Tickets are now on sale for Kentwell's Magical Christmas event, which runs on Sat 12 & Sun 13 December • Sat 19 & Sun 20 December
Kentwell's Magical Christmas is an event for the whole family - an entertaining day out full of festive spirit. Enjoy a wide range of activities – shows, crafts and Victorian re-creations, topped off by a visit to perhaps the best Father Christmas in the region in a suitable Christmas Cottage setting.
From chainsaw-wielding maniacs to ticket office wizardry and feeding the masses, Kentwell would like to say a massive thank you to all the staff and volunteers of Scream Team '15.
Thank you for your late nights, hard work, screams and laughter at Scaresville 2015! Bring on #Scream16!
Can You Put the 'Scare' into Scaresville? Scare Actors Required!
Who would ever want to become a Scarer at a Scare Attraction?
Scare Attractions are becoming one of the UKʼs growth Entertainment Venues. Its another import from the USA but, as often is the case, the UK does it in its own way.
One of the biggest Scare Attractions in Suffolk (indeed in East Anglia) is Scaresville at Kentwell Hall, the moated Tudor Mansion in Long Melford.
Kentwell (rather its owners Patrick & Judith Phillips) have been responsible for many innovations in how they show their Historic House and Scaresville is one such and now in its 8th year. It uses not the House but all its numerous outbuildings, gardens, grounds, farm, woods and moats.
Before asking who would want to scare, the question must be who wants to be scared? Patrick Phillips replies “The answer is surprising: women and girls and above all young men especially. Its an experience which so many seek that is stimulating and fun - and harmless.”
He added, “Fun to be scared and even greater fun to see your relatives, friends or workmates being scared.”
If its fun to be scared (and Kentwell is expecting some 25,000 to enjoy Scaresville over 22 nights in October), whatʼs the fun in scaring?
Patrick Phillips again, “Scaring produces just as much of an adrenaline rush as being scared. Making use of the unexpected in a range of different situations, the scarer is a performer. Like any actor getting a good audience response is essential or like a comedian needing others to laugh at his jokes the scarerʼs positive response is a good reaction: when a group jumps out of their collective skins or tries to climb up the wall or run away in apparent terror.”
Hidden in costume and behind a mask (especially if its a clown mask) it is surprising how some mouselike folk can become lions as scarers.
Patrick Phillips, “People ultimately resolve themselves into one of two groups. Those who like to scare and those who like to be be scared.”
Into which group do you fall?
Is Patrick Phillips himself a scarer? Yes, but only in the sense that he now designs scares.
As with everything at Kentwell those who become scarers join an exciting community of like folk.
On the 28th August David Davies presented his one man show Hyde in the Little Overcroft Theatre at the historic Kentwell Hall, Long Melford, Suffolk.
The theatre being small and intimate is ideal for a one man show and especially for a show overlain with intensity.
! David Davies impersonated the Dr Jekyll of Robert Louis Stevensonʼs dark novel Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. His script is lifted almost verbatim from the Statement that Stevenson has Jekyll make late in the novel to explain his actions. Stevenson has Jekyll expound a theory that every person has two sides to him. The good side which is usually that presented to the world and a dark side which usually remains hidden.
! Dr Jekyll was outwardly a well liked upright member of his community but wanted to explore this darker side of himself. He developed a potion which when perfected enabled him not only to become, but also to go about, as that other: the small, animalistic, hideous Hyde capable of depravities which are not revealed to the reader save for one murder. Yet Jekyll evinces no remorse for the wrongs he commits albeit as Hyde. Ultimately Hyde takes over Jekyll who becomes Hyde at will without Jekyll taking the potion. Jekyll cannot escape from him.
! In our time we would consider this personality change as schizophrenic but in schizophrenia the patient suffers a (sometimes extreme) personality change but unlike Jekyll does not physically change his (or her) appearance. The treatment for the condition is drugs which prevent the alter ego from taking over. Schizophrenics I have known hate the drugs and sometimes suspend taking them because they feel their manic other personality is their real me and that by drugs they are forced to live as someone they are not. So Stevenson made Dr Jekyll explore what is now a well known condition.
