Sixty-seven children from Year 5 at Broadclyst Community Primary School (BCPS) will be taking on the challenge of re-enacting a famous day in Devon’s history when they perform Gertrude’s Garden Party in the house and grounds of National Trust Killerton on 14 and 15 June.
The 9/10-year-olds will recreate a day in the early 1900s when a large number of people attended a garden party, held by lady of the house Gertrude Acland. Speaking at the party were anti-suffrage campaigners, because Gertrude was directly opposed to the views of her daughter Eleanor– a staunch Suffragist.
The drama will also reflect the views of soldiers at this important time in British politics when the people of the UK were divided on whether women, and indeed many men, should have the vote. Many of the soldiers who had fought in the First World War had lost their votes, and the children will be portraying some of the thoughts of these returning soldiers in the performance.
The action will take place in various locations inside the house and outside in the grounds, finishing with a recreation of the garden party and accompanying speeches in the dramatic grand garden of the house.
Headteacher Jonathan Bishop explained the importance of these performances to the children: “This is an annual event, through which the children of Broadclyst School learn about key events in local history. Not only have they done their research, but they have also written the script and developed their dramatic skills in order to bring to life an outstanding moment in history against the stunning backdrop of Killerton House.”
Killerton House and gardens are open to the public and all will be welcome. Performances will take place at 10:15am and 4:30pm on both days, and will last approximately one hour. There is no charge for the performances, but National Trust admission charges apply for entry to the grounds.
Crispins of Bradninch have very kindly lent a vintage car, free of charge, to add authenticity and drama to the performances.