Christmas past will be brought to life in a special performance to raise money for Dorset Mind

Dorset’s Christmases past will be brought to life in an evening of entertainment and song to raise money for Dorset Mind in West Dorset.
 
The New Hardy Players will be performing several different plays in the courtroom at Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum in Dorchester on Thursday, December 13.
 
Together with live Dorset band Tatterdemalion, the New Hardy Players will be taking over the courtroom to perform plays based on court cases and historical events. The audience will be able to join in with carols and folk songs. There will even be a traditional mummers-style folk play drawing on Dorchester’s history, featuring a mummers group and a folk band who had a fight in Fordington in the early 1800s. The Christmas time fight landed the ring-leaders in front of the court at Shire Hall, where they were sentenced to prison.
 
Director of Christmas in the Courtroom for the New Hardy Players, Tim Laycock, said that bringing history to life was very important and the whole company was looking forward to performing at Shire Hall. He said: “It will be a really exciting, fun and unique performance. We love to perform plays in unique settings and the courtroom has huge potential for concerts and theatre.”
 
The play was commissioned by former Mayoress of Dorchester Anita Harries, who said: “It has been an honour to be associated with Dorset Mind and their endeavours to establish their services in our county town. In an attempt to raise much needed funds for this campaign, I contacted Tim Laycock with a view to putting on a performance by the New Hardy Players in the Shire Hall. And Christmas seemed the ideal opportunity to do so.
 
“Combine the Shire Hall with the amazing talent that is the New Hardy Players, and you are on to a winner. It will be a wonderful evening with first class entertainment, so please come along and support two excellent causes – Dorset Mind and the New Hardy Players.”
 
Dorset Mind’s Chief Executive, Marianne Storey said they were looking forward to the event which promised to be a ‘fun and uplifting’ evening. She said: “Events such as these are essential to raise both mental health awareness and vital funds for us at a time of year when it can be very challenging to find spare money to donate to charities.
 
“We’re also very fortunate to have continued support from Shire Hall – they help our charity by hosting our ‘Dorset Mind Your Head’ young people’s workshops and drop-ins. It’s a truly atmospheric venue and will be very entertaining to see its history translated into creative dramatisations.

 

“We know there is work to be done to support people who live with mental health challenges in West Dorset. And we’ve made a start this year – with our wellbeing support groups and befriending. But funding for an independent charity is always a concern. Collaborative efforts between the community and organisations such as The New Hardy Players, Shire Hall Historic Courthouse Museum and local businessman David Upshall directly enable us to continue to educate and support people in Dorchester towards positive mental wellbeing.”

Those wanting to attend should make sure they secure their tickets quickly as they are selling out fast. . Tickets are £15 and are available via shirehalldorset.org.uk or by calling 01305 261849.