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Last Updated: Monday, 5 March 2007, 09:35 GMT
Thomas Hardy actor in play at 101
Norrie Woodhall
Norrie Woodhall was cast by Thomas Hardy himself, in 1928
A woman who is thought to be the last remaining member of a theatrical group run by writer Thomas Hardy is to take to the stage again at the age of 101.

Norrie Woodhall is one of the last people alive who knew the author.

She was a member of the Hardy Players, which disbanded after the poet's death in 1928, at 87, but reformed in 2005.

Ms Woodhall was cast by Mr Hardy himself, in 1928, as Tess' sister, Liza Lu in the stage version of his novel, Tess of the D'Urbervilles.

Ms Woodhall will take to the stage again to read Mr Hardy's poetry in a show called Dorset Voices.

Bigger acting role

Her performance comes 83 years after she performed in Tess of the d'Urbervilles at the Corn Exchange in Dorchester.

Ms Woodhall said Mr Hardy wrote some extra lines for her.

Thomas Hardy
The original players were disbanded after Hardy's death

She said: "All I had to do was to rush across the stage, throw myself in my sister's arms and say: 'Oh, Tess, Tess', and that was all.

"So he asked me for my script and he wrote into it: I am so glad you've come home, and then he looked up at me and he said: 'That's better isn't it'."

Norrie is expected to appear alongside members of the New Hardy Players in the programme, which features an afternoon of words and music from Wessex.




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Norrie Woodhall's memories of the Hardy Players



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