Moors Valley Country Park and Forest stages Gaia as part of Inside Out Dorset’s international arts festival, 17 – 19 September 2021

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest stages Gaia as part of Inside Out Dorset’s international arts festival, 17 – 19 September 2021

Inside Out Dorset, the biennial international arts festival, is set to return this autumn in five extraordinary locations across the county hosted by Dorchester-based outdoor arts producers Activate. Over two weekends in September, each of these special and distinctive landscapes will be animated and transformed by magical art and performances with themes of sustainability, land use and lifecycles, human and environmental.

“On Earth Day, as people all over the world demonstrate support for environmental protection, we are delighted to announce a diverse and inventive programme encompassing an awe-inspiring sculpture hidden in a working forest, giant puppets on a Georgian seafront, sound installations in ancient woodland and at least three world premieres,’ say Inside Out Dorset co-artistic directors Kate Wood and Bill Gee. “After having to postpone the festival last year, we’re delighted to be able to bring Inside Out Dorset to life this year while taking every measure to ensure the safety of our audiences, artists, performers and volunteers.”

In the east of the county, from Friday 17 to Sunday 19 September, Inside Out Dorset is working with Forestry England and Dorset Council at the popular Moors Valley Country Park and Forest at Ashley Heath where it will stage Luke Jerram’s remarkable installation Gaia, a seven-metre scale model of Earth using NASA photography that offers an out-of-this-world chance to see our planet as an astronaut would view it from space.

Each centimetre of the artwork represents 18km of Earth’s surface and nestled in the trees for three days Gaia is sure to stir the emotions as we consider climate change and humanity’s effect on the planet.

In Poole and Christchurch, on 18 and 19 September respectively, there’s a full programme of outdoor circus events featuring Cirque Rouages’ Boate in which fabulous acrobatics deliver a powerful political message; Mimbre’s Lifted, a collaboration between choreographers Gary Clarke, Yi-Chun Liu and HURyCAN; Les Grooms’ brass band promenade show La Baronnade; and Catch Me, Upswing’s surprising take on age and gender. In Poole, Isobel Jobbins hosts her walking tour, The Collective Memory Archive; and in Christchurch there’s also a new work by Fingerprint Dance and Dorset Youth Theatre present a work inspired by Hardy’s Tess with further performances from The Remix East and Pavilion Dance South West’s youth dance project, COAST.

Over the second weekend, from Friday 24 to Sunday 26 September, Inside Out Dorset hosts Luke Jerram’s monumental Gaia in the stunning scenery of the Marshwood Vale on the Symondsbury Estate, near Bridport. The land lies within the Dorset Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, one of the festival’s partner organisations, and includes two of the highest points in Dorset at Lewesdon Hill and Pilsdon Pen. The installation will be accompanied by an artwork trail of events and performances including three world premieres that explore climate change and our future use of the land.

In Geophonic, artist Lorna Rees’s joyful response to the landscape, visitors listen to the earth’s geological processes using recycled plastic geophones to help understand the world about us. The Shouting Mute – artist Dave Young – presents The Climate Emergency and People: What Happens?, an installation created from natural and upcycled materials featuring a soundscape of Dave’s prose, recordings of his interviews with local farmers, walkers, land managers, foresters and riders, and the poems he created from their stories. With bird species and many human languages in decline, Whistlers by Red Herring explores birdsong, dialect and extinction in an installation and a series of performances in the woods. Audiences are encouraged to join the Whistlers’ Conservation Society to find out more about the curious world of the Whistlers. The trail also showcases Planted Symphony by Drake Music – UK leaders in music, disability and technology – Les Quat’ fers en I’air’s gravity defying aerial duet Gravir, Tess by Dorset Youth Dance, scenographer Sophie Fretwell’s The Light House, a new work from Fingerprint Dance, Dorset AONB’s Talking Tent, The Remix West, Movers & Shakers and Bristol youth
dance project, RISE.

Meanwhile, Inside Out Dorset’s final weekend also finds two of Europe’s most in-demand outdoor arts companies – Germany’s Dundu and England’s Worldbeaters – collaborating in Sense of Unity, an after-dark parade show in Weymouth fusing visual spectacle with raucous live music. Lead by the high-energy drummers of Worldbeaters playing a soundtrack inspired by world rhythms and the West African kora, the procession goes in search of Baby Dundu who then takes it to find gentle Giant Dundu, handled and steered through the crowd by the talented team of five puppeteers. Sense of Unity is supported by Weymouth BID/We Are Weymouth.


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