A MULTI-MEDIA performance of a Thomas Hardy classic has been selling out shows with its unique production.

The ambitious production of the Mayor of Casterbridge is being put on by the New Hardy Players under the direction of Tim Laycock and Emma Hill, combines live theatre, filmed sequences, as well as live and recorded original music.

The production has sold out most of its shows which took place at the Dorset Museum in Dorchester on October 6, at Moreton Village Hall on October 7, and at Portesham Village Hall on October 8 - but organisers have said tickets are still available for two performances at The Exchange in Sturminster Newton on Saturday, October 9.

Co-director, Emma Hill, said: “We’ve been amazed by the response and we’re very excited to be back with such a fantastic production."

Organisers said the production has required a huge level of inventiveness to comply with Covid-19 restrictions - including rehearsing on Zoom during lockdown and in a field while numbers meeting indoors were heavily restricted.

Crowd sequences were filmed on location around Dorchester, involving a cast and crew of more than eighty local people. These film sequences, some of which were filmed in front of green screen to abide by indoor restrictions, will be interspersed throughout the live action on stage to bring Hardy’s classic to old and new audiences.

Co-director, Tim Laycock said: “Everything theatrical shut down for a long time, and we were determined to channel the cast and crew’s energies into a production that takes the audience back into the world."

The production is supported by a new musical score composed by Alastair Simpson, who also plays Henchard as a young man, and to comply with Covid restrictions was pre-recorded in Cerne Abbas church by the Players’ house band, Tatterdemalion.

The performances will also be accompanied by an exclusive 32-page book that contains comprehensive programme notes, detailed local history and an illustrated ‘Casterbridge Walk’ with marked points of interest, that audience members will be able to take after the performance.

Tickets are still for sale of performances at The Exchange in Sturminster Newton at 2pm and 7pm are £14, plus concessions, and can be purchased from www.stur-exchange.co.uk or by calling 01258 475 137.


t: 01305 830999

e: marie-claire.alfonso


twitter: @MCAlfonsoJourno