Zoom into 2022: a round up of local events to look forward to

When we say ‘zoom’, we’re not talking the cloud-based communications app, but the real, physical zoom word. What follows are actual things that are happening this year in our city. After some consideration of predicted consumer trends, Emma Clegg rounds up the things to look out for, ranging from the Winter Olympics to the Tudors, and choral performances to the reopening of our much-loved lido.

The pandemic has changed our approach to life. It has changed when we work, where we work and how we work. But reports predicting consumer attitudes for next year indicate that it has also changed why we work, and what we choose to do when we’re not working. It seems that we are less driven by the conviction that we have to keep ourselves firmly on the career ladder, following an upwards curve in order to achieve in life, and that perhaps doing so is ultimately limiting the parameters of our life experience. Having lost so many days in the last 18 months or so, the idea that we’ve got just 16,790 days from becoming an adult to reaching retirement (as estimated by GWI’s consumer report for 2022) is meaningful and we are realising that our time is super precious and we need to take advantage of it.

Forecasters are predicting that post-pandemic there will be a record number of employees leaving their jobs, wanting to embrace adventure, try new things and be less conservative and cautious. Already trends are indicating that treating ourselves and indulging in new experiences has become a priority, just behind saving money and spending time with loved ones. So after so long staying put in an enforced bubble, people want to break out and be wholesomely engaged in every moment on this earth.

There’s also a continuing dominant trend to look after ourselves with the increasing urge to keep active, eat more healthily and take part in activities that we enjoy to improve our mental wellbeing. “Taking ‘me’ time isn’t selfish,” says the GWI Zeitgeist for 2022, “because just a moderate amount of free time is linked to being happier and less stressed”. Self-care also means recognising the things we don’t want to do, and we’re learning how to recognise stress prompts and act to remove them or reduce their impact.

Charged with this information about consumer trends, here are some top-notch what’s on picks in the Bath calendar in 2022. Whether it’s artistic discoveries, theatrical experiences or sporting achievements, these will help you to make the most of your time, embrace new experiences, and look after your mental wellbeing. Life is for the taking.

Celebrate our heritage
The new World Heritage Centre in York Street opens in the spring (after being trialled last month), with the exact launch date to be announced. The centre will include interactive exhibits and displays and visitors will be able to download an exciting new app, which they can use to go out and explore the city. Funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund, the World Heritage Centre will give visitors a chance to find out what makes Bath so special. It is designed to inspire them to go out and explore the buildings, landscapes and history that make Bath a World Heritage Site: its Roman remains, hot springs, 18th-century architecture, 18th-century town planning, the landscape setting of the city, and the way in which Bath’s Georgian architecture reflects 18th-century social ambitions.

Free to enter, there is no need to book tickets or timeslots to visit; the centre will be open Monday to Sunday, 9.30am to 5pm. Visitor numbers will be restricted in the centre to allow for social distancing, so at busier times some visitors may need to wait to enter the building. The second phase of public realm improvements in York Street is due to begin in the new year. The works were initially scheduled to take place alongside works in Swallow Street during the summer of 2021.


Follow the games
It was a golden 2021 for Bath-based sportspeople, and this year promises to be another memorable one with both the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games and Birmingham 2022 Commonwealth Games taking place.
Athletes training at the University of Bath with the British Bobsleigh & Skeleton Association will be looking to continue an incredible run of success, which has seen them win medals at every Winter Olympics since 2002, when China hosts this year’s Games from 4–20 February. They have already slid to six medals on the international circuit this season, two of which came at October’s Olympic Test Event on the Beijing competition track.
Athletes across a host of sports will have the privilege of being roared on by a home crowd when the Commonwealth Games come to Birmingham from 28 July – 8 August.

Set to be among those competing are swimmers from the British Swimming National Centre Bath squad that won seven gold medals at Tokyo 2020 and stars of Team Bath Netball. Before the Games, the netballers will be targeting the Vitality Superleague title with home matches returning to the Team Bath Arena for the first time since March.

teambath.com; thebbsa.co.uk; britishswimming.org; olympics.com/en/beijing-2022

Above: Team Bath Netball Fast Five champions

Get in the swim of things
The Cleveland Pools restoration is well underway, with high hopes of opening in late summer 2022 for the first swims in almost 40 years. The newly restored Pools will be a community facility – open, accessible and affordable for all. There will also be a small terrace, a food/drink kiosk, space to lounge on the grassy banks, and educational information about the site’s fascinating history.
However, to complete the project the Trust needs to raise a further £400,000, so look out for a crowdfunding campaign being launched in February for a chance to be part of history… and maybe even be one of the first in the pool!

