Member Newsletter #9: Autumn-Winter 2019

Welcome to an autumn-winter member newsletter packed with plenty of reviews, events and updates, including some more dates for members sessions with our interim Managing Director, Alan Boldon, and an update on our recent fundraising efforts with the Walled Garden Appeal.

You’ll find that we’ve also added a bit of fizz to the member events this season, with a ‘sparkle-off’ in the Great Hall, and gin making sessions with Devon Gin School. Plus there’s an invitation to our members drinks reception with Sara Mohr-Pietch, who will be joining us next year as the new artistic director for our much-loved Summer School.

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Your member event reviews

Henri’s Field tour at Schumacher

Henri's Field member event

Members were invited along to Schumacher College during the summer to hear from the fabulously knowledgeable Stephan Harding, who serenaded the group with a folk song and talked about holistic sciences, the merits of slowing down, and ‘being’ present with nature. Jane Gleeson then spoke about our Henri’s Field growing project – now in its 5th year – and the permaculture principles on which it is based.

Members were given a tour of the growing fields, where they saw fantastic examples of forest gardening and agroforestry (where crops are grown with trees on the same piece of land – you can find out more about agroforestry here). The beautiful cut flower garden was in bloom, and Jane gave an insight into their natural pest management system – including encouraging toads and frogs, and letting the resident runner ducks eat the slugs!

Then it was back to Schumacher for a delicious lunch – fresh from the garden.

A morning recording moths

Member moth event

Thank you to the group of members who turned up bright and early on a Saturday morning in August to help us monitor moth activity on the estate.

The event was led by Bill Macdonald and Mike Newby as part of our annual programme of wildlife monitoring and conservation.

We all gathered at 7.30am at the Walled Garden and surveyed the traps which had been set up overnight. Members then had a chance to open the traps and see what was inside – it was really exciting to see what had been caught!

Bill and Mike shared the methods by which the team record the moth population on the estate, with their findings then shared with the Devon Moth Group, who promote the study, recording and conservation of moths in Devon.

In total 181 moths were recorded across 36 different species – including some very beautiful ones like the elephant hawk moth.

Look out for more moth monitoring event opportunities with us in the spring, or click the above link to find out about how you can be a part of the wider conservation of moths in your area with the Devon Moth Group.

An evening with Joanna Macgregor

Joanna Macgregor member event

On this beautiful sunlit evening in May we were treated to a ‘mezze’ (aperitif) of what was to come at Summer School 2019. It was Joanna MacGregor’s last year of directorship, and what an incredible fusion of composers, performers, musical influences she was able to share in a simple hour: it could have been a lifetime’s collective. She is a real conduit for contrasting musical genres, and the great Steinway piano simply seemed to merge with her body, hands and ringlets!

She shared images of her youth as the only white girl in the gospel singing choir of her local church in London. I wondered whether she would have been able then to picture herself in this Great Hall of Dartington playing on such an instrument.

She took us on a colourful pilgrimage which included Bach, Beethoven, Britten, jazz, a Greek piece and much more. She paid tribute to friends and colleagues who had contributed to the programme here during her directorship: Emma Kirkby who had apparently never missed attending a concert throughout the season, Alfred Brendel and son Adrian, Harrison Birtwhistle, Tom Randle, poet Alice Oswald, and many others.

With her boundless energy, enthusiasm and accessibility she has inspired many of her students and audiences and will be remembered for many years to come.

By Wendy Cook

Other news

Trust news

Schumacher College is delighted to announce the appointment of a new head of college. Alan Boldon, our interim managing director, said: “We are delighted to welcome Dr Cenkl to Schumacher College…he will bring a renewal of vigour and fresh ideas to the exciting developments underway at the college”. Read more here >

We have recently appointed the artistic director and chief executive of Dance Umbrella, Emma Gladstone, to our Board of Trustees. Read more about Emma here >

Update on the Walled Garden

You may have heard the news earlier this year that we were successful in reaching our £12k target for the Walled Garden project.

Thank you to everyone who supported this project – the response to the appeal for help was remarkable and heart-warming. Over the past few months, Sarah and her team of volunteers have made amazing progress clearing, planting and harvesting a bumper crop of produce. We hope that you have enjoyed the fruits of this success with beans, salad leaves, fennel and many more delicious, zero food miles treats on the menu in The White Hart and The Green Table.

With your help we are working on securing this lovely growing project. We wanted to celebrate this success with you and say a big ‘thank you’ to everyone who was involved.

Competition winner

Congratulations to our ‘1000th member’ competition winner, Richard Bartlett from St. Neots, who won an overnight stay at Dartington Hall plus Barn Cinema tickets for him and his family.

We caught up with Richard and his family during his stay here. “It was such a lovely surprise to win a stay at Dartington. The whole family loved it, the gardens are lovely, and the footpaths around the estate are amazing, we’re so glad we bought the parking with our family membership as it makes the Hall a great base to explore from. We will be moving to Devon in October, and looking forward to making use of all the discounts, and seeing Dartington Hall and the estate change through the seasons”.

Richard Bartlett and family

Make your legacy part of our story

As a member, you may be closely linked with Dartington’s history, have a passion and connection with Dartington’s charitable work, or just love coming to enjoy the arts, culture and beautiful surroundings.

If you love Dartington and want to see it grow and thrive in the future, why not consider leaving a legacy to support our work?

Legacies have played a key role in Dartington’s past and have such an important role to play in Dartington’s future story; helping to protect this wonderful estate so that it can grow and thrive as a place of inspiration and creativity for future generations to enjoy.

Today in the gardens, you can see first-hand how legacies are making a lasting difference. This autumn the team are busy clearing the beds around the Magnolia Steps, ready for a new planting plan designed by Dan Pearson. This work was only made possible thanks to legacy funds that we have received. Every gift, whatever the size, goes directly to fund the projects and work that make this place special.


