Arts for All – and a Gold Star for Gina

Congratulations to Take Art’s Director of Early Years, Gina Westbrook, who has been awarded the Life Time Achievement prize at South Somerset District Council's Gold Star Awards.

The Gold Star Awards primarily focus on celebrating children and young people and the adults who volunteer and work with them.

The coveted Lifetime Achievement award was won by Gina Westbrook, much to her abashed surprise. The ceremony took place on Monday 23 October at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil, in front of 600 people.

Gina said later, “I was shocked but immensely honoured to receive this award. The work I do is only possible thanks to willing partnerships with Early Years practitioners, funders and artists in a sector that has been under a lot of stress. I'm privileged to be supported by a team of amazing people at Take Art who share my passion for creativity for Somerset's very youngest. And can I thank my creative mum who paved the way in all this."

Jane Parker the Early Years Manager at Take Art who nominated Gina for the award said, Gina has dedicated much of her career to Somerset's pioneering arts charity Take Art. In that time she has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to provide opportunities for our very youngest people in Somerset (age 0 to 5), their families and carers to experience and participate in high quality arts experiences. She is hugely admired by fellow Somerset Early Years setting leaders, EYs consultants, national arts charities and academics.’

‘Gina's inspirational funded projects have brought together an array of people working within Early Years, encouraging them to reflect on their practice and collaborate with each other to make the best creative experiences happen - often in the most deprived areas of Somerset. In short, her vision 'Arts for All' has had a huge impact on many people, enriching their sense of belonging within our Somerset community.”

Councillor Sylvia Seal, South Somerset's Portfolio Holder for Leisure & Culture said, "South Somerset District Council is committed to supporting young people year round and this awards ceremony gives well deserved recognition to so many of our local heroes."

We are all very proud of Gina here at Take Art, as she continues her pioneering Early Years work on projects such as the Early Years music network Soundwaves Extra and the Early Years touring theatre project Hopper.

Gina will be speaking at Small Steps: Big Noise on 15 March 2018, The South West’s biggest Early Years Expressive Arts Conference, bringing together EY practitioners, artists, music leaders, settings, regional hubs, funders, researchers and strategic partners.


Photo above: Lifetime Achievement Award - Gina Westbrook (Photo credit: Len Copland)

← Back

Happy 30th Birthday Take Art: A new programme for a new era!

Take celebrates 30 years of jawdropping, doorstepping, footstomping Arts endeavour in Somerset Communities. Find out how we got to this point and what is happening right now on your doorstep.

It's the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness and that means a new Take Art brochure, full of inspiring ways to boost your melatonin, decorate your evenings and improve your social life.

Take Art is a leading Somerset Arts charity all about taking arts experiences, shows and workshops to rural areas. We also put artists, schools and early years settings together, so that the children of Somerset can access more creative opportunities to learn, play and perform.

Every September we launch our autumn programme, listing the Take Art Rural Touring events near you and any opportunities we have for young people, dancers, artists and performers to network and build their careers.

We also like to shout out about the good stuff we are doing in the county to help people through the Arts. It’s worth mentioning because it is happening and it is making a difference.

To find out what’s on and how we can benefit your life and career you could:

1. Open the Take Art programme below… just click on it and have a browse.

2. Visit the What’s On Pages by clicking here.

3. Order your very own hard copy programme by emailing


Cover Image: Brilliance by Farnham Maltings
Photo credit: Shayne Shaw, Beyond Infinity Photography

← Back

Interview with the new Director of Dance

Take Art are pleased to introduce Alison Lord, the new Director of Dance at Take Art. A very experienced dance artist, practitioner, teacher and project manager, who has moved all the way from Lincolnshire to take on this exciting role within the organisation.

Could you tell us a little bit about your journey as a dance practitioner?

Dance has been a huge part of my life for the last 25 years. It's an artform that has such a wonderful way of allowing people to experience their own creativity through their own physicality.

I started out as an independent dance artist and practitioner, spending over ten years delivering professional performance work and workshops in educational and community settings across the Midlands, where I was fortunate enough to work as a guest dance lecturer at the University of Lincoln.

After completing my MA in Cultural Studies at Nottingham I moved back to Lincolnshire to take up a prominent strategic role as the Dance Development Officer for artsNK. I spent over four fabulous years there and this is really where my strategic dance career began. I went on to become Dance Development Officer at Staffordshire County Council, delivering a strategic plan for the development of dance across the county, including leading on an amazing large-scale, county-wide, Cultural Olympiad project.

I feel incredibly blessed to have been able to teach, work and dance with some amazing people and professional artists over my career.

How do you feel about moving to Somerset and starting at Take Art?

I am absolutely delighted to be able to live and work here and to be returning to a role within my own specialism in dance, working alongside the wonderful team at Take Art.

Take Art has an enviable reputation for delivering high quality work in both performance and participation and the dance programme is extremely well established.

I also want to help enable as many people as possible to see and experience professional work, there is always something incredibly exciting about watching dancers moving as part of a professional dance performance. I am also passionate about community engagement and inclusivity and the power of the arts to enhance and transform people’s lives.

With all that said this role is a fantastic new opportunity for me. I am joining Take Art at a really exciting time, as they consolidate their artistic vision for the next four years. I am definitely looking forward to playing my part.

To get in touch with Alison call her on 01460 249450 or email 

← Back

Take Art awarded four more years of NPO Arts Council Funding

Take Art is incredibly pleased to announce that the organisation has retained its Arts Council National Portfolio Funding for 2018-2022. This award of £641,700 (£160,425 per annum) will enable us to continue to grow our vital work within the county, bringing quality performances and life changing creative opportunities and experiences to Somerset people and communities.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West,  Arts Council England, says: “We are very pleased to be renewing our investment in Take Art. They take great art and culture into the hearts of the towns, villages and rural communities of Somerset and support our mission to give more people in more places the opportunity to engage in exciting cultural experiences on their doorsteps.”

Ralph Lister, Take Art's Chief Executive said 'Take Art has received strategic Arts Council funding since the early 1990s and this new round of funding is a testament to our continued contribution to the cultural heart of Somerset. It goes without saying we are very happy with this result and look forward to the next four years."

Watch this short film to find out more about us...

Take Art is a pioneering charity and driving force for developing and connecting the arts with individuals and communities in Somerset. Starting as a rural touring scheme in 1987, we are now one of the county’s leading arts organisations. From our office base on a farm near South Petherton, we see ourselves as a catalyst for bringing brings artists, companies, venues, audiences and participants together. Our work takes place in partnership with other organisations (both arts and non-arts) in various settings including village halls, schools, pre-school settings, Pupil Referral Units, medical centres and theatres.

In other positive news, Take Art has also retained its local authority funding from Taunton Deane and South Somerset County Council, which will enable us to continue our groundbreaking rural touring programme within these areas.

To find out about all our current projects and activities please visit


← Back

ROUND 2: Barn Theatre Initiative Grant Applications.

Take Art is welcoming a new round of applications for their Barn Theatre Initiative, aimed at providing financial and professional support for the ideas, shows and projects of the Somerset Theatre community...

BARN resources theatre-makers to take risks, build resilience and sustain their practice, artistically and financially.

We currently have eight modest grants available for this round of funding, of between £50 and £250, which will give a little boost to those theatre-makers based in Somerset.

The grants can be used for anything that will enhance their work, such as hiring a rehearsal space, equipment, marketing, training courses, etc.

Round Two: Opened 19 June with a deadline of 24 July 2017.

We're thrilled that BARN is happening and wish to thank our colleagues at the Esmee Fairbairn Foundation for supporting our theatre-making aspirations in Somerset.

Please visit the BARN page to find out more and to apply for your grant.

← Back

Re-imagining Taunton in Poetry

What could Taunton to be like in 10 years? Well Word/Play gathered together some local poets at Taunton Library on Friday 2 June, and with the help of performance poets Liv Torc and David Reakes, asked them just that... The mission was to write words, soundbites, poems, rants and aspirations that could help inform the Cultural Plan for Taunton.

Taunton PoemNEW from Take Art on Vimeo.

Taunton is not often celebrated as one of the most inspirational of towns, although a key conurbation in Somerset's urban landscape it somehow lacks the romance or historic charm of Wells, or the quirky defiance of Frome.

That didn't stop the 12 or so budding writers and poets who gathered in Taunton Library one Friday morning in June to reshape and reclaim the poetic heart of the town. With the help of Performance Poets Liv Torc and David Reakes they explored alot of the stigma and emptional context of the town, creating group pieces to be performed and filmed at locations throughout Taunton.

Their words will be taken and used by Arts Taunton to input into a new creative vision for the town.

We wanted to share a couple of pieces from the workshop, including a poem based on the Taunton skyline as it is now and a video group poem based on the intricate complexities of the town now and in the future.


← Back

Theatre for the under 5s gets a hop in the right direction

A pioneering project designed to bring theatre to young children in rural areas today announces the six companies selected to make up its inaugural touring programme. The Hopper scheme, which is being trialled in Somerset and Surrey, is aimed at bringing theatre to areas of low arts engagement.

The selected companies are:

  • Tangled Feet,
  • Dancing Strong
  • Hikapee
  • Second Hand Dance
  • Flibbertigibbet theatre
  • AYCORN East (a collaboration between Charlotte Arculus of Magic Adventure and Joy Haynes of Norwich Puppet Theatre).

Tamsin Mosse, Hopper Project Manager at Take Art comments,
“We were thrilled at the response, the standard was very high and competition was intense, with over 70 applications from the UK, America, Norway and Spain. The six successful companies all offered something visually exciting, intriguing and full of potential.”

Over the next two years, Hopper will work with the six chosen companies to take shows into theatres, pre-schools, nurseries, libraries and children’s centres, focusing on children from poorer, less advantaged areas.

Once selected, a representative from each company will be invited to take part in a Lab programme, a residency that will bring artists, Early Years staff and theatre managers together to explore how to reach more children with quality performances.

Paul Warwick, Director at China Plate explains,
“The Lab is a chance to increase the amount of live performance that can tour into Early Years settings – taking the work directly to children who may not have seen theatre or dance before. It’s such an opportunity, and could spark an interest in the arts that lasts a lifetime."

This initial pilot is based in Somerset and Surrey in specific areas with low levels of arts participation and identified disadvantaged families.

Take Art, Surrey Arts and China Plate are running the project, which has been generously funded by Arts Council England, the Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Arts Partnership Surrey and aims to encourage more artists to make high quality shows that can tour to nurseries, children centres and libraries.

Phil Gibby the SW Area Director for the Arts Council said, “We’re really pleased to be supporting Hopper as we believe that all children and young people, whoever they are and wherever they live, should have the opportunity to experience the richness of arts and culture.”



For further details please contact Tamsin Mosse, Project Manager on 01460 249450 or email

Hopper is steered by a dynamic partnership between Take Art, Surrey Arts and China Plate. Please click here to visit the project pages.

← Back

Summit Else!

We are running a summit to discuss the profound effect participatory music has on vulnerable young people from PRU’s and other settings.

Somerset Summit

Friday 24 November | 10am – 5pm | Monks Yard, Ilminster, Somerset

AIMED AT: PRU staff and other educational professionals working with vulnerable young people including NEETs, SEND, Music Leaders, Policy Makers and Funders.

"She loves music - when she does music it helps her cope with life."

Take Art and Actiontrack Performance Company have been successfully delivering the music workshop programme My Tunes since 2012, working in ten Somerset PRU settings across the county, as well as with vulnerable young adults and Looked After Children.

Over the past five years, My Tunes has positively impacted on the lives, self exteem and aspirations of over 150 young people, either through one to one or group music workshops. These sessions have taken place regularly in PRU Centres and at Actiontrack's recording studio.

The Somerset Summit aims to share the success and experiences of My Tunes with other people working in this area, combining ideas and best practice, practical sessions with professional presentations. The intention is to come up with ideas to further support this vital work both in Somerset and across the UK.

My Tunes has been generously supported by Youth Music and local funders including Sound Foundation Somerset (Somerset Music Education Hub), Pupil Referral Units (PRUs) and the Taunton Maid Bursary Trust

For those wishing to attend...

50 Places available: To book email Ruth Copping or phone 01460 249450

Cost: Somerset practitioners – free of charge. Other attendees: £30 to include lunch

Download the Somerset Summit programme below.

← Back

Job Opportunity: Early Years Music Practitioner

Take Art, is looking for an Early Years Music Practitioner to work with us on a ten week project in Taunton, as part of Soundwaves Extra, an Early Years Music Network, funded by Youth Music.

Soundwaves Extra: Taunton Opportunity Group Project

Take Art is looking to recruit an Early Years music practitioner with an interest in working in our Taunton setting for our Soundwaves Extra project.

Soundwaves Extra: Early Years Music project brief:

Soundwaves Extra is an innovative and exciting Youth Music network for all those interested in quality Early Years music education across the South West. It has been set up to grow and improve Early Years music opportunities, generating training opportunities, projects and events in Early Years settings. Currently, Soundwaves Extra is providing a series of targeted projects across the region, focusing on musical opportunities for specific groups of young people in challenging circumstances, including a project at Taunton Opportunity Group (TOG). TOG is a small pre-school specialising in supporting families with babies and young children who have a wide range of special needs and disabilities.


  • Summer term 2017: Recruitment of music practitioner in partnership with TOG
  • Autumn Term 2017: Sessions with children and staff, reflection, evaluation

Fees: £1,375 for the project, broken down as follows:

  •     Design and Delivery of Professional Development Inset for TOG staff -  £125.00
  •     Sessions with TOG (9 x ½ day sessions – joint planning time with staff / co-delivery and post reflection time with staff) - £1,125.00
  •     Additional planning and evaluation time - £125.00
  •     Travel (up to 10 journeys) as required

Project aims:

  • Increase use of music between vulnerable under 5s, parents and staff across home and setting
  • Increase knowledge, skills and understanding of staff, parents and carers
  • Raise profile of quality music practice contributing to the wider EYs network

During the 10 week project we will be expecting the music leader to:

  • Lead a professional development inset for the group of participating staff at TOG
  • Work alongside TOG staff to provide high quality music experiences for children with a wide range of special needs and disabilities
  • Contribute to the project evaluation

How to Apply:

If you are interested in taking on the role of this Early Years Music Practitioner in the project please submit the short application by Monday 12 June 2017 at midday. You can download the application below.

Short-listed candidates will be invited for interview on the morning of Thurs 6 July and asked to prepare a short activity with staff and a small group of children (age 2 – 5 with SEND) at TOG.

To submit an application or if you have any questions please contact Jane Parker on

Please visit our Soundwaves Extra pages to find out more about this exciting Music Network.

← Back

Take Art has key role in new Early Years Qualification

Take Art is very excited to announce that our very own Jane Parker (experienced Early Years Music Practitioner and the Project Manager of Soundwaves Extra) has been appointed the South West mentor for a pioneering new qualification for music practitioners working in the Early Years.


The Certificate for Music Educators (CME): Early Childhood is being run by MERYC-England and Centre for Research in Early Childhood (CREC) The course is a nationally recognised qualification validated by Trinity College London.

The aim of the new national qualification is to raise the skill levels of the Early Years music workforce across the UK and is ideal for freelance and /or peripatetic musicians working, or wishing to work, in Early Years.

The CME, which will take 1-2 years to complete, will offer a flexible, part-time, distance-learning qualification in early childhood music and will benefit from direct contributions from Dr Susan Young and Dr Jessica Pitt, both well-known and highly successful early childhood music educators and researchers.

All students will also be assigned a regional mentor, who will closely support them throughout the course.

Jane will be linked with 3-6 students from the South West and says “I am hugely excited to be part of an outstanding team supporting this much needed and long awaited significant early childhood music programme. This qualification will be recognised by national arts organisations – including Take Art - as a professional route in to the exciting field of Early Years Music. In short, it’s a must for anyone wishing to pursue a career as a quality Early Years Music Practitioner."

The course will cost £1,500 with the option to pay in monthly instalments. To make it more affordable, Take Art will be offering 3 x up to £500 bursaries for our South West students, subject to references and successful interview. Please apply by 1 June 2017.

Please click here to read more about this fantastic opportunity.

Please email to register your interest in a bursary.

← Back

The Rural Touring Promoters Menu 2017/18

Looking for the new Rural Touring Menu? Somerset Rural Touring promoters can now access the 2017/18 Take Art Rural Touring Menu and begin the exciting process of choosing the best shows to bring to their village hall or venue over the next year.


Take Art Promoters’ Menu 2017/18

Take Art's Rural Touring Promoters' Menu 2017/18 is now available to read online, download and print, enabling promoters to choose the best shows for their communities. You can also fill in the booking form directly and let us know your choices straight away.

Take Art's Rural Touring scheme is a well-established scheme set up to bring professional, high quality arts events to rural communities across Somerset. The scheme relies on a partnership between village organisations and Take Art. By working together, memorable social events can be organised in rural areas where people live and meet and so provide a way for villagers to come together socially.

As part of the scheme Take Art is responsible for providing a menu of performances that are memorable, enjoyable, diverse and affordable. You can read the menu below or download and print a copy to keep.



You can also make your choices by filling in the booking form, available to download here. The deadline for this menu was 26 May 2017. However please contact if you have a late request.

← Back

BARN: Round One Ideas Fund

Eight successful small grants awarded in Round One

We were delighted with the response from Somerset theatre-makers to the opening of Round One of the BARN Ideas Fund.  Click here to find out what projects are in development. 

