What’s on at this year’s Inside Out art festival in Dorset

Cirque Roage's Sodade

Cirque Roage's Sodade - Credit: Archant

This September Dorset provides the stunning backdrop to Inside Out art festival. Artists from Austria, Israel, Iran, France, the Netherlands as well as from the UK will bring the very best contemporary art and performance to our county

This festival offers a rare chance to see rural and urban locations in Dorset transformed by the best in international outdoor circus, theatre, dance and art. Inside Out Dorset will host some truly extraordinary events in extraordinary Dorset locations including Poole Quay, the Iron Age earthworks of Maiden Castle at Dorchester and the woodlands around Shelley Park in Boscombe.

While this festival is very much rooted in the local landscape, much of the work on offer has a distinctive European feel to it. Over the weekend of 15 – 16 September, Shelley Park in Boscombe will host three UK premieres from highly-celebrated European artists, alongside brand-new work made especially for the festival by UK artists, tackling some major environmental issues faced by humans and animals.

French ‘poetic hit squad’ Les Souffleurs Commandos Poetiques bring the provocative Manimal: Gesticulating, a way of thinking about the World to Boscombe, but you never know where you might see these unusual half-human, half-animal creatures. They mean you no harm, but they are wild, questioning and curious…

Two collectives from the Netherlands will also be asking big questions in Boscombe. De Weide Wereld by Waterlanders invites you to step inside the head of local birdlife, exploring the overuse of grasslands. While Collectief Waldon bring Olie, a confronting performance and installation investigating how mining and consumption of oil, can influence and damage the landscape.

Alongside these powerful UK premieres, are a number of regional pieces including Fl-utter-ances (Tree Songs) by environmental artist Jane Pitt and performance artist Lorna Rees who have worked with volunteers from Bournemouth’s Cherry Tree Nursery to create a wild soundscape listened to through ‘sound pillows’ on a cliff-top. Flutterances is just one of the many works commissioned by Inside Out Dorset from a range of local artists.

There is much to enjoy throughout the week long festival. See Poole Quay transformed into a circus spectacle; experience an immersive performance which throws you into the heart of the battlefield; or witness the creation of an installation on Maiden Castle which becomes a celebration of music, light and fire at dusk.

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Almost all events at both festivals are free of charge. So this September get out into our wonderful county, who knows what you might encounter!


14 & 15 September: Opening Weekend at Poole Quay

From 12 noon – 7.30pm: The Actual Reality Arcade, Matthew Harrison (UK) is inspired by classic arcade games. Pilot spaceship across the galaxy and survive an onslaught of aliens in Defender or shoot them down in the Space Invaders Gallery. Rock the Boat Street Guitars features five sailing dinghies which have been up-cycled into mini-stages along Poole Quay, providing a sculptural shelter for full-size acoustic guitars or ukuleles for passers-by to pick up and play.

7.45pm: At twilight, Cirque Rouages present Sodade featuring endlessly turning wheels and a tightrope high up against the darkening sky, four acrobats tell a heart-stopping story of migration and memory to a live soundtrack (outside Thistle Hotel BH15 1HD).


15 & 16 September: Coastal Encounters at Boscombe

12 noon to 6pm: Waterlanders De Weide Wereld is an interactive installation highlighting the plight of meadow birds. Through integrated audio and video systems experience the landscape from an avian perspective at Boscombe Overcliff (BH5 1JB).

12 noon to 6pm: Les Souffleurs Commandos Poétiques transform themselves into hybrid beings in Manimal: Gesticulating, a way of thinking about the World, at Shelley Park (BH5 1FG) and Boscombe Town Centre

12 noon to 6pm: Fl-utter-ances (Tree Songs) is a sound and performance artwork created by environmental artist Jane Pitt and performance artist Lorna Rees using woodland field recordings and choral elements heard through ‘sound pillows’ on sun loungers on the cliff tops of Boscombe Overcliff Nature Reserve BH5 1JB.

12 noon to 6pm: Collectief Waldon, Olie at Boscombe Cliff Gardens (BH5 1JL) investigates how mining and consumption of oil impacts the landscape.


19 & 20 September: Mark Anderson - Furious Folly at Weymouth

A large-scale outdoor production for up to 2,000 people, Furious Folly takes place as night falls, in the no-mans-land on the battlefront between the two lines, the segregated, disorientated audience find themselves immersed in a world of sound, light, pyrotechnics and performance. Mark Anderson leads a team of artists who draw on the anti-war spirit of the early 20th century Dadaist movement to rail against the senselessness of conflicts past and present.

Meeting point: Mount Pleasant Park and Ride, DT3 5BJ.

Starts: 9pm. Minimum age 14.

Tickets £10/£8 (concessions) via insideoutdorset.co.uk


15 –22 September: And Now: Wayfaring at Maiden Castle, Dorchester

Wayfaring is an artistic journey inspired by the chalk landscape and ancient routes of the pre-Roman pathway, the Icknield Way.

At 2pm on 15 September join the artists on a procession from Dorchester’s Corn Exchange to Maumbury Rings at Maiden Castle.

From 17 – 22 September, And Now will craft an installation on Maiden Castle which audiences can move through, investigate and contribute to.

On 22 September at dusk illumination, music and performance transforms the installation in a celebration of people and place.

More details: insideout.co.uk Twitter @InsideOutDorset