The Seed

The Seed An Original Narrative Adventure

The Seed was an original narrative adventure for audiences and game players told simultaneously through online gameplay, live performance and a treasure hunt: a ground-breaking format designed for realisation in Summer 2012. Artistic direction was led by Goat and Monkey and The Seed was created in partnership with The Great Gardens of Sussex (GGOS) – Kew's Wakehurst Place & The Millennium Seed Bank, Nymans (National Trust), Borde Hill and High Beeches.

The live theatrical events took place in the GGOS grounds in May and June 2012, majoring on Nymans and taking inspiration from the Millennium Seed Bank. The online game went live one month before.

The Seed was a ground-breaking production in a number of respects. Significantly, as well as being composed of live theatre productions presented to an audience in real time, it was also an Alternate Reality Game (ARG). Created from the factual history of the gardens with a fictional overlay, the narrative centred on an imagined research assistant at the Millennium Seed Bank (Helen) and her discoveries surrounding a ‘missing’ seed. As she discovered more about the seed, Helen delved deeper into the mysterious world of the original nineteenth century Plant Hunters (who discovered the plants for the Gardens) to uncover a gripping story with international implications! One lucky player discovered the seed (a real and specially commissioned piece of treasure), buried somewhere in the country.

Goat and Monkey worked with leading ARG Writer and Producer David Varela to design a production that converged the worlds of theatre, large outdoor spectacle and gaming in a way which had never been done before. The Seed enabled players and audiences to enter its storyline at a multitude of times and places.

Helen was a fictional character played by an actress and a writer. The actress played Helen at the live and filmed events, while the writer handled her digital communications.

Players could log on to Helen’s website and share her investigations to uncover the truth. Helen maintained an online diary which was created by the writer and updated daily. This was the heart of the adventure, where she posted pictures, images of handwritten clues and online videos. The website allowed visitors to comment on her diary entries, to which Helen responded.

Throughout the first eight weeks of the game, Goat and Monkey created three events in the gardens, each following a lead for Helen’s research and providing revelations for her as well as for any players. In week nine of the online story there was a run of large scale festival-like performances (six nights) at Nymans which ran for several hours. There were lots of chances to interact directly with characters from the story. The performances culminated in a procession and spectacular shared moment for the entire audience involving a large number of actors playing characters, met or not met online. The final treasure clue was released during the performance.

There was an integrated outreach programme which included a summer school run by Goat and Monkey for sixty disadvantaged young people (aged eleven to sixteen) in the Haywards Heath area. They learned about creating site-responsive theatre and online narratives as well as investigating the themes of Darwinism and botany and took part in the productions at Nymans either through sound installations or in person. A family trail at the gardens involved its regular young visitors of two to eleven years.

The Seed was part of the Ahead of the Game Cultural Programme in West Sussex, led by West Sussex Arts Partnership with funding from Arts Council England.

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Creatives Across Sussex

The Barn
Fordwater Lane
West Sussex
PO19 6PT

Telephone: 0843 289 5150

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My News

Summer Theatre &amp; Film-making Workshops a Success! / <span itemprop="startDate" content="2011-09-12T00:00:00Z">Mon 12 Sep 2011</span>Summer Theatre & Film-making Workshops a Success! / Mon 12 Sep 2011

As part of The Seed project planned to go live next Spring, Goat and Monkey theatre company ran workshops at Martlets Hall, Burgess Hill, on Tuesdays and Thursdays through the school summer holiday. Theatre skills, stag...

My Events

The Seed: The Burning Gardens @ Borde Hill / <span itemprop="startDate" content="2012-07-19T00:00:00Z">Thu 19</span> to <span  itemprop="endDate" content="2012-07-22T00:00:00Z">Sun 22 Jul 2012</span> <span>(4 days)</span>The Seed: The Burning Gardens @ Borde Hill / Thu 19 to Sun 22 Jul 2012 (4 days)

One of the most dramatic and destructive events of the Victorian era. A botanical paradise caught in the middle of a war. Is this where the secret of the Seed lies buried? The Burning Gardens pageant has been perform...

The online mystery and real-world treasure hunt has begun! / <span itemprop="startDate" content="2012-06-01T00:00:00Z">Fri 01 Jun</span> to <span  itemprop="endDate" content="2012-07-22T00:00:00Z">Sun 22 Jul 2012</span> <span>(2 months)</span>The online mystery and real-world treasure hunt has begun! / Fri 01 Jun to Sun 22 Jul 2012 (2 months)

Lost for a hundred years a precious seed lies undiscovered... Part immersive theatre and part online mystery, The Seed is a real-world treasure hunt of the grandest proportions. Inspired by true stories of the intr...

The Seed: One for Sorrow @ Nyman&apos;s Gardens / <span itemprop="startDate" content="2012-06-09T00:00:00Z">Sat 09</span> to <span  itemprop="endDate" content="2012-06-10T00:00:00Z">Sun 10 Jun 2012</span> <span>(2 days)</span>The Seed: One for Sorrow @ Nyman's Gardens / Sat 09 to Sun 10 Jun 2012 (2 days)

Lost for a hundred years a precious seed lies undiscovered... Frank Kingdon-Ward wants to be one of the world’s most famous and successful plant hunters. But on this night, early in his life, young Frank has many drea...

My Opportunities

Front of House Volunteers Needed for The Seed, 19-22 July / <span itemprop="startDate" content="2012-07-12T00:00:00Z">Thu 12 Jul 2012</span>Front of House Volunteers Needed for The Seed, 19-22 July / Thu 12 Jul 2012

We're looking for several ushers and front of house volunteers for our final instalment of The Seed at Borde Hill Gardens, 19 - 22 July. The show starts at 8.15pmish and finishes about 9.45pm and we'd need you from 7....

My Videos

The Seed: One For SorrowThe Seed: One For Sorrow

If you missed One For Sorrow at Nymans Gardens here is a short. There be clues in this here trailer to take you another step closer to the buried golden treasure! (more info on the real-life treasure hunt via our website...

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