What is the Theatre in the Woods?
The Theatre in the Woods is the UK’s first new opera house in the 21st century, built in the grounds of West Horsley Place, Surrey. The theatre is a permanent structure that seats around 700 people in the gardens of the late Mary Roxburghe’s 15th century house. 2017 was our first season at The Theatre in the Woods and which proved to be a huge success.
In 2018 we built the Lavatorium Rotundum; a circular building of loos that sits alongside the theatre.
How accessible is the theatre?
We have several wheelchair spaces that are located on the Stalls level (ground level). There are no lifts. There are 12 steps to the Stalls Circle, 26 steps to the Grand Tier and 40 steps to the Balcony.
How easy is it to get to West Horsley Place?
Horsley train station is a mile away and the return fare is £13.80 from London. Get on a train at 4.30 you can be at the opera by 5.30. The walk from the station through the back of the 300 acre estate takes about 20 minutes through peaceful fields.
Horsley is 25 miles from London, 62 miles from Glyndebourne and 42 miles from Garsington at Wormsley and 45 miles from The Grange.
What time does the opera start?
Our operas begin at 6pm and the grounds are open from 4pm. Guests often explore the beautiful gardens with a glass of champagne before the opera starts.
Why are opera tickets so expensive?
The answer is simple: a vast number of people are needed: orchestra, chorus, principals, crew and so on. The result is glorious and the most “immediate” of art forms in which narrative, music, scenery combine to bewitch you. Read more
What is the dress code?
Most guests wear black tie and long dresses, but we encourage stylish creativity. Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd. See what to wear
Is there an interval?
There is an interval during the opera to allow for people to enjoy their evening meal. During this time guests can either reserve a table in one of our restaurants to enjoy a three course meal or they can reserve a picnic table in one of our marquees. Alternatively, there is the option to bring your own picnic and furniture and set up in our gardens free of charge.
Can I buy food on the night?
No, you will not be able to purchase food on the night. You can reserve a table one of the restaurants, buy a picnic through Fortnum & Mason, or bring your own picnic.
Where do I park?
By arrangement, guests in wheelchairs and with walking difficulties can be dropped off by the theatre OR by the orchard gateway, and the driver can park in the new designated spaces close to the theatre. Alternatively, guests can park in the designated area in the main car park for free.
Where are your offices based?
Today, the charity employs 13 year-round staff. From 2017 the charity’s festival venue will be West Horsley Place in Surrey. However, the office in Bishops Sutton will remain the charity’s headquarters where the full-time staff will be based.
Who are the charity trustees?
Grange Park Opera was registered as a charity (no: 1068046) in early 1998 with chairman Sir David Davies (now co-chair of the Appeal), The Hon. Mary-Ann Sheehy and Wasfi Kani.
Today the trustees are:
Chairman: Simon Freakley (also chair at Dulwich Picture Gallery)
Iain Burnside, pianist and broadcaster
Tony Bugg, head of global insolvency, Linklaters
Joanna Lumley, actress, former model, author and activist
Sue Butcher, Director, Barclays and Trustee, Sadler’s Wells
Dame Vivien Duffield, Chairman of the Royal Opera House Endowment Fund, Director of the Southbank Centre board and a Governor, Royal Ballet.
David Kershaw, CEO M&C Saatchi, Governor, Southbank Centre
Keith Weed, CMO Unilever, President of the Advertising Association
In July 2014 Macfarlanes undertook a governance review of the charity which was completed in September 2014 and the recommendations implemented.
Please contact us if you have any questions.