It is 1907. At Kingston Lacy, near Wimborne, everyone is busy preparing for King Edward VI’s visit. Young Viola Bankes (born at Kingston Lacy in 1900) searches frantically for her favourite nursery maid, Alice Maud Baker, to brush her hair but no-one will tell her where she is.
After fluffing her curtsey to the King, Viola is made fun of and she runs away into the gardens, where she discovers Alice who takes her on a mysterious journey around the grounds to meet mediaeval villagers who lived in the area, as well as the Iron Age Veneti tribe from Armorica (present day Brittany) meeting the indigenous Celts, the Durotriges, in the landscape around Kingston Lacy in about 45 AD.
About the production
The project was made possible through a partnership with the National Trust, specifically with the encouragement and support of Barbara Webber, Education Officer, and Howard Webber, House Manager. One hundred and fifty children and adults were involved. Work began with visits to schools by David Smith, National Trust Head Warden, and Gladys Dukes, a former under-housemaid at Kingston Lacy in the ‘twenties, and trips to Badbury Rings and the Iron Age House at Cranborne. Lalage Hall, daughter of Viola Bankes, also helped with research for the production.
Gladys Dukes said, ‘Most of the questions were about what sort of cars they had. The children couldn’t believe me when I said they had none until 1920. And they couldn’t understand it when I told them we were on call 12 hours a day and we obeyed orders without question.’
Lalage Hall, daughter of Viola Bankes, born at Kingston Lacy in 1900 said, ‘It’s wonderful to know that Kingston Lacy is being used like this. . .’
Tim Laycock, Storyteller, said, ‘So excited by the environmental art and the wonderful mix of drama and storytelling. I found myself becoming more deeply immersed in the action the further we went from the house. . . it also reminded me how powerful local legends and family history can be when they are reconstructed in situ. . ‘
The following items from Voyages 1 have been stored in our materials archive. Click here to view.