Dorchester Festival founder Sharon Hayden reflects on a decade of spectacular events in Dorset's County town
When I joined Dorchester Arts as Artistic Director in 2000, it was an organisation in debt with little funding; when I left in 2012, it was an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation with revenue funding of over £100,000, a thriving international festival, a seasonal programme, ground-breaking participatory arts projects, and a major player in Dorset’s spectacular outdoor festival Inside Out.
Looking back, progress has been breathtaking - for a small town to stage seven international festivals in eleven years has been some achievement. No wonder the Arts Council called us an exemplar of good practice.
We launched Dorchester Festival in 2002 with an ambitious programme of big name artists and performers - and an enduring theme The World Comes to Town.