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

Dressing Miss Terry Exhibition

Wed 01 Apr 2020
11:00-17:00
An exhibition exploring the part played by Ellen Terry's unique theatrical costumes during her 60-year long acting career.

Costume Tours

Sat 04 Apr 2020
13:15-14:00
Delve into the store for a peek of the delicate and lavish costumes once worn by Ellen Terry and her actor friends. With fascinating stories attached to each garment, costume tours are an opportunity to discover a rich theatrical history.

The Wind in the Willows

Sat 04 Apr 2020
15:30-16:40
From an idyllic riverside setting, through the snowbound Wild Wood via Mr Toad's motoring misadventures to the final Battle for Toad Hall, this unique adaptation of Kennth Grahame's original book oozes with charm & wit.

Cadbury Easter Egg Hunt

Fri 10 Apr 2020
11:00-15:00
Bring the whole family together this Easter with one of our Cadbury Easter Egg Hunts.

Dad's Army Radio Show

Fri 17 Apr 2020
19:30-21:15
Perry and Croft’s classic BBC sitcom brought gloriously to life. Two actors, two microphones and over twenty-five characters. The nation’s favourite sitcom returns in this highly-acclaimed production. Tickets available online and from the property.

Tai Chi in the garden

Sat 25 Apr 2020
11:30-12:30
Join us for gentle exercise, mental relaxation and fresh air with an hour of Tai Chi in the tranquil gardens of Smallhythe Place.