Previous Events


The 2015 Festival again offered a wide range of events from the glories of Tudor choral works performed by the Gabrieli consort, though wind music from the BSO Wind Ensemble to talks on Napoleon, the pioneering Swanage photographer Helen Muspratt and WW1 artists with a Purbeck connection.

Craftspeople exhibited and talked about their chairs, clocks and a harpsichord – with a recital on the latter. We were delighted to be invited back to both Smedmore House and Encombe House for events that have raised funds to support our work with young people.



Saturday May 23 | 11.00am-1.00pm. St Edward’s Catholic Church, Swanage, BH19 1AH Workshop with The Fieri Consort (for experienced singers)
Saturday May 23 | 7.30pm. St Edward’s Catholic Church, Swanage, BH19 1AH Out of the Shadows: The Fieri Consort
Sunday May 24 | 6.30pm. St Mary’s Church, Swanage, BH19 1HU Celebration Evensong
Tuesday May 26 | 7.30pm. Harman’s Cross Village Hall, BH19 3EB From the Jurassic Depths with local fossil experts Charlie Newman and Steve Etches MBE
Wed May 27 | 7.30pm. Harman’s Cross Village Hall, BH19 3EB Helen Muspratt: A Pioneering Swanage Artist & Photographer with Jessica Sutcliffe, Pennie Denton & Cath Newman.
Thursday May 28 |  6.00pm. Not Just Sundaes, Wareham, BH20 4LU A Colourful Partnership: celebrating art with young and old and those with special needs.
Friday May 29 | 7.30pm. Harman’s Cross Village Hall, BH19 3 EB Five chairs, a clock and a harpsichord. A celebration of beautiful handmade objects to use, look at and listen to. Craftsmen show and talk about their work
Saturday May 30 | 6.30pm. St Nicholas’ church, Worth Matravers, BH19 3LQ The Fantastic Harpsichord: a recital by Colin Booth
Sunday May 31 | 7.00pm. Lady St Mary Church, Wareham, BH19 4ND Of a rose is all my song:  Gabrieli Consort
Monday June 1 |  7.00pm. Smedmore House, Kimmeridge, BH20 5PG Inside the Court of Napoleon illustrated talk by Dr Philip Mansel
Wed June 3 |  7.30pm. St Mary’s Church, Swanage, BH19 4ND Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra Wind Ensemble
Friday June 5 | 7.30pm. St Edward’s Catholic Church Hall, Swanage, BH19 1HU Purbeck artists and the Great War  illustrated talk by Bob Field
Saturday June 67.30pm. United Reformed Church, Swanage, BH19 2NY Making music with Beethoven musical journey with Miranda Fulleylove and friends
Sunday June 7 | 10.15 for 11.30am. Encombe House, Kingston, BH20 5LW Mozart and Beethoven – coffee concert with Miranda Fulleylove and friends.


As a full arts Festival, we showcase some of the artistic talent that exists in Purbeck and encourage and inspire young people through workshops to get involved and develop their abilities. We also like as many as possible to experience world class performers in a wide range of art forms and at prices which they can afford.

In the list of Festival Events which follow are summaries of what was on offer in 2014 covering classical and blues music, dance, films and illustrated talks.

Saturday 24th May

5.00pm, Wareham Quay, Festival Opening (free to all) on the water and on land with stalls, brass and other music, flags & drums. Arrival of the Doge and procession to Lady St Mary’s Church.

6.30pm, Lady St Mary’s Church, A Venetian Coronation recreated and performed by The Gabrieli Consort & Players under Paul McCreesh

Tickets: £16 adults, £5 for families of young performers, £2 young people

The Basilica of St Mark’s in Venice served a dual function as both private chapel of the Doge and principal church of the State and so figured prominently in Venetian political and musical life. The Basilica vividly reflected the worldly glories of the Venetian Republic and every few years a major event would demand yet more lavish celebrations. Such an event was the Coronation of Doge Marino Grimani in April 1595.

Paul McCreesh’s imaginative recreation of this sumptuous ceremony has become one of Gabrieli’s most influential and enduringly popular programmes – pageantry and pomp bring the beautiful music of that time to life. The overall effect with sackbuts, cornets, drums and flags conjures up something of the artistic and spiritual riches of the great city of Venice at the height of its powers. Be transported to a previous age with twenty five musicians whose powerful playing will set the spirits soaring. Gabrieli Consort & Players are world-renowned interpreters of great choral and instrumental repertoire and have won a host of awards for their recent recordings.

We are most grateful to an anonymous sponsor for supporting this event

In Conversation with Antonia Fraser

Sunday 25th May, 4.30pm arrival for 5.00pm talk, Eastington Barn, Worth Matravers

Tickets: £15 to include a glass of wine. A special £20 combined ticket is available for this talk and the subsequent concert. No admission on the day without a ticket.

