Lady Mary Wortley Montagu is remembered as the woman who introduced inoculation into Britain. The National Trust and Barnsley Museums have commissioned Gobbledegook Theatre to delivea project exploring Lady Mary’s life in 2022.
Lady Mary Wortley Montagu is remembered as the woman who introduced inoculation into Britain. The National Trust and Barnsley Museums have commissioned Gobbledegook Theatre to deliver a project exploring Lady Mary’s life. Created through research and consultation, Encounters will uncover elements of Lady Mary’s extraordinary life through short films, photography and social media performance.
Lady Mary was introduced to the smallpox inoculation in Turkey and brought it home to Britain, paving the way for modern vaccination and contributing to the eradication of smallpox from the world in 1980. Her work saved countless lives; in Georgian Britain, smallpox killed one in four people who contracted it.
The Sun Monument at Wentworth Castle Gardens is dedicated to her – a stone obelisk towering up into the sky, crowned by a golden sphere. It sits just down the slope from the folly of Stainborough Castle, glinting in the sun it was named for. It is the first monument in Britain dedicated to a woman for her intellectual achievements, rather than for her social standing.
Artist Lorna Rees of Gobbledegook Theatre often makes work about science, finding playful contemporary narratives to connect with our history. Through Encounters, Lorna hopes to explore the role of women in science, women’s education, the history of preventative medicine, the sharing of cultures, and how Lady Mary’s work with inoculation impacts us today through the search for a covid vaccine.
Working with a team of brilliant designers and makers, Lorna Rees has created a fantastical costume inspired by the extraordinary life of medical pioneer Lady Mary Wortley Montagu. The outfit tells the story of Mary’s history with smallpox, travel, learning, scientific investigation and cultural exchange. Photography and encounter films have been made by the team all exploring the modern resonance of Mary’s life.
Encounters will launch on 10 – 15 January 2022, on National Trust and Barnsley Museums Social Media sites.Onsite interpretation and performances will take place during a residency in April 2022 (9th – 13th) embedding the legacy of the research.
CREDITS AND LINKS
Artist: Lorna Rees/Gobbledegook Theatre
Photography Jayne Jackson
Maker: Coat and Skirt Shelley Venables www.svcostumier.com
Maker: Bodice, Ruff by Kayla Bartlett
Millinery: Kelly Morgan www.morganandworth.com/about
Make Up: Molly Jackson insta @mollyjacksmakeup
Helga Brandt: Dramaturg
Joe Payne: Filmmaker
David Doust: Assistant Director