Hever Festival Theatre’s 35th Anniversary

13/07/2018 - 26/08/2018


The popular annual open-air summer Festival which takes place in the picturesque grounds of one of Kent’s top tourist attractions, Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn, is celebrating its thirty-fifth year with a season of vibrant and varied performances which continue from 13 July until 26 August.

The Festival kicked-off with a week of outstanding performances over the Half Term period but the main part of the season will re-commence on Friday 13 July with The Magic of Motown.

Other highlights include a musical adventure based on HG Wells’ classic novel The Time Machine, Tall Stories’ musical adaptation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Sheffler’s much-loved children’s book The Snail and the Whale and the Last Night of the Hever Proms which will feature Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance Marches as just one of the patriotic favourites performed by The Brandenburg Sinfonia. This year the audience is invited to form a fun flash mob choir to sing The Humming Chorus from Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. Anyone can help raise the roof – and you don’t need to able to read music to participate.

In a new addition to the programme; ‘An Audience With’, the Festival welcomes renowned historian David Starkey, who has had a long association with Hever Castle. His talk Henry VIII: The First Brexiteer complements the Tudor exhibition he has guest curated which opens in the newly restored Long Gallery in the Castle in early autumn.

Vintage vocal trio The Bailey Dolls sing classics from the 1930s and 40s including those made famous by Vera Lynn, Glenn Miller and the Andrews Sisters in their show Blue Skies and Blue Birds. They will be joined by local favourite cheeky chappie Tom Carradine and his band The Duckies to create stunning vocal harmonies and perhaps a sing-a-long medley thrown in for good measure. Audiences are invited to dig out their vintage clothes and join them in a nostalgic celebration of the era.

Ronnie Scott’s All Stars, direct from London’s world famous jazz club and led by the club’s musical director, celebrate two giants of jazz: saxophonist Charlie Parker and trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie in an evening of music and song. Mixing classic numbers alongside narration, it’s a unique evening celebrating two of the all-time jazz icons, their music and lives.

Opera Anywhere perform two classic Gilbert and Sullivan comic operas; The Mikado and Patience, and comedian Mark Steel star of Radio 4’s Mark Steel’s in Town brings his new show ‘Every Little Thing’s Gonna Be Alright’.

For drama fans, Bromley Little Theatre return to the festival with George Bernard Shaw’s famous tale of Eliza Doolittle’s transformation from flower girl to society lady Pygmalion, and Patrick Barlow’s Olivier Award-winning comedy adaptation of Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps, performed by 1st Knight Productions, sees five fearless actors playing 150 roles.
Family Entertainment on offer includes Immersion Theatre’s musical adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan and multi award-winning musical comedian Jay Foreman performs his selection of charmingly sick songs, stories and poems in his Disgusting Songs for Revolting Children.

For opera fans, Mozart’s The Marriage of Figaro and Rossini’s The Barber of Seville will be performed by Britain’s leading touring outdoor opera company Opera Brava in their 30th Anniversary year.

An array of musical entertainment includes a tribute to Britain’s very own global superstar George Michael. Fastlove is packed with all the chart-topping anthems from the Wham! days through the 90s and onwards. In addition there are shows from The New Jersey Beat telling The Story of Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, Arrival – The Hits of ABBA, The Magic of Motown and Beyond The Barricade; a concert of the greatest songs from Broadway and West End musicals performed by past principals.

A collection of films starring Nicole Kidman makes up the Cinema Under The Stars season including Baz Luhrmann’s sumptuous Moulin Rouge and Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut.

All the performances and events can be enjoyed in conjunction with a quintessentially British afternoon tea or a picnic on the lawn overlooking the Castle and its stunning gardens. Taking in a Festival performance is the jewel in the crown to a day out exploring Hever Castle and grounds.

This year, the Festival Theatre welcomes a new Director, Ailsa Molyneux. Ailsa, born and bred in Kent, comes to Hever with over twenty years’ experience of programming and management in the arts. She said of her appointment:
“It’s a real thrill to be part of this very special summer Festival and bring such a fantastic variety of world-class performances. We’re delighted to welcome back some old favourites as well as introduce some new and exciting events to our audiences. There will undoubtedly be something for all tastes.”

Hever Rd
Edenbridge TN8 7NG
01732 865224