WEST Dorset Arts Society is meeting at its new venue The Seaside Boarding House in Burton Bradstock on Wednesday, January 16 at 2.30pm for a talk on a Thomas Hardy poem.

The talk, on Thomas Hardy’s poem The Trampswoman’s Tragedy, was regarded by Hardy as his finest work and it received considerable critical acclaim.

Professor William Gibson, Ecclesiastical History and Director of the Oxford Centre for Methodism and Church History at Oxford Brookes University, will be giving the talk.

The poem is set in the West Country and is in many ways typical of some of Hardy’s preoccupations. The lecture puts the poem in the context of Hardy’s life and experiences.

The society ended its 2018 season with a superb presentation by guest speaker Nigel Bates, musical administrator at the Royal Ballet.

Members enjoyed a festive lunch followed by an afternoon of music and pictures centred on the Nutcracker ballet.

Nigel talked about many aspects of the Nutcracker, which has delighted audiences at Christmas for many decades, and yet was deemed a failure at its first performance.

He took a close look into how this much loved ballet now takes its rightful place on stage and how the music of Tchaikovsky along with the story-telling, design and dance provides a magical escape for young and old.

Nigel has been a performer for nearly 40 years in and out of the Royal Opera House, including Principal Percussionist with the orchestra.

He's worked with many of the leading figures in the classical music industry and was also a producer for both BBC’s Maestro at the Opera and Papanno’s Classical Voices documentary series.

The Arts Society West Dorset (formerly known as West Dorset Decorative & Fine Arts Society) is part of The Arts Society, an organisation of over 90,000 members recognised as a significant force within the art world. With access to high quality and accomplished speakers, it is a society for people of all ages. New members are always welcome - and it’s a great way to make friends!

See taswestdorset.org.uk for more information.