The Hardy Players
The Hardy Players were an amateur dramatic society in Dorchester, Dorset, who adapted and staged the works of Thomas Hardy, with input from Hardy himself, between 1908 and 1924.
The Hardy Players are of national as well as regional importance due to the unique position they hold amongst amateur dramatic societies. Their programme for the adaptation and staging of Hardy's works is a remarkable and sustained example of the appropriation of a major literary figure by the community and region that inspired him, carried on with his full knowledge and consent and sometimes with his direct participation.
Thomas Henry Tilley, builder, stone mason and Mayor of Dorchester was stage manager for the Hardy Players, and one of the two Dorchester figures chiefly responsible for the productions. In his unpublished memoir, Tilley explicitly states that the Hardy Players' mission was to use Hardy's works to revive and continue a sense of regional identity.