08 July 2016
From the moment that Michele O’Brien of the Spice Box interrupted the opening speeches to showcase her particular brand of puppetry; the Cultural Canapé event at Blandford Brewery provided an experience of performance, food, drink, design, landscape and heritage – everything in fact that makes the County a magnet for cultural tourists.
The sold-out event was attended by a mix of cultural and tourist organisations, and provided a unique opportunity for both to discuss new ways of working to improve the visitor experience. The evening’s performers and demonstrators were drawn from the best of Dorset’s artistic offer, not only music and theatre but storytelling, contemporary dance, visual arts, crafts and design. The programme was presented by Lorna Rees of Gobbledegook Theatre, dressed in a special ‘Dorset Dress’; created from recycled material and decorated with cultural landmarks, including the Cerne Abbas Giant and various arts venues.
Information on the Dorset landscape, an important element of the overall cultural offer was a key part of the evening; as was food and drink; with caterer Andrew James providing a range of local Dorset produce to taste; and local wine and beer also on offer. Blandford Brewery, itself a cultural entity with strong tourist links, provided an unusual setting for the performers, but clearly demonstrated how art and culture can be experienced anywhere.
The event launched the start of Dorset’s new Cultural and Tourism Strategy; a three-year fully-funded project to boost the economy through developing cultural tourism. Research has shown that visitors who experience culture during their visit are more likely to spend more; return again and make recommendations to others. By reinforcing the links between Dorset culture and tourism, and creating new ways for the two sectors to grow together, Dorset’s economy will grow and its workforce expand.
For further information on the new strategy and the next steps, please contact Jacky Thorne, firstname.lastname@example.org