For four nights this June audiences in Bath have an opportunity to be part of a theatre performance which combines story-telling, live music and the magic of the great outdoors. Bath-based Kilter’s new production, The Illuminating Times of The Darkling Society, will be performed at night-time in the beautiful surrounds of the National Trust’s Prior Park Landscape Garden. The show will be performed in an area of the Wilderness part of Prior Park Landscape Garden known as the Cabinet, a Georgian space traditionally used for dancing and merriment. 


Inspired by William and Caroline Herschel, Bath’s 18th Century immigrant astronomers, the show tells the story of a pair of curious siblings as they travel from a natural world wrapped in warm, starlit nights across the border to a new, very different land. The show is a co-creation from Kilter’s Olly Langdon and Caroline Garland with musicians Tom Ball and Katie Stone-Lonergan, dramaturg Adam Fuller, and a set design from local artist Edwina Bridgeman.


Creative Director Olly Langdon said:

‘Our new production is designed to enchant all ages and is perhaps our most inventive and original to date. Alongside our trademark point blank inclusive performance style, there will be a live score and songs throughout, with musicians on a pedal organ & a violin. Beautiful creatures-of-the-night will hopefully come out to join us, as moth lures and bat detectors are placed on stage. The off-grid set will be extraordinary too, open to the stars against the Arcadian landscape of Prior Park and relying on cycle powered generators.’


Katy Smith, the National Trust’s Visitor Experience Manager, said:

‘It is the first time the National Trust has welcomed Kilter to Prior Park and we think this will be something quite special. We’ve done outdoor theatre before, but this promises to a very different evening as night descends. We advise people to come prepared – bring a torch, warm clothes and your imagination.’


Tickets for the four performances are on sale from the Theatre Royal box office: 01225 448844, £10 and £8 concessions. Performances: Friday 3rd, Saturday 4th, Friday 10th and Saturday 11th June, at 9pm, Prior Park Landscape Garden, BA2 5AH. First Bus No.1 stops directly outside the gate. Bring a picnic to enjoy before the show, from 7.30pm. Dress for the weather and bring a torch!


The Illuminating Times of The Darkling Society is made with support from Arts Council England, the National Trust, Bath Fringe Festival, the egg, Forest of Imagination and Theatre Royal Bath’s Creative Fund.