Encounters – Gobbledegook Theatre Commission

12th January 2022

Encounters is the creation of new heritage interpretation focused on the life of Lady Mary Wortley Montagu and her pioneering work as a woman of science. 

Gobbledegook Theatre has been commissioned to create this interpretation, which is informed by research and consultation, and brings together historic and contemporary stories. Intended for families, this project sets out to be both playful and inspiring.

We are making a series of six short films, outdoor installations, performance and an exhibition which focuses on equality for women, drawing on the rich narrative of Lady Mary Wortley-Montagu introducing the smallpox inoculation to the UK and the contemporary search for a Covid Vaccine.   There will be two versions of each film, one with captions and one with audio description.

In December 2021, Gobbledegook Theatre spent time at Wentworth Castle Gardens and in Barnsley capturing photography and video footage. Whilst wearing a fabulous costume inspired by Lady Mary (see above), Lorna Rees, Artistic Director of Gobbledegook chatted to various local people in different locations around Barnsley about the life of this remarkable woman. The themes of the Encounter conversations include women’s education, travel, medicine, and Turkish culture.  

In January, Encounters will be launched on social media. Each day between 10 – 15 January, new content including film, photography and text will be released on the Wentworth Castle Gardens and Barnsley Museum platforms (Facebook, Instagram and Twitter). Interactive performances will take place on 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 April at Wentworth Castle Gardens for family audiences, accompanied by installations and an exhibition. 

Through this fun and accessible interpretation, we will provide new pathways for families to engage in the issues around women’s equality past and present. The online and onsite delivery will increase the reach of this work, aiming to inform and explore the relevance of Wentworth Castle Gardens to the lives of the people of Barnsley.

To find more information on Encounters please visit:

Encounters  – Gobbledegook Theatre Commission