Saturday 3rd June

7.00pm Lady St Mary church, Wareham

I Fagiolini:  Monteverdi – L’Orfeo (1607)

Semi-staged opera with English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble

Robert Hollingworth director.

The first operatic masterpiece by the undisputed genius of the age still works its magic 410 years on.  An eternal story, brilliant vocal writing and rich instrumental colour make this the only classic from the first period of opera to have stood the test of time.  Written for Monteverdi’s own regular vocal ensemble, here it’s performed by I Fagiolini in their 30th anniversary year with the brilliant Matthew Long as the virtuosic demi-God of singing and an entire team of singers with a background in Monteverdi’s secular and sacred music.

The first of Monteverdi’s works for the stage (many are now lost) L’Orfeo was produced in February 1607 in the ducal palace at Mantua. The libretto by Alessandro Striggio (son of the composer of the 40-part mass) relates the legend of the musician Orpheus losing his bride Eurydice and attempting to rescue her from the underworld. Monteverdi’s recitative is much more intense and full of musical interest than his contemporaries’, and he produced a work of greater emotional scale, subtler musical flexibility and tauter dramatic organisation.  Also notable is the colourful instrumental writing with cornetts, sackbuts and the firey ‘regal’ for the infernal scenes, with baroque violin band, lutes, harp and harpsichord above ground.

This semi-staged production for I Fagiolini is by Thomas Guthrie and was first performed by I Fagiolini in Venice in 2015.

Principals: Matthew Long: Orfeo, Rachel Ambrose-Evans: Euridice, Clare Wilkinson: Proserpina, Ciara Hendrick: Messenger, William Purefoy: Speranza, Nicholas Hurndall Smith: Apollo, Greg Skidmore: Shepherd, Charles Gibbs: Pluto, Christopher Adams: Caronte.

Purbeck Art Weeks Festival is a full arts festival offering a wide range of Open Studios, exhibitions, talks, music, dance and community performances.

For more information and tickets visit or pick up a free Brochure or Events Programme (£2) in Swanage & Wareham Tourist Information Centres and elsewhere.

Behind the doors at Purbeck Art Weeks Festival

On May 27th around 50 artist’s studios showing the work of over 100 artists will open their doors to visitors across Purbeck for two weeks. Purbeck Art Weeks Festival is an artistic feast!  Our local talent is to be celebrated – painters, sculptors, printmakers, glass makers, photographers, textile artists, jewellers, ceramicists, furniture makers, digital artists and more, will be displaying their work and demonstrating their skills.  Go through the doors and you will get a warm welcome.  You can browse, chat to the artist about how they make things, about what inspires them, or simply share ideas.  You might even come away with a unique piece of art that you will treasure.

Some of the Open Studios are hidden away in areas you might not otherwise have a chance to see, so it’s an ideal way of exploring Purbeck and taking pleasure in all it has to offer – including good food, pubs and walks.   Do include a visit to the artist’s Mess Tent at Arne during PAW – tucked away in a hidden corner!  Here you can even join in and have a go at sketching in one of the most unusual locations in Purbeck.

In the evening there is a full events programme offering superb music, dance, film and community performances to enjoy.

For more information and tickets visit or pick up a free Brochure or Events Programme (£2) in Swanage & Wareham Tourist Information Centres and elsewhere.


‘A Moment in Time’ is the theme of this year’s Festival – what moment? When? Come and find out!  This years Festival dates are May 27 – June 11 so it’s time to start planning and book your tickets for the events.

There is a rich array of Open Studios to explore, and the opportunity to talk to the artists about their work and what inspires them, enjoy what you see, even buy something you love, win the PAW competition for a work of art of your choice, visit the Fine Foundation Gallery to see the selected works in the ‘A Moment in Time’ exhibition, and of course,  visit Rollington Barn – near Corfe Castle.  At Rollington you will get a taste of what’s on offer so this is the ideal place to start your art trail – after delicious refreshments in the courtyard café.  Artwork from Purbeck Young Artist’s school workshops is once again on display here  – always full of creativity and imagination – including this year’s fabulous ‘Isle of Purbeck’ working clock!

Alongside the visual art, PAW is offering a mouth-watering programme of music and other events including Monteverdi’s opera Orfeo performed by the superb I Fagiolini in Wareham, the Fieri Consort with an exploration of love’s tribulations through sixteenth and twentieth century madrigals and songs, the Gabrieli Consort singing English part songs and the talented Atéa Wind Quintet with a delightful programme of music From Bizet to Gershwin,  PLUS  film,  dance – showcasing young dancers from Purbeck and Dorset, a community performance – ‘Ahoy! Sing for the Mary Rose,’ and talks and more.

Keep an eye open for the ‘A Moment in Time’ shop window displays in Wareham, Corfe and Swanage, and get ready to vote for your favourite display online at

For more information and tickets visit or pick up a free Brochure or Events Programme (£2) in Swanage and Wareham Tourist Offices and elsewhere.

Purbeck’s Young Artists are at work!

What does ‘A Moment in Time’ look like to Purbeck’s Young Artists?  You can find out at this year’s Purbeck Art Weeks (PAW) Festival starting May 27 for two weeks.

For many years PAW has reached out to young people with support from a range of valued funders.  This year the Purbeck Young Artist’s scheme is coordinating workshops in a record number of schools across Purbeck, involving around 500 young people.  A team of PAW artists are running a fantastic range of creative workshops spanning textiles, metal work, photography, dance, ink painting, sewing, mosaics and clay modelling.

