Inside Out Dorset is an award-winning biennial arts festival connects people with the arts via free performances, workshops, installations, parades and more by 42 international and UK artists at five fabulous outdoor Dorset locations.

What is Inside Out Dorset? 

Organised by Dorset’s Activate Performing Arts, this award-winning arts festival running from September 15-24 connects people with the arts via free performances, workshops, installations, parades and more by international, UK and South West artists, including two World Premieres and five UK Premieres. Events are at five Dorset sites: Moors Valley Country Park & Forest (hosting spectacular art installations throughout its 800-acre site), Wild Woodbury at Bere Regis, Poole, Wimborne and Weymouth.


Chirp & Drift, Kathy Hinde

A flock of illuminated instruments that chatter in a musical morse code feature in Chirp & Drift. Combining elements of birdsong, language and music - wing-like bellows move, and air is pressed through accordion reeds hidden within each ‘bird’, reminding us of the delicate and fragile state of the environment, and of our own health. This playful probe into interspecies communication ponders whether birds sing purely to enjoy making music.

Saeflod and Lachrymae, Helen Ottaway 

This installation features a soundscape created by nature and art. Designed to encourage visitors to experience the forest in a new way, Lachrymae and Saeflod adorns the woodland canopy creating an immersive site-specific accompaniment which is different for every visit. Lachrymae was originally commissioned by Inside Out Dorset and Dorset AONB in 2014; Saeflod is a new commission, a collaboration with a graduating student from Arts University Bournemouth.

Everyone Says..., Jane Pitt

World Premiere

This arboreal installation brings together a multitude of voices speaking a greeting - the word 'tree' in as many of the different languages spoken in this part of East Dorset. Following face-to-face recording sessions at Moors Valley and in the surrounding area, the recordings are played out digitally through speakers on stilts at this world premiere; mingling and interconnecting with each other and the sounds of this Dorset forest.



The Air Between Us, Chloe Loftus and Rodney Bell

Critically acclaimed choreographer Chloe Loftus and multi-award-winning Maori artist Rodney Bell – who performs in his wheelchair – explore our capacity to exist in harmony, with each other and with our environment in The Air Between Us. In this captivating outdoor aerial dance event performed mid-air, Loftus and Bell almost appear like encircling planets, magnetically pulled by each other’s energy. Their partnership in this mesmerising performance celebrates equality and connection.

Dance Performance, Dorset Youth Dance and The Remix

Two of Activate's youth performance groups, Dorset Youth Dance and The Remix, join forces to perform as part of Inside Out Dorset. Dorset Youth Dance is Activate's contemporary youth dance company, and The Remix is their inclusive performance group. Following a workshop with Chloe Loftus and Rodney Bell (dancer/choreographer duo of The Air Between Us), the two groups will create a performance piece for Inside Out Dorset.

Lives of Clay, The Clay Connection

Dance, music and live ceramics combine in a unique theatrical event, rooted in ancient myth and reflecting the creative force of women. Internationally renowned dancer, Bharata Natyam and prominent ceramicist, Vidya Thirunarayan, combine dancing with throwing pots on stage to tell stories rich with drama and emotion. Lives of Clay is a vivid and vital theatre experience, full of heart and made of mud.

Fanfare for Trains, The Phat Controller

Poole’s level crossing is an unusual fixture where the South West main line crosses the pedestrianised High Street. This unique location will celebrate the ‘interruptions’ with fanfares and music. Each time the level crossing is raised, and a train passes, Stuart Henderson, aka The Phat Controller, is a former Scots Guard principal trumpet. He will play anything from jazz interludes and train-themed pop songs as the trains arrive and depart.



Serving Sounds, Working Boys Club

Local Talent

This multi-sensory sound installation creates connection through music. The installation is an interactive work, playful and joyful with spaces for up to four people of all ages to interact with the bar. The Working Boys Club is made up of identical twins Jason and Adam Dupree, from Poole, who make and create work by mixing their experience in the arts with their past lives as tradesmen, as electrician and mechanic.

Sisyphus, Company Satchok

This hilarious acrobatic take on Sisyphus (a figure from Greek mythology who was forever rolling a boulder up a hill), reveals how artists train together, try out ideas, and struggle for their turn in the spotlight. Done in the banquine style – an acrobatic act of three or more people, with at least one flyer - they use tripod, push button, straps and partner acrobatics to create a show full of artistry.

