The newly reinterpreted Cassandra Room will open to the public at Wollaton Hall, on Saturday 28 May 2016 with a decidedly theatrical and innovative approach to telling the story of the Willoughby family.

Cassandra Room header
Cassandra Room image

This project, made possible with Arts Council England funding, uses the room to tell the story of the first hundred years of Wollaton’s new Hall and is part of the ongoing redevelopment of Wollaton Hall’s galleries.

Starting from the 1580s, it tells the dramatic saga of the Willoughby family through the eyes of Cassandra Willoughby, who arrived at the Hall to become its mistress in 1687, aged just 17.

Cassandra and her brothers set about restoring the semi-derelict Hall and gardens, and preserving the natural history collection of their father, Francis Willoughby.

The displays feature beautifully crafted book sculptures, engaging stories, interactive cabinets of curiosities, specially commissioned music, replica period costumes and hands on activities for all ages.

Cassandra Room family image
Cassandra Room family image

The family characters have been created and developed to immerse visitors in this important local heritage, inviting them to make connections with a powerful family story.

Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture said “We are proud to unveil another key part of the Wollaton Hall redevelopment and this is a really interesting, and unusual way of telling the story of the Willoughby family to our visitors. It will appeal to all ages, and particularly those interested in less traditional ways of looking at history.”

Nottingham City Museums and Galleries has been collaborating on the project with heritage award-winning regional company Dragon Breath Theatre, which brings a unique approach to museum interpretation. Dragon Breath is a professional theatre company that makes theatre with and for young people.

Dragon Breath’s Artistic directors, designer Nettie Scriven and writer Peter  Rumney are closely involved with developing creative learning in Nottingham’s schools and both have close associations with the Theatre Design course at Nottingham Trent University, where Peter is a lecturer.

The team has also been working with paper sculptor Tina Bramman as well as internationally renowned composer Helen Chadwick and sound designer Duncan Chave who have created the music and sound for the Cassandra Room.

The room will be an immersive space for families to explore, and for school groups to learn about how people lived in the past, in an interactive way.

This work will be premiered on launch day and then it will be open to the public thereafter.

Information on the project contributors

Notes to editors

There is an official opening event for the Cassandra Room at Wollaton Hall on Friday 27 May 2016 between 2-4 by invitation only. We are opening the room for press one hour beforehand and will have the team involved in setting up the room available for interviews and questions.

Peter Rumney & Nettie Scriven (Dragon Breath Theatre) will be available along with Ashley Wright (from Nottingham City Council Museums and Galleries Design Team).

Adrian Davies from NCC will also be on site and is available on the day

Please notify us by Thursday 26 May if you would like to attend. You can email or telephone 0115 8764443.