PERFORMANCE: Nick Mulvey in concert

Friday 13 July 2018  Bookings

You may know acclaimed singer songwriter Nick Mulvey, who broke out from his former band (Portico Quartet) in 2011, for his exquisite, Mercury Prize-nominated 2014 debut, First Mind. That album was celebrated for the way it combined expressive songwriting with everything from West-African rhythms to electronic dissonance.  What you won’t know, chiefly because it remained hidden under the surface of that album’s lyrics, is that Nick was deep into a journey of self-enquiry that continues to this day.

Wake Up Now, his remarkable second album, tackles that journey head on and brings those themes clearly to the surface. The album process began at the end of 2015 when Nick and his wife left life in London to live in Wiltshire.

Following Nick’s biggest concert to date in the Albert Hall, join us for an evening in the more intimate setting of our thirteenth century barn.  The Barn at Messums Wiltshire is the largest thatched building in the country and was built in 1279. In 2016 it was opened as a centre to celebrate creativity across genres. Since then has been the location for remarkable moments of empathetic creativity from contemporary dance, to the spoken word and contemporary art.

The inspiration for this unique event started over a coffee with Nick looking down the length of the building, imagining an evening like no other.

‘A skilled musician hitting his stride’  AllMusic
‘A powerful demonstration of what a fine musician Mulvey is’.  MusicOMH


SUPPER CLUB: An Evening with Rupert Everett

Saturday 14 July, 5:30pm  Bookings

5:30pm Introduction by Rupert Everett (LAST FEW SPACES)

6:00pm Screening of The Happy Prince followed by a Q&A (LAST FEW SPACES)

8:30pm Dinner (SOLD OUT)

Warm up for our Festival of the Spoken Word with one of the country’s greatest orators. Listen to Rupert Everett discuss his recently released film which he has written, directed and stars in followed by a screening at 6pm and supper in our Mess Restaurant with a menu designed especially for the occasion by our head chef Sunny Sin.  Rupert will be joining us for supper and spaces are limited so please book in advance to avoid disappointment.

Named after a collection of short stories for children written by Oscar Wilde first published in May 1888, The Happy Prince chronicles Wilde’s last years of life exiled in Paris after his very public disgrace and imprisonment for ‘gross indecency’ in 1895. The film premiered at the 2018 Sundance Film Festival and was shown at the 2018 BFI Flare: London LGBT Film Festival.

‘A powerful parable of passion and redemption’ The Guardian


PERFORMANCE: Alexander Whitley Dance Company

Friday 27 – Saturday 28 July 2018

Noumena/Ulysses Awakes/Between Two Fires

Furthering our connection with contemporary dance we present a triple bill of works by the Alexander Whitley Dance Company, including the world première of Between Two Fires.  A Sadler’s Wells New Wave Associate and former Choreographic Affiliate of The Royal Ballet, Alexander Whitley has developed a reputation for his bold interdisciplinary approach to dance making, producing technologically innovative and thought-provoking stage productions as well as exploring the creative possibilities being opened up by new digital platforms.

For this special weekend at Messums Wiltshire, Alexander returns to his roots with a triple bill of beautiful, stripped down contemporary dance works.

Come along early and join us in our Long Gallery to view our recently opened landscape exhibition by Simon Carter or a stroll around the sculpture garden. Both gallery bars will be open with outside seating, weather permitting.

‘Whitley has… a fecundity of ideas, the skill to make them theatrical, and he floods the stage with feeling and vivid, stimulating dance’ FINANCIAL TIMES

‘Exceptional for its originality of style and its ability to conjure a world of nuanced emotions through a language of pure dance’  THE GUARDIAN


Friday 27 July, 7:30pm
Tickets £48  Bookings

Saturday 28 July, 2:00pm
Tickets £48  Bookings
Under 16’s tickets £10  Bookings

Saturday 28 July, 7:30pm
Tickets £48  Bookings


1. pl. Things as they are in themselves

The quartet Noumena was made in response to Frederick Ashton’s Sylvia, one of the most celebrated and challenging female roles in the Royal Ballet’s repertoire. Drawing on the work of psychoanalyst Carl Jung, the ballet’s mythological themes are reframed through an exploration of the inner feminine drive (Anima) and the human unconscious.

