Dorset arts charity brings symphony orchestra to Swanage

The Mowlem on Swanage’s seafront is to host an appropriately nautical performance by the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra (BSO), made possible by funding from the Dorset charity, Artsreach.

While the full orchestra won’t fit on The Mowlem stage, an ensemble of 14 players will perform a selection of music celebrating the sea, called From the Hebrides to Padstow on Wednesday 8th March 2023.

Exterior of The Mowlem lit up in blue

The Mowlem-on-sea for a nautical performance!

From Handel’s Water Music to Adele

The evening of specially arranged music will feature pieces ranging from Handel’s Water Music and Mendelsohn’s Fingal’s Cave, to Sea Shanties, Beatles classics, Malcolm Arnold and even an instrumental arrangement of Adele’s Rolling in the Deep.

This is part of Artsreach’s 2023 spring programme, bringing live music and theatre more often found performing in London or city centre venues, directly to Dorset villages and rural towns at affordable and accessible prices.

It receives its funding from Arts Council England, Dorset Council and from a share of the ticket sales.

BSO on your doorstep

BSO on your doorstep has already performed at village halls in Dorset

“Wonderful nautical recital”

Artsreach director Kerry Bartlett said:

“We really value the relationship we have with the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra and love connecting them with our rural audiences.

“We are especially excited to be able to present a larger ensemble in Purbeck with a wonderful nautical recital for our audiences to enjoy this spring.”

Outside The Mowlem

The queue at The Mowlem in June 2022 for the innovative SW!M production that was backed by Artsreach

New relationship with The Mowlem

While Artsreach has been established for more than 30 years, it only started working with The Mowlem in 2022.

Since then there have been a number of events including the sea swiming performnce SW!M, a festive cabaret show called Snow Angel and most recently in February 2023, the global music band She’Koyokh.

Across Purbeck in past years, Artsreach has brought shows to village halls in Studland, Langton Matravers and Corfe Castle and there are more planned.


Latchepen performs at Langton Matravers village hall

Artsreach programme spring 2023 in Purbeck

Langton Matravers village hall – Saturday 4th March from 7.30 pm

  • Latchepen – The musical group perform jazz on strings, with influences ranging from Romani music through to bebop

The Mowlem in Swanage – Wednesday 8th March from 7.30 pm

  • From the Hebrides to Padstow – Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra ensemble perform music with a nautical theme

Studland village hall – Thursday 23rd March from 7.30 pm

  • Cartoon Jazz – The Neil Maya Quartet injects some Yabba Dabba Doo into favourite looney tunes from Frozen to The Flintstones, Top Cat to Toy Story and The Simpsons to Sesame Street

Corfe Castle village hall – Saturday 25th March from 7.30 pm

  • Nothing on Earth – An anarchic comedy which celebrates the lives of three glorious real-life heroines: Edwardian balloonist and parachutist, Dolly Shepherd, suffragette Constance Lytton and interwar explorer Violet Cressy-Marcks
Nothing on Earth poster

An anarchic comedy at Corfe Castle village hall

More adventurous without the stress

The programme on offer is deliberately different from what you might expect. Kerry Bartlett said:

“Working with Artsreach brings a wider variety of events to the venues allowing them to be more adventurous without the stress of taking a financial risk.

“We work with professional artists and pay them appropriately to produce something different that audiences locally may not have seen before.

“The venues are given a menu of what performances are on offer and the communities can then select what they would like to see. It’s very popular and we have a waiting list of venues that would like to take part”

cartoon jazz  poster

Cartoon Jazz at Studland village hall is bound to draw a crowd!

Party plans cancelled in 2020

Times were tough for all arts organisations in 2020 as pandemic restrictions meant the closure of venues but Artsreach did its best to keep going, exploring digital live streaming, telephone theatre where actors would ring up members of an ‘audience’ and, when restrictions allowed, outdoor events.

Kerry added:

“It’s fair to say that 2020 wasn’t a great year and it was our 30th birthday – we had lots of celebrations planned but of course, they all had to be cancelled.

“It does seem now that we are returning to normal performances and a full programme of events, which is good and we’ve now got our 35th birthday to look forward to instead!”

Further information

  • The full programme of performances across Dorset and ticket information is on the Artsreach website

Watch a film about Artsreach

Share this story

Contact us

Do you have anything to add to this story?

We like to keep everything up-to-date, so if you know more, please help us by getting in touch.


Top stories

Swanage Railway confirms trial train service to Wareham and cost of fare Following long delays and false starts,, a trial rail service is to run between Swanage and the mainline at Wareham from April to September 2023. 2 weeks ago Sandbanks Ferry returns to Dorset with new Cornish paint job 2 months ago Historic Swanage pub saved from bankruptcy 1 month ago What’s on in Swanage: Festival line-up for 2023 1 month ago Second home owners ‘unhappy’ over Dorset Council’s tax plan 4 weeks ago

Most recent

Last call to throw a coronation street party as Swanage hesitates With only one road closure requested for a street party in Swanage to celebrate the coronation of King Charles III, residents are being urged to apply before the deadline. 16 hours ago Farm and fortune as Purbeck favourite scoops top tourism title 2 days ago Better breathing clinics expand in Purbeck to meet ‘desperate need’ 4 days ago Sandbanks Ferry toll to increase for vehicles 4 days ago Long weekend of steam at Swanage Railway for spring gala 5 days ago