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Dance inspired by Thomas Hardy’s novel.

  • 26 September 2021
  • Symondsbury Estate

The members of Dorset Youth Dance company and mature dance company, Movers & Shakers came together during the second UK COVID-19 lockdown to create a short dance film, Tess. Now, as part of Inside Out Dorset Festival they have collaborated with Activate’s inclusive performance company, The Remix (West) and Bristol’s RISE Youth Dance to perform live a live interpretation of Tess.

The choreography is inspired by Thomas Hardy’s classic, Tess of the d’Urbervilles and celebrates the beautiful Dorset countryside. The piece explores creativity, connection and nature.

Watch the films below:
Tess I

Tess II

Tess III

The film was created with strict social distancing measures in place and the quality of the final result has surprised and delighted us as the integrity of the dance was preserved, creating a moving and passionate piece.

Produced by Activate, created in partnership with Movers & Shakers. Choreographed and directed by Claire Benson and filmed and edited by Dan Tucker.

Thanks are extended to Ilchester Estates and Reverend Jean for granting permission to film on location and to Vintage Wildflowers for giving us permission to use their music.

Tess has been supported by Arts Council England, The D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, DCMS, Dorset Council, Dorset AONB, Jerwood Arts, Artful Scribe, The Garrick Club Charitable Trust, The Leche Trust, Symondsbury Estate, LAND and The Green Carpet.


This performance will take place in a flat grass area with grassy banks on the sides. There is flat access to grass area from hard-standing, pavement with dropped curbs. The distance to Front of House is approximately 80m, and there is some seating in the vicinity.

Further access information can be found through the ‘plan your visit’ link below.

Plan Your Visit

With the current climate crisis, we try to work in a greener way and understand that we all need to be part of the solution in protecting our planet. We encourage you to consider how you get to the festival and adapt to ‘greener’ ways if possible. Follow this link to plan your visit and read full access information.

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