We went over to Chiswick House to recce in preparation for the schools' show next May. Head gardener Fiona showed us round. At present the park is a bit of a building site, but even dodging the bulldozers and trucks it's clear that it's a very magical place, full of potential.
We began to identify natural theatres and stages within the ground. An amphitheatre circling a perfectly round pond, a hump back bridge, a row of holly bushes leading to a stone gateway and the funeral way that leads from the statues of three roman senators past urns, Sphinx and two gorgeous Cedar trees to the Palladian house itself.
Our budget isn't huge for this work, so we need to be judicious in selecting five or six places where we can really create a focus for the story and perhaps use the larger open spaces for pre-show play and post-show celebration. In a way the risk is that we try and incorporate everything - the clever thing will be choosing what to leave out.
It was great to have the full company with us and Fiona was really generous with her time and stories about the architecture and the history of the garden itself.
We've fixed the date for Thursday 28th May. Now the hard work begins.