Antonia Fraser talks with historian Philip Mansel. Since 1969, Antonia Fraser has written many acclaimed historical works which have been international bestsellers, including Marie Antoinette, Mary Queen of Scots , Cromwell: Our Chief of MenThe Six Wives of Henry VIII and The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605. Her most recent book is Perilous Question, an exploration into the Great Reform Bill of 1832 – a key period in our political and social history. Antonia Fraser will be pleased to sign copies of her books at the end of the event.

This is a Dick Odgers Memorial Lecture and has been generously sponsored by The Dick Odgers Memorial Fund.

Inner City Brass:  Of Knights and Castles

Sunday 25th May, 7.30pm, The Swanage School Auditorium

Tickets: £14 adults, £2 young people

Inner City Brass is an exciting new 10-piece ensemble led by Chris Avison, Principal Trumpet of the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.  He is joined by an extraordinary line-up of professional young brass players including the Principal Trumpet of the BBC Symphony Orchestra, Principal Trumpet of the Live Film Orchestra, a previous BBC Young Musician of the Year finalist, previous BBC Radio 2 Young Musician, former 2nd Trombone of the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, and the current Bass Trombone of the English National Opera.  Others are all freelance players with the UK’s top orchestras.

Their exciting programme includes Byrd’s Earle of Oxford’s Marche, Gabrieli’s Sonata Pian e Forte, Londonderry Air and Amazing Grace plus modern brass ensemble writing by Langford and Hart.   Be thrilled by the power and excitement generated by this 10 piece brass group.

Exit Through the Gift Shop: A Banksy Film

Tuesday 27th May, 7.00pm, The Rex Cinema, Wareham

Tickets: £7.50 to include a glass of wine, £5 for a family bringing a student  The Film is rated: Suitable for 15 years and over. This is a joint promotion with the Purbeck Film Festival.

Banksy, the anonymous, satirical street artist who uses graffiti executed in a distinctive stencilling technique, has been on the ‘alternative art’ scene since the early 90’s. Exit through the Gift Shop provides us with an interesting, exhilarating and exciting documentary of this ephemeral medium giving us the opportunity to understand Street Art a little better. The film premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

There will be an introduction to the film and a discussion afterwards.

Derek Jarman’s Film Caravaggio

Wednesday 28th May, 7.00pm, Harman’s Cross Village Hall

 Tickets £7.50 to include a glass of wine. The film is rated: Suitable for 18 years.

Derek Jarman was one of the greatest film makers of his generation, an activist, a commentator, a catalyst and above all an artist. In the film, Italy is conjured up through a series of textures, colours, shadows, sounds and cloths. In Caravaggio’s paintings there is often as much dark as light. But what light!…great shafts of intense colour on bare flesh or rich fabrics. The film reflects this contrast and highlighting. At the Berlin International Film Festival in February 1986, Caravaggio won a Silver Bear for best visual presentation and has rightly taken its place as a major landmark in film development.

A pre-film discussion with Dr Justin Smith will put Jarman’s powerful film in context.  Justin is Reader in British Film Culture at the University of Portsmouth and is a cultural historian with an especial interest in British cinema.

Purbeck Island Discs

Thursday 29th May, 7.30pm, Swanage School

Tickets £10 to include a glass of wine, £5 for a family bringing a student

Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers and Charlie Newman of the Square & Compass tell stories of their lives and cast a new light on how we might view them. Each has been asked to offer visual as well as musical illustrations. So be surprised, entertained and informed. Lord (Nick) Phillips was the founding President of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom after being the last Senior Law Lord and the first Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales. He can sometimes be seen mug in hand at the Square & Compass with Charlie Newman, who, with his family predecessors, has been running this famous pub at Worth Matravers since 1907. Charlie is a keen finder of fossils and displays a very special collection of these and other artefacts at the pub’s museum.

Ruskin’s Venice: City of Hope and Despair  

Friday 30th May, 7.00pm drinks & small exhibition Harmans Cross Village Hall

7.30pm, An illustrated talk by Christopher Newall

Tickets £10

The eminent Victorian John Ruskin taught his readers to look at Venice the way he did and to love the city as he did. His book The Stones of Venice, published 1851-53, was enormously influential. It changed the way people looked at Venice and to this day we still see the city with eyes and minds infused with Ruskin’s vision. These views, passionately articulated – his idealistic adoration for the Middle Ages, his love of decoration and richness of surface – were a radical departure from how others had viewed the city. It was his awareness of the problems – political, physical, and sociological – that were facing Venice, and his dread of the city’s virtual destruction through insensitive restoration and reconstruction, that led to the campaign to protect the city’s fabric that continues to this day.

