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

Triumphant Women

Wed 23 May 2018
11:00-17:00
New exhibitions, Edy Craig: Women, Suffrage and the Theatre and The Shakespearean Lectures of Ellen Terry will be on display at Smallhythe Place celebrating the women of Smallhythe in the Suffrage movement.

Costume Tours

Sat 26 May 2018
13:15-13:45
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.

My Dog's Got No Nose

Sat 26 May 2018
19:30-21:30
Following their sell-out performance of 'Old Herbaceous' at Smallhythe Place last year, Kick In The Head Productions return with a play by Ron Aldridge. Performed by Giles Shenton.

May half-term crafts

Wed 30 May 2018
14:00-16:00
Across the May half-term, we are running nature-themed arts and crafts for our younger visitors. Get creative making flower baskets from coloured card, paper birds and tree decorations.

The Taming of The Shrew

Fri 01 Jun 2018
19:30-21:45
Convoluted relationships, mischief and transformation, East 15 Acting School bring the Bard to the boards with this timeless comedy.

Twelfth Night

Sat 02 Jun 2018
19:30-21:45
Shakespeare's humourous and heart-rending tale of unrequited love is brought to life on stage by East 15 Acting School.