The home of the 11th Duke of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, is not a traditional castle or manor house, but a palace, one of the treasure houses of Britain and one of only four special sites in the United Kingdom included in the World Heritage List. Renown as Sir Philip Sidney may be in academic circles, Sir Winston Churchill's fame spans the globe! He served as Britain's Prime Minister during World War II and was the first British Prime Minister to address the joint houses of the U.S. Congress. And his mother, Lady Randolph Churchill, was an American.
This was a venue that should attract both celebrities and corporate sponsors, but staging GRUMPUSS at Blenheim Palace was almost too fantastic to imagine. Still, the more I learned of its history, the more intrigued I became. John Churchill, First Duke of Marlborough, defeated the forces of Louis XIV at Blenheim on August 13th, 1704, thus saving Vienna from French invasion. In reward for his services, grateful Queen Anne of England granted Marlborough the Royal Manor of Woodstock and signified that she would build him there, at her own expense, a house to be called Blenheim. This reward of Blenheim Palace has a direct parallel in the castle granted to my fictional hero, Sir Ellery, in GRUMPUSS.
So, I submitted my proposal, negotiated terms and with the kind permission of His Grace, the Duke of Marlborough, Blenheim Palace became the site of the World Premiere. The palace is open to the public from mid-March to the end of October, so I chose November 1st, All Saints Day, the day after Halloween, for the big show.