The Year Clock

The Year Clock tells the story of the life and works of the Dorset poet William Barnes. The play celebrates a remarkable multi-talented Victorian, an inspirational teacher and a pioneer of linguistics whose legacy today lies in his poems recalling the folk life of the Blackmore Vale, written in the rich dialect of Dorset. The four periods of the poet’s life are compared to the four seasons of the year as described by Barnes in his poem The Year Clock.

I play the part of William Barnes. Live music is provided by Colin Thompson, playing Dorset folk tunes from the Thomas Hardy manuscript book. We perform in period costume on a set designed by Michael Taylor.

I first heard the poetry of William Barnes performed by
a gamekeeper and a farmer in the local village hall and this kindled my interest in the life and poetry of William Barnes and has been a source of inspiration ever since.

The Year Clock is directed by RSC actress Sonia Ritter and is suitable for performance in studio theatres, arts centres, churches and community venues.

Some previous Year Clock Venues

Southwark Playhouse
The Troubadour, Earl’s Court

The Manor Pavilion, Sidmouth
Dorset County Museum
The Tivoli Theatre, Wimborne Minster

The Thomas Hardy Conference, Dorchester
The Wharf theatre, Ilminster
Codford Theatre

Strode Theatre
Swanage Folk Festival
Sherborne Arts Festival
Mere Literary Festival
Shaftesbury Arts Centre
Sturminster Newton Hall
St Bartholemew’s Church, Sutton Waldron
St George’s Church, Langham, Gillingham
Gillingham Music Festival
St Peter’s Church, Marlborough
Godolphin School, Salisbury
Sturminster Newton High School
Bridport Arts Centre
Eype Church Centre for the Arts
Marine Theatre Lyme Regis
The Arc Theatre, Trowbridge
Beaminster Festival