A broad and diverse range of groups and individuals take part in our extensive year-round learning and participation programme, which runs alongside the core Inside Out Dorset events.


Some of this work can be enjoyed during the festival (including opportunities for audiences to take an active role in some of the performances), while some is less visible, such as using digital and emerging technologies to make the festival experience richer and more accessible - find out more by watching the 2014 film. Activate is also committed to creating professional development opportunities for local and regional artists.

Open talks, workshops, call outs and volunteering

Looking to get more involved with the festival, or find out more about the work of some of our artists this year? Why not volunteer, or try one of the following – they’re all FREE, but you may need to book in advance:


We need you!

Our volunteers are a dedicated and happy bunch and we couldn’t run the festival without them.  If you fancy joining the team this year, or just want to find out more, drop us an email.


Meet the artist

Date: Sun 18 Sept
Venue: Meet at Weymouth Pavilion
Time: 1pm

Join Ray Lee for an informal talk and tour of his work.


Workshop – How to be a critic

Date: Sun 18 Sept
Venue: Gillingham School
Time: 1pm

Aged 16-25 and interested in critical writing? Find out how to review circus for the media with experienced journalist and theatre practitioner, Kate Kavanagh, who edits leading blog The Circus Diaries. Email Activate to book.


Open call out – be part of Wayfaring

Date: Tue 20 Sept
Venue: Meet at Littlebredy Cricket Pavilion
Time: 6pm

And Now: are looking for adults who would like to be part of this one-off event on top of a hill at dusk on the evening of the Autumn equinox. You might have dance, drama or choral experience, or just like being in the outdoors! Lots of walking across rough terrain is involved – you can be any age, but you must be fit and able to commit to rehearsals on the evening of Tue 20 Sept at 6pm and the morning of Wed 21 Sept at 10am. Email Activate to register your interest.

Another World is Possible by David Buckland

Climate Change Talk with David Buckland of Cape Farewell

Date: Fri 23 Sept
Venue: Christchurch Rowing Club
Time: 7pm

Cape Farewell brings together artists, scientists and informers from across the globe to communicate the urgency of the climate challenge, but on a human scale. Founder and International Director, David Buckland, will talk about recent work and why a cultural response is key to changing the way we all think – and ultimately act. There is no need to book for this event.

Photo: Another World is Possible by David Buckland, Cape Farewell.


Open call out – be part of Hengistbury Headlines

Date: Minimum of two rehearsal and performance dates between Wed 21 and Sun 25 Sept

Arbonauts are looking for singers to join them and be part of The Soaring Sky. You’ll have the chance to perform with the artists and meet other singers from the area. You do not need to be able to read music, but should be confident about performing in front of a large audience, be full of stamina and willing to embrace the unusual! Find out more from Arbonauts (pdf) and apply by Wed 7 Sept.

RSPB Sleep Out

RSPB Big Wild Sleepouts

Date: Thu 22, Fri 23 or Sat 24 Sept
Venue: Hengistbury Head
Time: 17:00

Join us for campfire cooking, nocturnal adventures and a memorable dawn experience as sounds of the harbour, sea and wind combine with the song of migrant birds. Also includes a special dawn chorus ‘Fl-utter-ances’ walk with artist Jane Pitt (final Sleepout on 24 Sept only) and one lucky attendee will win £500 of Rohan equipment (terms and conditions apply)! Booking is essential – please note there is a charge for this event.

Be at the first ever Big Wild Sleepout the RSPB has organised at Hengistbury Head, to coincide with Hengistbury Headlines. You can enjoy a nocturnal adventure around the Head, discover the secretive night-time wildlife which call this beautiful landscape home, and enjoy a scrummy, campfire-cooked dinner with breakfast thrown in! Arrive at 5pm with camping gear and depart by 10am the following morning, having had your fill of art, nature and campfire food in this historical, glorious landscape.

Tickets cost £30 per adult (£15 per child) and include dinner and breakfast.  Advance booking is essential – please call 01929 557827 or email tom.clarke@rspb.org.uk.