Christopher Newall is an art historian, lecturer and writer. A graduate of the Courtauld Institute in London, he has organised various exhibitions including Pre-Raphaelite Vision: Truth to Nature (Tate Britain 2004). He will bring an early copy of The Stones of Venice to his illustrated talk.

The Passions of Venice

Saturday 31st May, 7.30pm, Emmanuel Baptist Church, Swanage.

The Fieri Consort and Cath Newman

Tickets: £14 with coffee and Italian biscuits in a venue which has been transformed inside into a Venetian Palace!

This programme is built around Monteverdi’s haunting and passionate songs of love and war. It includes some of his most famous madrigals as well as ones by Gabrieli and other contemporaries.

The English texts of all the music will be provided on the day.

The Fieri Consort, founded in 2012, is made up of vibrant and skilled young ensemble singers who met on The Sixteen’s prestigious young artists programme, Genesis Sixteen. Members of the consort sing with many other groups, including The Sixteen, Britten Sinfonia Voices and Tenebrae. They made a great impression last year with their enthusiasm and high quality ensemble singing and are returning by popular demand! They are joined by Richard MacKenzie on lute with Cath Newman reading. Young artists from the neighbouring Swanage School under the guidance of Elizabeth Thomsen will transform the interior of the church through projections and interpretations of some of the songs. This evening will be a unique experience in so many ways.

A Taste of Blues

Sunday 1st June, 2.00pm, Wareham Town Hall, Blues Workshop with Jay Tamkin

7.00pm, Wareham Town Hall, Blues Concert with Jay Tamkin and other performers

Tickets: workshop: £5, concert: £5 adults, £2 students

Jay Tamkin started playing jazz at school and was soon selected to be part of the Devon Youth Jazz Orchestra where he was principal bass player for many years and enjoyed such achievements as playing on TV at HM The Queen’s Golden Jubilee and many masterclasses and live performances with some of the UK and USA’s top jazz artists. Jay and his band have featured on the Paul Jones Radio 2 Blues Show and have released two original albums as well as worked with or shared a stage with some of the big names in modern jazz and blues.

This hour long concert will explore and mix the styles of Blues, Rock, Funk and Jazz.  Instrumentation will include the most common of contemporary western music, i.e. Electric Guitar, Bass Guitar, Piano / Keyboard, Drums etc. It will mix Jay’s playing and planned compositions/improvisations with that of young musicians who will have had a previous workshop with him.  The performance will feature songs from each style of music and possibly a jam which fuses all styles together.

Philip Jackson – eminent sculptor

Tuesday 3rd June, 5.45pm for 6.00pm. The Priory Hotel, two course dinner with Philip Jackson

7.30pm, United Reformed Church Wareham, illustrated talk

Tickets: Dinner + illustrated talk £35, Illustrated talk only £10

Philip Jackson is an internationally renowned sculptor and the new President of the PAW Festival.  Philip is famous for his finely detailed public monuments and statues covering a huge range of people or commemorating events of great significance. These include the figure of the late Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother for her National Monument in the Mall which was unveiled by HM The Queen in 2009 and his memorial sculpture in Green Park, London, to the men of Bomber Command. One of his larger outdoor sculptures will be on display throughout the Festival in the gardens of the Priory Hotel in Wareham.  So why not go to the Priory for your morning coffee (10am to 12 noon) or afternoon tea (3.30pm to 5pm) and see the sculpture close up?  Children aged over 8 are very welcome too.

We are most grateful to an anonymous sponsor for supporting this event

Venice Unmasked with Red Priest

Wednesday 4th June, 5.00pm, Lytchett Minster School, Red Priest presentation

6.00pm, Red Priest plus young dancers with Purbeck connections

Tickets: £12, £5 for families of young performers, £2 young people

Red Priest is made up of outstanding early music professionals. But it is also the only early music group in the world to have been compared in the press to the Rolling Stones, Jackson Pollock, the Marx Brothers, Spike Jones and the Cirque du Soleil. This extraordinary acoustic foursome has been described by music critics as “visionary and heretical,” “outrageous yet compulsive,” “wholly irreverent and highly enlightened,” “completely wild and deeply imaginative,” with a “red-hot wicked sense of humour”.

They will perform Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons in a way that will bring fresh insights to this ever popular work – regularly in the classical charts. In the first half, groups of young dancers with local connections will perform works specially created for the Festival on the Venetian theme:

Dan Burnham & Dancers from Thornden School, Hampshire: Façade

The Ranger School of Dance: Fanfare

Lytchett Minster School dancers

Peter Babbage Quartet: Masked

We are most grateful to anonymous sponsors for supporting this event

A Celebration with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra strings

Friday 6th June, 7.00pm, St Mary’s Church Swanage, Illustrated talk on the harp by BSO Elunid Pierce

7.30pm, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, harp and young local musical stars.