← Back

Hopper - Call out for Artists

Take Art, Surrey Arts and China Plate are looking for submissions from theatre makers to take part in an exciting two-year pilot project that will create opportunities for young children to experience high quality performances in Early Years (EY) settings in Somerset and Surrey.

The partners are also working with the egg in Bath and three key theatres and arts centres: The Brewhouse Theatre & Arts Centre in Taunton; Bridgwater Arts Centre and Camberley Theatre as well as with many Early Years settings.

Hopper is funded by Arts Council England through its Strategic Touring programme. Successful applicants will be entered into a ‘menu’ of companies offered to EY settings in Somerset and Surrey as well as selected theatres in both counties. There are also opportunities to develop and test new ideas for EY shows at residencies hosted by venues in Somerset or Surrey and in partnership with local Early Years settings.

All artists presenting work will be paid guaranteed fees: there are fees available for attending the residencies (see below) and bursaries available to adapt existing shows for EY settings.

This call out for artists has TWO strands:


Strand 1: Existing shows

If you have a show you think could be made ready to tour to EY settings with some adaptations and are available to tour through the spring, summer or autumn 2018.

Strand 2: New ideas

If you have a new idea for an EY show you would like to develop, which would work well in an EY setting.

For more information on the strands and fees please read our Strands, Fees and Selection Process.

How to apply

If you are interested in these opportunities please read all the guidelines fully, including the Background Information and FAQs and then complete the Survey Monkey online Application Form by Midnight on Friday 21 April 2017.

The selection process:

Artists will be selected by a panel made up by representatives from Take Art, Surrey Arts, China Plate and the egg, Bath. Artists will be informed of the decision by Friday 19 May 2017.

If you have any questions email or call 01460 249450

We look forward to hearing from you.

← Back

What does Take Art actually do?

Ever wondered what Take Art is, or what they do? We asked some people from Somerset to have a go at explaining... then we made a two minute film with their answers. WATCH IT HERE



Take Art: Because we're worth it…

Take Art has been working, singing and doing the splits in Somerset for nearly 30 years, long enough to build real relationships with communities, artists and audiences. We are an arts organisation without physical limitations: lithe, sinewy, adaptable and transmutable - able to shape shift into any venue, village hall, school and community centre.

From our hub in South Petherton we run one of the UK's most celebrated rural touring schemes, the county dance agency and hugely successful projects that support artists, education and participation in the Arts. 

Every year we provide performance and workshop opportunities for thousands of children, young people, adults, older people and vulnerable groups. Through our work we seek to educate, inform national practice, improve self-esteem, empower, build empathy, careers, happiness as well as physical and mental well-being.

We don't wait for the people to come to us, we go out to where the people live and transform lives and communities through the arts.

You can support us by loving the Arts in Somerset, attending one of our events or participating in our projects.

So keep uptodate and in touch with the work we do by joining our mailing list or contact


We look forward to seeing you soon.

← Back

Take Art Launches New Theatre Initiative BARN

We are delighted to launch BARN, a three-year initiative that supports Somerset’s emerging theatre-making sector to develop, test and showcase new work in a predominantly rural context.

Somerset hosts an incredible theatre community bubbling with diverse and exciting talent. However Somerset's theatre infrastructure is fragile and real, grassroots issues often hinder individuals and companies from remaining resilient, fed, connected and supported.

The new Take Art initiative BARN, supported by the Esmée Fairbairn Foundation, has been set up to resource Somerset's theatre-makers to take real risks, build resilience and sustain their practice, artistically and financially.

BARN will run between 2017 and 2019 and offer a range of activity and support, including an ideas fund for new work, research and development residencies, work in progress and showcase platforms, professional business support, signposting and networking. 

For further information please visit the BARN project page.

If you are a Somerset Theatre-Maker who would like to know more then please click here or contact Mark Helyar or Sarah Peterkin Co-Directors of Theatre

← Back

New Hopper Project Set to Reshape Early Years Theatre

Somerset Arts organisation Take Art, in partnership with Surrey Arts and China Plate, has received £92k from the Arts Council’s Strategic Touring Fund and £24k from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation for the Early Years regional Theatre project Hopper, focusing on Somerset and Surrey in 2017/18.

The pioneering Early Years project will create opportunities for over 3,500 babies and pre-school children to experience and influence the development of great art and culture in their Early Years setting. Taking place over two-years, Hopper will bring specially created theatre shows into theatres, pre-schools, nurseries, libraries and children’s centres, focusing on children from poorer less advantaged areas.

Phil Gibby the SW Area Director for the Arts Council said, “We’re really pleased to be supporting Hopper as we believe that all children and young people, whoever they are and wherever they live, should have the opportunity to experience the richness of arts and culture.”

Hopper will also support seven theatre companies in developing 70+ high quality and relevant performances. Children and Early Years staff will be invited to take part in the development process. This means that the companies can work with the under fives to make the best shows possible for them.

Gina Westbrook, Director of Early Years at Take Art said, “A significant part of Hopper is to stimulate greater interest among companies to develop new work and take it into Early Years settings. Hopper will also enable children to have a voice in how this new work is made for them.”

Phil Gibby went onto say, “The project looks set to develop a local, sustainable touring infrastructure for Early Years work and build strong and productive relationships.”

During the project Take Art will work in partnership with Surrey Arts and China Plate and also with key local theatres; The Brewhouse in Taunton; Bridgwater Arts Centre, The egg in Bath and Camberley Theatre in Surrey. Hopper will start in January 2017, with a year of development and planning, followed by a three seasons of touring and performance.

Take Art is currently recruiting an experienced Project Manager to oversee the relationship between the Early Years settings and the companies. Click here to find out more.

Hopper is launching a national call out to identify artists/companies interested in developing new shows. Please visit the Take Art website or click for more information.

Notes to Editors

Press contact: Louise Monks on 01460 249450 or email or

Take Art is a National Portfolio Organisation and a pioneering arts charity serving the towns, villages and rural communities of Somerset, providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to experience, participate and work within the arts.

The Strategic Touring programme funds touring work, focusing especially on areas where people have low engagement with the arts and those that rely on touring for much of their arts provision. It also seeks to extend the reach of high-quality work by broadening the range of venues presenting it, as well as well as forging stronger relationships between audiences, promoters, venues, artists and producers.

Image: Fairytales Gone Bad by Half Moon

← Back

HAPPY NEW YEAR! It’s the new 2017 Programme!

This New Year the Take Art team want to give you a 2017 to look forward to - full of magic, mayhem and creative opportunities. So click and flick through the new Take Art Jan-June programme below and start planning some happy times.

Take Art is a leading Somerset Arts charity all about taking arts experiences, shows and workshops to rural areas. We also put artists, schools and early years settings together, so that the children of Somerset can access more creative opportunities to learn, play and perform.

Every Christmas we launch our Winter/Spring Programme listing the Take Art Rural Touring events near you and any opportunities we have for young people, dancers, artists and performers to network and build their careers.
We also like to shout out about the good stuff we are doing in the county to help people through the Arts. It’s worth mentioning because it is happening and it is making a difference.

To find out what’s on and how we can benefit your life and/or arts career you could:
1. Open the Take Art programme above… just click on it and have a browse.

2. Visit the What’s On Pages by clicking here.
3. Order your very own hard copy programme by emailing

← Back

5 Star Review for Tree House

Chris Fogg's new spoken word play Tree House gets rave reviews at The Brewhouse... There is still chance to catch this show tonight (18 Nov) and next weekend (25 & 26 Nov). Click here to read the review.

"Five stars are not enough" says Avril Silk for remotegoat on 16/11/16

It was a privilege to be at the premiere of Chris Fogg’s remarkable ‘Tree House’ at Taunton’s Brewhouse Theatre. Before the performance, Chris spoke of the inspiration behind the epic poem which became ‘Tree House’; his eloquent story of love and dreams, promises and betrayals, hope and redemption. Once a teacher, Chris met a pupil who, as an adult, operated the bulldozer that destroyed his childhood den, clearing the land for housing he would never be able to afford. The story stuck and over time became a poem which became the script, telling a saga of three children and their different journeys into adulthood. Chris’s use of language is subtle and true to natural speech rhythms. We are not self-consciously listening to a poem – the verse is so beautifully crafted it resonates deeply within the listener as we become immersed in the lives of Robbie, Jane and Alan.


Dates and Details

Fri 18 Nov, 7pm | Lamyatt Village Hall | £10 / £7
Fri 25 Nov, 7.30pm | Churchinford Village Hall | £10
Sat 26 Nov 7.30pm | Hatch Beauchamp Village Hall £10/£6 inc refreshments


← Back

Workshop your words and polish up your play

Join Boiling Kettle's Writer/Director Sian Williams for a 'Writing About Somerset' workshop at 2pm - 4.30pm on the afternoon of 19 Nov, proceeding her highly recommended new play Defender of the Dead.

Sian who has had many years experience as a successful Somerset playwrite, will be delivering an introduction to writing text based drama. The workshop will take place at Ashbrittle Village Hall. Bring yourself, bring a story, long short or tall and any other ideas you would like to write for the stage. 16yrs+,  £5.

To book contact

Later on the same day don't miss Boiling Kettle's new play Defender of the Dead, a simmering pot of winter theatre, as history and comedy collide in an original new play about ancient gods and modern desires. Read more and book your tickets here,

"A terrific, multi-faceted, many-voiced performance... Highly recommended."  Fine Times Recorder  Read full review here.

← Back

Calling all Teachers: Dip into the Inspiration

InspirED through Take Art is launching it’s new season of workshops, CPD, shows and opportunities for primary, secondary and Early Years settings. Have a look at our mini brochure below for a taste of what we have on offer.



← Back

HOT OFF THE PRESS: The Sept-Dec 2016 Take Art Brochure

It's the season of mist and mellow fruitfulness and that means a new Take Art brochure, full of inspiring ways to boost your melatonin, decorate your evenings and improve your social life.

Take Art is a leading Somerset Arts charity all about taking arts experiences, shows and workshops to rural areas. We also put artists, schools and early years settings together, so that the children of Somerset can access more creative opportunities to learn, play and perform.

Every September we launch our autumn programme, listing the Take Art Rural Touring events near you and any opportunities we have for young people, dancers, artists and performers to network and build their careers.

We also like to shout out about the good stuff we are doing in the county to help people through the Arts. It’s worth mentioning because it is happening and it is making a difference.

To find out what’s on and how we can benefit your life and career you could:

1. Open the Take Art programme below… just click on it and have a browse.

2. Visit the What’s On Pages by clicking here.

3. Order your very own hard copy programme by emailing


← Back

Getting down to Elementals

On Monday 5 September the Take Art Early Years team met up with artists, advisors and researchers from the Early Years Elements project for a skills sharing day, including Dr Karen Wickett from Plymouth University, who will be carrying out research on the project.

The Elements Skill Share was a brilliant opportunity for everyone involved with the project to experience the practical elements and sharing of ideas, discussing how creativity meets the Early Learning Goals and supports reflective practice.

Using the rich and open-ended theme of elements, six multi-disciplinary artists (Richard Hughes, Lucy Lean, Hannah Lefeuvre, Peter Margerum, Deborah Westmancot and Howard Vause) will be delivering activity in reception and pre-school settings. The artists will all be working reflectively to allow the children to lead the experience.

"It was a really fun and exciting day, getting creative and learning from each other. I think we have all enjoyed working with different materials and are excited about how young children are going to engage with this work." Gina Westbrook, Director of Early Years at Take Art.

Elements is a practical action research programme of Early Years' creativity, kicking off in Wells and Taunton areas between October and the end of March 2017.

The project research is being conducted by Dr Karen Wickett from Plymouth University, exploring how creativity can support EY managers to develop creative practice and links to the arts. They will be mentored by Take Art and the SCC Early Years advisory team.

To read more please click here.

← Back

Dance on Tour!

The Rural Touring Dance Initiative is coming to a village near you, as the first shows start touring around Somerset and the UK. Dates Now Released!

Last year, the Rural Touring Dance Initiative was launched to bring contemporary dance to village halls and community venues around the country. This Autumn the first selection of shows are set to tour, having been chosen from a menu of shows by local programmers.

In Somerset we our delighted to be hosting Lost Dog with their fantastic dance theatre show Paradise Lost (lies open beside me), which will be at West Coker Village Hall on 7 October and All Saints Hall, Langport on 9 October. Click here to read more and books your tickets.

Other shows on tour are listed below. Please note several of these shows will be coming to Somerset in 2017 and will be announced soon.


    Panta Rei with I Wish Her Well | 2 - 9 Oct
    Luca Silvestrini’s Protein May Contain Food (May Contain You) | 6 -29 Oct
    Lost Dog Dance and Paradise Lost (lies open beside me) | 7 - 15 Oct
    Spilt Milk Say Dance/Blast from the Past  | 13 Oct – 26 Nov
    Joan Cleville Plan B for Utopia | 11- 12 Nov
    Lila Dance Deluge | 18 &19 Nov

To read full listings including venues click on the download at the bottom of the page.

Each new dance show has either been designed for performance in village halls, or specially adapted from existing repertoire by the company. There is also additional activities for audiences to help build interest in the shows. Lost Dog’s Ben Duke will lead discussions on creation, poetry and parenthood; Protein will invite audiences to bring local specialities to eat and share at May Contain Food – May Contain You, and Lîla Dance will recruit an extended cast from the community to be part of dance experience The Deluge.

Click here to read more about the Rural Touring Dance Inititive and its hope to provide more dance opportunties to rural areas.

← Back

Take Art is Seeking New Trustees

Opportunity: Take Art is looking for new trustees from all backgrounds, ages and areas to join their dynamic and creative board.


Take Art is currently seeking new Board members specifically with industry experience in one of the following specialisms: Marketing and PR, Corporate and Philanthropic Giving, Human Resources, Business, Charity Law, Health Sector, Compulsory Education and Local Government along with a passion for the arts.   We want you to bring your ideas to the arts and to share with you the richness and creativity the arts offer. Take Art has a lively Board open to new ideas and excellent staff.


Take Art is a pioneering arts charity and a medium sized business serving the towns, villages and rural communities of Somerset. We do this by providing opportunities for people of all ages and abilities to experience, participate and work within the arts.

Established in 1986 as a rural touring scheme, Take Art has grown exponentially over the last 26 years to become an arts development agency, incorporating services in rural touring, dance, theatre, music, spoken word and early years creativity. Our office is sited on a farm near South Petherton, a central location with good access to all parts of Somerset.

Through our work we aim to challenge, entertain and enrich individuals and communities through the arts, with work that reflects the cultural and social diversity of Somerset.


1. Please read the attached job desciption

2. Send your CV and a maximum of 300 words on what you could bring to Take Art to by 9 September 2016

3. The Chair and Chief Executive will take forward shortlisted candidtates to the Board on 15 September and contact applicants shortly after that date.

If you have any questions about becoming a Board Member please email

← Back

Apply to take part in the Rural Dance Touring Initiative

We are looking for existing dance shows or shows in the making for our 2017/18 Rural Touring Season. Find out more here...

The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) has joined forces with The Place, Take Art and China Plate to initiate a new three year project to stimulate the touring and making of dance for rural areas, funded by Arts Council England through their Strategic Touring programme. This project is now in its second year.

We are looking for either existing shows; artists who have a show ready to tour to rural areas; or ready with some adaptations. You will need to be available to tour in autumn 2017 and spring 2018.

Successful applicants will be entered into a ‘Menu’ of companies offered to the national network of rural touring schemes. This will be the second menu produced by the project. The first included the following companies; Protein, Lila Dance, Phoenix, Joan Cleville, Sonia Sabri, Spiltmilk, Lost Dog and Panta Rei. Over 60 shows were booked through the first menu.

If you are interested in these opportunities please visit The Place website and read the guidelines and FAQs. Click here.

Deadline for submissions is midnight on Wednesday 31 August 2016.

← Back

InspirED launch their new 2016 Offer

InspirED is dedicated to ensuring that children and young people in Somerset benefit from the visual and performing arts in their education... Find out about the 2016 InspirED Somerset offer here.

InspirED Somerset works throughout the county in Primary, Secondary and Early Years settings contributing to:

  • Raising achievement
  • Supporting transition and progression
  • Building emotional well-being
  • Inspiring creative writing
  • Improving attendance
  • Engaging parents
  • Developing life skills
  • Ensuring all children reach their potential

The best schools use the arts to help bring the whole curriculum alive and engage young people with their education in a creative and meaningful way. To find out how InspirED can help your school please click the following link.



← Back

Music Changes Lives for the Better

This is a film interview with Billy, one of the young people involved in the Take Art and Actiontrack music project My Tunes, aimed at improving young people’s self confidence and future aspirations through music. Watch the full interview here...

My Tunes gave Billy the opportunity to write and perform music, find his way around a studio and learn how to play the keyboard and drums. In this film Billy talks about his experiences on the project and how My Tunes helped him personally with his confidence and ability to make friends. It has also steered him towards further education and a career in the Performing Arts.

The My Tunes project is funded by Youth Music and began in 2012. Since that time it has helped over 200 young people find confidence and a positive outlet through music.

Billy’s story is one example of how access to the arts and creativity can transform lives, particularly those of young people.

Play the film above to listen to him tell his story in his own words.

