Mottistone setting for a fantastic forest fable

By Chris Cornford Dec 15, 2020

A magical, fantasy extravaganza is taking place inside Mottistone Manor starting Friday 11th December for the next two weeks.

A group of top theatre actors have joined forces to put together an inter-active production entitled ‘Forest Fables’ which tells the story of how various clever and curious creatures finally turn winter into spring. The production was the idea of Clementine Seely, whose great grandfather and grandfather lived at the Manor.

Creative Producer Clementine, who was brought up in Brook, has worked in America for the past eight years before returning to the Island at the beginning of the first lockdown. She explained: “There are so many people working in theatre who have been affected by Covid and don’t know when, or if, they will ever work again. I thought I would get a few of us together and put on this original production in time for Christmas.

“Mottistone is owned by the National Trust and, up until the start of the year, a resident occupied the property. Once it became vacant and the first lockdown was over, I contacted Mike Greenslade, the Trust’s General Manger on the Island, and asked if we could use the manor for our production and he couldn’t have been more helpful.

“My friends, helped by Trust volunteers and work experience students, have taken up the challenge of Covid to make something beautiful and bring a little magic to Christmas.
“Visitors will be in their own bubble of six and will be guided through a variety of rooms in the manor all decorated to provide a different scene of the play. The story is based around how the forest creatures initially do not help Mother Nature to come out of winter but finally rally around the Fox to produce the green shoots of spring.

“The morale of the tale is to be yourself and everything will work out.
“It’s a unique experience for the audience because they can interact with the actors. We would never have attempted something like this if it hadn’t been for Covid.”
Also among the cast are identical twins Ella (The Botanist) and Livi Prendergast (Nature), Emer Dineen (Beetle), Jack Stigner (Fox) and Shaka Kalokoh (Forager). Director is Sophie Hunter; set, costume and lighting designer is Samuel Wyer with music director, Rolfe Kent.

The production, which has been supported by The Delphi Lakeman Trust, runs until December 24. For full details and tickets go to