Thomas Hardy on Stage and Screen
This brand new exhibition examines the author's relationship with the theatre and dramatic adaptations of his novels and stories for stage, screen and TV. The exhibition focuses on his work with The Hardy Players, an amateur dramatic group which dramatised and staged Hardy's works between 1908 and 1924.
This exhibition was catalysed by the acquisition, earlier this year, of a collection of rare Thomas Hardy manuscripts used by The Hardy Players to bring his work to a public audience.
The collection includes annotated scripts, actors' parts, programmes, posters and miniature scenery for the model Hardy theatre. This exhibition traces the development of The Hardy Players, the production of their plays in Dorchester, Weymouth and London and features photographs of them in production along with artefacts and costumes from the company.
As well as the theatrical productions there have been many adaptations of Hardy's work for film and television, some of which have been shot in the area and feature local landmarks. Posters, photographs and film clips familiar to many are displayed alongside long-lost footage of some of the earliest of Hardy film adaptations.
The exhibition also tells the story of The New Hardy Players, inspired by Norrie Woodhall, the last living member of the original Hardy Players and sister of their star performer, Gertrude Bugler. Formed in 2005 to celebrate Norrie's 100th birthday, The New Hardy Players have now brought these plays to a new 21st century audience.