CHOREOGRAPHY – Alexander Whitley
MUSIC – Bryce Dessner’s Reponse Lutoslawski (by arrangement with Chester Music Limited)
COSTUME DESIGNER – Ilaria Martello
LIGHTING INSTALLATION – Children of the Light
DANCERS – Tia Hockey, David Ledger, Leon Poulton, Caitlin Taylor

Commissioned by The Royal Ballet

Duration 25 minutes



Ulysses Awakes was created in response to composer John Woolrich’s piece for strings of the same name and featured in a short film made as part of a residency at Aldeburgh Music. It takes inspiration from the text of Ulysses’ first aria in Claudio Monteverdi’s opera Il ritorno d’Ulisse in patria on which Woolrich’s piece was based.


CHOREOGRAPHY – Alexander Whitley
MUSIC – John Woolrich’s Ulysses Awakes, recording by 12 Ensemble
DANCER – David Ledger

Commissioned by 12 Ensemble

Duration 10 minutes



A duet, Between Two Fires is set to a score heaped with tension and atmosphere by acclaimed electronic composer and producer Rival Consoles, which sets the tone for an exploration of risk, play and tenderness in a relationship between two people.


CHOREOGRAPHY – Alexander Whitley
MUSIC – Ryan Lee West (Published by Erased Tapes Music Ltd)
COSTUME DESIGNER – Jean-Marc Puissant
DANCERS – Tia Hockey & TBC

Commissioned by Craig Mullen

Duration 15 minutes


About Alexander Whitley

Alexander is a New Wave Associate artist at Sadler’s Wells theatre, an associate at Rambert and a former choreographic affiliate of the Royal Ballet. He is an Artist Fellow at Queen Mary University of London and a lecturer on the Design for Performance and Interaction Masters programme at The Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL.

Alexander trained at the Royal Ballet School and began his career at Birmingham Royal Ballet before moving into contemporary dance. He was twice nominated for Outstanding Performance in the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards. His choreography has won him nominations for the 2012 Arts Foundation fellowship, the 2014 Sky Arts Southbank Awards and the 2015 Critics’ Circle Awards.

Alexander is also a member of New Movement Collective, a group of acclaimed dancers and choreographers who seek to redefine the landscape of contemporary dance through creating site-specific and multi-disciplinary performance work.



The Alexander Whitley Dance Company was established in 2014. Through its innovative stage productions; The Measures Taken, Pattern Recognition and 8 Minutes, and the virtual reality dance experience Celestial Motion made in collaboration with The Guardian’s VR studio, the company has rapidly established a reputation for its ambitious and intellectually engaged work and has developed a wide network of world-class collaborators.


PERFORMANCE: The Devil, The Tsar & 3 Dry Biscuits

Sunday 15 July, 2:30pm  Bookings

Take your seat in an ancient Greek inspired agora in our 13th century tithe barn and enjoy a magical storytelling performance for families. Fast paced, brimful of rich metaphorical imagery, sometimes dark and laced with humour, it’ll have children and adults alike practicing their Russian salutes, and some of them up on the stage to help with the proceedings!

The Tsar’s winter palace has a demon problem, and there’s only one man with the wit, the will, and the peculiar equipment needed to solve it. Having left the Imperial Russian army with nothing but a twist of tobacco, a pipe and three dry biscuits, our hero promptly improves his prospects by getting his hands on some rather more useful items – a magic sack and a pack of playing cards with which you can never lose. Adventures ensue as he sets out to rid the Tsar’s winter palace of its demon infestation; tries his hand at the medical profession, and then has the (not so) bright idea of trying to prevent death from getting on with her job…

Ben Haggarty tells this romper-stomper fairytale with infectious charm and deceptive ease. Renowned for his passionate physical performances, Ben is one of the world’s leading storytellers. He tours widely and has been a guest artist in over one hundred International Storytelling Festivals in 26 countries.

Part of our Festival of the Spoken Word.

