The Barn Theatre Society at Smallhythe Place

The Summer Theatre Company

In 1932 Edith established the Barn Theatre Society, running it on a subscription basis in much the same way as the society runs today.

With five or six plays being performed each summer, there was nothing like it in this part of Kent and up to the Second World War the Barn Theatre was a dramatic centre for the area. After the war, Edith was in poor health and, in March 1947, when planning that year's annual Shakespearean matinee, her heart condition worsened and she died.
 

Sir Lewis Casson and Sir John Gielgud then established the Ellen Terry Fellowship which presented annual memorial matinees from 1947 to 1961. In 1961, Anthony Thomas took over the theatre, formed the Ellen Terry Theatre Group and staged several productions each year. In 1992, Tony Weare revived the Barn Theatre Society which has staged several productions each year since that date. Five years later in 1997 (150 years after Ellen Terry's birth) a theatrical Angels Appeal was launched to raise further funds. Angels who donated £100 were given a certificate; Guardian Angels who donated £1,000 had their names put on the back of the original rush-seated chairs. There were 22 Guardian Angels, including Sir Paul McCartney and his first wife Linda McCartney, and the theatre owner and impresario Sir Cameron Macintosh.

In 2004 the National Trust took over the management of the theatre and introduced a season-long programme of productions by visiting artistes to supplement those of the Barn Theatre Society. 

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.

Costume Tours

Sat 06 Apr 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.

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.

Tai Chi in the garden

Sat 27 Apr 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.