From park yoga to Shakespeare, limited but wide-ranging activities will go ahead at Durlston Country Park this summer, helped by the park’s newly appointed public engagement assistant, Shannon Dugdale.
The new role is supported by the government’s Culture Recovery Fund to help organisations rebuild after lockdown.
The calendar this weekend, Saturday 19th June 2021, features #100years: Enchanted Cinema which celebrates a century of animation, shown outdoors with live music, in the Aviary Glade. There’s also a guided bird walk on Sunday 20th June 2021.
Durlston Country Park public engagement assistant, Shannon Dugdale
“A location as big and as beautiful as Durlston”
Newly appointed public engagement assistant, Shannon Dugdale, said:
“Luckily for us, we are blessed with a location as big and as beautiful as Durlston so we have the ability to put on great outdoor events and activities.
“This year our events programme is more limited than it would usually be, but we are very pleased to be able to offer something for everyone to look forward to after such an isolated period.”
The unique location means there are lots of seabirds
“determined to carry on”
Shannon, who grew up in Wareham, was previously an apprentice at the park, before moving away and now returning in her new role. Her mother, Jo is a registrar and often officiates at weddings at the Castle.
“Durlston is such a wonderful place to work. The atmosphere is so nice we are all here because we love the same thing: the outdoors.
“It’s been full on but I’m loving every second of it. Starting to do events again is really exciting given what’s happened. Everything has halted.
“We are very determined to carry on with our upcoming events whilst always checking the government guidelines and making sure people coming to these events feel safe to enjoy them.”
Children and adults try their hand at willow weaving at The Shed
Fancy dress from the ’20s
The enchanted cinema on Saturday 19th June 2021 starts at 7.30pm and runs through to 10.30pm. It will be performed on a sailing boat in the Aviary Glade with violinist Jack Maguire playing music from the ‘Roaring Twenties’.
Fancy dress from 1920s Paris, Berlin or New York is optional. Tickets are available online, priced £15.
On Sunday 20th June 2021 there is a guided walk on the local seabirds, including guillemots, razorbills and peregrines. Tickets cost £3 and the walk starts at 11am.
Events like the Go Wild play day are a big draw
Children’s activities and family events
Other upcoming events include ‘The Woodland Clan Story’ – a musical narration of the book with an original score performed by composer Chas Dickie. That’s on Sunday 27th June 2021, with performances at 11.30am, 1.30pm and 3.30pm. It’s a free family event but booking is required.
As well as walks and children’s activity days, there are exhibitions and family events to build rockets and fly kites.
On Sunday 27th June 2021 at 7pm touring theatre company The Lord Chamberlain’s Men are performing Macbeth in the overflow car park in conjunction with Artsreach. Tickets cost £19 for adults and £10 for under 18s and are available here.
Is this a dagger which I see before me…?
Cuppa and a chat
Separate to the main events there are the regular Monday afternoon ‘Cuppa and a Chat’ sessions in The Shed which have really come into their own in the past year. People can come and do some volunteer gardening or woodwork and enjoy some friendly company.
Shannon said developing this year’s programme had presented challenges but she added:
“What this period of time has shown us is that we adapt – you can’t go inside, so we’ll take it outside, especially if the weather is good.
“People have been wanting to do more things and now that things are easing slightly we have the capacity to do that and invite them outdoors to join us.”
A full diary of events at Durlston Country Park is available on its website