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All Past Projects

The Darkling Society (2016)

A play. Outside. After dark.


Stay up late, pack a torch, and make a pilgrimage into the great outdoors. As the sun sets over Bath, join a band of musicians and outsiders for an expedition like no other! Cosy up as darkness falls and watch the wonder and wisdom of the night unfold before your very eyes!


Strangers in an unwelcoming land, curious siblings Lina and Hersch make the perilous journey to a secret sanctuary every night. Here they try to make sense of their topsy-turvy world – but can they find solace in the quiet, comforting darkness? What are they running from and who really are The Darklings? Tonight they will tell their remarkable tale!


Featuring live music, a pedal organ, cycle generators, bat-detectors and howling into the night!



Our starting point for this production was Caroline and William Herschel, the great 18th century astronomers. They loved to be outside after dark. They played music and studied the heavens. In researching their lives, we wondered what would happen if we reimagined them and relocated them to a future world where they were denied these simple essential ingredients. What would happen to us all?


The night is alive. There are 50 times more species of moth than there are butterfly in the UK. However, we are in the middle of the planet’s Sixth Great Extinction and this is nowhere else more dramatically illustrated and ignored than after dark. Since 1970, moth numbers have been plunging – a snowstorm of insects in the headlights of your car, driving at night, is a childhood memory for many of us.


At the same time, light pollution and 24/7 human activity is obscuring the abundance of stars above us. Every aspect of our nocturnal habitat is depleting and, with it, perhaps our wonder at the universe and our humility. All life needs night – humans no less than moths, badgers and bats. It’s easy to forget this.




The Darkling Society Sleep Out
Saturday 17 – Sunday 18 September 2016
Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath


The Illuminating Times of The Darkling Society @ Starboard Festival
Saturday 16 July 2016
Brighton Open Air Theatre


The Illuminating Times of The Darkling Society
Friday 3 – Saturday 4 June and Friday 10 – Saturday 11 June 2016
Prior Park Landscape Garden, Bath




Audience reactions


“Beautiful, funny, moving, poetic, creative. It made me think about the way we all live and how we are loosing touch with the natural world…loved it”


“It was completely and magically enchanting – made us feel HUMAN!”


“It was fantastic! Long live the Darklings!”


Practical information

Suitable for adults and children aged 10 and over.


Running time is approximately 1 hour.


Dress for the weather, wrap up warm for after dark. Bring a torch!



Cast: Caroline Garland (Lina) & Oliver Langdon (Hersch)
Musicians: Tom Ball & Katie-Stone Lonergan
Script by Oliver Langdon & Caroline Garland
Composer: Tom Ball
Dramaturg: Adam Fuller
Design by Edwina Bridgeman
Technical Manager: Chris Samuels
Production Assistant: Lydia Woolley
Publicity: Lucinda Roberts
Graphic design by Chris Lewis
Photography by James A. Hudson and Ben Langdon


With thanks to the Bath Natural History Society, the Natural Theatre Company, the Langdons, Sara Strickland, Chris Kemp, Paul Colbeck, Lucy Bell, Allen Daniels, Luna Coulson-Samuels, Oona James-Mills and Jenny Jope. We are particularly indebted to Michael McCarthy for the inspiration provided by his book, The Moth Snowstorm.


The Darkling Society was created with support from the egg, Theatre Royal Bath, Bath Fringe, Forest of Imagination, Arts Council England and The National Trust.