On the 25th and 26th January, the Arts University Bournemouth (AUB) site was taken over by the Explore Wassail project, which brought the traditional Wassail ritual to our doorstep

The exciting project was a fun collaboration between level four and five students from the BA (Hons) Costume and Performance Design, BA (Hons) Acting and BA (Hons) Creative Events Management courses, and aimed to ‘creatively investigate ideas’ together through themes of ‘renewal’ and ‘regrowth’.

The project follows on from the Explore Outdoor Arts in the Landscape 24-hour brief that took place last year in collaboration with Activate, which saw 18 students collaboratively responding to the environment through performance. This year 100 students took part in the Wassail event!


Dorset has a rich heritage – one packed with old traditions. While the term ‘Wassail’ is unfamiliar to many today, centuries ago on 17th January, the community would come together with offerings of cider and toast to encourage a good harvest. Here at AUB, we’re also a community, so what better way to put our collaborative skills into motion.


The workshop was led by Lorna Rees of Gobbledegook Theatre, and Heidi Steller, a visual artist and scenographer. Between them they introduced the notion of ‘remaking rituals’ and ‘noise-making’ to create a live performance for everyone to enjoy.

The final day was an eruption of song, dance and merriment. Snacks and hot beverages were provided to warm the cockles, while students arrived in costume, and the AUB site got its very own Wassail-inspired makeover.

Image credits: Anne Edwardes. From left to right: students perform, the Wassail parade, students in costume.