Skip to Main Content
A photo of a female dancer in a white dresswith one arm above her head and another pushing across her body. Behind her are other dancers all wearing white dresses, they are standing on their hands.

Tess by Ockham’s Razor/Turtle Key Arts

Tess is a groundbreaking adaptation of Thomas Hardy’s classic novel Tess of the D’Urbervilles.

An ensemble of performers weave together Hardy’s words and the extreme physicality of circus to tell this tale of power, loss and endurance.

Against a backdrop of shifting projections the cast wield wooden planks, climb shifting walls and move through ropes and swathes of linen to evoke the vast landscapes and interior worlds of Hardy’s Wessex.

It is a story which still has extraordinary relevance for our times in its incredibly nuanced evocation of female relationships, sexual desire, consent, privilege and poverty.

This retelling captures the beauty, heartbreak and yearning of the novel and draws upon the incredible strength of the circus body to create a Tess as heroic as Hardy intended.


Show Info

This performance was part of Circus City 2023 – The Outsider Edition and took place on Fri 13th – Sun 15th October 2023 at Unit 15

£17 / £14 + Booking Fee


The Sunday 15th October performance of Tess will be BSL interpreted.


“there’s something magical about Ockham’s Razor” – Evening Standard

“physically thrilling” – The Sunday Times

“beautifully human” – The Times

Image credit: Kie Cummings.

What we love about Tess

We love the high skill, innovation and Bristol roots of this company who are back with a new challenge, applying their unique way with circus and circus props to storytelling on a new scale. Go see this show if you’ve read the book, if you never heard of it or if you never got around to reading it. 7 artists dancing, twisting and catapulting each other through the air will tell you the story.