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What’s on this month

September, we salute you! Here's your Muddy guide to what's on this month, from festivals to films and outdoor fuuuun. Be prepared!

HISTORY: Mayflower 400, various venues, from August 2020

Back on after COVID-19 lockdown, the main programme has now started in Southampton with Wampum: Stories from the Shells of Native America, a national touring exhibition curated by Plymouth’s The Box, followed with an online documentary presented by TV historian Dan Snow on 16 September, marking 400 years to the day since the Mayflower ship set sail.

The Mayflower 400 programme will then run through to 2021 culminating with a Four Nations Commemoration Ceremony involving the USA, Netherlands, UK and Wampanoag nations on July 11 next year. We will keep you posted.

CINEMA: Bugsy Malone, Barn Cinema, Dartington, Tues 1 Sept

What fabulous blast from the past (who can forget those custard guns?) with Bugsy Malone,  Fat Sam and Blousey Brown (played by Jodie Foster). Prohibition silliness with a great soundtrack with an entire cast of child actors written and directed by the late, great Alan Parker.

OUTDOOR CINEMA: The Blues Brothers, The Big Sheep, Bideford, Fri 4 Sept

“Two men with a mission and only 11 days”. Forty years old but Belushi and Ackroyd’s film still rocks.

FAMILY : Piggies and Prosecco, Pennywell Farm, Torquay, Sat 5 Sept

Admittedly a highly unusual combination, however, if you are one who would delight in squeezing an adorable miniature piglet whilst sipping on some of the sparkling stuff then this is definitely one for you. Plus, tickets are limited to only 20 people, so, private and personal Piggies and Prosecco.

WILDLIFE: Geology Day Trip, Stuart Line Crusies, Exmouth, Mon 7 Sept

Stuart Line Cruises offer full-day geology cruises, giving passengers the opportunity to discover some of the most magnificent sections of the British coastline from the water. Geology,  wildlife and history of the area,  with pasties and other local refreshments. Incidentally, these cruises happen only twice a year. 

OUTDOOR CINEMA: Adventure Cinema Drive-in and Music, Westpoint Arena, nr Exeter, Tues 8 – Sun 13 Sept

Grab the popcorn! Here are 17 movies to choose from screened outdoors over six days, with a mix of oldies and new(ish)ies, including Groundhog Day, Dirty Dancing, The Greatest Showman and A Star is Born. Bring your own food and drink, but onsite loos are available.

OPEN AIR THEATRE: Sherlock Holmes, The Big Sheep, Bideford

Critically-acclaimed Pantaloons Theatre Company put Holmes and Watson through their paces as they tackle their most fiendish case yet in a fun show for all ages with more mystery than you can shake a magnifying glass at.

FILM: Misbehaviour, Pavilions, Teignmouth, Thurs 10 Sept

A group of women set out to disrupt the 1970 Miss World Beauty Competition, including a stellar cast of some wonderful actresses including Keira Knightley, Keeley Hawes and Phyllis Logan. Oh, and the hilarious Rhys Ifans just for equality…..

WALK: Fungal Foray, Trill Farm, Axminster, Thurs 10 and Sat 12 Sept

Ever wanted to identify a ‘shroom in the wild? Join the experts from Chideock Champignons for a two and half hour roam through the beautiful landscape around Trill Farm, where you will learn how to identify fungi, as well as their ecology and the ethics and practice of sustainable foraging.

DAY TRIPS: Heritage Open Days, Exeter, various venues, Fri 11 – Sun 20 Sept

Organised by the National Trust, this is your annual opportunity to have a nosey around the city’s historic properties you don’t normally get to visit, including tours of the recently restored Dissenters Graveyard, backstage at the Phoenix, Tuckers Hall and the cathedral roof.

GARDENS: Naughty by Nature, Torre Abbey, Torquay, Sat 12 Sept

Ok, I’ll come clean. I added this simply because the title tickled my fancy. Torre Abbey is going a bit “Carry On” with its naughty horticulture trail. From Latin names that will make you blush, to plants that look a bit saucy, this virtual Trail will reveal the abbey’s gardens in a whole new light (Please note this will be online so you do not need to be on site).
A second Now and Then Trail will show you what parts of the gardens looked like in the past, inspiring artists to get creative in amongst the romantic ruins (this part is actually in the gardens).
Entry is free but slots are strictly limited, with advanced booking essential. (Free entry only on 12th September.)

OPEN AIR THEATRE: Horrible Histories presents Barmy Britain, Clovelly Court, nr Torquay

t’s the horrible history of Britain with the nasty bits left in – to entertain the whole family this summer! Part of the Plough Arts Theatre open air theatre season.

EAT: Food and Families Festival, Ottery St Mary, Sat 12 Sept

A fantastic day for all the famalam, celebrating local food and boosting community spirit. Plenty of quality street food & drink to tantle the ole’ tastebuds. Local traders from around the region will help you to fill your shopping bag with yummy treats. There will be  demos  too for inspiration.