← Back

Mean Feet Dance’s Tip Top Tips for Wellbeing

Tip Top Top Tips for Wellbeing is a dance, film and social media project aimed at encouraging people to remember the things that make us feel good!

As part of national Mental Health Awareness Week this week Somerset's Mean Feet Dance will be launching their first Tip Top Tips film. The company will be sharing one new film each week over the summer months.

The project sees professional and community dancers with mental health needs, who are part of Mean Feet's I Am An Egg Dance Company, working together to create short dance films. These will provide humourous, uplifting and accessible resources for self management. This week’s film Connect celebrates Relationships.

Viv Gordon, founder and Artistic Director of Mean Feet Dance, says ‘As a company we have to be attentive to our own wellbeing and this project is a positive way for us to share strategies and feel good activities that work for us.’

To see the films you can follow Mean Feet Dance on Twitter @MeanFeetDance or join their mailing list by emailing

← Back

Music To Our Early Ears

Jane Parker, our new Early Years Manager, will be picking up the conductor baton this May and leading the conversation on the importance of music for the under fives.

Jane will be presenting at the highly prestigious ‘Musical Faces of Childhood’ conference on 21 May in Lancashire, where she will be talking about our Early Years Music Network project Soundwaves Extra, which aims to support practitioners in Early Years settings, such as pre-schools, nurseries and children’s centres.

The one-day conference is hosted by Edge Hill University and aims to explore the musical nature of young children’s lives. The conference will discuss the best ways to nurture musicality in young children, so that it becomes a vital part of their future learning.

Using her own MA research, Jane will be examining the challenges practitioners face when delivering music workshops or projects in Early Years settings, encouraging solutions to ensure this valuable work can take root and thrive.

Music Educators and Researchers of Young Children (MERYC) are the organisation behind this conference. Jane Parker is an affiliated member of MERYC.

To find out more about Soundwaves Extra and our work in Early Years please click here

To find out more about the ‘Musical Faces of Childhood’ conference click here

← Back

Looking for the new Rural Touring Menu?

Somerset Rural Touring promoters can now access the 2016/17 Take Art Rural Touring Menu and begin the exciting process of choosing the best shows to bring to their village hall or venue over the next year.


Take Art Promoters’ Menu 2016/17

Take Art's Rural Touring Promoters' Menu 2016/17 is now available to read online, download and print, enabling promoters to choose the best shows for their communities. You can also fill in the booking form directly and let us know your choices straight away.

Take Art's Rural Touring scheme is a well-established scheme set up to bring professional, high quality arts events to rural communities across Somerset. The scheme relies on a partnership between village organisations and Take Art. By working together, memorable social events can be organised in rural areas where people live and meet and so provide a way for villagers to come together socially.

As part of the scheme Take Art is responsible for providing a menu of performances that are memorable, enjoyable, diverse and affordable. You can read the menu below or download and print a copy to keep.



You can also make your choices by filling in the online booking form, available to download here. The deadline for this menu was 25 May 2015. However please contact if you have a late request.

← Back

Avril Silk Reviews Playing Maggie…

Take Art and Pip Utton have brought professional, provocative theatre to a rural location. Rejoice.

Review by Avril Silk for remotegoat on 02/05/16

"Are we all Thatcher's children?"

Pip Utton’s ‘Playing Maggie’ is challenging in ways that are disturbing and profound. My companion and I, at Dulverton’s Town Hall, viewed the evening very differently – in part because we had different expectations. My friend hoped for more insights into her humanity – I saw several instances, especially regarding dementia and motherhood – and remembered others, particularly her tears as she finally drove away from her back-stabbing colleagues. ‘It was treachery with a smile on its face.’ (Though honestly, what did she expect?)

As Pip reminded us, Margaret Thatcher polarised opinion. Those who loved her, and those who loathed her, did so with passion. His performance – brilliantly observed and eschewing caricature - was not going to change our opinions of her. What it did do was remind us of the effect of her personality and policies. For some of us that was very uncomfortable indeed.

The play had four sections – a dressing-room scene enabling us to observe Pip Utton’s tremendous talent for transformation; an opening address by ‘Maggie’ touching on her attitudes to the job she did; a Q and A session with nothing off-limits and a final scene back in the dressing room. Some technical gremlins seemed to bug the first and last episodes – I thought the first needed tightening up and will say more about the last later.

The Q and A session is at the heart of the performance, brilliantly demonstrating the supreme political talent of answering the question that should have been asked. Here the audience shapes the experience of the evening by their approach to ‘Maggie’ and, adding another layer, their approach to the theatre. The tenor of the Dulverton audience was, in the main, deferential and affectionate. If ‘Maggie’ insisted on a particular form of address, most people capitulated with good humour. After the play Pip spoke of other audiences who were so hostile to his subject that security had to be called. Courageously, armed only with prodigious research and matching talent, he relishes the cut and thrust of those performances, flying by the seat of his pants in the face of enduring obdurate loathing and rage.

Read the full review here.

Watch Pip Utton in Playing Maggie at Chaffcombe Village Hall on Friday 20 May.

Click here to book online.

← Back

Northern Harmony returns to Somerset

Northern Harmony joins us once again all the way from Vermont, USA, to wrap up Take Art’s rural touring season in Somerset.

This unique vocal ensemble led by Larry Gordon has garnered a global reputation for their varied ethnic singing styles. Now on their 16th European tour, the 16-strong singing group has a wide following amongst choirs and singing groups from across SW England.

Transcending the traditional definition of choral music, expect everything from hearty and ultra bright Bulgarian 'hard voice' to the equally powerful, but darker and more sonorous Georgian timbre; from the rich, mellifluous South African style, or the wild and unrestrained American shape-note sound and quartet gospel, to delicate, pure, early music tones.

These brilliant young singers will be performing four nights this month in four Somerset villages:

Monday 18 April, St Mary’s Church- Cossington
Tuesday 19 April, All Saint’s Church – Kingsdon
Wednesday 20 April, Roadwater Village Hall
Thursday 21 April, St Mary’s Church – Chilthorne Domer

Buy tickets to any of these shows here

These performances mark the end of a very successful Rural Touring season in Somerset. Sarah Peterkin, Director of Rural Touring, Take Art says:

‘A wonderful 4-night tour from Northern Harmony brings a close to a fantastic season of rural touring in Somerset.  Audiences have been bigger than ever so a huge thanks to all the volunteer promoters who have worked so hard to make every event a success. TTake Art are looking forward to working with you all again in the Autumn when we will welcome another amazing group of touring companies to perform in our village halls.'

← Back

Spring Forward 2016 Overview

Our annual Spring Forward Youth Dance Festival has come to an end for another year. As ever it was one to remember, demonstrating that youth dance is flourishing in Somerset!

Huge congratulations go to the 681 fantastic young dancers who took part in Take Art’s Spring Forward and InspirED PrimaryFest youth dance platforms as part of Spring Forward Youth Dance Festival 2016.

Over five nights a total of 42 youth dance groups – mostly Somerset based but also from across the South West – took up the exciting opportunity to perform on a professional stage at the Octagon Theatre, Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre and Merlin Theatre, in a joyous celebration of youth dance in Somerset.

The dancers aged from four to 19 years old demonstrated their creativity, talent and commitment to dance through their excellent performances in a range of styles, to 1,224 audience members.

Over the last two months, Take Art Dance and InspirED welcomed professional dance companies to the county to work with young people and offer CPD opportunities for dance practitioners and teachers in the county. This has been a great experience for dancers of all ages and abilities to connect, learn new material and be inspired by dancers from Motionhouse, Joli Vyann and local dance professionals working in the county. The workshops and CPD sessions were very well received and have left participants hungry for more opportunities like this locally.

Spring Forward Festival also highlighted an array of exciting professional dance performances in Somerset venues, including shows from Mark Bruce Company, Zoielogic Dance Theatre, Joli Vyann, Cscape and Motionhouse, which many young dancers took the opportunity to go and see.

We are already looking forward to next year’s Spring Forward Dance Festival! In the meantime keep an eye on our Take Art Dance pages for more exciting opportunities to see and participate in dance. Email to be added to our Dance Newsletter mailing list so that you don’t miss out on any of Somerset’s fantastic dance shows and workshops.

← Back

South West Theatre Symposium: How can we work together to effect change?

Take Art joined Salisbury Playhouse, Theatre Bristol and Activate Performing Arts to initiate discussions between those working in theatre in the South West at the launch of Theatre Fest West in Salisbury on Friday 18 March.

The day of celebration kicked off with a discussion between panel members Gemma Paintin (Action Hero), Anna Himali Howard (Breach), Tim Crouch and Niki McCretton (Stuff and Nonsense and The Lyric Theatre, Bridport) to share their own experiences of best practice and how they have overcome challenges they have faced as artists working in the South West. You can listen to a podcast of the panel discussion here. The audience were then invited to join breakout groups addressing the challenges identified by the panel. Topics for discussion were: Staying Alive: strategies for artists to stay healthy led by Gemma Paintin, Re-shaping and Resisting Structures in Theatre, led by Niki McCretton, Re-Inventing and Returning led by Tim Crouch, and Anti-Branding led by Anna Himali Howard. Photos of discussion notes can be viewed here.

Sarah Peterkin, Director of Rural Touring and Co-Director of Theatre at Take Art, and Mark Helyar, Co-Director of Theatre at Take Art, joined Russ Tunney of Pound Arts to lead a Rural Touring discussion during the afternoon. Other topics of discussion included: The realities of touring with Niki McCretton, Doing It Yourself led by David Lockwood (The Bikeshed), The benefits of working in a cultural ‘cold spot’ led by Sarah Blower (Strike A Light), Artist development led by Emma Bettridge (Bristol Old Vic and KK/MS) and Taking it outdoors, led by Activate Performing Arts.

Phil Hindson, Arts Council England, led one to one Grants for the Arts surgery sessions throughout the afternoon.

Celebrating theatre makers from across the south west, Theatre Fest West runs from 18 March to 2 April with events taking place across Wiltshire, at Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury Arts Centre, The Pound arts centre, Wiltshire Music Centre and Trowbridge Arts. Follow the festival on Twitter: #theatrefestwest

For a more detailed report of the days event, click here.

← Back

The Iranian Feast: a very relevant story

Farnham Maltings' touring production is a poignant, uplifting story - and more relevant now than ever. Coming to two Take Art venues.

"I saw The Iranian Feast last night and loved it. It was a funny, heart-warming, powerful story that brought tears to my eyes. An ordinary family share a great love for life and food whilst outside a political regime threatens. Now more than ever, The Iranian Feast is a play for today", says Sarah Peterkin, Director of Rural Touring at Take Art.

The Iranian Feast is Farnham Maltings' latest touring production, and we are thrilled to bring it to Somerset on 17 & 18 March at Porlock and Langford Budville village halls.

This is a story of a family working out how life will be in the future. One that is surprising, uplifting and a celebration of being alive; a celebration of the similarities of family life, no matter where we live and our shared humanity. We sit in their living room with them and experience a family in crisis desperately trying to cling onto what is so dear to them. The show includes traditional Persian food prepared by Abbas, his wife and daughter with help from their friends and neighbours. Going in the pot are fresh herbs, spices, sweet vegetables - and Eli’s mother’s secret ingredient. We are invited and gathered to a family celebration and share a small taste of Persian supper together. This poignant show is suitable for all ages and guarantees to stay with you long after you leave.

“It is without a doubt one of the most thought provoking and yet also entertaining performances we have seen in ages" - Audience member, Robertsbridge Village Hall

Click here for full details including how to book.

← Back

Spring Forward Festival 2016 is nearly here!

A spectacular festival throughout February and March celebrating youth dance in Somerset

Spring Forward is Somerset’s County Youth Dance Platform, produced by Take Art, where young dancers get the opportunity to perform on a professional stage, to be inspired by their peers and supported by Take Art and each other.

Hundreds and hundreds of dancers, from Youth Dance Companies, School/College Dance Groups or Young Dancers who are based in and around Somerset, will travel from all over Somerset and the South West to be part of an annual extravaganza that has grown so big, we have to run it over four nights and two venues.

2016 will be the twelfth year of Spring Forward and each year attracts ever growing numbers of entries. Hundreds of dancers, from youth dance companies, school/college dance groups or young dancers who are based in and around Somerset, will travel from all over the South West to be part of an annual extravaganza that has grown so big that we have to run it over four nights and two venues. One performance night (Wed 24 February) is at The Octagon Theatre in Yeovil and three (Mon 14 - Wed 16 March) at the Tacchi Morris Arts Centre in Taunton. Please click here for more details and booking.

These platforms form part of Spring Forward Festival 2016. This year’s programme also includes opportunities for young people to take part in dance workshops, training and CPD sessions for teachers/youth dance leaders and professional dance pieces to watch. For more information about all of the festival activity please click here.

← Back

Alfred the Mouse Goes to School

An innovative new project supporting early years with their big move up to primary school.

Alfred the Mouse Goes to School is an innovative new project that the Taunton Early Years Clusters are running across the more than 300 Somerset pre-schools they cover, supporting under-fives with the sometimes daunting transition to primary school.

Each cluster pre-school can have their very own Alfred the Mouse soft toy, being distributed by Rachel Parish, Cluster Manager (schools and pre-schools should contact her at to receive theirs).

Children will be able to interact through a series of creative activities addressing specific areas within the Early Years Foundation Stage. These will support children’s imagination and development as they explore Alfred’s journey to school and through the journey reflect on their own upcoming transition.

To accompany Alfred on his journey, Take Art has created a supporting Alfred the Mouse Goes to School website, with a dedicated mini-site for nearly all of the primary schools in the Taunton clusters. Queen’s College Pre-Prep could not take part in this 2016 edition.

Alfred can be seen taking part comfortably in the reception class and wider school environment. The slideshow follows Alfred around the school to favourite places chosen with the reception classes. Some of the schools also have a soundscape.

There is a surround-around (a full panoramic 3D view) of the reception class, through which practitioners, teachers, parents and children will be able to explore their child/children’s future classrooms. Where a school has two reception classes, we have included two panoramic views.

Supported by Somerset County Council through the Raising Achievement Plan, and by the Taunton Early Years Clusters.

← Back

Love Your Town – Trading Local

A new community arts project will bring theatrical performances into shops in Burnham-On-Sea this Spring

Inspired by the success of our What Change? project last year, several people in Burnham-on-Sea have set up BOS Community Theatre Group to bring the theatre and drama groups in the area closer together. They are currently working with Show of Strength Theatre Company to produce Love Your Town – Trading Local.

It started on Saturday 23 January with the first in a series of writing workshops, and had a fantastic turn out of 22 participants. Run by director Sheila Hannon, these workshops are to create scripts for performance in and around shop premises on Sat 16 April. This is a fantastic outcome of What Change? and a strong testament to the commitment and creativity of people in Burnham.

The next workshops will be held on  2 February, 10am-12 noon at Crafty Teacup cafe in Victoria Street; on 11 February, 2-4pm at The Round Tower Guesthouse on The Esplanade, and on 17 February at the Royal Clarence from 7-9pm.

The organisers are seeking first time and experienced writers to create five-minute scripts specifically for, and about, the town. Twelve will be selected for professional production and audiences, residents, shoppers and visitors will see the results on Saturday 16 April.

The project is being organised in association with Burnham Community Theatre Group, and Take Art's Theatre team are pleased to be supporting this project alongside Burnham-On-Sea & Highbridge Town Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Co-op Funeral Care. An additional project is running alongside within schools and residential homes, encouraging young people to write short stories as part of a competition. The stories will hopefully be shared amongst the residential homes later in the year who may not be able to access the event but would want to be involved.

Burnham-On-Sea Community Theatre Group was set up in 2015 with the aim of making the professional theatre experience available to all, to work with everyone in the local community.

← Back

Take Art is on the look out for new local Volunteer Promoters

Have you got some spare time, an interest in dance or theatre, and a burst of energy to co-promote performances in your local village/community hall?

In Autumn 2016 and Spring 2017 Take Art is taking part in an exciting national initiative* to bring more dance theatre performances to rural Somerset.

But we need new energy to join our existing team of brilliant volunteer promoters to help us put these shows in front of an audience! Promoting live performances from world-class artists in your local hall is extremely rewarding. It will be hard work but as a co-promotion we will be working closely with you to ensure that all goes smoothly.

Initially it will be one or two performances across the autumn/spring, but if you get the promoting ‘bug’ there is a possibility it could lead to further events to promote for your community. For an informal chat about becoming a Take Art promoter, including around the expectations/commitments, please don’t hesitate to contact Sarah Peterkin, Director of Rural Touring: / 01460 249450.

“It is through Take Art that we are able to bring to our village performances that would be otherwise unavailable to us... and I do not refer solely to value for money, but to the benefit to the community"  Valerie Godfrey, Take Art Promoter (for 23 years), Wedmore, Sedgemoor


*Read more about the Rural Touring Dance Initiative here.

← Back

Getting the Ball Rolling

Some subjects are tricky to talk about. We may not know where to begin. Or we might be afraid of saying the wrong thing. Diversity in the arts is one such subject.

So, on Monday 11 January, we offered a safe and comfortable place for colleagues to have an honest conversation around diversity in the performing arts in Somerset.

Over 25 performers, participants, promoters and venue managers joined us at our office to get the ball rolling and talk. The event was led by Ruth Kapadia, a Relationship Manager for Arts Council South West, with a specialism in Diversity. She encouraged us to explore the diversity barriers in our work and how we might overcome them. Ideas included developing a shared language, training and support needs, and building an audience development toolkit.

