An open air theatre production celebrating a 17th Century Lady of Lydiard House will bring to life the mysterious world of medicines will take place in the walled garden at Lydiard Park this weekend.
Using physical theatre, music and creative design, Swindon Youth Theatre, with Lydiard Park Education Team, present Johanna’s Miracle Garden. Lady Johanna St John came up with cures for everything from the common cough to ‘virgin’s disease’, gave birth to 13 children, ran two homes and hosted society dinners for King Charles II.
The play is part of a special project called Science and Superstition supported by a Wellcome Trust Arts Award.
Science and Superstition brings together medical and historical experts, Swindon Youth Theatre and a team of volunteer researchers to assess the significance and influence of Johanna St John’s work in the context of 17th century medical understanding and to investigate the roots of her ‘recipes’ in the light of 21st Century medical research.
Sophie Cummings, Collections Manager at Lydiard House, said, “This project combines the arts, history and medical science to provoke interest, learning and debate about the historical and social origins of modern medicine.
"Lady Johanna was a fascinating and formidable woman. She combined running her household, raising children and entertaining the king with compiling her book of medical cures.”
Science and Superstition begins with Johanna’s Miracle Garden, written by acclaimed writer Mike Akers. The young actors will perform in the beautiful setting of the Walled Garden at Lydiard Park on 10, 11 and 12 August.
The Education Team at Lydiard Park plan to develop further events to stimulate interest and understanding of the story of Lady Johanna St John, her place in the historical landscape of Lydiard Park and her role in the historical development of biomedical science, including a schools resource pack, family quiz trail, exhibition and a series of adult education lectures.
Johanna’s Miracle Garden
10-12 August, 1pm and 4pm
Tickets: £7/£4 (£18 family, 2 adults + 2 children)
Box office: 01793 614837 or buy online:
The show will be performed whatever the weather conditions.