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

The Gift of Smallhythe Place

Thu 19 Sep 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.

Orchard Day

Sat 21 Sep 2019
11:00-16:00
Join us as we celebrate Kent's produce and an abundant harvest, from fresh produce and plants from the property, to tasty treats and garden gifts from local stallholders, enjoy a day out with a difference at Smallhythe Place.

Much Ado About Nothing

Sun 22 Sep 2019
19:30-21:30
The Three Inch Fools, a five-strong troupe of actors with all manner of musical instruments, present an inventive take on Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing - a rip-roaring comedy of quarrels, deceptions and a frustratingly stupid man called...

Tai Chi in the garden

Sat 28 Sep 2019
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.

Costume Tours

Sat 05 Oct 2019
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.

Autumnal Nature Trail

Sat 19 Oct 2019
12:00-16:30
Explore the autumnal outdoors with a nature trail in the garden at Smallhythe Place.