Dazzling Dorset festival celebrates success

Inside Out 2023 <i>(Image: Graham Hunt Photography)</i>
Inside Out 2023 (Image: Graham Hunt Photography)

Arts festival organisers are celebrating the success of their latest stunning show.

Activate Performing Arts’ biennial outdoor arts festival Inside Out Dorset has concluded, marking another year of bringing extraordinary events to extraordinary places.

With 33,000 visits across five festival sites, Inside Out Dorset welcomed a line-up of talented international artists to the county to present hundreds of free performances and installations, celebrating the beauty of Dorset’s natural landscape and enhancing its rich artistic scene.

The showstopping tour-de-force of performance, parades, workshops and installations by Activate Performing Arts transformed five locations between September 15 - 24, with performances at Weymouth, Poole, Wimborne, Bere Regis, and Moors Valley Country Park and Forest.

For the finale weekend, French company Transe Express presented Poupées Géantes, three illuminated giant dolls that glided through the streets of Weymouth, accompanied by opera singers enchanting audiences with captivating melodies. Thousands turned out to mark the end of this year’s festival, celebrating another fantastic edition of Activate’s outdoor art showcase, which garnered worldwide reach and sparked imaginations across the globe.

Kate Wood and Bill Gee, Co-artistic Directors of Inside Out Dorset comment: "We are delighted with this year’s festival. Despite some wet and windy weather, alongside some mid-September sunshine, thousands of people visited our five remarkable festival locations and saw the Dorset landscape in a different light – brought to life by spectacular art.

"It was fantastic to see a range of people discovering something new about the place they live or as visitors to the area. Bringing a diverse mix of UK and international artists and their unique work to Dorset feels really special – from commissioning local artists to share Soup and a Story, to the colourful Rajasthan Heritage Brass Band all the way from India, there was something for everyone to enjoy."

A spokesperson from Forestry England who attended the festival’s launch at Moors Valley Country Park said: "It was a lovely evening celebrating what forests can be if we cultivate partnerships to blossom."

Cécile Durot, from artists Le. G. Bistaki performance group said: "It is always a great pleasure for the team to participate in Activate Performing Arts projects. Despite the capricious weather, the boys came back delighted.

"Thank you for your work and the exceptional welcome you gave us. I'd also like to highlight the incredible work you seem to be doing on issues of audience accessibility."

Activate Performing Arts would like to thank all their festival partners for their support, which enabled the festival to be based at a diverse range of sites across Dorset’s unique rural and urban locations.