Capability And Beyond
What would a conversation between a rare butterfly and an ancient tree be like? Could a Folly have its own resident princess like a real castle? Could a kissing gate help bring a couple together? And what might the people who actually had to do all the digging have thought about all these grand landscape designs?
These were some of the intriguing questions thrown up by a joint creative project from WRiTEON & Cambridgeshire National Trust property Wimpole.
At a workshop in September of 2015 members of WRiTEON explored the Capability Brown parkland to the north of Wimpole Hall in search of inspiration for their short plays, monologues and duologues. After brainstorming their ideas and producing their first drafts, they returned to Wimpole for a second workshop in October. The works were then developed through ongoing feedback sessions in Cambridge and were performed at Wimpole in June of 2016
While the writers worked closely with historians and National Trust staff and volunteers to ensure historical accuracy where necessary, the new works were not intended to portray real events, but imaginary ones inspired by Brown’s parkland, taking history as a starting point. Some were comical and even fantastical, but nonetheless explore themes which are as relevant and controversial today as ever they were during Brown’s lifetime: what kind of world do we want to leave for posterity? Are we justified in wanting to improve nature? How ruthless should we be in pursuing our aims?
Capability and Beyond was performed on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June 2016 at 7.30pm in the Old Rectory Restaurant, Wimpole.