Wed 17 Oct, 7:30pm. Sturminster Newton Exchange. 01258 475137. £10, £8 u18s, £32 fam
Set in the winter of 1924/1925 and based on true events, ‘A Pure Woman’ tells the story of 84 year-old Thomas Hardy’s affair of the heart with Gertrude Bugler and the jealousy it inspired in his second wife, Florence.
Gertrude was a young Dorset woman, in her 20s, who played Tess of the D’Urbervilles in the local Hardy Players’ production in Dorchester, adapted by Hardy himself. Florence, in her 40s, had been a muse to Hardy when she was his young secretary while his first wife Emma was still alive. Hardy’s apparent obsession with Gertrude drives Florence into a jealous rage.
Poignant and elegiac, this love triangle touches on issues of ageing, marriage, the lingering influence of a former partner on a relationship and the regrets of women who have sacrificed their own ambitions for those of their husbands.
‘A Pure Woman’ has been dramatised by Simon Reade, who previously adapted Private Peaceful, Pride & Prejudice and the screenplay of Journey’s End, and the production tours to The Exchange with Artsreach, the counties touring arts charity.
Christopher Nicholson, author of the novel ‘Winter’ which inspired the play, will be signing copies of the book at this performance.*
* Chris will also give a talk on ‘Winter’ in Sturminster Newton library at 7pm on Thursday 11 October.