Shakespeare at Smallhythe Place

PUBLISHED: 19:23 25 March 2016 | UPDATED: 19:24 25 March 2016

Smallhythye Place, nr Tenterden

Smallhythye Place, nr Tenterden

Archant

This month marks the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death, and 2016 is packed with events, productions and activities to commemorate Britain’s most famous playwright.

At National Trust-owned Smallhythe Place, former home of Victorian actress Ellen Terry, Susannah Mayor, house steward, explains the strong connection with Shakespearean drama. “As a famous actress, in 1899 Ellen Terry bought Smallhythe Place as a bolthole away from her hectic London life.

“She played many passionate leading ladies from Shakespearian plays, including Lady Macbeth, Portia, Beatrice, Viola, Juliet and Mistress Page from The Merry Wives of Windsor.

“We’re very lucky to have a large number of Ellen’s props and costumes on display here, including a dramatic green dress made from hundreds of shimmering beetle wings that she wore while playing Lady Macbeth.”

The beetle wing dress, which was restored in 2011, was made for Ellen to wear in Henry Irving’s acclaimed production of Macbeth in 1888. It is part of a collection of theatrical accessories, props and scripts that form a museum set up at Smallhythe Place by Ellen’s daughter, the theatre producer Edith Craig, in 1929, in her mother’s memory.

Also on display are beautifully illustrated scrapbook albums containing hand-written lectures given by Ellen Terry, as well as a small box formerly owned by the actor and theatre manager, David Garrick, made from a piece of the Mulberry tree said to have been planted by William Shakespeare in Stratford-upon-Avon.

At Smallhythe Place not only are there many fascinating costumes, accessories and thespian exhibits to admire, but also Shakespearean-themed activities, including Venetian-style mask making for children, puzzles, games and costume talks, behind-the-scenes tours and a half-term children’s trail leading families around the garden and theatre (28 May-5 June).

As the home of the only theatre owned and operated by the National Trust, it’s very fitting that Shakespeare fans can also watch live performances in the thatched 17th-century Barn Theatre, built in the grounds of Ellen’s former home. On the bard’s birthday, 23 April, The Summer Theatre Company presents Celebrating Shakespeare, a humorous romp through the great man’s plays and characters. Tickets cost £12 (booking fee applies), available online or via the box office on 0844 249 1895.

Later in the year, the Barn Theatre will play host to more live theatre, including Jane Austen’s Emma by The Hotbuckle Theatre Company on 15 May (ticket details as above).

Find out more

To find out more about Shakespeare at Smallhythe Place and other events and activities taking place at the National Trust in Kent this spring, please visit the website at: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/southeast.
w

More from Out & About

11:30

Kent Life suggests some of the best spots in the Garden of England for a walk on a crisp, misty autumn day

Read more
Monday, October 12, 2020

Here are 10 tales to make you shiver as we celebrate All Hallows’ Eve | Words: Stephen Roberts - Photos: Manu Palomeque

Read more
Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Philip Lewis, the Mayor of Fordwich, told us about how he is concerned about two new housing developments that would “utterly ruin the nature of the town”

Read more

Discover how the East Kent coast has fought off invasion from human and natural forces on this easy walk from Walmer to Deal

Read more
March 2019
Friday, October 2, 2020

Explore the beautiful county of Kent, the Garden of England, with this virtual day out in the county

Read more
Thursday, October 1, 2020

Immerse yourself in the atmospheric gardens at Nettlestead Place, where the past and present meet in a plantsman’s garden | Words: Leigh Clapp - Photos: Leigh Clapp

Read more
Tuesday, September 29, 2020

The creekside setting of this historic market town makes for a perfect escape to the country | Words: Caroline Read - Lead picture: Manu Palomeque

Read more
Friday, September 25, 2020

Dramatic landscapes, grand castles and historic locations have made Kent the perfect setting for many iconic films and TV programme. Here are 21 different movies and television programmes that made use of the Garden of England

Read more
Friday, September 25, 2020

Horsmonden is a pretty village set in the heart of rural Kent. Pass through orchards, flourishing crops, farm tracks and quaint country lanes

Read more
Monday, September 21, 2020

The easing of lockdown saw a huge growth in paddlesports, with people eager to get some exercise and explore the countryside, safely | Words: Caroline Read - Photos: Manu Palomeque

Read more
Kent Life Food & Drink awards. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad


Follow us on Twitter


Like us on Facebook


Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Latest from the Kent Life