A SUMMER season of shows are lined up in outdoor locations as performances return to Dorset.

Dorchester Arts has announced its summer events which audiences will be able to enjoy in outdoor settings including Maumbury Rings in Dorchester and the Nothe Fort in Weymouth.

For many of the shows, families can being their own picnic to enjoy – but must also be prepared for the weather.

A special 'Summer Sunday' event will be held at Whitcombe Manor thanks to the owners, acclaimed author Minette Walters and her husband Alec.

Events include Tess of the D’Urbervilles from Hotbuckle Productions on Thursday, June 24 at 7pm at Maumbury Rings. Following on from a superb production of Hardy’s Far From The Madding Crowd in 2017, Hotbuckle make a welcome return, bringing what is perhaps one of Hardy’s finest works back to his home town.

Also at the Rings, bicycle-powered female troupe The Handlebards bring their environmentally sustainable brand of Shakespeare to town, presenting Macbeth on Saturday, July 10 at 7pm.

Audiences are invited to climb aboard the Nothe Fort on Friday, July 16 at 7pm as Opera Anywhere present Gilbert and Sullivan's classic HMS Pinafore, a tale of mismatched love across different social classes.

A Summer Sunday with conductor and musician Rainer Hersch will be held in the barn at Whitcombe Manor on Sunday, July 18 at noon. Rainer Hersch has performed on every major comedy stage in Britain and abroad and audiences are in for an afternoon of comedy musical brilliance in a lovely setting.

It's back to Maumbury Rings on Thursday, July 29 as Slapstick Picnic present Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest at 7pm.

At the same location there's an anarchic and anachronistic re-telling of the Arthurian Legend with live music, physical comedy and lo-fi acrobatics. King Arthur (The Last Baguette) is on Sunday, August 1 at 2.30pm.

And on Tuesday, August 10 at 7pm there's an 'eighteenth century farce for all the family, with She Stoops to Conquer.

David Walliams' best selling children's book Mr Stink can be seen at Maumbury Rings on Saturday, August 14 at 6pm and at the same location on Sunday, August 15 at 5pm there's Boxtree Productions' take on Alice in Wonderland.

Athelhampton House & Gardens is the appropriate setting for F Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby on Wednesday, August 25 at 7pm. Get your glad rags on, work up your best Charleston, and have your cocktail glass at the ready.

For more details and tickets see www.dorchesterarts.org.uk/whatson