are you working on now?

I am off to Vietnam to make a series for Channel Four about what makes modern Vietnam tick, and will be on tour with a one man show of stories and observations ‘The Cat’s Pyjamas’ coming near you soon.

  • Griff Rhys Jones’ one man show will be at Wimborne on May 21 and Bridport on June 8.

For the Tivoli Wimborne book here and for the Electric Palace, Bridport, here.

Creative tips for business.

If you saw the Oscars last weekend you will have seen some great fashion, some shaky jokes and lots of people thanking lots of other people in their acceptance speeches. While some of this is a bit showbizzy, there is research that shows that by actively sharing creative credit we become more confident creators ourselves. How does this work? Firstly because if we are open to sharing creative credit we are more likely to collaborate which can strengthen our creative output. But most importantly when we openly share creative credit others will see us as being more confidently creative which creates the virtuous circle of making us feel more confident.

So the next time you have to present a new concept, plan or proposal why not take a moment to thank the people that helped you develop, design and deliver it!

To find out more about Sharing Creative Credit check out this episode of The Confidently Creative Podcast on Apple Podcasts here.

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