We plan to look at how, between us, we can begin to implement some of these suggestions, particularly the role we can play at Take Art about widening the debate and supporting further networking opportunities. Towards the end of the afternoon we welcomed company members from Tangle, South West England’s African Caribbean Theatre Company, who presented their beautiful new commission Steering by Stars. Performed in a township theatre style, it featured a cappella songs that took the audience on metaphorical journey around the Atlantic Circle. The company performed later that evening at the Royal Oak pub in Crewkerne, a great example of how Tangle is building relationships with local communities in Somerset.

← Back

SYDC selection success for U.Dance SW!

Somerset Youth Dance Company selected to perform at U.DANCE SW 2016

We are thrilled to bits to receive news that Somerset Youth Dance Company has been selected by a judging panel to perform at this year's U.Dance South West.

SYDC will perform their piece Dreamstate on Saturday 12 March 2016 at The Edge, University of Bath. This will be the fourth time SYDC has performed at U.Dance South West; they were previously selected and performed in 2012, 2013 and 2014. SYDC has also performed at the National U.Dance event twice, in 2013 and 2014.

U.Dance is a programme led by Youth Dance England, which seeks to increase the number of youth dance performances and support those who organise them. The framework aims to provide dance performance opportunities for every child and young person in England. U.Dance South West celebrates and showcases excellence in youth dance from across the South West of England.

U.Dance South West will be hosted by Bath Dance and ICIA; it is FREE and will involve an exciting day full of workshops and performing to a live audience and panel in the evening. Groups performing at U.Dance South West can choose to be part of a selection process to go to the U.Dance National festival led by Youth Dance England. The regional panel will select two groups to go forward to this three-day youth dance festival hosted at The Lowry, Salford, in July .

← Back

Training and support for Somerset theatre practitioners

Due to popular demand, this season Take Art is running two training events designed for those working within the performing arts.

Led by Mark Helyar, who has considerable experience in project planning, strategic management and fundraising, these training events offer a friendly environment for to share challenges and creative solutions.

Skill Up 1: Project Planning   ***STOP PRESS this event has now been postponed, Skill Up 2 is still running on 5 Feb see below
Fri 22 Jan | 10am - 5pm
Through practical exercises, peer learning and case studies, this training event is designed to help steer people through the basic steps of project planning: prioritising skills and strengths; discovering potential markets for work; identifying tools and resources; and navigating potential obstacles and pitfalls.

Skill Up 2: Funding Refresher
Fri 5 Feb | 10am - 5pm
This training event will help people who want to explore prospective funding and investment opportunities for their work. It will cover areas such as building an effective case for financial support; identifying potential project partners; gaining an overview of public funding, trusts and foundations, crowd-funding and other examples of individual giving. It will also include a session on writing Grants for the Arts applications to Arts Council England.

Both events will take place in Take Art's large comfortable meeting room, Flaxdrayton Farm, South Petherton TA13 5LR. The cost is £40 per event or £60 for both; £20 per event or £30 for both for Under-25s or people on low income. Early booking is advised by emailing

Nuts & Bolts Advice Surgeries
These FREE sessions are available for theatre makers who would like one-to-one advice on project planning, funding or any other specific areas of support. We are offering one-hour sessions between 4-7pm on Tues 23 Feb and Tues 22 March. Please book your slot by contacting Sarah or Mark: 01460 249450 / /

"Take Art provides the kind of support that inspires artists to grow. They offer great value and real expertise in what can look like a funding minefield but is turned into a goldmine"
Artist feedback on a previous training event

← Back

Journey into the world of silent Western films this weekend

Champion fiddle player (and Buffalo Gals founder) Kate Lissauer has penned a film score for three early works by one of Hollywood's most distinctive and undiscovered directors.


Champion fiddle player Kate Lissauer is well known to many on the Take Art circuit from her very popular old-time country music group Buffalo Gals. We are delighted to welcome Kate back to our scheme with a fantastic new production, Sonic Silents, starting a three-date Take Art tour this Saturday. This fantastic production features three short early films by Frank Borzage, one of the most distinctive and undiscovered film directors to have emerged from Hollywood with a new, live score by Kate.

Beginning his career as a successful and sought-after actor, Borzage began directing short films in 1915. Unlike many of his peers, he chose to reject the sensational, overstated obsession with action and spectacle, which was a common ingredient of the cinema of the time, and focussed instead on emotional and sensual elements of the stories he filmed.

Kate’s programme contains three short Westerns (The Pitch O’Chance, 1916, 25 Mins; The Pilgrim, 1916, 28 mins; Nugget Jim’s Pardner, 1916, 25 mins). Unusually for the Western genre, Borzage’s films contain no chases, robberies or dramatic rescues; he presents, in contrast, portraits of three very specific individuals and the changes they undergo from seemingly random and unremarkable encounters. The films offer an absorbing and poignant glimpse of a bygone time. Novice that he was, Borzage’s bold rejection of the ‘rules’ of film-making gives a modern audience a wonderful, refreshing look at a long established film tradition.

Providing musical accompaniment are a great trio; Kate on the fiddle is joined by master of the five-string banjo, John Whelan, and Jason Titley, arguably the UK’s finest Bluegrass guitarist. Together they provide a live performance of Kate’s score for the films, combining original composition and arrangements of traditional material.

Catch Sonic Silents this Saturday, 16 January, at Ilminster's Warehouse Theatre, 7:30pm. Click here for more details including box office.

Kate Lissauer began her career as a champion fiddler in her home state of Maryland and is also an expert claw-hammer and old-time three finger banjo picker, a guitarist and an excellent singer. She presently performs both as a solo artist and with her bands, Buffalo Gals and Buffalo Gals Stampede.
John Whelan has been playing country and mountain music on the five-string banjo for many years. John has learned from and been inspired by some of America's finest pickers, and has developed a creative and versatile style, including his own brand of two and three-finger picking. John also plays banjo and sings backup vocals with Buffalo Gals and Buffalo Gals Stampede.
Jason Titley was a long-time member of The Daily Planet, which toured extensively throughout Europe and in the US and left three landmark albums in its wake. Jason also appears on Kate’s solo album Stately Mansion and regularly plays in Buffalo Gals. Jason’s flair for improvisation and deep understanding of rhythm - he is also a percussionist - always makes his playing engaging and exciting.

← Back

South West Dance Feast Heads East

Four South West dance companies including Somerset's aKa Dance Theatre have been selected to perform as part of prestigious annual dance festival Resolution

Four emerging regional dance companies, Heather Walrond Company, aKa Dance Theatre, Exim Dance and Richard Chappell Dance, have been selected to perform as part of the prestigious annual dance festival, Resolution, at The Place, London.

There is stiff competition to take part in the performance platform; to have four places offered is a rare opportunity for these local dance companies to showcase the high standard in current South West choreography and performance. These varied flavours of dance will be shown over four separate nights of the performance platform, marking the beginning of a 2016 tour for all four companies.

From Somerset, aKa Dance Theatre Company will be performing their most recent work Next Door on Tues 26 January. Co-founded in early 2014 by local dance artists Jennifer Grant and Joe Garbett, aKa are currently based in Taunton as company in residence at Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre. Artistic Director Jen gained her MA in choreography at Laban, prior to this she trained at The University of Chichester. Joe (Associate Director) also trained here before completing a year as a member of JV2 - The Jasmin Vardimon Company Professional Development Certificate. aKa are dedicated to advocating art in Somerset, keeping dance and theatre alive in the South West and beyond. This year the company have been touring their triple bill, alongside offering performance experiences to young people and community companies through the creation of curtain raisers before the show. Next Door is a duet, choreographed by Jennifer Grant and performed by Joe Garbett and Sally Smithson. Set in the living room of a man and woman's house, like a fly on the wall we watch the relationship unravel. The company is supported by Arts Council England and Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre.

Resolution is currently in its 27th year, and is a renowned performance festival for showcasing emerging new artists. It has been a starting point for artists such as Russell Maliphant, Jasmin Vardimon and Hofesh Shechter. The festival will run through January and February and provides a platform allowing companies to present fresh new work. Resolution provides a triple bill of new work each night, and each of the four South West companies will be performing their varied styles of dance on separate nights of the platform.

Image: aKa Dance Theatre Company – Next Door (Photo: Clélia Vuille)

← Back

Our Spring brochure is out now!

Hot off the press this week, our latest brochure covering January to June is packed with this Spring's performances, news on our projects and opportunities aplenty.

If you are on our mailing list our Spring brochure is winging its way to you now - and if you're not, why not?! You can sign up to receive each season's programme, by the link on our homepage. Our brochure is also distributed to libraries, tourist information centres and a few other outlets across the county.

The rural touring diary is bursting at the seams with theatre, music, storytelling, puppetry, cabaret and dance, with performances taking place from now until the end of April all across Somerset. Kicking off the season in a party style to lift the January blues are The Schmoozenbergs - a fab four-piece from Bristol recreating the swinging sound of 1930s & 40s Paris. You've eight opportunities to catch them in a village hall near you!

Audience favourite Kate Lissauer (founder and fiddle player of the well-loved Buffalo Gals) visits us in a different guise, this time with Sonic Silents, a trio performing a live score alongside short early films by Borzage. Graffiti Classics will be a delight for all ages, in their hilarious all-singing, all-dancing musical comedy show, bursting the elite boundaries of classical music. Top folk duo Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman are already selling fast, so be sure to catch them at the end of January/early February. Master of the slide guitar Martin Harley will be playing the Blues at just two concerts in mid Feb and comes highly recommended. To wrap up the music in our programme, Northern Harmony join us once again all the way from Vermont, all 16 of them! This unique vocal ensemble has garnered a global reputation for their varied ethnic singing styles.  

Theatre and storytelling this season comes in a variety of shapes and sizes. Debs Newbold brings us Tales from the Bawdy Bardess in a show strictly for grown-ups - and The Devil's Violin also specialise in storytelling for adults, in their fantastic production The Forbidden Door. Master of the one man show, Somerset's own award-winning Pip Utton takes on possibly his greatest challenge yet, as he becomes Maggie. Ask the iron lady any question you like at the end of the performance! Farnham Maltings bring us a wonderful concoction of theatre and Persian cookery lesson in The Iranian Feast. Charlie Bicknell brings daring adults her cabaret with claws in No Angel - you will laugh til you cry! And Cscape Dance return with just one night of their dance theatre show Taste, inspired by Grayson Perry. This show is available to first-time dance audiences on our Bring a Friend for Free scheme.

We haven't forgotten our younger audience members! The wonderful PuppetCraft, masters at their art, will be showing Monkey! in early February for ages 4+, and Squashbox Theatre bring Stones and Bones across four dates for ages 5+.

The brochure also has news on our work and projects across Dance, Early Years, Theatre, Music and education (InspirED). Scroll through the Issuu document below to read all about it!


← Back

Tangle awarded strategic touring fund

Take Art's associated company Tangle have been awarded £49,900 from the Arts Council Strategic Touring Fund for virtuoso ensemble Tangle Company.

Tangle Company will tour three township theatre works to new audiences and non-traditional venues across South West England through their two-year New Landscapes project. Enabling Tangle to offer audiences a fresh performance experience, the project is designed to encourage people of all kinds to grow appreciation and enthusiasm for African Caribbean theatre.

New Landscapes is aimed at rurally isolated localities that have very limited access to professional African Caribbean arts activities. Each tour will enable a range of people living in areas of historic low arts engagement to experience high quality theatre presented in venues very close to them.

With the support of the ACE grant, Tangle Company will rehearse three brand new commissioned works, starting with Paula B Stanic’s poetic piece Steering Through Stars in 2015-16, with each work offering around 20 performances alongside an inspiring programme of online resource activities - Discovery Packs, e-books, case studies and e-newsletters – helping to grow creative conversations over the course of the project.

Anna Coombs, Artistic Director of Tangle: 'We are very excited to be developing Tangle Company, our skilled performance ensemble who, over the course of our project, will be touring and presenting new poetic and song works to communities across the South West. We are delighted that our application was successful. Tangle has come a long way in the last couple of years and this is a very positive step forward for us'.

Phil Gibby, Area Director, South West, Arts Council England: 'It's a great result for the region that Tangle has been awarded this touring grant.  Tangle offers an inspirational programme of educational projects, performances and tours and this will give new and often isolated rural audiences the opportunity to see a show right on their doorstep.'

← Back

Apprentices wanted for ZoieLogic Dance Theatre

ZoieLogic Dance Theatre are looking for 2 apprentice volunteer male dancers and a technical/production apprentice volunteer to join them for a research and Development Period at the Octagon Theatre, Yeovil for their new work 'SEVERANCE'.

Apprentice Male Dancers

Working alongside ZoieLogics 5 dancers, from 8th - 12th January 2016, exploring the concept of protest. The week at the Octagon Theatre will involve working on set constructions such as a maypole with chains, a bubble wrap wall and working from stimulus devised by ZoieLogic's writer and composer. Roles will include participating in company class, shadowing the rehearsal director so he can step out of the work, contributing to creative tasks and development of the work.

If interested please send a statement of interest explaining why you wish to be involved to by the 4th December 8pm.

Technical/Production Apprentice Volunteer

ZoieLogic are looking for a volunteer with experience or interest in stage production and technical work to join them at the Octagon Theatre from the 8th - 12th January. Roles will include supporting the Production Manager with developing the set pieces they are planning to work with, rigging and setting up lighting, operating sound and be ready to respond to what the process requires as and when.

If interested please send a statement of interest explaining why you wish to be involved to by the 4th December 8pm.

← Back

Take Art ‘Soundwaves’ project receives Youth Music grant

Take Art has been granted £89,150 from Youth Music to expand on the Early Years Music Network in the South West.

Following on from the first Soundwaves network, Take Art has secured funding to continue their work connecting individuals, musicians and organisations keen to develop music in early years settings in the region. The project will reinforce regional music practice for the under 5s through high quality workforce development, complemented by a locally identified and varied portfolio of music projects in settings, initially  in Bristol, Devon and Somerset. Learning will be shared through early years networks, Music Education Hubs, CPD opportunities, partner meetings and a final Symposium in Spring 2018.

This grant will be boosted by match funding from the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, SCC, InspirED and RIO to further strengthen the regional Early Years music practice.


← Back

The National Trust, National Portrait Gallery and Take Art join forces

Five year olds are inspired by the very Long Gallery at Montacute and make their own noble self portraits….

The National Trust at Montacute House has recently collaborated with Take Art Early Years as part of a far reaching community project funded through the property’s shared learning programme with the National Portrait Gallery.  It was created and overseen by Tracey Derbyshire, Visitor Engagement Officer at Montacute House.

Participating groups were South Somerset Mind, the Alzheimer’s Society, 1st and 2nd West Coker Brownies, Monday Movers over 50s dance group and Stoke sub Hamdon’s Castle Primary School Early Years.  The overarching theme was one of “Generations”.  The make up of the various groups enabled a truly intergenerational feel and focussed particularly on the portraits in the Long Gallery at Montacute House in which different ages are represented.

Take Art managed the early years element and approached the Head of Early Years at Castle Primary School with an invitation to join the project.  Project funding enabled ceramicist and visual artist, Caroline Barnes to develop and deliver four highly interactive and creative sessions for the children to participate in and included a memorable and awe inspiring visit to the Long Gallery at Montacute House.

Tracey Derbyshire said 'The children all enjoyed and benefited from a high quality and enriching experience together with an introduction to portraiture and the world of a National Trust property.    Their final art work was celebrated and displayed at the project’s poignant sharing day in Montacute Village Hall on Saturday, 31 October when all the participating project groups came together with friends and family to showcase their individual pieces of work.

Based on the success of this whole project, it is hoped that similar collaborations will be possible in the future.'

← Back

Contemporary dance companies join forces with the National Rural Touring Forum

A collection of eight renowned contemporary dance companies and artists are set to take dance to a new level – the rural stage.

National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) and their partners China Plate Theatre, The Place and Take Art are proud to announce the companies that have been selected to be part of the Rural Touring Dance Initiative. Eight companies have been chosen to tour their existing shows in 2016-17 with a further five shortlisted to create a new work to tour in 2017-18. 

Four of the eight companies selected for 2016-17; Panta Rei, Phoenix Dance, Spilt Milk and Sonia Sabri Company, were pre-selected as part of the bi-annual New Directions showcase 2014. The other four companies; Lost Dog, Protein, Joan Clevillé Dance and Lîla Dance applied as part of the open call which saw 155 companies and independent artists apply to the Rural Touring Dance Initiative.

A further five companies; James Wilton Dance, Sarah Blanc’s Moxie Brawl, Tom Dale Company, Greg Wohead and Ben Wright’s bgroup, have been shortlisted to receive a potential commission of £45K to create a new show. As part of the initiative these five companies will take part in a week long residency, The Darkroom, where their ideas will be developed and explored further.

All companies attended The Lab, a three-day specially designed course held at Halsway Manor in Somerset from 19-21 October. The course focused on addressing the challenges of re-working a production so that it can adapt to the variety of spaces that make up the rural touring network. 

