Teacups, Zebras and Dancing Kaisers

Unfolding Wallington

Past Production
Teacups, Zebras and Dancing Kaisers
A series of unusual and intimate tours at National Trust Wallington, revealing stories of the house and its most recent inhabitants.

November 2012.

The subtitle of this performance was ‘Unfolding Wallington’ as it aimed to give glimpses into the historic house and the extraordinary family who lived there. When researching the show, we found so many stories that we decided to give the audiences glimpses which would then stimulate more questions and interest.

Each group of sixty guests was divided into three parties of twenty people who each experienced one of three distinctive and intimate tours. The ropes that usually stand between guests and the rest of the rooms were taken down so the audience could become guests of the house and its unusual family. Audiences encountered some of the guests of the socialist MP Sir Charles Philips Trevelyan, from George Bernard Shaw to Gertrude Bell and Sybil Thorndike.

The last child of Sir Charles and Lady Mary Trevelyan lived in an apartment in the West Wing at Wallington until recently. Patricia Trevelyan, who died in June 2013 at the age of 98, was a great supporter of the performance, as was her daughter Janet Hall who took part in the show (playing herself).

Read the Arts and Heritage UK case study, Unfolding Wallington, here.

Written by Fiona Ellis
Directed by Cinzia Hardy
Designed by Imogen Cloët
Music by Katie Doherty

Supported by: National Trust, Arts Council England

Awards: National Trust Bringing Places to Life Award 2012
Finalist, Journal Culture Awards 2012

Photography: Topher McGrillis

What people said

‘Really great evening, animated the story of the family in ways that were quite brilliant. The dance at the end topped it off, and almost finished me off!’

‘A superb and rather special evening - your attention to detail was incredible!’

‘The troupe of actors were energetic, engaging and friendly. The inspiration, direction and production of the whole event proved that "dusty old piles" can have a truly memorable influence on visitors both young and old. We strongly suggest that similar events be staged in suitable NT properties all over the country!!’

‘It was a hugely creative, entertaining and informative; a fascinating introduction to the Trevelyan family and history of Wallington Hall...and enormous fun too!’

‘I found it fascinating to go back in time and be reminded of little snippets of family history and traditions.  The decision to take the groups round the house as evacuees was a very clever way to get all the visitors on the same level.’

‘I have definitely never experienced anything like it before - every part of what you experience is so imaginatively done...like all great art, it made you aware at some deep level of what you could be. It’s a work of real genius.’