TICKETS for Dorchester’s community play have gone on sale.

The county town’s sixth community play will see Drummer Hodge performed at the Thomas Hardye School from April 1 to April 12.

The adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s poem has been written by Rupert Creed, who also wrote the town’s fourth community play Fire from Heaven, with music by Tim Laycock.

Audiences will be taken back in time to the Boer War as the play tells of the young drummer from Dorchester who signs up to fight in the South African conflict.

Will Hodge is inspired by the bravery of Sam Vickery, the Dorset Regiment’s only winner of the Victoria Cross.

The play also features a growing Dorchester in the early 1900s with the Pope family having built the new Eldridge Pope brewery and Alfred Pope building housing estates around the county town.

Modern arrivals in the town include bicycles, cars and the Dorchester Steam Laundry while there is even talk that women might get the vote.

Writer and director Mr Creed said: “Drummer Hodge is a story from the past that resonates today.

“A compelling drama that explores attitudes to conflict and courage, and what happens to families who sign up for a war where honour and shame collide.

“It is also a story about women who rebel, and what happens when you cycle to Swanage in a pair of bloomers.”

The cast features over a hundred local actors and musicians, including some playing their own relatives.

They will bring the story to life with the help of theatre designer Dawn Allsopp, who is creating an evocative set that echoes the town’s Borough Gardens.

She will also team up with Sara Hope and a team of local volunteers to create Edwardian costumes.

The first performance is on Tuesday, April 1 from 7.15pm and the play will run until Saturday, April 12.

Tickets are available from the play office at the old Dorchester Library at Colliton Park or can be purchased by calling 01305 228269.

They will also be available online and at upcoming fundraising events, which include a fundraising fair at the Corn Exchange on Saturday and an evening of music and dance at Herrison Hall in Charlton Down on Saturday, March 8.

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