All this is happening now!  Bovington Primary are doing Jurassic mosaics – The Swanage School are exploring movement and waves – and Swanage Primary are experimenting with light sensitive ink to capture ‘the moment’.   And then there is the “Isle of Purbeck clock” – a collaboration between all schools in the Purbeck area. Every decorated ‘tile’ submitted by a child will be included in a working clock installation.  Every minute counts!  During the Festival all this stunning work will be on show at Rollington Barn, near Corfe Castle – with a PYA Celebration Evening at Rollington Barn May 25th 4.00-6.00pm, with the prize-giving at 4:30pm

Helen Biles the coordinator says ‘Have a look at PAW Young Artists (PYA) in Action on the PAW Facebook page.  You will find photographs that capture the excitement, joy and challenges of producing some wonderful art’.


Purbeck Art Weeks Festival is proud to present L’Orfeo, the first operatic masterpiece by the undisputed genius of the 17th century, Monteverdi. Over 400 years on, his brilliant vocal writing and rich instrumental colour still work their magic. Performed by the world renowned I Fagiolini with the English Cornett & Sackbut Ensemble, this is a rare treat not to be missed on Saturday June 3rd  in Lady St Mary Church, Wareham.

This year’s superb line up of events includes the welcome return of the Fieri consort (May 27) who will pull our heart strings with Renaissance songs of loss and love;  the   Gabrieli Consort (June 10) return with Timless English Songs both folk and secular; and the Atéa Wind Quintet (June 2), one of the finest around,  are joining the Festival for the first time with a selection of music from Bizet to Gershwin.  There is an exciting mix of dance film and live dance, showcasing young dancers from Purbeck, in ‘Moving in Time’  (June 4), and Ahoy! Sing for the Mary Rose’ (June 9) is a great community performance piece.  In addition to all this, a fascinating selection of illustrated talks on art, photography and music is on offer, plus a screening of Jonathan Miller’s iconic 1966 version of Alice in Wonderland (June 1). 

Alongside all these exciting events PAW‘s artists are offering a visual feast of artistic riches, from painting, photography and sculpture to ceramics, glass and mosaics, digital art and much more – with over fifty Open Studios for visitors to explore. PAW’s collective exhibition at Rollington Barn will be more varied than ever and is a must (with coffee and delicious cakes in the courtyard!), and includes work by Purbeck Young Artists from schools across Purbeck.  And this year The Fine Foundation Gallery at Durlston Castle PAW is showcasing the work of fifteen selected PAW artists on the ‘A Moment in Time’ Festival theme.

It’s a fortnight of opportunity to see, and hear, amazing art, concerts and talks in wonderful places.  Full details on all PAW events are in the special Events Programme (£2) available at the Swanage and Wareham Tourist Information Offices. Tickets are available from the TICs and

Purbeck Art Week (PAW) Festival 2017 competition winners

Every year Purbeck Art Weeks (PAW) has an art competition for the best interpretation of the Festival theme, which this year is ‘A Moment in Time’.  The response from PAW’s artists has been stunning.  Artwork submitted ranged from crashing waves, a fox glimpsed in a forest of shadows,  twilight, the moment a ball bounces – to dragonflies.  What a choice!

PAW’s trustees are delighted to announce the three winners as Jo Mosen with her colourful textile art ‘Dream of a Dorset Landscape’, Helen Biles for her striking ‘Fossil Abstract’ print, and Tony Smith for his captivating photograph, ‘Dandelion Clock’.

Jo says, ‘ dreams are a fleeting thing, never to be repeated or explained – my textile impression ‘Dream of a Dorset Landscape’ is inspired by our lovely Purbeck countryside. I am so proud it has been chosen for the brochure cover 2017’

The fossil image is inspired by drawings Helen made at the Etches Collection. ‘ I was drawn to the fragments and fragile lines and marks ’ she says ‘ my print relates to the theme ‘moment in time’ as a fossil is an imprint of a creature at a point in time’.  Helen was thrilled to be selected as one of the winners.

Tony’s image is a perfect interpretation of ‘A Moment in Time’  –  ‘nothing has permanence’ says Tony the photographer  ’here, the slightest puff of wind will alter the globular perfection of the dandelion head, scattering its seeds.’  

You can look forward to seeing these winning images as the face of PAW on the front of this year’s Brochure, Event’s Programme and poster. Keep an eye open for them!

This year’s PAW Festival is crammed with art, open studios and events.  It starts on May 27th and runs until June 11th , so put the dates in your diary. For more information and booking tickets (from April) see

Something is happening at Wareham Library!

Three local schools (Corfe, Wareham and Stoborough primary schools) under the inspirational guidance of Dawn Newlove are creating a wildlife frieze as part of the regeneration of Wareham Library garden.  Birds, plants and flowers are emerging out of lumps of clay –  shaped and decorated by enthusiastic pupils full of ideas about the kind of wildlife that might be seen in and around the area.

PAW Festival is delighted to be again working with young people on a community work of art that will bring pleasure to so many when the Wareham Library garden is complete. The art group at The Purbeck Centre are also involved, and such inspiring collaborative projects could not happen without generous local sponsorship.

Keep and eye open for the ‘unveiling’ date,  and pop by and see what has been created.  PAW Festival dates are May 27-June 11 for further details visit