Commenting on the Rural Touring Dance Initiative, the NRTF’s Development Director, Ralph Lister, said: “The response we received was beyond our wildest expectations. Contemporary dance is not something you would normally associate with rural locations so it is particularly encouraging that so many people working within this area of the arts are positive to the idea of exploring the concept. Due to the superb quality of the applicants it was hard to select just the nine – in fact we originally only intended to take eight forward. The final list though is a wonderful blend of people we have worked with previously and shows that have already been well received in places such as the Edinburgh Fringe, with others that we are starting new collaborations with and ideas that are at the very beginning of their journeys.”

James Wilton of James Wilton Dance expressed his delight about being involved with the initiative: "I am thrilled to have been shortlisted for the Rural Touring Dance Initiative for many reasons. I am really excited about my choreographic idea and the intimate rural touring setting would be the perfect setting for it. I relish the challenge of having my work in many venue types-from large scale venues to village halls and believe that the physicality is capable of reaching out to people in all environments. Also, having grown up in, and now living in a rural setting it is essential for me to present work within these communities and settings."

← Back

Micro Theatre Festival: what a buzz

New theatre company Red Sky Theatre launched the first ever Micro Theatre Festival to great success

On Sunday 27 September there was a great buzz all day long at Red Brick Building Glastonbury as it played host venue to the first Micro Theatre Festivals for Somerset.  The event was put together by Red Sky Theatre with collaboration from Take Art Theatre.  Five companies presented short 20 mins shows throughout the day both in spaces indoors and in the garden at Red Brick Building.

Samsa Theatre kicked off the festival with an exciting new production of Metamorphosis, presented by four young women and one young man from Huish Academy. Whilst upstairs in the studio, Somerset Youth Dance Company performed two pieces from their repertoire.  Award-winning actor and storyteller, Fra Gunn, presented 3 short stories to a mixed audience of adults and children in the gorgeous Red Brick garden, whilst Kiki Lovechild had a full house to delight with his magical mime, illusion and physical comedy show.  The line up was completed by wonderful Spanish theatre company, Little Soldier, presenting Expect Fireworks, a physical comedy show about changing the world, all in 20 mins!  

These five companies repeated their shows throughout the day to a wide range of happy audience members of all ages.  It was brilliant to see the Red Brick Building alive with theatre at this little festival which we are very much hoping will be the first of many.  Well done Red Sky for making this happen.

← Back

Our new season kicks off with World Cup fever!

Our autumn Rural Touring programme kicks off this weekend with a rugby themed theatre production.

Coinciding with the Rugby World Cup 2015, Live Wire Theatre presents Hands Up For Jonny Wilkinson's Right Boot, touring to two Take Art venues shortly and a third in October.

This play sees three rugby fans meet in a pub in Twickenham before a crucial England match. With two hours to kickoff they pass the time arguing about the greatest moments and players in rugby’s history. A mysterious stranger tells the story of Frederick Stanley Jackson – a Cornish tin miner who had been a member of the first ever British Lions tour to New Zealand in 1908. In this fast paced comedy, incorporating song, physical theatre and a re-enactment of the All-Blacks’ legendary Haka, the four actors bring some of rugby’s greatest players to life, including Jonny Wilkinson dropping that famous World Cup winning goal with his right boot. It also looks at how rugby was dominated in its early years by  British Public Schools and excluded players from the working class or ethnic minorities. Full of dramatic twists and turns, this is a play to delight audiences of all ages.

Catch it at Charlton Horethorne Village Hall on Sunday or West Coker Commemoration Hall on Tuesday (also at North Cadbury on 23 October). For full details please click here.

← Back

Take Art Autumn 2015 brochure out now!

Our autumn brochure is hot off the press, packed with performances, projects and news.

It’s a new season for Take Art in Somerset and our autumn brochure is hot off the press, making its way to mailing listers and various outlets across Somerset. Full of great rural touring shows, creative opportunities in theatre and dance, lots of stuff for schools and the latest news on all our exciting projects… take a look through the Issuu document below.

Coming up in Rural Touring

We have eight fantastic shows touring Somerset until the end of November 2015. Strong storytelling features heavily in theatre this season, kicking off with a rugby World Cup special, Hands Up For Jonny Wilkinson, plus we are thrilled to also have a tour of The Devil's Violin's latest show The Forbidden Door, and a wonderful solo show by Clod Ensemble, The Red Chair. If dance sets your heart a-flutter, you'll love Norwegian dance theatre company Panta Rei and Cornish company Cscape - and what's more you can bring a friend for free! Music from around the world will be on our doorsteps once more this season. Be sure to book early for musician-of-the-moment Namvula; enjoy an evening of va-va-voom from French singer/guitarist Flossie Malavialle, or step back to 1930s Parisian gypsy jazz with The Schmoozenbergs.

To book tickets for any of our shows please visit our What’s On pages or click on the show links above.

What Else?

Take Art continues to reach thousands of people across Somerset with opportunities and workshops in dance, theatre, music and early years creativity. You can find out more about our work and our shows by reading the programme below, checking out the What's On, News and Projects pages, or by signing up to our mailing list.


← Back

Bring a Friend for Free

As part of our 2015/16 Rural Touring programme, we are offering free tickets for audiences new to watching live dance.

This season we are taking part in the Shift & Share pilot project for touring small-scale dance to rural venues, and are looking forward to three fantastic dance performances on our circuit: Norwegian company, Panta Rei, with Behind the Mirror at Langford Budville Jubilee Hall on Sun 15 November, plus Cscape Dance's Taste on Fri 20 November 2015 at the Warehouse Theatre, Ilminster and on 12 March 2016 at Chilthorne Domer Village Hall.

If you have friends that think dance is "not for them”, we’re offering a chance to bring them along for free - as we’d like to bet we can change their mind!

Take Art are offering audience members the option to bring a friend for free to these dance shows, and we have ten tickets per performance up for grabs. We hope that this offer will introduce and encourage new audiences members to develop an interest in dance and attend future dance performances in Somerset.

The terms & conditions are:

  •     The friend should be someone who has never before attended a professional touring dance show in a village venue.
  •     In return, the friend will agree to complete a short questionnaire about their experience
  •     To apply for your ticket please contact or or phone: 01460 249450 (weekdays only).


Shift & Share is a project of Pavilion Dance South West.

← Back

Top Edinburgh Prize for Somerset’s own Pip Utton

Somerset actor and playwright Pip Utton has been recognised with The Stage's Special Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

We are absolutely thrilled to hear that Pip Utton has been awarded The Stage's Special Award at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, one of the festival's top accolades. This is excellent news for Pip as well as the Somerset theatre community, and we are feeling very proud of him.

The prize celebrates sustained excellence at the fringe, and has been awarded to Pip in recognition for his contribution to theatre. This year he is performing in two solo shows at the Fringe, Adolf and Playing Maggie, the latter of which we are looking forward to touring on our circuit next Spring (Feb, April and May - watch this space) and which has garnered a five-star review from The Stage.

Pip, who also sits on the board of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe Society, said: "I am very proud of the Fringe, a festival that permits anybody to come and perform anything... In August there is no place I would rather be. Sometimes it works, sometimes you have success, sometimes you fall flat on your face, but the creative energy in Edinburgh at the moment, and every year, at this time of year - which in the main is kindled by the energies of young people who have more dreams to fulfil than shattered dreams - is infectious."

The Stage's Edinburgh reviews team leader, Nick Awde, said: "Pip has not only helped to develop the whole genre of solo theatre through showcasing his work at Edinburgh, but he has also contributed to the structure of the running of the Fringe itself through his work with the Fringe Society. He has been an active board member championing the right of the performer on the fringe. We can also add that he has been supremely generous in helping other performers get a leg up."

Well done Pip!

← Back

Rural Touring Dance Initiative

In 2015 the NRTF joined forces with The Place, Take Art and China Plate to launch a brand new 3-year initiative for making and touring dance performances to and for rural areas.

The NRTF will lead a 3-year national dance rural touring project, the Rural Touring Dance Initiative as part of a 5 year strategic partnership with The Place, Take Art, China Plate and rural touring schemes, primarily in England but also in Wales and Scotland. Each partner has a specific and complementary skill set and the combined ambition is to address current underrepresentation of dance in rural touring. Arts Council England’s ‘Rural evidence and data review’ (March 2015) found that only 2% of NPO funded dance companies toured to rural areas in 2012/13.

Activity will include dance performance touring to rural areas, with a total of 115 shows being promoted in partnership with NRTF member rural touring schemes UK-wide through two menus of work running September to May 16/17 and September to May 17/18. The first menu of work will be offered to schemes in January 2016, and will include work from Phoenix Dance, Sonia Sabri, Spilt Milk, Norwegian Dance Company Panta Rei.

The project will also include two 2.5 day Introduction to Rural Touring in Somerset, labs aimed at dance companies wanting to engage with rural touring, Children & Young People Residencies, and an enhanced dance showcase at NRTF’s Annual Conference in July 2016 and July 2017.

Marketing support will be provided by a co-ordinator who will be appointed to the project, alongside Go & See grants which will enable less confident touring schemes wishing to promote dance to either visit schemes who have a track record in putting on dance shows or to invite a successful touring scheme promoting dance to visit them.

Katey Leader, Director of Dance at Take Art said “I’m really happy to be able to share the benefits and quirks of rural touring with a wider dance community. As a professional dancer I trained at the Place and then the majority of my professional career was touring village halls with Pretty Good Girl Dance Theatre, so I know first hand the value of that intimate experience. My ambition is that dance companies will see Rural Touring as an exciting and viable touring option and will be happy to get involved with the local communities. I am also hoping that we can tackle the way we sell dance to communities, so they feel confident in what the show will be and so promoters don’t avoid dance shows but embrace them.”

← Back

Call Out for Artists: Rural Touring Dance Initiative

The National Rural Touring Forum (NRTF) has joined forces with The Place, Take Art and China Plate to launch a 3 year initiative for touring to and making dance for rural areas. We are now seeking artists to take part in the Rural Touring Dance Intiative.

The Rural Touring Dance Initiative, a three-year project, seeks to address an under-representation of dance in rural areas. A report by Arts Council England in March found just 2% of national portfolio dance companies toured to rural regions in 2012 and 2013.

NRTF have now launched a call out for eight artists or companies to take part in the project between 2015 and 2018, with one full production grant of up to £45,000 and two seed commissions of £5,000 available to develop new dance work.

Four artists /companies will be chosen to tour existing dance shows in autumn 2016/spring 2017, and four will be chosen to develop new shows to tour in autumn 2017/spring 2018

Companies and artists who are interested in applying can visit to download an application form and FAQs.

The closing date for applications is at 10am on Friday 11 September 2015.

← Back

Big Dance Urban Jam Returns

The Yeovil Allstars, a group of young Urban Dancers, have come together in partnership with Take Art and the Octagon Theatre to organise this annual urban dance extravaganza!

On Sunday 19 July the Octagon Theatre, Take Art and Yeovil Allstars present Big Dance Urban Jam, an urban dance and arts day featuring professional performances and master classes (£6 each) as well as FREE demos, performances and workshops.

Open to anyone aged 7-19, young people are invited to immerse themselves in the urban scene for the day. The timetable features workshops in a range of urban dance styles such as Street, Commercial, Break Dance and Parkour as well as the opportunity to learn Beatboxin and DJ skills.

The day’s urban activities will be rounded off by the evening show Big Dance Urban Jam: The Main Event at 6:00pm. The show promises to be the biggest street dance line up in Somerset featuring Boadicea (finalists of Got To Dance), Joseph Hall (Britain's Got Talent finalist 2013) and Triple Threat (Acoustic beatbox a cappella band who have supported 5ive and Rizzle Kicks), along with performances from local dance crews!

Master Classes and tickets to the Main Event can be booked here.

Facebook: /BigDanceUrbanJam

Twitter: @YeovilUrbanJam

Instagram: BigDanceUrbanJam


Download the timetable for the full day below...

← Back

Viv Gordon, Mean Feet Dance Awarded Arts and Health South West 2015 Individual Prize

We are delighted to announce that Viv Gordon, founder and Artistic Director of Mean Feet Dance in Somerset has been awarded an individual prize of £1000, in recognition of her outstanding contribution to arts, health and wellbeing in the South West region over the last year.

Professional Dance Artist Viv Gordon is the founder and Artistic Director of Mean Feet Dance in Somerset, specialising in dance for individual and collective wellbeing, working with people of all ages and abilities, particularly those on the margins of society. Viv’s own lifelong mental health issues and her own experiences of the stigma and discrimination around Mental Health have informed her work and practice in this area.

In 2009, Viv initiated the One Step Forward for Good Mental Health programme championing cultural inclusion for people with this hidden disability – as a means to stay well and gain artistic voice to challenge stigma and discrimination by speaking up about experiences.

In 2014, Viv became the GDance (Gloucestershire Dance) Disabled Choreographic Fellow. She is currently piloting the I Am An Egg Dance Company offering dance training to professional and community dancers with mental health needs. She is also making her first solo show, I Am Joan, a hopeful comedy about trauma recovery.

The prize was awarded by Arts & Health South West (AHSW) and kindly sponsored by the Fine Family Foundation. It celebrates inspirational arts and health projects and individuals who have made a significant contribution to the field in the South West of England. AHSW is a nationally recognised, registered charity which promotes the use of the arts to encourage health and wellbeing.

The winners were selected from more than 50 organisations across the region and were announced at a prize giving event at Bristol Museum and Art Gallery on 8 June, held to coincide with the exhibition, William Hogarth: Painter and Printmaker. Hogarth was a founding father of Arts and Health through his work with the Foundling Hospital.

Mean Feet Dance were awarded a high commendation for work across Somerset with their One Step Forward dance and mental health programme. Running since 2009, this project promoting positive emotional wellbeing through the use of creative dance has empowered hundreds of individuals to boost their wellbeing and achieve or maintain good mental health. Dance in particular combines both the physical benefits of exercise with the expressive potential of the creative arts.

Viv and Mean Feet Dance continue to build on this great work with I Am An Egg Dance Company holding a taster day for new members on 22 June at Bridgwater Arts Centre, Somerset. This work has kindly been sponsored by The South West Foundation, The Learning Curve and Somerset Skills and Learning.

Mean Feet Dance Website what’s on page

← Back

Dance & Drama Opportunities for your School

Some autumn term dates still available for professional touring shows, workshops and CPD training available for schools bookings.

Our programme features DramaNets, termly networking and CPD training opportuniites for all teachers delivering drama or using drama to meet their curriculum needs in all education settings. 

We also offer schools a choice of affordable professional touring performances and workshops to come into your school settings.  in addition to this, every year we aim to put on performance opportunites for your students by holding Secondary and Primary School Drama Festivals.  This is a chance for students to perform on a professional stage and share their work with their peers.

Finally, we can help to broker stronger working relationships between Somerset theatre venues and schools, eg by offering discounted tickets to some shows.

All the above opportunites for the academic year 2015/16 are listed in our InspirED Dance & Drama booklet.  Your school will have been sent a copy before the end of Summer Term 2015 or you can read a copy here.  All the events on offer are listed on the Events & Training pages of this website.

← Back

Grassroots talent flourishes in Somerset

Last weekend on Saturday 21 March over 60 Theatre practitioners and promoters gathered together in a little village hall in Stoke St Gregory for Take Art’s grassroots performance exploration, Making in Somerset.

Making in Somerset was a day showcasing original theatre, spoken word, dance and puppetry. 60 artists and promoters attended, all of whom were keen to share their ideas and receive feedback and networking opportunities from the theatre community. The day got off to a great start with stand-up poet Jonny Fluffypunk and his anarchic one-man show Man up Jonny Fluffypunk, comically exploring one man’s struggle with fatherhood and responsibility. Along the way we had 17 other extracts and work-in-progress including an hilarious walkabout theatre piece from Bad Egg Theatre featuring two monstrous babies in a pram! The day concluded with a beautiful extract of dance music and story from Wild Words.

Making in Somerset demonstrated the exciting potential and talent within the Somerset theatre community, while helping to generate a vital sense of camaraderie and mutual support.

Mark Heylar, Co-Director of Theatre at Take Art, said “We all left feeling very optimistic about the future of Somerset grassroots theatre and we are extremely excited about many of the shows currently being developed.”

Theatre maker Selina Keedwell said, “It was a wonderful chance to meet and observe such an array of talents, from across the globe, in a little village hall in the middle of nowhere.”

Somerset Theatre maker and actor Nick White said, “Probably one of the most useful and important and inspiring and thought provoking events I’ve ever been to. This year’s Making in Somerset event hammered home to me why coming home to the county to make theatre is going to be one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

Image is taken from an excerpt by Bad Egg Theatre Company, Maddy Lennox and Rosy Roberts.

← Back

Making in Somerset Showcase

Shacks, Shops & Sheds: Who Needs Theatres and Arts Centres Any More?! A one day event to debate, celebrate and showcase live performance in Somerset.

What to Expect?

  • Networking, Provocations and a Lively Debate
  • A Platform Opportunity to see work in progress, share ideas about future work and collaborations, and hear feedback from Take Art Seed Fund recipients.
  • A Showcase to enjoy extracts of tour-ready work from performers and companies in Somerset. And, of course, plenty of delicious food and drink!

Why Come?

We want to stimulate a rigorous pow wow between a vibrant mix of performers, producers, promoters, programmers… Anyone, in fact, who cares about the future of live performance.
Somerset has many rural assets of which we’re proud: vibrant market towns; festival and tourism opportunities; a strong network of venues and beautiful places and spaces - pubs, farmyards, kitchens, village halls, hills, forests and sheds  - to make and present work.

