Bournemouth University works with Wey Valley Academy students to recreate Thomas Hardy’s Tess of the D’Urbervilles for today’s teenagers

“What would be the experience of a young Tess if she were alive today?”

Dr. Trevor Hearing and Associate Professor Sue Sudbury worked with Year 10 students from Wey Valley Academy over four workshops to compare the life and times of Thomas Hardy’s fictional teenage Tess of the D’Urbervilles and her friends living in nineteenth century Dorset with the lives of teenagers in Dorset today. The students took up the tragic story of Tess and improvised scenes based on their own experiences and thoughts with the support of teacher Mark Chutter. The workshops incorporated discussion, writing, improvisation and performance and were devised to help contribute to the students’ curriculum and assessment. Dr. Trevor Hearing said, “In this innovative and collaborative co-creation the teenagers brought a high level of energy and imagination to the project. They achieved a vivid self-generated observation and understanding of contemporary young lives and lifestyles in Dorset now and reflected on what has changed and perhaps what hasn’t”. Associate Professor Sue Sudbury added: “This creative work was inspired by a notable historical fiction that has brought Dorset to the attention of a global readership for over a hundred years – it is interesting to see that it still has resonance in the lives of young people in Dorset today. It reflects well on the school and we would like to thank Mark Chutter and Wey Valley Academy for making this co-created research possible”.

To read the Dorset Echo article click here