Thrilling international and UK circus, theatre, dance and art are taking place in unexpected locations throughout the county this month, as part of Inside Out Dorset 2018.

The biennial arts festival, which runs from Friday, September 14 to Sunday, September 23 is a rare chance to see rural and urban locations transformed by some of the best international outdoor circus, theatre, dance and art.

This year’s sites and national heritage locations include Poole Quay, the Iron Age earthworks of Maiden Castle at Dorchester and woodlands around Shelley Park in Boscombe.

Boscombe will be the location for three UK premieres on September 15 and 16: Manimal: Gesticulating, a way of thinking about the World by Les Souffleurs Commandos Poetiques from France and De Weide Wereld by Waterlanders and Olie by Collectief Waldon, both from the Netherlands.

“We are looking forward to welcoming artists from all over Europe to perform in our distinctive county," says Inside Out Dorset co-artist director Kate Wood.

"The opportunity to present so many premieres by companies that have never worked in the UK before is very special. And with a host of new commissions and a piece commissioned by 14-18 NOW, it makes this year’s a festival not to be missed.”

Opening Weekend: Poole Quay, Friday, September 14 & Saturday, September 15

At twilight, French company Cirque Rouages present their enchanting hit show sodade. On endlessly turning wheels and a tightrope high up against the darkening sky, four acrobats tell a heart-stopping story of migration and memory to a dramatic live soundtrack featuring strings, a female singer and the spoken word.

Daytime interactive game zone The Actual Reality Arcade, Matthew Harrison (UK) is inspired by classic arcade games. Pilot spaceship across the galaxy and survive an onslaught of aliens in Defender or shoot them down in the Space Invaders Gallery.

Five old sailing dinghies have been up-cycled into mini-stages and set up along Poole Quay for Rock the Boat Street Guitars. The boats provide sculptural shelter for full-size acoustic guitars or ukuleles for passers-by to pick up, play and even perform.

Coastal Encounters: Boscombe, Saturday, September 15 & Sunday, September 16

With a reputation as a ‘poetic hit squad’, Les Souffleurs define themselves as poetic artists who experiment with ways to slow down the world. Manimal: Gesticulating, a way of thinking about the World is one of those experiments. Les Souffleurs transform themselves into hybrid beings - half-human, half-animal - fragile and wild but curious in this UK premiere. In and around Boscombe, they improvise nests, pop up in the landscape to set up furtive, silent meetings with human civilisation, then disappear again.

The UK premiere of De Weide Wereld, Waterlanders is a striking, interactive installation highlighting the plight of meadow birds whose existence is threatened by our intensive use of grassland. Through integrated audio and video systems, the audience can both literally and figuratively climb inside the head of local birdlife and experience the landscape from their unique perspective.

Another UK premiere, Olie, Collectief Waldon is a powerful performance and installation which investigates how greed, specifically around the mining and consumption of oil, can influence, inform and damage the landscape around us. Olie was created at the invitation of the Biblical Museum Amsterdam as part of its major project on the seven sins.

Flutterances (Tree Songs), by Jane Pitt with Lorna Rees, is a sonic meditation, a sound and performance artwork created from woodland field recordings - the sounds of the trees, the leaves and the wind – and choral elements including local dialect and wordplay. It will be heard through ‘sound pillows’ on sun loungers installed on the sub-tropical clifftops of Boscombe Overcliff Nature Reserve. Live acoustic performances will be added to the mix throughout the day. Environmental artist Jane Pitt and performance artist Lorna Rees have worked with volunteers from Cherry Tree Nursery to create this work.

Flutterances (Tree Songs) is one of the works commissioned by Inside Out Dorset from a range of artists. The others are by emerging Dorset-based performance artist and poet Dave Young aka The Shouting Mute, Devon-based landscape dance company Sarah Shorten’s Stacked Wonky, a co-commission with Pavilion Dance South West, and Bournemouth graduates Giorgia Garancini and Emily Attenburrow whose Museum of Trees is a co-commission with Arts University Bournemouth.

Mount Pleasant Park & Ride, Weymouth Wednesday, September 19 & Thursday, September 20

A large-scale outdoor production for up to 2,000 people, Furious Folly by Mark Anderson takes place in the Mount Pleasant Park & Ride in Weymouth. As night falls, in the no-man's-land on the battlefront between the two lines, the segregated, disorientated audience find themselves immersed in a world of sound, light, pyrotechnics and performance. Mark Anderson leads a team of artists who draw on the anti-war spirit of the early 20th century Dadaist movement to rail against the madness of the battlefield and challenge the inhumanity and senselessness of conflicts past and present.

Furious Folly was co-commissioned by the town of Poperinge in Flanders to mark the anniversary of the first use of poison gas and by 14-18 NOW, the UK’s World War One centenary programme.

Maiden Castle, Dorchester, Saturday, September 15 – Saturday, September 22

Wayfaring, And Now is an artistic journey of exploration, inspired by the chalk landscape and ancient routes of the pre-Roman pathway, the Icknield Way. Audiences are invited to join the artists on a procession from Dorchester’s Corn Exchange up to Maumbury Rings at Maiden Castle where, using local and found materials, And Now: will craft an installation which audiences can move through, investigate and contribute to. On the final weekend illumination, music and performance will transform the installation in a beautifully intimate celebration of people and place.

This will be the culmination of a three-year national heritage project. Prior to the Dorset final, And Now: will have created installations in two other Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty on the Icknield Way, Wells Beach in Norfolk and in the grounds of Basildon Park on the edge of the North Wessex Downs.

The Wayfaring digital artwork, an evolving sketchbook of observations and learnings created by And Now: is now live at