A historic building in Dorchester is set to come alive with echoes of the past and the spirit of Edwardian activism.

Dorchester Corn Exchange on High East Street will be the venue of a new play from Townsend Productions delving into the world of the Clarion newspaper, and the organisations it inspired, the Sheffield Clarion Ramblers, and the Clarion Cyclists.

Set in the late Victorian and early Edwardian England, the play titled Behold Ye Ramblers will bring the endeavours of the two groups, whose mission extended beyond promoting socialism as they championed a healthy outdoor lifestyle, fighting for the fundamental right to roam across the green fields of England.

Through their expeditions across mountains and moors, the group challenged the dominance of private property, and were said to clash with landowners and laws that prioritized profit.

The play looks to pay homage to the indomitable spirit of these ramblers and campaigners, weaving together their voices, songs, and poetry to illuminate past and current struggles and triumphs. Organisers say the performance will serve as a poignant reminder of the power of collective action and the enduring legacy of those who challenged the status quo.

The Clarion was set up in Manchester, 1891 and ceased publication in 1934. It was a socialist publication focused on Britain rather than foreign affairs, as seen in its support of the British involvement in the Anglo-Boer Wars and the First World War.

Townsend Productions previously held performances of the Ragged Trousers Philanthropist and Rouse Ye Women, and We are Lions.

The performance will take place on Thursday, May 16 at 7.30pm. Tickets are £15 or £13 for concessions. To purchase tickets, visit https://www.dorchesterarts.org.uk/2024/03/07/thurs-16-may-behold-ye-ramblers/