Shakespeare 400 at Smallhythe Place

Twelfth Night performed open-air at Smallhythe Place

400 years ago the world lost the most famous playwright of all time, William Shakespeare. Over two centuries later Ellen Terry was born and helped to change the face of theatre. She brought The Bard’s legendary prose to life on stage as one of Britain’s most reputable actresses.

To celebrate their talent,Smallhythe Place is hosting Shakespeare-themed productions, activities and exhibitions. Children can look forward to quizzes and puzzles in the house, as well as a whole week of Shakespeare fun in May half term. This includes a garden trail of interesting facts to collect about the playwright, as well as the opportunity to make Venetian-style masks. Furthermore, young visitors will be able to dress up in costumes and create their own stories, just like Ellen Terry used to do with her grandchildren when she lived at Smallhythe Place.

Ellen Terry and her grandchild dress up in the garden
Ellen Terry and her grandchild dress up in the garden
Ellen Terry and her grandchild dress up in the garden

We are hosting a diverse variety of Shakespeare’s best-loved plays both in The Barn Theatre and in the open-air, from comedy in ‘Much Ado About Nothing’ to tragedy in ‘Romeo and Juliet’. On June 4th actress Dame Eileen Atkins will be exploring both William Shakespeare and Ellen Terry in her critically acclaimed production ‘Ellen Terry with Eileen Atkins’ that is now being aptly brought to its namesake’s home.

In addition, on permanent display in the house are hundreds of theatrical artefacts and memorabilia. Visitors can learn about the famous Beetlewing dress that Ellen wore to play Lady Macbeth, as well as props, scripts, and personal items that belonged to the actress. Visitors will be able to learn about the characters, costumes and more with weekly talks and informative chats with our friendly volunteers.

Titania in Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'
Midsummer Night's Dream Titania
Titania in Shakespeare's 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'

In addition, on permanent display in the house are hundreds of theatrical artefacts and memorabilia. Visitors can learn about the famous Beetlewing dress that Ellen wore to play Lady Macbeth, as well as props, scripts, and personal items that belonged to the actress. Visitors will be able to learn about the characters, costumes and more with weekly talks and informative chats with our friendly volunteers.

Upcoming events

Kent Wildlife Trust Photography Exhibition

Wed 06 Mar 2019
11:00-17:00
An exhibition of the winning 12 photographs from the 2018 Kent Wildlife Trust Photography Competition, celebrating Kent's wildlife.

The Gift of Smallhythe Place

Wed 03 Apr 2019
11:00-17:00
In 2019 we will be celebrating the 90th anniversary of the creation of the Museum and the 80th anniversary of it being bequeathed to The National Trust by Edith Craig.

Snow White, Red Rose and Brown Bear

Fri 12 Apr 2019
13:00-14:00
Snow White and Rose Red – sisters, twins, best friends – have lived in the forest since they were Babes in the Wood. Bought up by their hardworking Mother to be kind, caring and forest fluent.

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts

Fri 19 Apr 2019
11:00-16:00
Spring into spring, enjoy the outdoors and explore the nature trail at Smallhythe Place. Will you complete the quest and claim your chocolatey prize? Bring the family together this Easter, it's the perfect time to explore.

Jane Eyre

Sat 18 May 2019
19:30-21:30
“I am no bird; and no net ensnares me: I am a free human being with an independent will.”

Three Men In A Boat

Sat 25 May 2019
19:30-21:30
After the huge success of Old Herbaceous, Kick In The Head productions are back with a rip roaring barrel of fun, Three Men in a Boat, with Giles Shenton (Old Herbaceous himself!) playing the part of Jerome K Jerome.