Fl-utter-ances Listening Walks

Date: Sat 24 Sept
Venue: Hengistbury Head
Time: 12pm

Tune in to the natural sounds of Hengistbury Head: call out for young people aged 18-25, but everyone is welcome.

Meet Sound artist Jane Pitt at 12pm on Saturday 24th September. ..join her for a “sonic” stroll…

Together we’ll walk and listen out for the different and distinctive animal, bird & natural sounds of Hengistbury.

We’ll ‘Fl-utter’ some of those sounds with our voices, using the phonetic method of description as found in Field Guides as our guide (i.e. Crow = kraaaaa).  Once we’ve got our voices limbered we’ll create a short original vocal group ‘Fl-utter-ance’ recording, which Jane will edit into a unique soundtrack which you can hear at Hengistbury Head Visitor Centre from October 20th. Wear stout shoes and be prepared for varied weather.

The event will last approximately 1 hour.

Contact Activate to be part of this event.

Professional development opportunities

We continue to grow our professional development opportunities within the industry as part of our ongoing commitment to nurture talent and support our colleagues.

Costume Design: Pip Atkins
Costume Team: Georgina Hoare, Lolli Horton, Imogen Howard and Charlotte Court

Arbonauts costume design

Arts University Bournemouth BA (Hons) Costume & Performance Design undergraduates have worked with Arbonauts to design and make the costumes for The Soaring Sky, as well as both working on and performing in the event itself.


Workshop – How to be a critic

Date: Sun 18 Sept
Venue: Gillingham School
Time: 1pm

Aged 16-25 and interested in critical writing? Find out how to review circus for the media with experienced journalist and theatre practitioner, Kate Kavanagh, who edits leading blog The Circus Diaries. Email Activate to book.


Wild Site Dance with Rosemary Lee

Internationally-renowned choreographer Rosemary Lee leads this choreographic residency project for dance professionals facilitated by and sited in the landscape of Portland. Sorry, applications are now closed.

Schools and community groups

This year, we’ve reached more individuals than ever before, the breadth of which is reflected in the many and varied activities on offer; and described in more detail below.


Live Landscapes

This digital engagement project has been created for patients from Dorset County Hospital, who will be unable to physically access the festival themselves.


Schools’ Festival

Dorset AONB programmed their Schools’ Festival to coincide with Wayfaring to enable as many pupils as possible to engage with the event.


Facilitated Walk for those with Dementia and learning disabilities

Date: Mon 19 Sept
Venue: Littlebredy
Time: 2pm

And Now: have collected many stories through visits to Dorchester Care Homes and Memory Cafes during the making of Wayfaring. This special walk with Dorset AONB’s Julie Hammon, will explore some of these. Email Activate to sign up.


Visual art, theatre and dance workshops for schools

Some 150 children from Bethany, Heathlands, St Luke’s and St Katharine’s Primary Schools will tour Hengistbury Headlines, then take part in classroom follow-up work exploring climate change with some of the commissioned artists, including Sweetshop Revolution, Pebble Gorge, Gobbledegook Theatre and The Miraculous Theatre Company.


Public performances

Date: Sat 24 Sept
Venue: Harbourside (Baiter) Park

Remix integrated young people’s performance group and Grace & Growl older people’s dance group will both appear at Up in the Air.

IOD 2016 Kermiz 2015-5 by Cirque du PLatzak © Ilvy Maijen

Circus skills workshops

Pupils at Gillingham School and Canford Heath, Haymoor and Bearwood Primary Schools are learning some circus tips and tricks from festival artists Le Cirque du Platzak, Acrojou, Circus Geeks and The Bullzini Family.



Participants from the SWOP project at Cherry Tree Nursery have been making soundscape maps of Hengistbury Head with artist Jane Pitt, who has also been leading them on facilitated guided listening walks.

Funder credits:

Weston Jerwood Creative Bursaries
Cultural Hub logo (black)
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Arts in Hospital
Arts University Bournemouth, Gillingham School, Dorset History Centre, Cherry Tree Nursery. Memory Cafes, Stepping into Nature - Dorset AONB, Short Breaks, Diverse City and Maiden Castle, Glencairn and Acland Road Care Homes.