In the midst of all the arts policy furore leading up to the general election, we want to galvanise our collective creative energy into a strong voice that shouts loud and clear: we live in a dynamic, unique and creative county. And we care deeply about the future. We want people to be stirred and agitated by the power of the performing arts to do brilliant things. Together. Oh, and it’s free!

To find out more about the event please click here.


If you would like to come please register your interest now by emailing or by calling 01460 249450. We will then get back to you with a booking form and a more detailed programme of the event.

← Back

A Rural Touring Promoter Review: Casanova

Sally Scott reports back from Appley Pavilion & Ashbrittle Arts on Pip Utton's Valentine's Day performance of Casanova.

Many thanks to Take Art for continuing to provide local venues, (such as the Pavilion and Ashbrittle Village Hall), with access to fantastic theatre, music and dance performers. We are lucky that there is still enough ‘subsidy’ to allow us to have the confidence to book an act without the worry of covering the true cost from ticket sales.

Take Art sponsored acts never fail to forfill the promise of a professional evening’s entertainment, please go to the Take Art's What's On Section for details of the current programme.


A beautifully staged play with Pip Utton’s script and spoken word complemented by Marguerite Chaigne’s evocative contemporary dance.

Pip created a Casanova nearing the end of his life, living in Bohemia as a librarian, writing his memoirs and dreaming of the women he has loved and left and the ones who had broken his heart!

Pip developed his character, warts and all; from first his conquests in a Venice priest’s household to his romps across 1750’s Europe as his name became synonymous with ‘womaniser’.  Along the way Pip’s Casanova met royalty, popes, cardinals and contemporaries such as Voltaire, Goethe and Mozart. Fame, fortune, prison, exile followed him through his many careers; lawyer, clergyman, military officer, violinist, con man, pimp, gourmand, dancer, businessman, diplomat, spy, politician, medic, mathematician, social philosopher, cabalist, playwright and writer!  At the same time finding the energy to seduce half the women in Europe!!

Pip’s stories were graphic, funny, touching and thought provoking and Marguerite provided the perfect foil interpreting six of his most famous and memorable conquests with music and dance.

Many thanks to everyone who supported Casanova, we had a great turn out on the night.

Sally Scott

← Back

Join our Facebook Community

Have your say, chat to other like minded people and find out what's going on... Join the Take Art Facebook Community today.

If you find yourself constantly on Facebook with little time to visit the multitude of Arts website serving your community, including our own... then why not sign up to the Take Art Facebook page and make a new community where you already live.

We regularly update our page with all the latest show and project information, plus reviews and insights into Somerset creative activity.

So why not make our Facebook page even better by signing up and making yourself and your creative ponderings part of the page. Or you can just lurk in the cyber shadows and peruse in private - extroverts and introverts welcome.

Click the icon below to join our page.

← Back

What’s On in Somerset - Jazz, Puppets and the Prince of Darkness!

Take a look at the top Take Art shows coming up in February at a Village Hall or venue near you.

Fumi Okiji’s Old Time Jazz Band

A joyous celebration of the great tradition of jazz song. Spanning blues, New Orleans, black vaudeville, Louis, Ella and Billie Holiday. “It is unapologetically old time jazz and at the heart is Fumi’s rich, sonorous, contralto accompanied by a stellar band of musicians.” Simisola Balogun

Dates and Details

Thu 12 Feb | 7:30pm | Charlton Horethorne Village Hall | 01963 220626
Fri 13 Feb | 8pm | Commemoration Hall, West Coker | 01935 862394
Sat 14 Feb | 8pm | Curry Mallet and Beercrocombe Village Hall | 01823 481441

Read a review of the show in The Jazz Man. Click here

Click here to book tickets and find out more...

Pip Utton is Casanova

This Valentines... welcome to Casanova’s memories, his dreams, his conquests and his broken hearts, his triumphs and his defeats and his seduction secrets. Comic and moving, surprising and beautiful Pip Utton's Casanova is a totally entertaining piece of theatre and the perfect way to spend Valentine's night.

Dates and Details

Sat 14 Feb | 8pm | Appley Pavilion | 07871 428517

Click here to book tickets and find out more...

Angel Heart Theatre present Cirkus Spectakular

Cirkus Spectakular, a colourful, topsy-turvy world played out in a wandering marquee of dreams. Zany and hilarious, tender and true, this is a gorgeous show for all the family.

Dates and Details

Thu 19 Feb | 7.30pm | Langford Budville Jubilee Hall | 01823 400331
Fri 20 Feb | 3pm | Dulverton Town Hall | 01398 323818
Sat 20 Jun | 3pm | Blake Hall, South Petherton | 01460 240340

Click here to book tickets and find out more...

Rabbit Theatre present Dracula

The award winning Rabbit Theatre dig their talented talons into Bram Stoker’s ultimate vampire fable. Be warned, this monstrous, disturbing (and completely batty) tale of dark deeds and the undead, will leave you quivering from eyeballs to toenails - utterly brilliant!

Dates and Details

Thu 26 Feb | 7:30pm | David Hall, S.Petherton | 01460 240340
Fri 27 Feb | 7:30pm | Wedmore Village Hall | 01934 712649
Sat 28 Feb | 7:30pm | Ashbrittle Village Hall | 01823 672131

Click here to book tickets and find out more...

More from Take Art

Please visit to find out about all the forthcoming shows in the new Take Art season of Rural Touring.

Or to request a brochure and to be added to our mailing list please email or call 01460 249450.

← Back

HOT NEWS: The New Take Art Programme has arrived

A new year and a new season of fantastic shows, projects and opportunities from Take Art. Check out the Spring/Summer Take Art programme here.

Bring the sunshine in early with a look ahead at Take Art’s exciting plans, plays and projects for January to August 2015.

Full of tantalising rural touring shows, the 2015 Spring Forward Dance Festival, InspirED opportunities for schools and teachers, training and support for theatre, early years and dance artists and even more shiny stuff about our creative and wellbeing work within the county.

This Season in Rural Touring

We have an impressive 17 shows sprawling and touring over Somerset from January to August 2015, including iconic and edgy theatre, Shakespeare, adventure, corsets, vampires and a flamenco guitarist.
There are adventures through medieval Spain, small town America, the Himalayas, the Victorian Empire, windswept moors and enchanted forests. We have men singing, women singing, feet tapping, fiddles playing, sultry cabaret and unapologetic old time jazz. There are puppets and Picasso, Pip Utton and powerful PowerPoint’s, not to mention a blackout that will challenge the very nature of storytelling.

It’s a big and exciting season, taking place from Minehead to Frome, Axbridge to Yeovil and 36 venues in between.

To find out what’s on near you, read about all Take Art’s work in Somerset and to book tickets please do one of these things.

1. Open the Take Art programme below… just click on it and have a browse.

2. Visit the What’s On Pages by clicking here.

3. Order your very own hard copy programme by emailing


← Back

Life Circles Creative Movement Training and Mentoring

We are now delivering a further Life Circles training programme open to care home staff and dance artists, practitioners and workshop leaders.

Life Circles is an innovative, imaginative and inspiring community dance project delivered by Core Dance, supporting the creativity of older people living in care settings. Through sessional activity, training and mentoring, the Life Circles project has enabled over 200 individuals in care settings in the South West to discover their creativity via physical participation in dance.

Life Circles Creative Movement Training

The Life Circles training course is not about teaching dance, but an exploration of how movement and dance can effectively engage with the individual as a whole person and improve their quality of life. With funding from South Somerset District Council we are now delivering a further Life Circles training programme open to care home staff and dance artists, practitioners and workshop leaders.

Dates and Details

  • Fri 23 and 30 Jan 2015 | 10am – 3pm both days | West Abbey Care Home, Stourton Way, Yeovil BA21 3UA | £50

Life Circles Mentoring Programme

Following the training sessions, a mentoring programme will be free to those who have already completed the training. Rachelle Green, Director of Core Dance, will work together with the trainees for three sessions in their care settings, to ensure that they are given bespoke support to take this work forwards and embed it into their settings.

Find Out More

For more information you can download the information sheet below. To book a place please email or call 07967 466996.

Please visit the Life Circles site to watch the project films online and keep up with news.

← Back

Yeovil Town 2 - Acrington Stanley 0

FA Cup news that Manchester United will be playing Yeovil Town in January, chimes beautifully with Wassail Theatre's tour of The Giants

Wassail Theatre's brand new production of The Giants is avaialble to tour into primary, middle and secondary schools across Somerset in February 2015.  Click for more details

← Back

Applications are now open for Spring Forward 2015 Platforms!

Spring Forward 2015 returns to the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil and the Tacchi Morris Arts Centre in Taunton for the 11th year! Applications are now open for groups to apply.

Spring Forward is Somerset's County Youth Dance Platform where young dancers get the opportunity to perform on a professional stage.  It is open to any Youth Dance Companies, School/College Dance Groups or Young Dancers who are based in and around Somerset.

2015 Spring Forward Platform dates are:

  • Tuesday 3rd March - Octagon TheatreYeovil
  • Wednesday 25th - Tacchi Morris Taunton
  • Thursday 26th - Tacchi Morris Taunton
  • Friday 27th March - Tacchi Morris Taunton

Groups can apply to perform at any of the platforms and we hope to offer groups their first choice of dates where possible.

You have the option of bringing up to three pieces to any one platform & each piece should aim to be a maximum of five minutes. These can be in any dance style. Pieces do not have to be finished at this stage, this is a brief form for us to guage numbers & interest.

Application forms can be downloaded from the Spring Forward pages of our website. Click here

Spring Forward is a Take Art event and completed forms should be emailed to or posted to Take Art by Friday 19 December.


Photo by ‘Beata Kosc Photography’

← Back

A Modest Seed Fund to assist Somerset Performers….

Take Art is delighted to announce a brand new round of Seed Funding for graduate theatre-makers, emerging artists as well as the more established performance artists based in Somerset. This small fund is for projects taking place before Easter 2015 with a deadline for applications of 1st December 2014

Its purpose is to help the performing arts sector in Somerset to grow.  The fund, although modest, is still an important way in which we want to support and encourage Somerset practitioners, especially young and emerging artists.  It has been made possible by Somerset County Council's Creative Industries Development Fund. 

The deadline for applications is Monday 1st December 2014 at 5pm.   

Download the criteria and more information about the fund below, along with the application form.  Please note we only have a modest amount available this year.  There will be one round of applications only, for appllications between £50-£250 (max).

Good luck...

Contact Sarah or Mark at Take Art if you need more help at Take Art on 01460 249450.

← Back

InspirED CPD training sparks creativity in the Early Years

The first CPD training event from InspirED at Take Art inspires 20 practitioners in preparation for the autumn season!

On Tuesday 23 September InspirED at Take Art hosted its first CPD session of the new academic year ‘Light as a Feather’ at Willow Set Pre School, Stoke St Gregory.

Teachers and practitioners, from pre schools in in the area, joined practitioner Sarah Butterworth for a practical, creative and fun session of making, manipulating and exploring working with foam and resources to create feather bird headdresses.

The aims of the session were to inspire creativity and familiarise participants with new materials and techniques that can be used with children and adults.

Activities included; Creation of basic headband for children’s costume, using plasterzote foam to decorate the headband, exploring different types of plasterzote, explanation of artists’ work – looking at hats and costume and cutting, gluing, shaping, colouring plasterzote.

Sarah Butterworth commented “Plasterzote foam is a wonderful, adaptable material for working with all ages of children and adults, and it is normally very cheap from your local scrapstore and available in large amounts. It is great for costume making and comes in different thicknesses and colours. It can be cut with children's scissors, painted with acrylic paint. Use a stapler to stick layers together, or split pins, (but put some gaffer tape on the surface to protect the foam from ripping). You can use a glue gun to decorate the foam, and it can be heated and shaped with a heat gun.”

Within the hour and a half CPD session practitioners created eye catching headdresses and embraced new skills to use within their EY setting to share with colleagues and of course their children!


Feedback from the session included using the innovative ideas and new techniques within settings towards making outfits and costumes for all seasons, including Easter bonnets, Christmas hats, cultural art and feather headdresses towards work with The Great Crane project with InspirED partner SAW - click here for further information. 

“Interesting & practical ideas that easily transfer into the classroom.”
Emma Gibbens – Stoke St Gregory Primary School

“I was initially nervous – thinking what I can do then keen to get going. The enjoyment of the activity and pleased with the end product.”
Ruth West – Abacus Nursery

“I have been given enthusiasm to use other tools and materials in the setting.”
Caroline Stone – Comeytrowe under fives Pre School

“The light as a feather CPD training gave practitioners the skills in which to develop their ideas for making head dresses for any season within their Early Year’s setting, building confidence and ideas for creativity to share with their colleagues.”
Sarah Butterworth – CPD trainer & practitioner

For further information on future activity and information about InspirED visit:

Delivered in association with Somerset Art Works and The Great Crane Project for the Celebration of Cranes project

← Back

Keep the Change: In Pictures

How Take Art empowered the people of Burnham and Highbridge to change their towns for the better. See the beautiful pictures of their work in action.

Back in July almost 100 people in Burnham and Highbridge took up our challenge to become ChangeMakers. They were each given £10 at the ‘What Change’ launch event to create a small, but significant, change to make their towns the best place to be.

On Saturday the changes started at 8am on the beach, with this stunning sand poem (written during the project) about seagulls.

On the promenade the yarn bombers transformed one of the beach shelters... This awesome site-specific exhibition of yarn-bombing on the sea front has taken on a new significance in recent days as a dedication to local teenager Charley Marks. Click here to read more about the Yarn Bombing.

Members of the public were able to explore the creative happenings throughout the day...

Photos of beach and yarn bombing by Beata Kosc Photography

At 7pm 70 people arrived at the Princess Theatre and Arts Centre for the 'Keep the Change' celebration...  to watch, listen and share all they’d achieved over the summer. During the course of the evening, we heard stories about all the amazing changes that have been created, including three beautiful dance films that explored the relationship between the two towns; an inspiring ‘Pick up your Pooch’s Poo’ campaign; entertaining monologues about the town written and performed by local people; an incredible ‘seagull’ frieze that encouraged people to explore their creative potential; a one woman GPS mapping project; a handmade flower installation; a community interactive performance of Midummer Night's Dream, poems, art exhibitions and music from local band Daft Folk. One participant spent their money on a litter bin to help keep the alley way by her house clean, promising to empty it every week.

There was more creativity on the night, when performance poet Saly Jenkinson created a wonderful on-the-spot audience poem, written by all who attended. Click here to read it in full.

Towards the end of the event we encouraged people to keep the ‘change’ in terms of any left over coins. But more importantly, we want people to keep the ‘changes’ they’ve made and to reflect on the differences they’ve achieved. Already this is apparent through the way people have learnt new skills, explored their creativity, increased their confidence and made new friends. 

On the 21 October, we are inviting everybody back to an event called ‘Sea Change’ where we hope to explore the potential for even greater changes and transformations in Burnham and Highbridge.

Keep returning to this website for updates: we’re not done yet!

← Back

Take Art and the Merlin bring big theatre to little venues

Wrong Un’ by Red Ladder tours to four Mendip venues this week.

Wrong Un’ is a new one-woman suffragette musical, telling the story of Annie Wilde, a Lancashire mill-girl, galvanised by a rousing mixture of injustice, conviction, self-doubt and fear on her journey from schoolroom to prison cell and beyond.

This extraordinary musical drama draws on class, privilege, hope and disappointment in wartime England and marks an important time in post WW1 history.

As part of the Take Art and Merlin Theatre project Merlin in Mendip, bringing top quality big stage theatre to local village venues, Wrong ‘Un is visiting four Somerset venues this week, from including Leigh-on-Mendip, Chaffcombe, Frome and Batcombe.

The show was written by ex-Chumbawamba guitarist and writer Boff Whalley, and directed by Justin Audibert, It is a one-woman musical performed by Ella Harris.

Writer Boff Whalley comments, “I was prompted to write the musical after hearing from a friend who had discovered her grandmother's 100-year-old collection of suffragette memorabilia, letters, photograph albums and newspaper cuttings. Amongst the finds was her grandmother's suffragette medal, awarded to those women who were imprisoned and force-fed in Holloway Gaol for taking direct action. Suddenly, something distantly historic became personal and human; and I knew that I had a play to write.”

Show Times Across Mendip

  • Leigh on Mendip Memorial Hall: Wed 17 Sept, 8pm. Call 01373 813115 or book online.
  • Chaffcombe Village Hall: Thur 18 Sept, 7.30pm. Call 01460 65909 or book online.
  • The Merlin Theatre: Fri 19 Sept, 7.45pm. Call 01373 465949 or book online.
  • Batcombe Jubilee Hall: Sat 20 Sept, 7pm Call 01749 812218 or book online.

Tickets are still available for all four venues and you can find out more and book online here.


To request images/further information please contact Louise Monks, Marketing & Communications Manager for Take Art: 01460 249450 /

← Back

Rural Touring more popular than ever across Somerset

It’s a new season for Take Art in Somerset and after 27 years of bringing music, theatre, dance and comedy shows to local venues, Take Art are still going strong, despite the best efforts of the purse string pinchers.