The Vegetable Nannies, Let’s Grow by Plunge Boom

Perfect for Families

This strolling, interactive, family-friendly performance by Let’s Grow and Ben Faulks (co-creator and presenter of the award winning CBeebies brand, Mr. Bloom’s Nursery) features a most unusual day trip to Wimborne and Poole, in the company of some very demanding prized baby vegetables. The Vegetable Nannies champions nature, nurture, wellbeing, and imaginative play; helping the Nannies look after their charming family of baby fruits and vegetables, combining horticulture and humour!

Gap of 42, Chris Iris

42cm separate them in height, 42kg in weight. Two dissimilar bodies meet in Gap of 42 to create extraordinary acrobatics to make audiences marvel and gasp. Three wooden objects equalise the difference in height and becomes a third partner on stage. This brilliant show, by Chris Iris, is a compilation of contemporary circus, physical theatre and dance. Revealing a difference that connects and creates possibilities, instead of being an obstacle.

Time To Loop, Duo Kaos

This Italian-Guatemalan contemporary circus duo brings their signature style to Inside Out Dorset. Time to Loop is a history of movement, transformation and love, where building and destroying, harmony and chaos are all part of the same story. Duo Kaos combine lightness of movement with a bicycle and a game of synchronicity and balance ensues as both characters begin to understand that together they can create the perfect loop.

Bollywood and Bhangra, Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band

This unique brass band is a living embodiment of the rich landscape of Rajasthan in Northern India and a spectacular celebration of the region’s vibrant and colourful lifestyle. Their music and dance are a heady, exciting and hypnotic reflection of this enchanting region, playing a diverse repertoire spanning Rajasthani folk songs, Bollywood hits and banging Bhangra beats that will have audiences of all ages up and dancing in the streets.


What is Wild Woodbury?

Wild Woodbury at Bere Regis, near Wareham, offers a varied programme of events between September 20 – 24 including workshops, performances, talks and local food vendors giving it a real festival feel. Owned by Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) since September 2021, it is undergoing a process of rewilding and is England's first community rewilding project. It provides a unique location for Inside Out Dorset to work with DWT and Dorset AONB.

Pravaas, Akademi

A leading producer of South Asian dance in the UK, Akademi present Pravaas, a promenade performance, suitable for all ages, inspired by the climate migration of people from the Sundarbans (the huge mangrove areas around river deltas) across India and Bangladesh. Using traditional dance forms, Pravaas expresses feelings, ways of being, stories and imagery to convey how our current climate crisis is directly changing the lives of communities of people.

Imagine-Better: Welly Walks, Alice Stevens

Created by PhD candidate and designer-researcher, Alice Stevens in collaboration with writer and storyteller, Zakiya McKenzie, and creative technologist, Mark Benson, Welly Walks sees participants borrow wellies equipped with a speaker and a sensor that detects weather conditions. The ‘talking’ wellies play specific pre-recorded eco-poetry that relates to the weather, inviting people to explore their relationship with the weather within the broader context of the climate emergency.

Baïna[na], Le G. Bistaki

One of the most original European outdoor theatre companies, Le G. Bastaki cross locations and times in an astonishing choreographic and musical journey. This performance shows what happens when the characters come across an abundant source of yellow gold. Leading them to pleasure, ecstasy, jealousy, and finally to their loss. At the crossroads of circus and dance, Baïna[na] offers a timeless satire of our relationship with money and power.

Land Library, Little Toller Books 

Local Talent

This award-winning Dorset publisher specialises in books about nature and rural life. Their Land Library will offer a selection of books for young audiences to sit and read. They will also host Hannah Shuckburgh and Octavia Mackenzie, authors of Archie’s Apple, a children’s book inspired by the true story of a boy who finds a new variety of apple, a discovery that hits the headlines around the world.



Poupées Géantes, Transe Express

Perfect for Families

The finale weekend of Inside Out Dorset, held over September 22-23 in Weymouth, is a Festival Finale Parade featuring three giant dolls as Transe Express’ Poupées Géantes glide magically through the crowds, broadcasting the voices of three opera singers to transform the streets of Weymouth into an opera house. This spectacular parade of light and music is complemented by Les Tambours creating a powerful sound, combining percussive traditions from around the world.

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