Two weekends in five magical Dorset locations
Installations and conversations, night time parades and day time art-trails, dance, theatre, music and acrobatics – all free
Friday 17 to Sunday 19 September
Friday 24 to Sunday 26 September
Every two years Inside Out Dorset animates Dorset’s rural and coastal landscapes with magical outdoor art and performance. This year’s festival, long-awaited after a year’s postponement, returns for two weekends in September.
The festival begins at one of the county’s most popular tourist attractions, Moors Valley Country Park and Forest from 17 to 19 September where installation artist Luke Jerram’s awe-inspiring 3D model of planet Earth Gaia is sited in the Tree Top Trail. Gaia lets people see our planet floating in three dimensions and is intended to recreate an astronaut’s experience of seeing Earth from space for the first time.
Gaia-inspired events over the weekend include Future Forest, a drop-in exhibition by students at Arts University Bournemouth whose work reflects on sustainability, ethics, accessibility and inclusivity and an In Conversation with former Forestry England writer-in-residence, Zakiya McKenzie and poet and writer Louisa Adjoa Parker, a writer of English-Ghanaian heritage who now lives in the South West of England. They discuss their work and the influence the natural world has on their creative process.
No Going Back 1 is a new audio artwork from artists Karen Wimhurst and Ed Bersey focusing on the accelerating dangers of climate change in the pandemic world. They have sculpted a compelling soundtrack from original music and the voices of diverse people talking about their changing priorities, what they love and what they can let go of.
Performances will pop up over the weekend. In Angel Exit Theatre’s The Gallycrows two climate refugees appear as if from nowhere, carrying what looks like the world on their backs. Instruments of Joy is musician Tim Hill and his band of roving troubadours who promenade their mini brass band, bringing musical joy to all who chance upon them.
Poole Quay and Lower High Street on Saturday 18 September and The Quomps on Christchurch Quay on 19 September are the settings for artwork trails featuring circus, performance and dance events.
Three new works have just been added to the programme. 2Faced Dance Company’s energetic, funny and thoughtful Last Orders sees four strangers meet in a pub. Thrown together, they find out what connects them by exploring their differences. Pif-Paf’s wonderfully family-friendly SEED takes us through a day in the life of Wilford and his potting shed on wheels. This poetic and surprising show reminds us that from little acorns grow great oaks. Inspired by the sounds of the streets of New Orleans, seven-piece outfit King Brass bring their brilliant set to the streets of Poole.
These works join Mimbre’s acrobatic Lifted, a collaboration with three guest choreographers, Gary Clarke, Yi-Chun Liu and HURyCAN; Upswing’s Catch Me, part-installation part-performance, an intimate and surprising take on age and gender; The Working Boys Club’s immersive new installationServing Sounds; and Heidi Steller’s ‘make and do’ activity tent Summer of Love.
In Poole only will be Isobel Jobbins’ self-guided walking tour The Collective Memory Archive whilst Christchurch has two dance events – Fingerprint Dance’s Two and a Half about the impact of the rise in Arctic sea temperatures and Dorset Youth Dance, Remix East, Coast and Co-Evo’s Tess, inspired by Hardy’s classic novel.
Symondsbury Estate near Bridport from 24 to 26 September is a new venue for Inside Out Dorset. Luke Jerram’s Gaia will be sited in the woodlands there.
Becky Namgauds’ contemporary dance show Rodadoras has just been added to the artwork trail at Symondsbury. Set to an original score inspired by Neapolitan folk music and performed in a bed of soil, Rodadoras is a rhythmical jig of floor work which sees three female dancers roll, fall and slam into the earth, their bodies becoming fully immersed in their surroundings. An extended version of Karen Bersey and Ed Wimhurst’s audio artwork No Going Back 2 will play in the grass bowl when Rodadoras is not active.
Also part of the trail are Angel Exit Theatre’s The Gallycrows; Fingerprint Dance’s Two and a Half; Tess by Dorset Youth Dance, The Remix West, Movers and Shakers and RISE Youth Dance from Bristol; and Dorset AONB’s Talking Tent.
At the heart of the trail are three new commissions from three exceptional creators of outdoor art – Dave, The Shouting Mute, Red Herring and Lorna Rees.
Dave, The Shouting Mute’s Partnering with Earth is a performance poetry installation which asks ‘If the Earth could speak, what would it say?’. Dave interviewed scientists, conservationists, activists and land workers about their relationship to the land and their thoughts on climate change. He has taken these thoughts and reflections and used the conversations as a starting point to write a series of poems which, with extracts of the verbatim recordings, will form a soundscape within the installation. A live cast including several Disabled performers and artists will read the poems.
Red Herring’s Whistlers follows a fictitious tribe of remote bird-loving humans as they explore the language and communication of birdsong and dialects. For this installation and series of performances in the woods, Red Herring have worked with a wildlife expert and Dorset-based participants to add local birdsong to European birdsong collected from earlier performance locations.
Lorna Rees’ Geophonic responds to the landscape of the Symondsbury Estate to tell the story of rock, how it forms and how it literally is the bedrock of our lives. This joyful performance piece and sound walk encourages people to listen to the geological processes of the earth. Using recycled plastic geophones, audiences stop to listen at various points on a guided journey. Some of the sonic content will be naturally occurring, some made by human voice, and some with augmented sound and music. Geophonic is about recognising how geology shapes our landscape and remembering that humans are part of nature too
In Radipole Park Gardens, Weymouth from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 September is Planted Symphony, a new audio trail by Drake Music, the UK’s leading organisation working in music, disability and technology. This new version of the work is a tribute to its original composer, Lucy Hale, who died earlier this year. Created by a team of Disabled and non-disabled musicians, poets, storytellers and artists, Planted Symphony tells the tale of a herbalist who uses the natural world to heal, grow and transform. Audiences use headphones and their senses to follow her story told through spoken word and song lyrics with voice, strings and percussion. For D/deaf and hard of hearing audiences, there will be Subpacs available which translate sound into vibration and over-ear headphones, compatible with hearing aids.
The Weymouth seafront on Friday 24and Saturday 25 September is the setting for the Festival’s climax – night-time parade show Sense of Unity from two of Europe’s most in-demand outdoor arts companies – Germany’s Dundu and England’s Worldbeaters. Together they have created a fusion of visual spectacle and raucous live music. Worldbeaters’ high-energy drummers beat out a soundtrack inspired by world rhythms set against the West African kora sound world of Dundu. They lead the procession in search of charming Baby Dundu who in turn takes them to find gentle Giant Dundu. Handled and steered through the crowd by a team of five puppeteers, the puppets’ transparent flexible bodies are lit from inside, illuminating them against the darkening evening sky.