! The actor in Hyde is offered the opportunity to become another character before the eyes of the audience who usually only meet fully formed characters on stage. It is difficult to effect this change minus the physical differences that the book describes without falling into the trap of eye-rolling and facial contortion typical of an actor portraying madness. Nonetheless David Davies gave the audience a Jekyll who outwardly was not quite as sane as he appeared - who would sensibly develop a potion to unleash his dark inner self - while his Hyde always was Jekyll and the lack of extreme make-up merely emphasized this fact.
! Its an unsettling piece because Stevensonʼs core feature that we harbour within us all another darker side is an uncomfortable truth which too often we refuse to recognize. This performance forced us to do so because David Davies was always recognizably Jekyll and with his fine Shakespearean voice and technique made a realistic presentation of an almost ordinary man who took too far the notion of knowing thyself.
PP September 2015
We are delighted to announce that our Tudor High Summer event will be even more hands-on than ever before!
Don't just meet the Tudors, get involved with Tudor crafts and activities - and its not just for kids, adults can join in with Tudor life too.
Each station will include a tactile experience including activities such as arrow whipping, silk finger braiding, carving, butter churning and needlepoint; it's your chance to try your hand at being Tudor!
Tudor High Summer runs from Sunday 23rd - Monday 31st August. Book in advance for discounted tickets - click here for more information.
You never know, you might be inspired to join our dedicated band of Kentwellies who guide you through life in Tudor England!
A special ceremony was held last night to unveil a new portrait for the Great Hall.
Painted by a fellow participant, Tissy was a much-loved stalwart of re-creations for many years, best known for her portrayal of the Lady of the the House.
Tissy is much-missed by participants and visitors alike who gathered in the Great Hall to celebrate the unveiling with a glass of gin, her favourite tipple.
We are delighted the Kentwell Gardens have been listed in the Guardian's '12 of the best secret gardens in the UK' compiled by Tania Pascoe, author of 'Wild Garden Weekends'.
Our beautiful gardens and grounds are open to explore on selected days from February to October and during our special events. Visit our 'What's On' page for the latest opening times and information.
And if you would like to find out more from our talented Garden Team, on Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th September, alongside our Tudor Michaelmas Re-Creation, the Team will be on hand in the Walled Garden to answer questions at a special Apple Weekend celebration. Book online for discounted tickets!
Did you know we now offer House Tours?
See the progress at Kentwell and discover its fascinating history on a guided tour through the Hall.
Tours take approximately one hour and are available most Mondays - Thursdays (outside school holidays) at 2.30pm. The tour is included in the price of a standard house, gardens and farm ticket.
This weekend, Renaissance Silkwork will be displaying traditional 16th Century blackwork items made for the recent Wolf Hall series.
The BBC’s adaptation of Wolf Hall involved a number of Kentwell Tudors in various production roles including costume and weapons. Two of these Tudors, expert needlewomen Apple Ivory and Mally Ley, will be at Kentwell Hall this weekend to talk about the adaptation and displaying intricate traditional blackwork props made for the series.
Patrick Phillips, owner of Kentwell said:
“Of course Wolf Hall should have been filmed at Kentwell, one of the few houses exactly contemporary with the times illustrated! Nonetheless, Kentwell was in a sense present as a number of Kentwell's regular Tudor re-enactors had significant roles in the production from assistant producer, to costumiers and artefacts provision. Many of those who have participated in Kentwell Re-Creations have acquired great period skills which are much sought after for costume dramas and films."
Head to the parlour to learn more about the history and technique of this intricate art and meet the ladies behind the creations.
Missing out on the woolly fun at Kentwell during lambing season? On June 6th & 7th, we're exploring the wool story from fleece to jumper at our Wool Weekend.
Watch sheep shearing live in the stableyard as our flock of Norfolk Horns undergo their annual haircuts, then follow the journey of the fleece as our Tudor & 21st Century artisans demonstrate the transformation of wool from the raw product to beautiful knitted garments. The House, Gardens & Farm will be open, you can join the Knit & Natterers who return to the stableyard, and we'll have special fun and activities on the farm for kids.
And you could be there too! Post a #sheepselfie to Facebook or Twitter for your chance to win a family ticket to our Woolly Weekend! All you need is a pen, paper and a camera - follow the guide below for your #sheepselfie masterclass, but don't be afraid to get creative!
Entries close on Sunday 12th April at midnight. Good luck!