Sarah Peterkin, Director of Take Art Rural Touring, said “Since the County Council funding cuts in 2011 we are only able to offer half the amount of shows to Somerset communities, 60 instead of 120, but because we have not compromised on quality, the popularity of the scheme remains strong. Audiences across the county are averaging at about 70% and growing.”

The Rural Touring scheme is supported by over 40 fantastic volunteer promoters, who give hours of their own time to work with Take Art to put on professional shows in village halls and local theatres. 

Jane Hole, Neroche Village Hall promoter, said “Our Take Art shows have been great fun to work with, to host, to meet the performers and for that special time when the hall is alive with people having fun and enjoying themselves. I know the financial times are hard at the moment but the rural touring programme seems to be battling on and still attracting classy acts.”

This Season in Rural Touring

We have eleven different shows touring Somerset from September to November 2014, kicking off with the hugely amusing Tom Wainwright and his comedy double bill Buttercup and Barry the Beaver.


In a more serious vein Red Ladder (see above pic) will be performing their inspiring 1918 suffragette story ‘Wrong ‘Un in six Somerset venues. Also in theatre the much beloved Pip Utton returns with his new show Casanova, certain to ruffle a few doilies and upturn the odd cake tray. In early November Kali Theatre will be inviting you to the reception of an interracial marriage between a girl from the country and a boy from the big city, in My Big Fat Cowpat Wedding a thought provoking comedy in the style of an actual awkward wedding.


This season also offers a range of musical entertainment including a three-stop October tour from Canadian folk/pop singer-songwriter Ian Sherwood, from Nova Scotia and a November outing from the six-piece string band The Buffalo Gals (see above pic).

The part Maori and part Scottish, all female trio, Pacific Curls, are also visiting Somerset this Autumn to offer an enthralling and heady world music sound to four rural venues.


The season draws to a dramatic, panoramic and windswept conclusion with TV wildlife filmmaker Ben Osborne and his show Himalayan Journeys (see above pic), a personal account (with eye-popping photos) of one of the greatest adventures on Earth.

You can find out more about all our shows, books tickets and learn how to support rural touring in Somerset by visiting our What's On Section.



To request images/further information please contact Louise Monks, Marketing & Communications Manager for Take Art: 01460 249450 /

Take Art is a pioneering arts charity, serving the towns, villages and rural communities of Somerset. We do this by providing accessible opportunities for people of all ages to participate, experience and work within the arts.

← Back

The Octagon launches £5,000 Dance Bursary 2014/15

The Octagon Theatre is now inviting dance companies from across the UK to apply for the second £5,000 Octagon Dance Associate bursary, offered in partnership with Take Art Dance.


The Octagon Dance Associate bursary is a unique combination of space provision, financial support and specialist expertise for the development of an artist or company drawn from a nationwide call-out opportunity.

This open call is targeted at dance companies who have made and successfully toured a show for evening performance.

The two-phase bursary offer was launched in 2013, with each bursary running between nine and 12 months. The first year's bursary is currently underway and was won by Ben Wright of bgroup. This call out is for the second bursary, to commence in October 2014.

To find out more about the offer and how to apply please click on the Related Article below.


← Back

HOT NEWS: The New Take Art Programme has arrived

Hurrah, it’s the Autumn 2014 Take Art Programme, packed with the latest news, shows and opportunities... and you can read it here now.

It’s a new season for Take Art in Somerset, which means we can heft back the big velvet curtain and reveal the still steaming (not like a cow pat) Take Art autumn programme.

Full of great rural touring shows, creative opportunities in theatre and dance, lots of stuff for schools and the latest news on all our exciting projects… and it’s got a cow on it! You probably best just have a look.

This Season in Rural Touring

We have ten shows touring Somerset from September to November 2014, kicking off with the hugely amusing Tom Wainwright and his comedy double bill Buttercup and Barry the Beaver. Tom juggles the hilarious and surreal in a show definitely best suited to older teenagers and adults.

In a more series vein Red Ladder will be performing their WWI theatre show ‘Wrong ‘Un in six Somerset venues, helping us honour the 100 year anniversary of the Great War. Also in theatre the much beloved Pip Utton returns with his new show Casanova, certain to ruffle a few doilies and upturn the odd cake tray.

In early November Kali Theatre will be inviting you to an interracial marriage between a girl from the country and a boy from the big city, in a thought provoking comedy in the style of an actual awkward wedding. Owch!

This season proffers a range of music, including a three-stop October tour from folk/pop Canadian artist Ian Sherwood, who hails from Nova Scotia. The part Maori, part Scottish, Pacific Curls are also visiting in October to offer their enthralling and heady world music sound to four Somerset venues. In November we welcome six-piece string band The Buffalo Girls, guaranteed to get the floorboards creaking with all that joyful dancing.

For kids and their adults Angel Heart Theatre return with their imagination exploding live puppet show Cirkus Spectakular for children four years and up. The season then draws to a dramatic, panoramic and windswept conclusion with TV wildlife filmmaker Ben Osborne and Himalayan Journeys, a personal account (with eye popping photos) of one of the greatest adventures on Earth.

What Else?

Take Art continues to reach thousands of people across Somerset with opportunities and workshops in dance, theatre, music and early years creativity.

You can find out more about our work and our shows by clicking on the magic ‘read on the screen’ programme below.

To book tickets for any of our shows please visit our What’s On pages


← Back

Octagon Dance Associate in Residence

Ben Wright, artistic director of bgroup, has been in residence at the Octagon Theatre as part of his Dance Associate Role.

Ben Wright, artistic director of bgroup, was in residence at the Octagon Theatre in July as part of his Dance Associate role. The company was on stage all week as part of the creation process of their new piece Spectrum. Ben was recipient of a bursary created as part of the Octagon Theatre’s Arts Council funded Dance Development project.

Ben said, “I am extremely excited and thankful to receive this support from the Octagon, it is wonderful to feel so actively supported through this alliance and association. The bursary has played a significant role in the creation of our new work Spectrum and we look forward immeasurably to engaging with the Theatre’s local community”.

The finished piece will be performed at the Octagon Theatre on Tuesday 14 April 2015.

The second bursary application process will launch in August; keep an eye open as we will announce it here.

← Back

What Change has been launched in Burnham & Highbridge!

What Change was launched on Saturday 12 July at the Princess Theatre & Arts Centre in Burnham-on-Sea.

Thank you very much to everyone who joined us; it was great to see so many enthusiastic people there raring to go with the activities on offer this summer and of course the Small Change Challenge! We look forward to hearing how you each spent your £10 at the wrap-up event in September. Until then, those who would still like to take part but couldn't make the launch, there are plenty of workshop activities to take part in this summer. Download your copy of the Summer Activities Programme below as a PDF or flick through the Issuu document.

This is a chance for adults and young people to join in a variety of friendly workshops run by a great bunch of creative people. The cost of each workshop is just £2 (under 16s free). You can choose to get involved as an individual or as a family.

Keep an eye on the Word/Play website for more details, and you can follow Take Art Word Play on Facebook and Twitter (@TakeArtWordPlay).

What Change is a community theatre project taking place during Summer 2014, encouraging residents of Burnham & Highbridge to think about what change they can create to make their towns the best place to be. Alongside The Whiteball Tunnel project, What Change forms the other half of Word/Play Phase 3 exploring small positive changes that can be made within a community. Photos: Beata Kosoc Photography.

Photos: Beata Kosc Photography
← Back

SYDC success at the nationals + auditions for September announced

Be part of SYDC's growing success in 2014/2015

Somerset Youth Dance Company (SYDC) is auditioning for new members in September. We’re on the look out for any young dancers who might be interested in joining!

SYDC is for dancers who are aged between 13-21 who have a passion and commitment to develop their dancing. The company is now finding continued success on both local and national dance stages, having just returned from the National Youth Dance England Event, U.Dance 2014, where they performed the piece they had commissioned by Retina Dance Company (see the video below). This is the second year SYDC has been selected to represent the South West at this national event.

The company continues to work with exciting dance companies, having worked with Motionhouse and Retina already this year, and a Jasmin Vardimon Dance Company residency is lined up for October. SYDC runs classes in both Bridgwater and Yeovil, and successful SYDC members will attend a weekly session at their nearest location. There will also be an additional fortnightly Sunday rehearsal scheduled for advanced members of the company.

Tues 16 Sept, 6-9pm (registration opens at 5:30pm)  |  Octagon Theatre, Yeovil
Thurs 18 Sept
, 5:30-8:30pm (registration opens at 5pm)  |  Bridgwater College Academy

To attend an audition, please register your interest by emailing Company Director Katey Leader:
For more information please click here or see Somerset Youth Dance Company’s Facebook page.

Here is a film of SYDC's fantastic performance of Falling to Take Flight at the national U.Dance 2014 in Nottingham:

← Back

In conclusion, Touring Matters

The last 'action' of the two-year DanSCe Dialogues 2 project, Touring Matters, took place on Saturday at The Point, Eastleigh.

We were delighted to be joined at The Point for Touring Matters by a number of French colleagues from dance companies, programmers and regional agencies, as well as UK colleagues, companies and funders.

The day was spent seeing dance, discussing the different touring models in the two countries and sharing worries over the future of arts/cultural funding on both sides of the channel. Over the two years it seems like new colleagues are becoming old friends and there was an energy about continuing to work together if possible.

Watch this space!


DD2 Logo: Arnaud-Pierre Fourtane

← Back

Good news for Tangle!

Take Art's associated company Tangle International have been awarded NPO status for the first time.

We are pleased as punch to hear Tangle's good news and we look forward to developing our work and relationship with this fantastic company over the coming years. Artistic Director for Tangle, Anna Coombs had this to say:

"Tangle are delighted to have been offered status as a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England. Since 2013 Tangle has had its registered office at Take Art in Somerset, with whom we have a growing partnership, working together on a range of projects, including the SOUTH WEST’S PARTNERSHIP FOR MULTI-RACIAL THEATRE. The opportunity afforded through NPO status will enable both organisations to continue to work closely together. It also enables Tangle to establish a strong physical presence in the region, as from 2015 we will be operating part-time from an administrative base at Take Art." 

← Back

Take Art continues as a National Portfolio Organisation

Arts Council England funding secured for next three years.

Tuesday 1 July 2014

This morning the principal funder of the arts in England, Arts Council England (ACE), unveiled its list of National Portfolio Organisations for 2015-18 and we are pleased that Take Art has been shown a vote of their confidence. We will maintain the same level of funding for the next three years, enabling us to continue delivering high quality arts provision in Somerset. This will include work with all age groups and sectors of the community including schools, youth groups and residential homes. The main areas of our work are dance and theatre development, early years creativity as well as delivering the county's rural touring scheme.

In our ACE assessment we were scored strongly against our three goals: artistic excellence; reaching and engaging communities; children and young people.

We’d like to thank the continued support of our colleagues, volunteers/promoters, partners, board members and audience members. Without their help, commitment and time Take Art would not be able to continue providing a high quality arts provision for communities and individuals in Somerset.

← Back

DramaFest Success

On Tuesday 24 June, over 70 students from across Somerset performed on stage at the Octagon Theatre in Yeovil.

DramaFest was an InspirED event, showcasing the work of secondary drama students from schools across Somerset, to each other as well as to a public audience. InspirED subscribing schools Huish Academy from Huish Episcopi and Bishop’s Foxes School, Taunton, as well as Yeovil's Bucklers Mead Academy and Preston Academy, all took to the stage at Yeovil's Octagon Theatre.

Over 72 students took part in the platform - all having an opportunity to perform a devised, scripted or improvised piece of theatre on a professional theatre stage as well as watch each other perform. Their work included:

Can’t Pay, Won’t Pay by Dario Fo - Huish Academy
Burying Your Brother in the Pavement - Bishops Foxes School
Titanic: Our Interpretation - Preston Academy
Don’t Ignore Me - Bucklers Mead Academy
Monologues - Bucklers Mead Academy
Shakers by John Godber - Huish Episcopi Academy
When You Hurt Me - Bucklers Mead Academy

There was a fantastic response from participants as well as the public audience. "Just pure awesome - enjoyed every performance".

InspirED Somerset is a unique partnership between Spaeda, Somerset Film and Video, Somerset Art Works and Take Art. The network aims to enrich creative arts and learning for all Somerset children and young people, bringing the skills and expertise of arts and media professionals direct to Somerset schools, colleges and education settings. Take Art's role is to support Dance and Drama Teachers in Schools and Creative Practitioners working in Early Years. To find out more about InspirED Somerset please click here.

← Back

My Tunes 2 music project receives Youth Music grant

Take Art has been granted £49,950 from Youth Music and a further boost from four Pupil Referral Units in Somerset to undertake a two-year music project, My Tunes 2, with 75 young people excluded from mainstream schools.

"I have not seen him be that committed to any other project, the work in these sessions has helped nurture and develop learning in other subjects besides music"

(One teacher from a PRU about a student involved in My Tunes)

Following an initial My Tunes project culminating in 2014, Take Art has secured funding for its follow-up, My Tunes 2.

Thanks to this funding My Tunes 2 will continue the legacy of recently completed music project My Tunes, building on relationships with Actiontrack and young people in four Somerset Pupil Referral Units (PRUs), working together to make and record music in a range of styles from May 2014 to May 2016.

Take Art and Actiontrack Performance Company will be working with the four area schools in Taunton Deane, Sedgemoor, South Somerset and Mendip to make music with young people who have been excluded from mainstream schools over the next two years. A variety of music styles including, rap, rock, beatbox, grime, dubstep and soul will be offered to 125 young people in taster sessions, then 75 in more in-depth follow up sessions, as well as recording opportunities at the Actiontrack recording studio in Taunton.

My Tunes 2 will also be expanded to include training for the Targeted Youth Support team who work with vulnerable 15 to 19 year olds. This is an exciting development and contributes to our ambition to develop a countywide strategy for working through music with vulnerable children and young people. As part of this we are working with the Somerset Music Education Hub – Sound Foundation Somerset.

← Back

Making In Somerset 2014: Save the date!

A date for Somerset theatre makers' diaries - come and get together, network and share your ideas on Saturday 19 July.

Take Art Theatre directors Mark and Sarah have come to the conclusion that Somerset theatre makers are long overdue for a get-together, so have organised Making In Somerset to rectify the situation... The Brewhouse Studio is booked for the afternoon and early evening of Saturday 19 July. Somerset theatre makers are warmly invited to come along and share your news. We are aware that there are now lots of new people living and making exciting theatre type work in Somerset so Making in Somerset 2014 will be an opportunity for us all to meet up, have some food, share ideas and just start new conversations.

Click here to find out more!

← Back

Soundwaves Bursary Opportunity

Final round of our bursary opportunity of up to £100 for Early Years practitioners

This is the final call for applications of up to £100 for our Soundwaves bursary, open to Early Years practitioners living/working in the South West, before the funding expires in September.

We recognise that as individual artists and Early Years staff we often have specific training needs and interests. If you live or work in the South West and are keen to find out more about a project by visiting a setting, or need some funding to attend a course or conference, the Soundwaves bursary could help.

What you need to do to apply:

- Identify the training opportunity
- Think about what you hope to gain from visiting the project/setting/event or course
- Think about how this fits with your own professional development or builds on your current skills
- Calculate how much funding you require.

Contact Caroline Barnes, co-Director of Take Art Early Years on / 01460 249450.

To find out more about Soundwaves please click here.

← Back

Take Art’s Katey Leader is made a U.Dance Champion

Youth Dance England has announced their U.Dance Roll of Honour 2014 - including our very own Katey Leader!

Take Art's Director of Dance, Katey Leader, has been included in Youth Dance England's U.Dance Roll of Honour 2014 as a U.Dance Champion. This accolade was awarded to Katey in recognition of having hosted no less than eight U.Dance platforms across Somerset as part of Spring Forward Festival earlier this year.

Katey said, "U.Dance is such a fantastic opportunity for young people to perform on a professional stage and to get inspiration from each other by watching other groups. The difference I see in dancers after the experience of a U.Dance platform is a transformation. It's when the hard work and hours spent sweating in the dance studio pays off... where the dancers in them come alive and where they thrive. It is a pleasure to be involved in."

Katey heads up Somerset Youth Dance Company, who were recently selected by a professional panel at the U.Dance regional platform in March to go through to the national summit this coming June in Nottingham. Read more about SYDC's success here.

Congratulations Katey - a thoroughly well deserved Champion!

← Back

Promoters’ Menu 2014/15

Take Art's Rural Touring Menu has now launched, packed with productions for promoters to peruse!

Sarah, who runs Take Art's Rural Touring service, met with promoters on Sunday to present the Menu of shows on offer for autumn 2014 and spring 2015.

If you missed the meeting, don't worry - you can view the Menu online here, or download a PDF and booking form below.

As ever there are lots of exciting shows to choose from to host in your communities! If you are a new promoter, please make sure you read through the introduction pages in particular.

The deadline to get your choices in is Friday 30 May. If you've got any queries about any of the shows please don't hesitate to contact Sarah: / 01460 249450.

← Back

The Whiteball Tunnel Project gets underway

Wheels are set in motion to get The Whiteball Tunnel community theatre project fully on track.

Take Art, Actiontrack and Forkbeard Fantasy are working together with communities from in and around Wellington to create a community history play like no other! The project also forms part of Phase 3 of Word/Play.

