Tess uses the original text combined with the physical language of circus, allowing the performers to retell the well-known story of power, loss and endurance through a feminist lens.
From Wednesday 31st January 2024 until Monday 24th June 2024
All day event

Ockham’s Razor present Tess, a feminist vision of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel

UK Tour – October 2023 – June 2024

Ockham’s Razor, the UK’s foremost circus theatre company, presents a bold new vision of Hardy’s classic novel, Tess of the D’Urbervilles. Touring the UK from October 2023 to June 2024, Tess uses the original text combined with the physical language of circus, allowing the performers to retell the well-known story of power, loss and endurance through a feminist lens. Hardy’s classic novel still has extraordinary relevance for contemporary audiences as it explores questions of privilege, class, consent, agency, female desire and sisterhood.

Tess features an ensemble of circus performers from diverse backgrounds, five women and two men. The cast includes a female actress and a female circus performer who both portray the character Tess. The company has a long experience of working with reframing the female body with circus, looking at strength, capability and agency. Tess weaves together acrobatics, aerial, dance, physical theatre and the distinctive simple, evocative design of Ockham’s Razor to create Hardy’s world.

Tess is Ockham’s Razor’s first production based on a novel, the script has been written by Ockham’s Razor using Hardy’s own words, with advice from Anne Marie Casey, an acclaimed novelist and screenwriter who has previously adapted Little Women and Wuthering Heights for the stage. It captures the poetry of Hardy and the philosophical depth of the novel, interweaving Ockham’s Razor’s signature physical storytelling to tell this gut-wrenching story about the strength to endure. The cast of world-class circus performers use their strength and circus language to evoke the physical labour of the novel. They will create Hardy’s Wessex onstage, wielding wooden planks, shifting walls, ropes and swathes of linen to make sets that unfold and which the cast balance upon, climb, carry and construct.

Directors Alex Harvey and Charlotte Mooney comment, Tess of the D’Urbervilles has been adapted before for TV and film but it always struck us that the poetry of the book, the radical nature of it and the strength and heroism of Tess was often lost in translation. Over time we became increasingly convinced that circus, and all the physicality of it, would be the perfect medium for capturing all the many elements of the novel. One of the surprises in the creation of Tess is how much joy and humour there is to find in the novel and the staging. There is a seam of joy in there which is captured by the play and collaboration of the ensemble

Ockham’s Razor Website - www.ockhamsrazor.co.uk 

Tour Venues

Weds 31st Jan - Sat 3rd February 2024 - Peacock Theatre, Sadler's Wells, London

Wed 7th & Thu 8th February 2024 - The Traverse, Edinburgh

Wed 14th - Sat 17th February 2024 - The Lowry, Salford Quays

Wed 21st February 2024 - Lighthouse Poole

Mon 11th & Tues 12th March 2024 - Northcott, Exeter

Wed 20th & Thu 21st March 2024 - artsdepot, North Finchley

Tues 26th March 2024 - Oxford Playhouse

Weds 10th & Thu 11th April 2024 - The Belgrade, Coventry

Tues 30th April & Wed 1st May 2024 - New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth

Thu 9th - Sat 11th May 2024 - York Theatre Royal

Wed 15th - Fri 17th May 2024 - Worthing Theatres

Wed 5th June 2024 - Salisbury Playhouse

Further dates to be announced for Summer/Autumn 2024

“Ockham’s Razor have created something authentically fresh. Charming, frightening, mesmerising and heartbreaking – my favourite show of the year" - Bristol 247

“A coming together of talents to make something quite special out of one of the cornerstones of the literary canon. The sheer level of talent and ingenuity displayed by the cast brings us to our feet” - StageTalk

For more information, please click on the image below.



Society calendar
Upcoming events
Latest news
The Thomas Hardy Society 2024
HomeJoin usMenuContact us

This website uses cookies

We use cookies to personalise content and ads, to provide social media features and to analyse our traffic. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners who may combine it with other information that you've provided to them or that they've collected from your use of their services. You consent to our cookies if you continue to use our website.

OK Accept Cookies