ENVIRONMENT/ART: Rewilding and Art Tours, The Sculpture Park, Mamhead, near Exeter, various dates

The lucky recipients of Weight of the World by Teresa Wells MRSS (pictured above) as the new centerpiece,  originally destined for Hampton Court. Tours throughout the park based on their rewilding of the Capability Brown gardens with lunch at the Robert Adam Orangery overlooking the sea. Refreshments included. Plus, the option of a Creative Wellbeing Workshop with Creative Minds Exeter suitable for all levels of art experience, sketching en plein air while soaking in the beauty of the park, before returning to the schoolhouse studio to experiment with various art mediums.

ART: Open Studios Devon, various locations, Sat 12 – Sun 27 Sept

Your annual opportunity to meet artists in their studios in some of the most beautiful, unexplored parts of Devon. Not only can you buy art direct from the artist, you may even be tempted to have a go yourself.  
I feel a frisson of excitement when the, now familiar, little yellow arrow signs appear, not only are there over 200 artists and craftspeople selling awesome things but I also love the chance to discover venues ranging from potter’s studios in meadows to medieval barns, sinuous sculpture gardens or garrets by the sea. A true celebration of Devon.

FAMILY: Sidbury Fair, Sidbury, Sat 12 -Thurs 17 Sept

Sidbury was granted a charter for a fair way back in 1291 by Edward 1.  The fair was to be held for three days to cover the feast of the Virgin Mary in September. In additional to lots of traditional entertainment, hot Pennies are still thrown into the street for the children to collect, although with inflation, I’m sure my little darlings would prefer £20’s.

WORKSHOP: Willow Weaving, The Italian Garden, Great Ambrose,  nr Totnes, Sat 12 – Sun 13 Sept

What a rare opportunity – not only do you get to weave yourself a rather charming bird feeder (all from natural materials of course), but because of Heritage Lottery funding the course is free and you have the double whammy of being able to have a little nose at the reemergence of this once beautiful garden.

FOOD: Hedgerow Foraging, River Cottage, Axminster, Sun 13 Sept

You’ll never look at the countryside again without feeling peckish after this day of finding and gathering your mindfully collected food from Devon’s hedgerows with foraging expert John Wright. And, of course, you get to eat beautifully cooked wild food. 

ONLINE CULTURE: Budleigh Salterton Literary Festival, Weds 16 – Sun 20 Sept

Not to be deterred by the gloom of 2020 and in honour of the solace so many of us are finding in the escapism of a good book, Budleigh Lit Fest is going ahead with this year’s literary festival,  just moving online to a virtual space. You sign up and can then participate in live talks from a diverse range of authors, including Dame Hilary Mantel, James Naughtie, Kate Humble, Sandi Tosvig, Anthony Horowitz…..a stellar line up, well done Budleigh.

TALK: Sittaford Stone Circle and other Dartmoor Discoveries, Union Inn, Moretonhampstead, Weds 16 Sept

Want to brush up on your local folklore? Join lifelong Dartmoor resident, Alan Endacott who has has spent his life exploring its world-famous prehistoric landscapes, Neolithic and Bronze Age ceremonial monuments.

MUSIC: Big Country, Exeter Phoenix, Gandy St, Exeter, Thurs 17 Sept

Altogether now, In a big country dreams stay with you, like a lovers voice fires the mountainside! Ra-ra skirt and fingerless gloves on and off you go to singalong to the Scottish 80s rock band.

FESTIVAL: Appledore Book Festival, Appledore, Fri 18 – Tues 22 Sept

Bravo, Appledore! They’re not going to let a little thing like a global pandemic ruin their culture fix and have turned their annual book fest into a five day drive-in, where you can sit in the safety of your car, enjoy your fave author, buy books contactless and have pre-ordered refreshments delivered direct to your car window. The confirmed line-up includes Jeremy Vine, Viv Goskrop, Kate Humble, comedian Lucy Porter (pictured) and Corrie’s Shobna Gulati.

WORKSHOP: Architectural Sketching, The Italian Garden, Great Ambrook, Sat 19 Sept

If drawing is your thing, sharpen your pencils for an all day art class, using the fascinating structures in the garden as your inspo.

FOOD: Good Food Sunday Market, Totnes, Sun 20 Sept

Devon biggest farmers’ market, the third Sunday of every month. Varied and vibrant, both the town and the Market.

ONLINE THEATRE: Romantics Anonymous, Northcott Theatre, Exeter University 24 Thurs 24 Sept

Performed live and broadcast direct to your home, so not exactly live theatre but arguably the next best thing. The feel-good story of Angélique, a gifted chocolate maker crippled by social anxiety, and Jean-René, the boss of a failing chocolate factory. When Angélique takes a job in Jean-René’s struggling factory, a fragile love affair unfolds. Originally produced by Shakespeare’s Globe for the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, the play was about to start a tour of the USA when lockdown rescheduled us all. 