We have recently produced a guide to help inspire and advise those of you who might be considering supporting Dartington in this way. Click below for more information about how to go about leaving a gift to Dartington, and to find out more about what your legacy could fund.

more about legaciesmore about the magnolia steps

Member events coming up…

members’ sessions with alan boldon

new dates added

You will have seen recently correspondence from us inviting you to meet our new managing director, Alan Boldon, in a series of informal sessions, following the departure of Rhodri Samuel as CEO.

These first come, first served opportunities proved very popular, and with good feedback from members who have attended so far, we have arranged some extra sessions for those of you who missed out the first time.

The extra sessions are:
23 October, 6-7pm (this is in addition to the 2-3pm session on the same day)
6 November, 2-3pm

Listening Club with Liam Byrne and Sara Mohr-Pietsch

Thursday 21 November, 6:45pm , The Great Hall.
£12.50 (includes a glass of wine and entry to the concert)

An exceptionally good-looking man enjoying a drink in the White hart

Members are invited to a drinks reception before our Listening Club concert to find out about Sara’s plans for the Summer School and Festival 2020 and the artists who will be joining us then.

Listening Clubs are a new initiative from Dartington Music Summer School & Festival: intimate evenings exploring the art of listening through conversation and live music. Aimed at demystifying classical music and the concert experience, each event will introduce a musician appearing at our 2020 Festival. The series kicks off with Liam Byrne, who will perform old and new work on the Renaissance viola da gamba, and discuss his practice of listening deeply to the music and secrets of the past.


Thursday 24 OCTOBER, 7pm

Members are warmly invited to receive a 10% discount at our ‘Devon v Cornwall’ wine sparkle-off evening. The event will be held in the Solar Room at Dartington’s Great Hall.

Come along and enjoy a night of wine tasting, exploring the best the south west has to offer.

Limited tickets – so do book early.

More information and booking >

Gin making with the Devon Gin School

Tuesday 3 December, 11am and 3pm

For one day in December the Devon Gin School are offering Dartington members the opportunity to make their very own gin, in two sessions run at The Shops at Dartington.

Using their Italian copper stills and guided by their expert staff, the Devon Gin School will show you how to develop your own unique blend from a variety of 50 different botanicals. By the end of it you will have your very own personally labelled 35cl bottle of gin to take home.

Limited numbers per session, so we do advise booking early if this experience is for you.

More information & booking >

member mondays

first monday of each month, 6pm at the white hart

NEW confirmed dates: 4 November, 2 December, 6 January

Member Mondays are an informal monthly get together for Dartington members at The White Hart on the first Monday of the month.

Be it an after work wind-down, or a catch up with friends to kick-start your week, we’ve set aside a space at The White Hart just for you, where you’ll have the opportunity to casually network with other members. So come along, enjoy a drink and a get together, and we hope you might make it a regular thing.

Other events coming up…

A roundup of some of the highlights from the upcoming season. Don’t forget your member discount!

Illuminate the Gardens

Dartington gardens, thu/fri/sat/sun evenings during november

For the first time, we are hugely excited to present Illuminate the Gardens – a unique opportunity to explore the gardens after dark and experience the magic of Dartington once the sun has set.

This is a rare opportunity to see much-loved features – such as our Henry Moore sculpture, the unique terraced slopes of the tiltyard, and the Great Hall itself – in a whole new light.

10% discount for Dartington members.

More info & booking >

Halloween Spooktacular

dartington gardens, 30 & 31 october, various times

This Halloween Dartington Hall will be taken over by a band of fire breathers, stilt walkers, jugglers and light workers!

We will be illuminating our gardens after dark, turning them in to a magical and gloriously spooky trail. You can take part in the creepiest of crafts, grab a toffee apple surrounded by soundscapes, or be thrilled by seriously spooky storytelling in the graveyard.

Dartington members can claim their 10% discount on individual tickets after the Early Bird window closes on 15 October.

More info & booking >

Lucky 7 Cabaret

The Great Hall, 22 & 23 november, 8pm

Roll up! Roll up! The Lucky 7 Club is coming to Dartington this November!

Our vintage venue, hidden in an old building in Devon, is delivering burlesque, live music, cabaret, swing dancing, gin tasting and more to a retro loving crowd…did someone say ‘speakeasy’?

10% discount for Dartington members.

More info & booking >



Members can claim a 10% discount on all of our Bloom events – family theatre that aims to grow young minds with imaginative, fun-filled performance.

Coming up this October half term: It’s Hot It’s Not is a funny and carefully crafted physical performance exploring the weather in all its forms.

And arriving in November, The Day I Fell Into A Book is an immersive storytelling adventure for 8-12 year olds and their grown ups, that explores the magic of reading and the vitality of young imaginations.

And last but not least: a very special winter production is coming… (read on!)

A Long, Long Time

20-30 december, space studio 1

Join us on an intergalactic, interactive live theatre ride through the night sky this Christmas!

Our alternative festive winter show takes kids and their families to space and back, surveying the imaginary delights of the zodiac – from wandering giants to bears, monsters and more. 

We wanted members to be the first to know that Early Bird tickets are now on sale. Your usual members discount will apply after the Early Bird period.

Find out more >

The Art of Rapid Transition

various dates and locations across totnes, starts 22 october

As momentum for rapid transition in response to ecological and social challenges grows, Transition Town Totnes, Schumacher College and the Dartington Hall Trust bring you a dynamic new series of talks and workshops about change – and making it happen.

Find out more >

This festive season…give the gift of membership

Dartington membership is a gift with a difference. You can choose from individual, joint or family options and choose whether to send the gift straight to the recipient or to yourself.

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