Thomas Hardy returns to Dorset in a new play

THE stage is set at the Marine Theatre in Lyme Regis, ready to welcome Thomas Hardy back to the county, albeit fictionally.

Set in the winter of 1924-25 and based on true events, ‘A Pure Woman’ tells the story of 84-year-old Thomas Hardy’s affair with Gertrude Bugler and the jealousy it inspired in his second wife, Florence.

Poignant and elegiac, this love triangle touches on issues of ageing, marriage, the lingering influence of a former partner on a relationship and the regrets of women who have sacrificed their own ambitions for those of their husbands. Its fateful themes are typically Hardy, and appeal to audiences of all ages.

Gertrude was a young Dorset woman, in her 20s, who played Tess of the D’Urbervilles in the local Hardy Players’ production in Dorchester, adapted by Hardy himself.

Florence, in her 40s, had been a muse to Hardy when she was his young secretary, while his first wife Emma was still alive. Hardy’s apparent obsession with Gertrude drives Florence into a jealous rage.

Presented by Dorchester Arts and Poonamallee Productions, the new play by Simon Reade is based on Christopher Nicholson’s novel ‘Winter’.

The performance will be held at the Marine Theatre on Saturday, October 6 with tickets costing £12 in advance or £14.50 on the door. Call 01297 442138 to book or visit www.marinetheatre.com. Doors open at 6.30pm for a 7.30pm start.

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