ART: Plymouth Art Weekender, various venues around the city, Fri 25 – Sun 27 Sept

John Walter, Capsid

Britain’s ‘Ocean City’ is hosting a unique event which will see a plethora of artistic pop-ups sprouting out over Plymouth in fringe-like fashion as well as a number of artistic and cultural venues opening up to put on exhibitions, performances and interactive activities.This year will see an eclectic line-up of key works including John Walter’s Lockdown Tarot, William Luz’s Pavilion for U.S and Harriet Rose Morley’s How did we, How do we and How will we care? Each of the three commissioned artists has a deep-reaching, hard-hitting, topical theme at the heart of their project, and a COVID-19-adjacent element.

OUTDOOR CINEMA: Shaun of the Dead, Haldon Forest, nr Exeter, Fri 25 Sept

Ooh!  Spooky giggles in the deep dark forest, take someone from your bubble to hold onto.

OUTDOORS: Art Walk, Dartmoor, Sun 20 Sept

If your wrinkled brow needs soothing, how about this: an afternoon of gentle walking, sketching and painting among the waterfalls and rock pools of internationally famous Meldon Aplite quarries with nature-connection expert Dartmoor’s Daughter and one of Dartmoor’s foremost landscape artists, John Christian. £35 pp so much cheaper than Botox.

OUTDOORS: Picnic and live music, Westcott Barton, Middle Marwood nr Braunton, Sat 26 Sept

Gloriously rural, it’s bring-your-own-picnic but panic not, there will be a full bar with waiter/waitress service, 24 pitches for bubbles of 6 people with 3 time slots for 3 different bands, including the Kerslakes and the highly energetic Bootleggers Turn. I can only begin to imagine how energetic they are going to be after an enforced summer of no-public gigs. Should be a fantastic vibe.

CINEMA: Plymouth Art Centre Reopening, Sat 26 Sept

As part of Plymouth’s, Art Weekender, the cinema will be screening This Is Us, a free programme of short films on a drop-in basis. The films will be a manifesto of what the independent cinema can be, including screening films by black and ethnic minority diverse, female and LQBT+ filmmakers. These are all important parts of their regular programme, which will resume in the week commencing Tuesday 29th September.

FITNESS: Dawlish Triathlon, Dawlish Warren, Sun 27 Sept

Dawlish Warren makes a fantastic location for a triathlon. You start with a sea swim (favourable tides in 2020 mean it’s unlikely the swim will be cancelled), then it’s onto the bikes for one to three laps of a relatively sheltered & flat bike circuit. The final run takes in the coast path for some stunning views. Personally I’m exhausted just thinking about it, but whatever floats your boat.

SINGING: Carry on Choir, Wednesdays, online, ongoing

With our weekly trip out to sing our socks off at choir sadly not currently possible, this online weekly sing-along based in Exeter coukd keep you going whilst we wait for our normal warbling to resume. 

WEDDINGS OPEN DAY: Westcott Barton, Middle Marwood, nr Braunton, Weds 30 Sept

Fancy getting hitched in a Devon longhouse? Here’s your chance to check out Westcott Barton’s rural idyll, as well as a collection of high quality wedding suppliers, with a glass Prosecco in hand.

WORKSHOP: Chilli Growing & Cooking Demo, Riverford Field Kitchen, Weds 30 Sept

Like to spice up your dishes? Join the organic team for a half-day being shown how to cook and grow these fun and fiery veg.

THEATRE: Flo and Joan, Exeter Phoenix, Gandy St, Exeter, Weds 30 Sept

Hot off completely selling out at the Edinburgh Festival, London’s Soho Theatre, their Spring 2020 tour and the Melbourne International Comedy Festival, musical comedy sisters Flo & Joan have extended their tour and will once again be parading their dark and waggish songs about the place.


THEATRE: Romeo and Juliet, Bristol Old Vic, Sat 5 & Sun 6 Sept

Shakespeare’s tragic love story isn’t known for its laughs – until it’s in the hands of the ecentric and internationally-renowned Handlebards theatre company, that is. Unhinged, bonkers, hilarious and live on the Bristol Old Vic’s brand new Garden Stage. Tickets are sold by table (seating 2 to 6 people) and with an inclusive flexible pricing scheme. 

FESTIVAL: Arts by the Sea, around Bournemouth, Fri 25 Sept – Fri 2 Oct

luke jerram september

The festival includes a fire garden, a sea of light, dance, poetry and more around Bournemouth, including Luke Jerram’s new work, In Memoriam on Sandbanks beach, from Sat 24 Sept. The sea of giant sheets made of 100 bedsheets remembers those who’ve died from Covid and the NHS workers and volunteers who continue to risk their lives to help others with the virus. Poignant stuff. See the full programme here.


FOOD: Tasting through the Ages, Boringdon Hall, Plymouth, Fri 16 Oct

Warning! You may need to not eat for a week after this one: an eight-course historic menu which reflects the history and happenings of Plymouth’s enchanted place on the hill. £140 pp.

Words Ashley Tremlett.

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