Video preview of this year’s production

The New Hardy Players have been having some fun up on Hardy’s Egdon Heath, behind his birthplace at Higher Bockhampton, creating a “video poster” – i.e. some short video clips to give you an idea of what it’s going to be like. There’s a short and a long version below:


Shorter version:-


 Longer version:-


 Further details about this years main production, Howard Payton’s new adaptation of ‘The Return Of The Native‘, can be found here.

Max Gate Sold Out

The two performances at Max Gate are now sold out, despite more places having been made available.

Why not come to the performance at one of our other venues:

Minterne House – North of Cerne Abbas

Lulworth Cove on the glorious Purbeck coast

Watercombe House – near Owermoigne.

Full booking details on our Current Productions page

Extra Tickets Now Available

We are very happy to announce that tickets are again available for all of this season’s open-air performances of The Return Of The Native around Hardy Country.

The popularity of Howard Payton’s new adaptation of The Return Of The Native, Thomas Hardy’s story of intrigue, hope and destiny on Egdon Heath, has meant that tickets have sold out even faster than usual, disappointing some fans.

To cater for this unexpected demand, we have agreed extra capacity with the venues involved, including Max Gate in Dorchester: the home Thomas Hardy designed and built for his family.

Our Chairman, Andy Worth, said: “Max Gate sells out every year, but I’m delighted that tickets have sold so well for our tenth anniversary production”.

See our Current Production page for details.

The New Hardy Players can also be seen this summer at the popular Tea With Mr Hardy events at Max Gate.

We’re in the Window!

The Dorchester Tourist Information Centre is helping us spread the word about our performances by letting us put a display in their window. We thought you might like to see what it looks like:

Picture of a display in a shop window

Special Programme This Year

The pace is really hotting up now – rehearsals are polishing the performance, the musicians are practicing like made, the publicity team is working hard and the programme is nearly ready to go off to the printers.

We’re doing a super 24-page Souvenir Programme this year, to celebrate ten years of the New Hardy Players performing Thomas Hardy’s works.

Collage of pages from the programme

Tickets are selling well, so get yours now. Full details on our Current Production page.

One night already sold out

We are delighted to see that our second performance of The Return of the Native at Max Gate is already sold out! We are limited to 150 seats here, and the first night has sold 100 tickets, so book quickly if you want to see the performance in the ground of the house where Thomas Hardy used to live.

The front of a brick-built house
Max Gate. Photo: National Trust

Full details of how to buy tickets here.

More work with the National Trust

Group of people in nineteenth century costume in a woodland setting

The New Hardy Players performed their ‘Woodland Words’ presentation, devised by Tim Laycock, for the second time since the opening of the new visitor centre, close to Hardy’s birthplace, on May 2nd at the request of the National Trust.

Group of people in nineteenth century costume, in a clearing
A new performance area where the Players had an inspiring view looking down on Hardy’s birthplace while performing ‘Woodland Words’ for the third time.

Woodland Words 2336
Sign advertising the Shearing Supper a scene from Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd.

Woodland Words 2363
The New Hardy Players enjoy a May Day Shearing Supper thanks to the release of the new film adaptation of Far from the Madding Crowd. Gabriel Oak and Bathsheba Everdene are present with songs and readings from the farm hands being all part of the fun, finished off with a dance for visitors and Players alike. The very tasty supper was provided by National Trust staff and volunteers and offered to visitors.

Far From the Madding Crowd

Far From the Madding Crowd is one Hardy book we have not yet attempted to put on stage, but, of course, there is the big film of it coming out on May 1, starring Carey Mulligan and Michael Sheen.

If you know where to look, it also includes three of the New Hardy Players: Chris Pullen, Howard Payton (who directs our performance this year) and Alison Payton.

We haven’t seen the film yet, but we managed to catch a very brief glimpse of Chris in one of the trailers, though we hardly recognised him with his impressive sideburns – made, he tells us, of yak hair! He’s the face immediately to the right of the lady in the foreground (Carey Mulligan).

Screen shot of a scene from the film with Carey Mulligan in the foreground
Screenshot from Far From the Madding Crowd

NHP in the Independent’s Travel Mag

The Independent newspaper did a feature about Dorset on 25 April, linked to the imminent release of the film of “Far From the Madding Crowd”.

The New Hardy Players’ performances of The Return of The Native got a mention – albeit they forgot the “New”!

Short newspaper article with picture of Hardy's Cottage

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