Built in 1815, the Grade II listed Cleveland Pools is the UK’s oldest surviving public outdoor swimming pool. The Pools were last used in the mid-1980s, so many local residents have fond memories of swimming here. The site is a hidden gem – accessed via a quiet cul de sac and narrow path, tucked magically alongside the river Avon.
In 2003 local people set up a Trust to save the Pools, after they were listed for sale by the Council. Plans to restore the Pools gained support from the National Lottery Heritage Fund as the main funder of the restoration project, as well as B&NES Council, Historic England and the Department of Culture Media and Sport.

The project is volunteer led, with well over 100 active volunteers working to bring the Pools back to life.


Face the tudors
The Holburne Museum will present a major new exhibition featuring 25 famous Tudor portraits from 28 January – 8 May.

Created in partnership with the National Portrait Gallery, London, and the Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, The Tudors: Passion, Power and Politics visitors will come face-to-face with the five Tudor monarchs – Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I and Elizabeth I. The exhibition includes some of the most famous images of British painting, including the ‘Darnley’ and ‘Armada’ portraits of Elizabeth I.

The portraits explore this dynasty’s reign over 16th-century England, from 1485 to 1603, a period marked by religious conflict and political intrigue, and will include vivid portraits of many significant figures, including Sir Francis Drake, Sir Walter Raleigh, Thomas Cranmer, Thomas More, William Cecil and Thomas Cromwell.


Above: Painting of Henry VIII by unknown Tudor artist

Love Hockney
David Hockney’s delight in the world demonstrated in the drawings he made in the late 1960s and ’70s is the subject of the exhibition Love Life: David Hockney’s Drawings at the Holburne – in which we see his extraordinary power of observation and skill in using tiny details to help capture a situation, a sitter or a place. The exhibiton, running from 27 May – 18 September, showcases Hockney’s drawings of this time as some of the greatest bodies of draftsmanship in the canon of western art. A few lines can perfectly describe the fall of someone’s clothing, the impression of a head on a pillow, or the character of a room or situation. The exhibition reveals his delight in the world around him and the way he sees deeply and then condenses a given scene in the most concise way, like visual poetry.


Gather at The Bath Festival
The Bath Festival runs from 13–21 May, with the free Party in the City on Friday 13th in dozens of venues in the city centre. This is always a great night out for fans of music of all genres and attracts crowds of around 20,000 into the city centre.

The festival will feature events, concerts, author talks and discussions about the big topics of our times, using venues including the Assembly Rooms, the Pavilion and St Swithuns Church, plus a few more exciting and perhaps unexpected venues. The 2022 festival aims to be more diverse and engage a wider number of people than ever before, with many stories from outsiders who made good. There will also be a strong element representing Bath, including new festival walks with Bath themes.

People can sign up for information about this year’s festival on the website and for £25 can become members and get first dibs on tickets.


Discover at The Abbey
What will you discover in the vaults of Bath Abbey next year? Well, a warm welcome awaits in Bath Abbey’s new Discovery Centre located in the new underground spaces created by the Footprint Project, the £19.3 million programme supported by the National Lottery Heritage Fund. Opening in autumn/winter 2022, the centre will enable visitors of all ages to enjoy exploring the Abbey’s rich 1,300 year history, and will bring Bath’s often-forgotten medieval past to life.

A stunning collection of objects will be on display, including stone carvings, 17th-century silverware, a restored 18th-century font, and 19th-century plastercasts of figures from the West Front. Visitors will be able to learn more about them and what they tell us about earlier churches where the Abbey now stands.

But that’s not all. Fun and games are also in store from costumes and dressing-up to puzzles and challenges. Ever wondered what it was like to write like one of the abbey’s monks or how the abbey was rebuilt after Henry VIII almost demolished it? Then you’re in for a treat! One interactive game will even let you fly across the Abbey’s famous West Front as if you’re one of its angels. This and many other experiences will help you see the Abbey as never before.


Experience an animal drama
Theatre Royal Bath is welcoming a brand new production of Animal Farm from 1–5 March, directed by Robert Icke, whose version of 1984 (co-adapted and directed with Duncan Macmillan) was a smash-hit in the West End and on Broadway. The production features puppetry by Toby Olié (whose credits include War Horse) and is designed by four-time Olivier Award-winner Bunny Christie.

George Orwell’s world-famous fable tells the story of a revolution and its aftermath. Re-imagined by an award-winning creative team, The Children’s Theatre Partnership, Animal Farm is a dynamic, daring and contemporary take on a timeless story. Tickets from £17.50/£25.


Escape Into The Woods
The Stephen Sondheim musical Into the Woods is brought to life in a new production at Theatre Royal Bath from 19 August – 10 September. Weaving together many of the Grimm Brothers’ much-loved tales, the story follows a baker and his wife who yearn to have a child, but have been cursed. To lift the curse they must find four obscure items in three nights, so the couple head into the woods only to discover more about themselves than they might ever have expected…

Presented by Scenario Two and Theatre Royal Bath Productions, the world-class, multi award-winning creative team include stage and film director Terry Gilliam, co-director and choreographer Leah Hausman, designer Jon Bausor, costume designer Antony McDonald, video designer Will Duke, sound designer Paul Groothuis, and casting director David Grindrod. A captivating, witty and entertaining musical adventure for all ages. Tickets from £26.75.


