The Rites of Way With Mr Hardy Project

Mr Hardy - Stories That Take You into the Heart of Nature

The Rites of Way With Mr Hardy Project

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Thomas Hardy and wife Florence feature in the app and on the project postcards together with specially comissioned tree of life prints by artist Fiona Nealon

An arts project in the woods around Thomas Hardy’s birthplace is helping people reconnect with nature and the works of the Dorset writer.


Rites of Way with Mr Hardy, developed in partnership with the Society, is described as “a wellbeing journey into nature and into ourselves” by dramatherapist Sharon Hayden from arts organisation ScreenPLAY.


“Through our smartphone app, we’re inviting people to let Thomas Hardy’s words and Celtic tree stories heighten their feelings about this place and give them a deeper connection with nature and their own feelings.”


The project, funded by the Heritage Lottery and Dorset Council has been recorded in and around Hardy’s Cottage during lockdown.


Stories read by three actors and an arts therapist are accessed from a series of QR codes at key locations in the woods and the visitor centre. Each reading includes specially commissioned music by cellist Bonnie Schwarz and accordian player Pete Shaw.


The app invites you to take a moment for yourself, to sit in nature and really connect with your surroundings. 


Sharon added: “We have curated stories by Thomas Hardy that create a sense of place - some even written at the cottage and located in the woods. Alongside these are Celtic tree stories which reflect the changing seasons and the feelings these changes bring in us.”


Project producer Alastair Nisbet said Rites of Way was bringing a new audience to Hardy’s poetry and an enriched experience for visitors to the Cottage and woods. “These stories come alive when performed out loud. To listen to poems like the Roman Road on headphones in the middle of the wood is a delight.”

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To access Rites of Way with Mr Hardy zap the QR code or click this link: 
https://screen-play.co.uk/MrHardy where there is a series of accompanying podcasts recorded in the woods.

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At Hardy’s Cottage: Production team members Maggie Curtis, Alastair Nisbet, Sharon Hayden, Rod Drew, and Perwina Whitmore.

 

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