There was a fantastic turn out at The Beambridge Inn on 24 April for the project launch, with representatives from schools and arts organisations, historians, rail enthusiasts, local politicians, residents and plenty of other interested individuals and groups from both ends of the tunnel. The Whiteball Tunnel Project kicks off with a series of workshops for performers, musicians and volunteers of all ages who would like to find out more about the project at Wellington Arts Centre, on Tuesdays 6, 13 and 20 May from 6:30–8:30pm.

This fascinating project aims to bring the history of the Whiteball Tunnel to life, culminating in a week of performances in November.

Take Art, Actiontrack and Forkbeard Fantasy are collaborating to create both a spectacular event and a digital and actual legacy. This will take the form of brick markers on the footpath surrounding the tunnel, each of which will have a QR code which will tell the story of the project. The markers will be made of 1000 bricks representing the navvies employed to build the tunnel.

At the launch Forkbeard Fantasy demonstrated some of the visual and auditory effects - for which they are renowned - that they intend to incorporate into the project.

Keep an eye on for further developments!

← Back

SYDC Celebrates Selection

Take Art-led Somerset Youth Dance Company are celebrating after being selected to represent the South West in Youth Dance England’s national platform.

On Saturday 29 March, Youth Dance England’s southwest regional platform (U.Dance SW) took place at the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre in Taunton, where fifteen youth dance groups showcased their work to each other, a public audience and a selection panel, as part of the recent month-long Spring Forward Festival.

Amid the outstanding quality of work presented, the panel of dance professionals selected Somerset Youth Dance Company and a group from Cornwall (For Funks Sake) to represent the southwest region and perform at the national four-day YDE dance festival at Nottingham in June, which will include some twenty selected youth groups from across England, Scotland and Wales, as well as National Dance Companies from each country.

SYDC, which is run by Take Art's Director of Dance, Katey Leader, was selected for their excellent performance of the piece, Falling to Take Flight, choreographed for them by innovative contemporary dance company Retina. SYDC wanted Retina as their choreographers after taking part in one of their inspirational workshops at last year’s national platform. They are now thrilled to have come full circle and to be taking this piece to Nottingham to perform. Congratulations SYDC!

SYDC photos:  Beata Kosc Photography

← Back

Funding Refresher Workshop

Calling all Somerset theatre makers! Need ideas for funding your project? Want tips on applying for support? Keen to establish partnerships for your work? Come along to our Funding Refresher training session.

If you want to find out about prospective funding opportunities for your project, or bounce around some ideas for shaping and scoping it, book a place on our Funding Refresher session, led by Take Art's co-Director of Theatre, Mark Helyar.

Taking place on Thursday 8 May, 12-5pm, at the Albermarle Centre in Taunton, this half-day training session offers an overview of funding suitable for arts projects including Arts Council England, other public funders, trusts and foundations, crowd-funding and other examples of individual giving. It will include a session on making a Grants for the Arts applications to Arts Council England and provide a friendly environment to share challenges and solutions to your project development needs.

Aimed at artists with projects in development that require new sources of income, we will tailor the session to the needs of the group.

To book your place please contact Places are £15 per person.

← Back

Dream Nation Has Arrived

Tangle Theatre will be delivering inspirational workshops in Somerset this week as part of their Dream Nation South West tour.

Tangle, an African-Caribbean touring theatre company, work across the South West  - the UK’s largest and most rural region – and in London, its biggest urban centre. Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr’s speech ‘I have a dream’, (celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2013), Tangle's Dream Nation invites people from all walks of life to take part in their multi-platform arts project. Here they’ll envision and celebrate local, contemporary society from a wholly multi-racial perspective.

On Tuesday 18th March Tangle will be starting a week of workshops across Somerset. They will be working with primary school children in Bridgwater, a community group in Burnham-on-Sea and will be running workshops in two different secondary schools in Crewkerne and Wellington. During each workshop, participants will create an original haiku (a short Japanese poem consisting of 17 syllables) articulating their personal vision for a new ‘dream nation’.  These will be displayed on a specially commissioned, travelling installation created by stage designer Colin Falconer, which will also tour venues across SW England. 

Dream Nation is in collaboration with South West England’s Partnership for Multi Racial Theatre, a consortium of 20 arts organisations, including Take Art, in the South-West.

To follow on from the Dream Nation tour, in Summer 2014 Take Art will be running Word/Play Phase 3, a community theatre project to encourage public dialogue around key contemporary issues.

Click here to visit Tangle's website.

← Back

Motionhouse Inspires Somerset’s Young Dancers

Somerset Youth Dance Company performs curtain raiser for Motionhouse's spectacular new production 'Broken' at The Octagon Theatre.

Motionhouse, a leading UK dance theatre company, performed it's new gravity-defying show Broken last night at The Octagon Theatre, invoking an electric response from the audience.  There was a fantastic buzz in the theatre as the company erupted onto their incredible set combining stunning athleticism and dance with intricate digital imagery and original music in a visual and adrenaline-fuelled spectacle.

Take Art's own Somerset Youth Dance Company had the huge honour of performing on stage with a curtain raiser before the main show.  Motionhouse dancer Becci Williams worked with the young dancers over an intensive 3 days to create the friendship inspired piece T.I.M.E. Congratulations to SYDC for a flawless performance, and a huge thank you to Becci and Motionhouse for taking the time to work with them and create an impressive piece. 

Here are a few of the tweets from the inspired members of Somerset Youth Dance Company:

@durmm: @MotionhouseDT was amazing tonight! And doing the curtain opener was such an amazing experience!! Well done @SYDCtakeart team.

@JodieBray14:  Motionhouse was insane!! One of the best shows I have ever watched!

@MaddockMegan: Thankyou @BecciWil for choreographing such a beautiful piece for Sydc! You were phenomenal in the show! Come back and see us soon

The best part is it's not over yet! As part of Spring Forward Dance Festival 2014 we have a Motionhouse residency starting this Sunday 9th March.  We are offering young people an unmissable opportunity to work with Alastair from the Company in a dance workshop at The Octagon Theatre from 12pm to 6pm.  There will also be a chance for teachers and youth dance leaders to get involved and work with Alastair on Monday 10th March at Yeovil College from 6pm to 9pm.

To take advantage of these opportunities please email expressing your interest. You can also find out more about everything we have on offer with Spring Forward Dance Festival by clicking here

← Back

Support for Artists: Funding Refresher Workshop POSTPONED UNTIL MAY due to personal circumstances

Want tips on applying to Arts Council England? Need new ideas for funding your project? Keen to establish partnerships to lever support for your projects? Come along to this Funding Refresher.

The Funding Refresher workshop will include useful ideas, advice and news about prospective funding opportunities for your project. We welcome artists to a friendly environment where you can bounce some ideas for shaping and scoping your project, discuss your plans and share ideas. The session will give an overview of funding suitable for arts projects including ACE, other public funders, trusts and foundations, crowd funding and other examples of individual giving. It will also include in depth advice about making ACE grants for the arts applications.

This half day training session has been postponed from 13 March due to a bereavement and will now be taking place in May at the Albermarle Centre, Taunton and will be led by Mark Helyar from Take Art

Don't miss out - book a place by contacting Take Art at 01460 249 450 or email

← Back

Spring Forward Festival Celebrates Ten Years of Youth Dance in Somerset

To celebrate the tenth anniversary of Spring Forward – Somerset’s youth dance platform – Take Art has organised a spectacular month-long youth dance festival across the county at a range of venues.

Ten years ago, in partnership with the Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, Take Art organised the first Spring Forward ‘platform’ – a countywide opportunity for youth dance groups to come together and perform on a professional stage to an audience and to each other. The platform, called Spring Loaded at the time, became an annual event and soon attracted hundreds of entries so it expanded across three and then four nights in subsequent years, joining forces with Yeovil’s Octagon Theatre to accommodate all the performances.

Now, to celebrate the vibrancy of youth dance in Somerset, Spring Forward Festival takes place throughout March, aiming to encourage children and young people of all ages from Somerset to engage with dance through a number of avenues. The broad festival programme offers unrivalled opportunities to perform on a professional stage, participate in master classes or workshops and watch world-class professional dance performances. There are also opportunities for those who teach dance to take part in training sessions led by dance professionals at the top of their game. In keeping with the festival’s ethos, young people have been integral in the planning from the start and are keen to run a strong social media campaign throughout the festival.

One particular festival highlight is the UK’s foremost dance company Motionhouse in a much-anticipated return to Somerset with a performance of their latest production, Broken, plus they will undertake a schools residency, plus offer workshops and training taking place at the Octagon Theatre.

Somerset venues taking part in Spring Forward Festival are the Octagon Theatre, Merlin Theatre, Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre, Halsway Manor, Regal Theatre and Taunton’s new Creative Innovation Centre, as well as Bridgwater College, Yeovil College, Bridgwater College Academy and Robert Blake Science College. In addition to making the most of the opportunities on offer in the festival programme, young people can also take part by hosting their own Spring Forward dance show at a school, village hall, community centre or any local venue.

Take Art’s Director of Dance, Katey Leader, said, “I’m really excited that Spring Forward has grown to be so popular that we’ve been able to fill a whole month with dance opportunities for children and young people across Somerset to get involved with. Anyone can join in, it doesn’t matter what level or style of dance they practise – there’s something for everyone in Spring Forward Festival. I hope to see the festival become an annual event, continuing to develop each year.

To see the packed timetable of events take a look at the online programme below.  For further details on how you can get involved in Spring Forward Festival click here. Dance in Somerset is truly flourishing!

← Back

Flood Relief Fundraising Event Receives Tremendous Support

In response to the current devastating flooding situation on the Somerset Levels and Moors, Take Art re-staged Shiona Morton’s play The Rain Has Voices, which toured the South West to great acclaim in 2006. All the money raised is supporting the Somerset Flood Relief Campaign.


We did it!  And we would like to say a huge ‘thanks’ to everyone who rallied around to make this event happen, and to those who came along to see the performance on Sunday.

The Red Brick Building, Glastonbury, was a hive of activity on Sunday 16 March as the cast and technical team arrived in the afternoon to assemble the show.  Thankfully we were blessed with a team of extremely talented people who understood exactly what needed to be done in such a short space of time.  As the doors opened at 6.45pm, it was amazing to see a large number of people roll in and take their seats.

“The event went really well and we’ve had some great feedback. The venue was packed and there was a great atmosphere,” said Sarah Peterkin, Co-Director of Theatre.

Although we are still waiting to hear how much money was made to support the Relief Fund, we are hopeful that we are close to reaching our target of £1000.  You can still help by donating here.

A special thank you to our colleagues at Somerset Film, who recorded the performance. This is now available as a podcast. Please click here.

The Rain Has Voices was first toured by Take Art eight years ago, set around a fictional village on the Somerset Levels called Harrow Bridge. Threatened by a major flood, most of the villagers have to evacuate the area. But a few remained, holding fast to their memories and their lives.

Given its immediate relevance, we re-staged the play, as a rehearsed reading, to raise funds for those affected by the extensive and persistent floods across the county. We produced it in partnership with our colleagues at Somerset Film as an opportunity for the arts community to give something back to Somerset residents.

← Back

U. Dance South West 2014 Successful Applicants

Take Art are hosting this year's regional youth dance platform, U.Dance South West, in partnership with Pavillion Dance South West. We are delighted to announce the groups who have gained a place at this prestigious event.

U.Dance South West celebrates and showcases excellence in youth dance (in all forms and styles) from across the region.  Take Art would like to thank all groups who applied for a chance to perform this year.  The standard of applications was very high and our panel had some tough decisions to make!  Although we would have loved to have offered all applicants the opportunity take part, Take Art are excited to announce that the following applicants were successful:

Bridgwater College
Dance South Gloucestershire: Youth Dance Company
Hampshire Youth Dance Company
Jigsaw: Salisbury Youth Dance Company
Lytchett Minster School
RISE Youth Dance
Somerset Youth Dance Company
Swindon Youth Dance Company
Swindon Dance Youth Dance Academy - Exeter Contemporary Programme
4 Funx Sake Youth Dance
South Boys Dance
Cornwall Youth Dance Company

Congratulations to all of the above groups, this is a fantastic opportunity to come together to share work and creative ideas. The final performances will be judged by the U.Dance Panel and two lucky groups will go through to Youth Dance England’s National U.Dance 2014 platform, which will take place in Nottingham in June.

If you would like to support these groups and watch their inspiring performances, come along to U.Dance South West 2014 at Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre on Saturday 29th March at 6:30pm. For more details and to buy tickets click here

This event is part of Spring Forward Festival 2014, a spectacular month-long festival throughout March celebrating ten years of youth dance in Somerset.

← Back

Spring Forward 2014 Successful Applicants

Thank you for all applications to take part in our County Youth Dance Platform; Spring Forward 2014.

Spring Forward is an exciting opportunity for young, inspiring dancers from across Somerset to dance on a professional stage and watch and be inspired by their peers.  It has been fantastic to see the number of groups that have applied to take part in this year’s Spring Forward.

We are delighted to announce the following successful applicants:

Carlea Theatre Arts
Bridgwater College: BTEC Yr1, BTEC Yr2, D14 Dance Company
New College Youth Dance Company
LA Festival
Junior Festival
Taunton Youth Dance Company
Westfield Academy: Yr10, Yr11
Jumpin Youth Dance Company: Beginners and Advanced
Inspire Dance Company
Breaking Point Company
Taunton Academy Dance Company
Helen Laxton School of Dance
Somerset Youth Dance Company
Bridgwater College Academy
Jigsaw: Salisbury Youth Dance Company
Seesaw Youth Dance
Independent Artists
Clevedon School
Julia Thorneycroft Dance Young Company
Joe Garbett
SpinDrift Youth Dance Company
Robert Blake Science College: BTEC Dancers
Richard Huish College: AS and A2 Dancers
Portrait: Dorset Youth Dance
Zoe & Chris
Bridport Boys

Come along to see successful applicants perform at one of the following platforms:

Wed 26 Feb 7:30PM The Octagon Theatre
Wed 26 Mar 7:30PM The Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre
Thu 27 Mar 7:30PM The Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre
Fri 28 Mar 7:30PM The Tacchi-Morris Arts Centre

This is the 10th year Spring Forward has run in Somerset and to celebrate we are hosting a month long Youth Dance Festival throughout March.  For the full programme of events click here

← Back

Early Years Training Opportunities

As part of InspirED Somerset, Take Art and Spaeda are offering a range of creative training opportunities for those working in the early years sector in Somerset.

As part of a series of InspirED workshops this Spring, Take Art and Spaeda are offering Creative Transition Twilight Training in Langport on Tuesday 18 March.  We know that moving from a preschool or nursery setting to Reception can be a daunting time. Our practical workshop will explore how a range of art forms can help support this important time for children, families and staff. Click here to find out more.

Also this March, Take Art have great pleasure in inviting Early Years staff and childminders to find out more about the Reggio Emilia Approach in Early Years. respects children and young people as strong, capable protagonists in their own learning as well as creative collaborators.  There will be two opportunities to attend the course in Frome and Wellington. Places are limited so book early to avoid disappointment.  Click here for further details.

If you are a SENCO in Somerset then make sure you a book a place on our two part Specialist Music Training Course. The sessions will take place in Taunton and Bridgwater and will be led by Emma Hutchinson, founder and director of the highly successful Music House for Children. This is a unmissable opportunity for those working with young children with partial or profound needs through musical experiences, learning and engagement. For more information click here.

To find our more about Take Art InspirED events and training please go to

← Back

The Rain Has Voices: Flood Relief Fundraising Event

In response to the current devastating flooding situation on the Somerset Levels and Moors, Take Art is re-staging, as a rehearsed reading, Shiona Morton's play that toured the South West to great acclaim in 2006. All proceeds go to support the Somerset Flood Relief Campaign.

Photo Credit:  Matilda Temperley Photography Ltd


Click Here to Donate

Click Here to buy a Ticket for The Rain Has Voices or buy a ticket on the door.

The Rain Has Voices by Shiona Morton: commissioned as A Play for Somerset.
Red Brick Building, Glastonbury, 7pm, Sunday 16 February.

The Rain Has Voices was first toured by Take Art eight years ago, set around a fictional village on the Somerset Levels called Harrow Bridge. Threatened by a major flood, most of the villagers have to evacuate the area. But a few remained, holding fast to their memories and their lives. Click here to read more about the show.

Given its immediate relevance, Take Art is re-staging the play, as a rehearsed reading, to raise funds for those affected by the extensive and persistent floods across the county. We are producing it in partnership with our colleagues at Somerset Film, as an opportunity for the arts community to give something back to Somerset residents.

“Several of the people and communities directly affected by the floods are our friends, neighbours and colleagues,” says Mark Helyar, Co-Director of Theatre at Take Art. “Many of them are great supporters of our work across rural Somerset. We want to do something to show our solidarity with what they’re experiencing at the moment and help them in whatever way we can.”

TICKETS: Pay What You Can Afford To Donate. Ticket prices have been set at £5 but we think its worth at least a tenner!  If you agree, then please add a small voluntary donation when you buy online

INVISIBLE TICKETS: If you cannot attend but still wish to support us, then you can purchase an 'invisible ticket' by making a donation to the fund via Take Art. 

100% of all ticket prices and donations will go to support the Somerset Community Foundation's Emergency Flood Relief Fund, which is helping individuals, families and communities recover from the impact of the current floods.

A recording of this rehearsed reading should be available online at a future date.  Please watch this space for further information.

Take Art extend a huge thanks to everyone who is rallying around to help make this production happen.

← Back