Tune into the notes
For its 75th anniversary in 2022, Bath Bach Choir is bringing to life some of the greatest works of the choral repertoire. The first on 26 March is Rossini’s Petite Messe Solennelle at the Italianate Church of St Mary & St Nicholas in Wilton, outside Salisbury. This mass – neither little nor solemn – provides 90 minutes of flamboyant joy in Rossini’s most operatic style. Tickets available through the church.
For the perfect midsummer’s outing, the choir will perform Monteverdi’s Vespers of 1610 at Bath Abbey on 2 July. Monteverdi was a genius at creating scintillating choral colour accompanied by strings, sackbuts and cornetts. With florid solos, duets and trios, the Vespers are a festival of colour and rhythm. Bath Abbey, 2 July; book through Bath Box Office.

Bath Bach Choir was founded in 1947 to perform Bach’s Mass in B minor, and the choir has regularly revisited this iconic legacy of Bach’s genius. The performance in Bath Abbey on 5 November is a fitting climax to the 75th anniversary year; book through Bath Box Office; bathboxoffice.org.uk; visit bathbachchoir.org.uk for details of all events.

Act with the Naturals
The Natural Theatre unveils an exciting participation programme in January, offering a fantastic opportunity to find your unleashed creative abilities.

This month sees the launch of the company’s Theatre School with sessions for adults and for young people under 18. Participants are taught basic skills, have a lot of fun and are able to build their confidence and have unique ideas. These weekly get-togethers are also an opportunity to get involved with other projects.
One project from The Natural Theatre Company is a community project called Hidden Heroes, aiming to find stories of influential people who made real change in Bath, but who aren’t well-known. Another is to create a short performance about some of the characters who came to live in Bath from other areas.

The Natural Theatre Company believe in performing WITH people, not AT them – so please get involved!
The Natural Adult Theatre School runs from 24 January; the Natural 11–18 Theatre School runs from 26 January; the Hidden Heroes participation project and the Unheard Voices participation project start in January.


The Fulltone Orchestra
Karl Jenkins took the music for an advert created for Delta Airlines and it grew into Symphonic Adiemus. This work took the world by storm with its variety and the composer’s own devised language. The title is very close to the Latin adeamus, which means ‘let us approach’ or ‘to come together’ – something the world needs, never so much as now.

The thrilling Symphonic Adiemus – one of the most spine-tingling, uplifting, extraordinary pieces of musical work you will ever experience, a mix of Celtic, African and Western themes – will be heard from the Fulltone Orchestra with 100 singers in Bath Abbey on 12 March.

An hour long, the Symphonic Adiemus is not enough to fill a whole concert, so the second half of the evening includes massive film scores with the choir including Star Wars (Duel of the Fates), Saving Private Ryan, Titanic, The Da Vinci Code and O Fortuna from the Old Spice advert – huge pieces of music that will enthral. Head to Bath Abbey as winter ends and spring is about to begin to hear a spectacular night of music from the Fulltone Orchestra and a massed choir of choirs and singers. Jenkins always manages to move audiences’ hearts.

This concert will help you understand why. Tickets from £15. bathabbey.org; fto.org.uk

Above: The Fulltone Orchestra

If Opera
If Opera is pleased to announce its inaugural season following its transition from Iford Arts. An ensemble of dazzling artists, If Opera creates music theatre that – whether novice or aficionado – immerses you in the wonder and thrill of this most visceral art form. This year sees If Opera return to Belcombe Court with both heartbreak and humour in the form of Puccini’s exquisite.

La Rondine alongside a comedy double bill charting the travails of marriage; Donizetti’s Rita, and Ermanno Wolf-Ferrari’s Il Segreto di Susanna (Susanna’s secret). The company also welcomes the return of the popular Picnic Prom. The Belcombe season runs from 19 August – 3 September. Member tickets are on sale in January with general release in February.


Above: If Opera

Bath Opera
Bath Opera’s Eugene Onegin from 24–26 February is a fully staged period production with up to 70 professional orchestral players, singers and dancers on stage. The ever- popular Waltz and Polonaise music will be brought to life as interludes in the unfolding story of youthful passions blighted by jealousy, the whole enriched by the thrilling sound of a large chorus. The venue is the impressive, airy Roper Theatre on the Hayesfield School Campus in Bath which offers plenty of on-street parking.

Enjoy this live opera from Bath’s resident opera company.


Featured image: Cleveland Pool