Opera Italian style


Last week we had the privilege to go to a performance of Carmen at the Roman Amphitheatre  in Verona, however there were differences.



This was the scene at around 8.30

Ten minutes after, the heavens opened for a full on thunder storm that lasted around two hours. We all sheltered from the rain as the performance was merely postponed, apparently they never cancel, and eventually started around 11pm. Carmen is over three hours long so with intervals it didn’t finish until 3am and by the time we got back to our hotel in Garda we eventually got to bed around 4.

The performance was amazing and on a grand scale with a large cast including 6 horses and numerous motor vehicles. The full orchestra included four harps, all the vocal performances were without microphones such is the quality of the acoustics in the venue.

All together an amazing experience.


Facebook Page

Our Facebook page has been feeling a bit unloved for some time. it has undergone a bit of a facelift tonight and will be updated regularly from now on.


Music Workshops

The CIC is pleased to announce that we have secured funding from Dorset Music Services to run a ten week series of music workshops for young people at Wey Valley School in September. Details to follow over the summer.

This is an exiting development and will hopefully lead to longer term community music provision in 2019

Music Workshops

It is highly likely once some details have been finalised that we will be delivering music workshops once more from September 2018, this time in Weymouth. Watch this space for details, .

Portland Railways what do you remember?

First planned recording sessions will be taking place soon and we will be out and about in the community over the summer with what we hope will be an interesting display. Please come and talk to us, especially if you have an interesting piece of social history connected with the line or maybe you just want to find out more about the railway and its fascinating history.

Web Site Change

We are currently trying a new style of web site so as to get the large number of posts into a more manageable form. Logos etc will be aded over time and who knows even the theme may change.

This site has been running since we formed as a CIC in 2012 so there are a considerable number of posts representing the wide variety of arts projects and performances we have been involved in. In 2016 with the educational situation on Portland and Martyn no longer working on the island we took the opportunity to re group and take stock.

As a CIC we have evolved again, now being involved in a Heritage Lottery history project. We hope to have some new music and arts strands running again soon.

Let us know what you think of our new web site.

An interesting artefact

An artefact has been donated to the project. A non working model of a locomotive used on the line in the 50s. The engine could be made to run but will most likely be left as it is so it can be passed round, handled etc. It is a very nice example though with wrong number and logo for the 50s (from the later 1950s) The fact that things are wrong could stimulate discussion on its own. Perhaps once the project is complete I’ll get it working?

Social Media posts

We are aware that our site hasn’t been posting to our Facebook and Twitter feeds for some time. We are currently working to resolve the issue.

With so much exiting stuff happening it is even more important our feeds are up to date.

In the news.

As well as the Wesex FM interview I recorded last week there has been an article in the Dorset Echo and it has already generated some responses.

Article can be found here


Heritage Lottery Project

Recorded an interview on Monday that was broadcast on Wessex FM to raise interest in the project. Big thanks to Justin at the station for organising it.

Also made a few useful contacts with interesting stories that will need following up.

When the Railway ran to Portland, what do you remember?

Portland Rocks, previously known for its music and art workshops, has secured funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for an exciting project collecting the memories of those who knew and used the railway line from Weymouth to Easton, Portland; a social rather than technical history of the line.

Having lived on Portland in Dorset for the last thirteen years, Director Martyn Mullender said:” I have become increasingly fascinated by the railway that ran from Weymouth along Chesil Beach and then climbed from sea level to around 285 feet above. It then followed a circuitous route around the cliffs to arrive at Easton.”

 As many will know, the railway to Easton closed to passengers in 1952 and finally to all traffic in1965, over 50 years ago.

 Martyn remarked: “The line was unique in many ways: the traffic it was built for, the manner of its working, the challenges of getting the line built and the protracted amount of time this took. There will still be some residents and former residents with memories of the line that form a vital link to its history, which have not been recorded. Using audio visuals and the Internet, we plan to record as many memories as possible, making them available to the public for research or even genealogical purposes. “

 An online archive will be created, including photos and transcribed recordings, which will be placed with the Dorset History Centre and freely available online. The project has received letters of support from the Portland Museum, National Railway Museum, the Professor of Railway Studies at the University of York and local historian Stuart Morris among others.

 In order to develop the project, Portland Rocks will be recruiting a small group of volunteers, for which a letter of application is available at www.portlandrocks.co.uk or can be collected from and returned to the Island Community Action office in Easton, Portland, if people would like to register their interest in supporting the project.

 The project will run until November 2018 and Portland Rocks also hopes to run an arts project linked to the research, involving visual and sound art in September 2018, if they can secure further funding.

 The proposal includes taking display boards of information currently available to local events and gathering evidence from people who come along to talk about their memories of the railway.

 If you wish to know more about this proposal, please contact Martyn Mullender at: portlandrocks@live.co.uk


We are back!

After some difficult times Portland Rocks has secured funding for an exiting and substantial community arts project taking us in a new direction.

Once all is in place a full announcement will be made.

Still here

Yes we are still quiet. However, one large funding bid has been submitted awaiting a decision another will be submitted within the next week or so and two more are in the pipeline. We hope to be active again in the new year.

Yes it has been a long time but as you know there have been turbulent times in education on Portland meaning big changes. When we return we will be bigger and stronger so watch this space as they say.


‘Impossible Architexture’

At a recent B Side retrospective on the work of Joe Stevens I happened to meet up with David Oates who did a great sound art project with our young people as part of the cultural Olympiad. Hear they are: