The pleasures of performing arts - Mendip Matters - 18th July 2022

There is a general feeling that our society has become more fractious. Just this week a local GP told me that the surgery receptionists are regularly on the receiving end of incredible rudeness. These incidents used to occur once every couple of weeks, now it’s several times a day. Also this week, I had a young man recall a road rage incident he’d witnessed, which left him visibly shaken.

There’s a lot of anxiety, worry, irritation and tiredness out there. Our already-busy days are getting longer and more demanding. Times are tough. While there’s no excuse for bad manners or aggression, we do need to acknowledge there are pressures, and we should support ourselves, and others, as we work through them. We need to embrace ways to unwind, think of our wellbeing, and find pleasure in doing something different.

Last Friday I attended the Wells Theatre Festival. I watched the hugely popular Pirate Taxi Show on Cathedral Green. We were entertained, amused and temporarily taken out of ourselves. The realities of our lives faded further as the faces of the younger members of the audience lit-up with delight and wonder at the aerial act and their imaginary tales.


What a joy to see Mendip District Council’s Community Grant used in this way. We’ve given arts monies to each of our five market towns and our rural communities, The sums, though not large, allow organisations to attract further sponsorship and support. Your Council has been breaking the long-term absence of arts funding in Mendip, because we recognise the value public performance plays in our wellbeing, as individuals and our communities. 

This week I also visited the formal opening of a music studio at Frome’s Cheese and Grain building. The studio has already hosted several professional recordings, including a Tom Jones album. This state-of-art acoustic venue provides hands-on experience to a group of apprentice and student studio sound engineers. The enthusiasm and commitment I saw there, plus the eclectic range of equipment, bodes well for the studio’s future.

As I drove home, through our vibrant countryside in the glorious evening sunshine, I felt  reinvigorated. I’d recently watched the band Elbow playing live at Glastonbury Festival, and the lyrics of their hit song ‘One Day Like This’ filled my head.

‘’It’s looking like a beautiful day …

So throw those curtains wide

One day like this a year would see me right” 

Certainly the arts performances in Mendip have contributed to my wellbeing this week. They saw me right. And better than anything my GP friend could prescribe.

If you have any questions for me about this column, or anything else, do get in touch, I am always happy to hear from you. Email: [email protected] / Facebook: @RosWyke. 

Written by Cllr Ros Wyke, Leader of Mendip District Council

Please get in touch either on my Facebook page @Ros.Wyke or you can send me an email: [email protected].

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