Conducted by Maxime Tortelier, BSO Young Conductor in Association

Tickets: £16, £2 young people

A varied programme  of wonderful music with Rossini String Sonata No.2, Puccini ‘Chrysanthemums’, George Owen new commission: “Venetian Postcards”, Vivaldi Concerto for 2 cellos with George Owen & Henry Ellison-Wright, Mahler Adagietto from Symphony No.5 Death in Venice” and Tchaikovsky Serenade for Strings.

Conductor Maxime Tortelier has appeared with the BSO regularly in concerts across the South and South West of England and was recently reviewed as “outstanding” and “charismatic”.  Elunid Pierce is one of the UK’s leading harpists with extensive experience of performing in many different music genres. Her pre-concert talk will demonstrate the workings of the harp and why it has so many pedals! Both George Owen and Henry Elison-Wright are exceptional young cellists who have already won many awards.

Under the guidance of award film maker Elizabeth Thomsen and as part of our Purbeck Young Artists (PYA) scheme, students from the neighbouring Swanage School have interpreted some of the music as visual images.

We are most grateful to Natalie Clein, The Festival Friends and anonymous sponsors for supporting this event

Home Grown

Saturday 7th June                                                                                                          

7.30pm, St Mary’s Church Swanage, Dorset musicians, composers and performers including readings with Paul Hyland in a programme devised by Annie Campbell

Tickets: £12, £5 for families of young performers, £2 young people

While we rightly celebrate the works of our many visual artists and those who have been drawn to this wonderful area, we are in danger of neglecting the music that has also been composed here. This concert seeks to partly redress that.

This concert includes A Hymn to the Mother of God by the late Dorset resident Sir John Tavener, and works by composers with Purbeck connections including Christopher Dowie, David Everett (including a piece to words by Paul Hyland for the wedding of Daniel and Dawn Burnham in the chapel at St. Aldhelm’s Head), Tim Arnold, Tim Crosley, Peter Hope (his title music for the BBC TV News was used until 1980), Ian Pillow, Sammy Hurden, Tony Burton Page and others. The music will be interspersed with readings by local poet, biographer and travel author Paul Hyland who has written two much loved books about Purbeck. Soloists such as Sarah Best, Jenny Porcas, Chris Dowie, Sarah Shore, Sarah Bolter, Helen Ostafew, Sarah Palfreman Kay plus a Chamber Choir, a Community Choir and a Children’s Choir make this a real community event celebrating local talent. Details on all the works to be performed are in the PAW Festival Programme.

Natalie Clein at Encombe

Sunday 8th June, 10.15 arrive for coffee, 11.30am concert,

Tickets £25. No admission on the day without a ticket.

Bach Cello Suite no 3 BWV 1009 is one of the great masterpieces of the cello repertoire. It takes full advantage of its glorious rich and deep resonance. The final Gigue with its super-charged energy and clear jig dance feel is guaranteed to bring a smile with its positive spirit and excitement. Kodaly’s Sonata for Solo Cello Op. 8 is the first major work for unaccompanied cello since Bach. Bartok said that Kodály’s music seems to express calm meditations while nevertheless reflecting a completely new way of thinking. In the final movement, the Hungarian folk music shines through with the sounds of village band-like instruments such as shepherd pipes and zithers.

Natalie Clein has been described by the Times as a “mesmerising” cellist who “plays everything with passion”. She was born in Poole and has been a great supporter of the Festival and instigator of the associated Purbeck Chamber Music Festival which this year takes place on 29th – 31st August.

Encombe House was remodelled and enlarged between 1740 and 1770 for John Pitt. The house and grounds have been lovingly restored by James and Arabella Gaggero to whose generosity we owe this concert. All proceeds go to support our concert with the BSO and young musicians and the charity Hope for Children.

Purbeck Chamber Music Festival, Artistic Director Natalie Clein

Once again Natalie Clein invites a group of internationally acclaimed musicians to play for us in Purbeck. There will be four performances with much diversity to challenge and delight.

Friday 29th August, 7pm, Termiya Hall, The Tank Museum, Bovington. 

Tickets £14 adults. £2 students

Programme to include Elgar’s Quintet in A minor for Piano and String Quartet composed in 1918 and poetry of World War One.

Saturday 30th August 11am, The Learning Centre, Durlston Castle.

Tickets: £10 adults, £2 Students

Saturday 30th August 7.30pm, St George’s Church Langton Matravers.

Tickets: £16 Adults. £2 Students

Sunday 31st August 12 Midday, St James’ Church Kingston.

Tickets £15 Adults. £2 students

Please note coffee and homemade biscuits will be served in the church from 11.30 in aid of church funds.