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Article by Sarah Hamilton-Walker | 1st May 2018

Celebration of all Things British

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 35th year with a season of vibrant and varied performances kicking off on Friday 25th May and running until Sunday 26th August.

Highlights include a musical adventure based on HG Wells’ classic novel The Time Machine, Squashbox Theatre’s mix of puppetry, natural history and comedy cabaret The Sea Show created and performed by Craig Johnson from acclaimed Cornwall-based theatre company Kneehigh. Elgar’s Pomp and Circumstance Marches are just one of the patriotic favourites performed by The Brandenburg Sinfonia in the Last Night of the Hever Proms. 

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. 

As part of the musical entertainment offering, there is a tribute to Britain’s very own global superstar George Michael, packed with all the chart-topping anthems from the Wham! days through the 90s and onwards.

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. 

This year, the Festival Theatre welcomes a new director, Ailsa Molyneux, who was born and bred in Kent. She comes to Hever with more than 20 years’ experience of programming and management in the arts.  

“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,” said Ailsa.

• Gates for evening performances open at 6.30pm, performances start at 8pm. Gates for matinee performances open at 1.45pm, performances start at 2.30pm, exit by 6pm. Tickets are bookable online at www.heverfestival.co.uk or via the box office, Monday-Friday 9.30am-5pm, on 01732 866114.

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