FOREST Forge Theatre returns to Dorset next month with The Boy at the Edge of the Room, a stunning and thought-provoking tale of alienation and childhood.

Tony struggles to fit in and find his place because he has a different way of looking at the world and longs to retreat to a place where he can be ‘nothing more than small and far off’.

Those surrounding him have little patience for his dreams, with the exception of his mother who will do anything to ensure his happiness. When a mysterious ‘dealer’ offers Tony the chance to make his dream come true, his mother must face a future without him, and the audience is forced to confront an unsettling and moving ending.

Based on the Victorian novella, Wooden Tony, The Boy At The Edge of the Room focuses on a character who displays many of the classic traits of those on the autistic spectrum.

It is a beautiful and moving examination of difference and acceptance, brought to life through song, movement and puppetry. Writer Richard Conlon explains when he first came across the subject matter.

“I can very accurately pin down the desire to develop this play to Wednesday, May 22, 2002. I read a Guardian article by Charlotte Moore which opened my eyes to the Wooden Tony story and its wider implications.

“The gothic tale which inverts and predates the Pinocchio story has been under my skin ever since. It has a haunting beauty and a final image which will stay with readers and audiences for a long time.”

The show, which is suitable for children aged 12 and over, is coming to Bridport Arts centre on March 25 and Dorchester Arts Centre on April 6 and will be followed by question and answer sessions with the author Richard Conlon and Karen Wilmshurst, advocacy manager of Autism Wessex. There will also be a collection for the Information and Advice service of Autism Wessex.

To book tickets for Bridport Arts Centre contact 01308 424204, to book tickets for Dorchester Corn Exchange contact Dorchester Arts on 01305 266926 or Dorchester TIC on 01305 267992 or online at