Monday, 19 September 2011

Award-winning 1623 theatre company returns to Smallhythe Place this Saturday after two years of sell-out performances of a new play that celebrated the extraordinary life of the house's most famous resident, Ellen Terry.

This year Ellen hosts The Course of True Love, a soiree of Shakespearean love scenes performed by her theatrical friends in the Barn Theatre, situated in the beautiful garden at Smallhythe. The performance features scenes of comedy, tragedy and romance.

The Course of True Love - first performed for the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall at BBC Gardeners' World Live - is a unique collection of scenes from eight of Shakespeare's plays including Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, Hamlet and The Taming of the Shrew.

Ben Spiller, 1623 artistic director and producer, explains: "We love performing here at Smallhythe. It's one of the most inspirational places we've been to and we're very excited to be coming back to perform in the Barn Theatre.

"Last year and the year before, we brought our memory play about Ellen Terry's amazing innovations in Shakespearean performance. This time, we're bringing something a little bit different, but Ellen and Shakespeare are still at the heart of the show."

Tickets for The Course of True Love are £12 and can be purchased from the National Trust on 08442 491 895. Booking is essential.

Notes for editors

1623 theatre company

  • 1623 is an award-winning, five-star theatre company that performs Shakespeare unusually - often in unusual places - to surprise, affect and inspire people with the playwright's inspirational language, vibrant characters and exciting sense of theatre.
  • Productions have been performed at the National Theatre, RSC Fringe, London 2012 Open Weekend, BBC Gardeners' World Live, Glastonbury Festival, rural village halls and city spaces.
  • Learning and participatory projects have taken place in schools throughout the UK, as well as at colleges, universities and away days for organisations including the Open University and Associated Northcliffe Digital.
  • Patrons are top British playwright Mark Ravenhill  and leading Shakespeare expert Professor Carol Rutter at the University of Warwick.
  • For more information, contact Ben Spiller, 1623 artistic director and producer, on 07867 996959 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Click here for the 1623 website

Smallhythe Place

  • This half-timbered house was built in the early 16th century, when Smallhythe was a thriving shipbuilding yard.
  • Victorian actress Ellen Terry lived here from 1899 to 1928 and the house contains her fascinating theatre collection.
  • Ellen's famous Lady Macbeth beetle-wing dress is part of the costume exhibition and the cottage grounds include her rose garden, orchard, nuttery and the working Barn Theatre.
  • Smallhythe's shipbuilding heritage is explored in our fascinating exhibition.
  • For more information, contact Laura Andrew, Smallhythe Place marketing officer, on 01580 762334 or This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
  • Click here for the Smallhythe Place website








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