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Stage Crafting

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In the Burlington backyard of the Bailly-Hall family, "play structure" takes on a whole new meaning. This whimsical, wooden creation is a castle, swing set and outdoor theater — all in one. Jacques Bailly built it for his daughter Isidora, 10, and 8-year-old son, J.P.

On Friday nights from mud season until the snow flies, Bailly and his wife, Leslyn Hall host lively outdoor gatherings for neighbors and friends. The adults sip wine while their kids swing, scramble up and down the castle towers and act out fantasies involving artisan guilds and epic battles. On special occasions, the swings give way to a wooden stage and heavy quilted curtain. Most recently, Isidora's Brownie troop performed a Greek comedy in pursuit of their theater badges.

Jacques designed the structure based on a tower he admired at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum. He wanted to inspire his kids' imagination and also get the wiggles out. Bravo!

  • Wisteria vines add a natural look
  • Wooden marquee announces "Now Playing: Quarry Kids Theater"
  • Wooden stage lifts up for storage when theater season is over
  • Backstage sandbox
  • Rubber tire mulch under the swings saves knees from scraping
  • Sink in the south tower, acquired at auction, great for preshow picnic hand-washing

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