Suitable for children ( age 8+)

PERFORMANCE: The Fate We Bring Ourselves

Sunday 15 July, 5:30pm  Bookings

The closing highlight of our Festival of the Spoken Word. Take your seat in our medieval barn in a Greek style Agora -the original meeting place for story telling – and listen to a grown-up tale inspired by fairytale and myth performed by storyteller Ben Haggarty. As a means of communication, the power of the spoken word is perhaps at its most telling when it comes to sharing stories. We readily absorb and are carried forward by fact, fiction and a world brought to life through voice.

Renowned for his passionate physical performances, Ben Haggarty is one of the world’s leading storytellers. He tours widely and has been a guest artist in over one hundred International Storytelling Festivals in 26 countries. ‘The Fate We Bring Ourselves’ is part of his critically acclaimed Myths Unleashed series and features an inspired reshuffling of stories from Greek mythology (highlights include the myths of Acteon and Artemis, Erysichthon of Thessaly and the Birth of Dionysius).

“Brutal, unsettling and bloody brilliant” TimeOut

‘Haggarty tells his stories with enormous gusto and relish…’ The Independent

Contains adult content: not suitable for children

PERFORMANCE: John Betjeman spoken by Edward Fox

Sunday 15 July, 1:00 – 2:00pm  Bookings

Monastic contemplation and one of this country’s greatest voices couldn’t be more appropriate for a barn built to store the tithe belonging to the Abbess of Shaftesbury, daughter of Alfred the Great.

Sit in a state of meditative peace as  Edward Fox, stage, film and television actor, recites the poetry of the late Poet Laureate, John Betjeman.

Questions and discussion for 10 minutes at the end.

PERFORMANCE: East Meets West – Recitals by the Hottest Young Poets from London & Bristol

Sunday 15 July, 4:00pm  Bookings

East Meets West: a poetry performance showcasing the best young talent from London and Bristol.

Take your seats for a passionate, energised recital from some of the most exciting young ambassadors of the spoken word.

From Bristol: acclaimed novelist and poet, Lucy English introduces three of the West Country’s most visceral voices – Jose Alford (part of Bristol’s final team in this year’s national Hammer & Tongue slam), Connor Macleod (host of Bristol’s premier spoken word event, Raise the Bar) and Danny Pandolfi (poet, rapper, proponent of a spoken word-hip hop crossover and founder of Raise the Bar)

From London: Sean Mahoney, himself one of the brightest young names on the poetry scene, introduces some of the hottest new talents from the capital.

PERFORMANCE: Poetry Perambulation with the Running Poet

Sunday 15 July, 11am & 3:30pm  Bookings

Join others at the creative temple (brightly coloured building in front of the Barn you can’t miss it) to hear words from British athlete and poet Verity Ockenden about how she writes poems whilst running, then take to the fields on a poetry peramulation, to learn how rhythm and recital can be linked to movement.

Open to all ages and aimed at young children aged 8 and up. Parents, grandparents and minders with their dogs all welcome – Be prepared for a walk in a field!

Duration: Half an hour.

EVENT: Mural Painting with Makoto Kagoshima

Saturday 23 June, 11am  Bookings

Following on from the successful debut works in collaboration with John Julian we are delighted to celebrate the opening of a solo collection of works here at Messums Wiltshire.

To mark the occasion, Makoto has been commissioned to create a mural for The Mess Restaurant.

For those who saw him working here on his ceramics, there is a strong performative element to his work that is a pleasure to watch.

There is no obvious finish point, but Makoto will start around 11:00am in the morning, so come by and have a look see at the work in process.  This is a free to attend event but please register your interest in coming along as space is limited.

For those interested in one of his latest works, these are offered on a first come basis from 10:00am and are limited to 2 per person.

EVENT: Veronica Stewart Arts Trust

Saturday 21 July, 6:15pm  Bookings

Veronica Stewart Arts Trust presents the grand finale of its intended five-year lifespan, conceived by international theatre director Frederic Wake-Walker for Messums Wiltshire. Showcasing work from 2014-2016, the celebration also features the amalgamation of years 2017 (literature) and 2018 (music) in a piece commissioned from composer Daniel Saleeb and writer Zoe Palmer, recent graduates of the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, sung by acclaimed countertenor Iestyn Davies.

Veronica Stewart was passionate in her support of the arts. The trust was established in Veronica’s memory by her friends and family, to reflect her passion and continued support. The trust annually awards the practice of emerging artists to encourage and promote creative development.