Saturday, 24 October 2015

Poppies, Town Crier and Literacy in Dorchester

Dorchester car parks were full to brimming today with so much going on in the town.
It may have been wet, but it most certainly wasn't miserable. 

The Dorchester Literacy Festival has a programme of cultural events this weekend, which are being  held at the County Museum, Dukes Galleries and Dorchester Library. 

The British Legion launched the poppy appeal in Brewery Square with the help of Dorchester Town Crier, who last week won first place in the National Town Crier competition in Hastings! 

Some very uplifting music could be heard in South Street, where the town's Durnovaria Silver Band was performing. 

Wishing Alistair Chisholm hearty congratulations, Did you hear his powerful today? If not then here is a link to last week's competition. 

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Tinderbox Premiere

Well I was there, were you? The Corn Exchange Dorchester, is no longer used for exchange of corn seed, as it was originally built for, but is now a central part of Dorchester's active theatre and music culture.

Thomas Hardy refers to the Corn Exchange in his novel 'The Mayor of Casterbridge'  explaining the purpose it was originally built for, but to see it used as it was last night, for contemporary, creative, live theatre, was a reminder of how historic venues such as these, are as much an important a part of society as they ever were, for bringing communities together. 

"I won't be a slave to the past. I'll love where I choose." 
 Thomas Hardy (The Mayor of Casterbridge)

The premiere of As-One theatre's Tinderbox was attended by Dorchester Town's Mayor and Mayoress, and by many other local residents and families. I was excited to see a large number of teenagers in the audience, as many theatre events I have attended recently have been largely attended by only the more senior members of the community. 

Involved in the opening of the show were members of Stagecoach Dorchester and Dorset Youth Theatre, who then were able to watch the show from specially reserved seats at the front. I could see their faces whilst watching, and that for me was quite special. They were captivated and obviously truly inspired and entertained. 

Using carefully planned props, the cast were able to create a visual spectacle, that carried the audience through a contemporary version of the original Hans Christian Anderson tale. 

The use of clever puppetry, masks and inventive shadow theatre,  the talented performers under the guidance of the show's writer and director,  were able to create illusions that enabled the audience to be transported through the lifetime of the Tinderbox Princess, who was initially represented by a beautiful puppet, evolving into a living character.

Original music was written for the for the play, and was gently introduced as a re-occuring memorable theme through the production. Harmonised voice  in the main, with the accompaniment of two guitars and some cleverly timed rhythmic drumming. 

The show will now be on tour, the venues and dates that you can see a performance are listed on the As-One Theatre website. 

Did you see the show last night? What did you enjoy most? 

Monday, 12 October 2015

Blogging Masterclass Max Gate

A perfect location to be learning about blogging was sat at a table in the dining room at Max Gate in Dorchester.

Today I took part in an event organised by Literatureworks and The National Trust to encourage more people to become involved in literature in the South West of England. 
I previously have attended a very enjoyable talk at Dorchester Museum given by Author Helen Dunmore entitled 'Visiting Hardy' which was also part of their events programme.

My afternoon at Max Gate, former home of Thomas Hardy, was spent with a mix of newbie bloggers, experienced and successful ones, and a few verging on the brink of starting one!

Our masterclass leader has been blogging for 10 years, and was able to share her knowledge of how to create and sustain a following of regular readers. We learned some of the secrets of the publishing world and learned from each other how to advertise our blogs. 

Thomas Hardy first published some of his work in a magazine in monthly instalments, reaching an audience very much like a blog does now.

I was interested to learn that Lynne who writes Dovegreyreader scribbles blog, uses a paper notebook and pen to record her notes as she is reading a book. This is a tip that has helped me recently, when embarking on reading some of Hardy's novels. 
I have two aids now that help me with my reading, adding audio narration to a Kindle download, adds to my enjoyment, and keeping a notes of characters as they are emerge in the story helps me to follow the plot.
I am sure Thomas would have loved blogging!