A DRAMATIC outdoor production based on a popular Thomas Hardy novel can be seen in al fresco performances across Dorset this summer.

The New Hardy Players will perform Far From the Madding Crowd at Max Gate, Cerne Abbas, Came House and at Abbotsbury Sub Tropical Gardens.

This well-loved novel prompted Thomas Hardy to become a full time writer.

With more than 50 actors and musicians, the ever popular New Hardy Players bring to life the colourful local characters of Weatherbury.

The story unfolds around the Maltster’s Arms, the Corn Exchange and Weatherbury Farm itself reflecting the full panoply of Wessex folk.

This new script tells the story of Bathsheba Everdene, a headstrong young woman and her entwining relationships with the loyal shepherd Gabriel Oak, the charismatic but irresponsible Sergeant Troy and with the prosperous but disturbed Farmer Boldwood.

The New Hardy Players’ performances raise funds for local charities each year.

*Far From the Madding Crowd, Thursday, June 27, 7.15pm, Max Gate, Dorchester; Friday June 28, 7.30pm, Abbotsbury Sub Tropical Gardens; Saturday, June 29, 7.30pm, Abbotsbury Sub Tropical Gardens; Thursday, July 4, 7.30pm, The Vicarage, Cerne Abbas; Friday, July 5, 7.30pm, Came House near Dorchester and Saturday, July 6, Came House near Dorchester, 2.30pm.

Contact Dorchester Arts box office for tickets and more information.