Following the news that Seaton Delaval Hall has received a major National Lottery grant, it has been announced that Studio Hardie has produced the designs for the planned new play area and playful elements throughout the site.
Led by Channel 4’s Amazing Spaces and Shed of the Year presenter, William Hardie, Studio Hardie has produced designs based on the Delavals’ love of spectacle and theatre. Set in the North West woodland, the play area will draw inspiration from the architecture and scenery of Baroque theatre and, situated within the trees, will offer new perspectives of the landscape. It will explore false perspective as well as the mechanics of backstage such as frames, rigging and sound machines, imagining how the Delavals might have arranged a magical theatre in the woodlands, full of surprises and tricks.
In addition, playful interventions will offer opportunities for intergenerational play. Set within the South East woodland, the structures at first glance will appear formal, but as approached they will reveal and distort, playing tricks on visitors and designed to amuse and engage people of all ages.
Studio Hardie founder William Hardie said, ‘We were really excited by this brave and unusual project to re-ignite the spirit of such an outlandish and wild family. The genuine love, passion and commitment of the team at Seaton Delaval Hall is fantastic and working with The National Trust has been a real pleasure.’
Seaton Delaval Hall’s Project Manager Helen Nisbet said ‘We really want our play offer to reflect the spirit of the Delaval family and provide opportunities to surprise and delight visitors of all ages. Alongside Studio Hardie we have worked with landscape architects, curators and historic outdoor specialists to create spaces and interventions that are true to the historic landscapes whilst creating fresh interpretations of what the Delavals might do today. We are incredibly excited by Studio Hardie’s designs which will help bring the spirit of the site alive. We look forward to them being realised as part of the project.’
Thanks to players of the National Lottery, The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) awarded £3.7million to the National Trust, to help repair and conserve the Baroque masterpiece in Northumberland and bring new life to Seaton Delaval Hall for visitors and the local community. The new play elements will form part of this project, which takes place over the next three years.
The news comes as Seaton Delaval Hall is preparing to open its doors every day throughout May half-term with a week of playful activities inspired by ‘The Gay Delavals’. All week there will be garden games, competitions and pop up performances of magic, live music and storytelling. Grinning competitions - which were popular at the Hall during the eighteenth century - will take place between 12-3pm every day alongside egg and spoon races and sack races. Den building, parachute games and the Hall’s popular games chest are available all week and regular craft session, Make and Do, takes place on Wednesday and Sunday between 11am-1pm. The Delaval sheep trail is also available for collection from the Visitor Welcome team and front of hall talks take place daily at 12.30pm and garden tours take place every Monday at 1.30pm.
To find out more about Seaton Delaval Hall’s half-term activities, its future plans, how you can get involved or make a donation, log onto www.nationaltrust.org.uk/seatondelavalhall