FAQ AND MISCONCEPTIONS
Who has seen West Horsley Place? What do they think?
Around 300 Grange Park Opera supporters have taken up invitations to visit and have been hugely enthusiastic. It is a magical place. If you would like to visit please email us.
In early November there was a public consultation attended by 1,500 people. There was an unprecedented high degree of public support for the proposals: 90% plus.
Is it easier to get to Horsley?
Horsley train station is a mile away and the return fare is £13.10. 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.
How certain are you of receiving planning approval?
Nothing in life is certain. We have worked with expert teams of advisors to ensure the best possible chance of success. The application will be determined around March / April.
Will the theatre be completed in time for 2017?
The 2017 festival will embrace the pioneering spirit. The theatre won’t be finished… but finished enough. Further building work will be phased over the following years culminating in permanent lavatories.
How disruptive will the building be for the local area?
Currently there are other businesses on the site. The Theatre in the Woods is designed to enhance the natural beauty of the area and bring culture and opportunity.
What about the people in the office?
Today, the charity employs 10 year-round staff. In 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)
Emma Kane (also chair of Barbican Centre Trust)
Hamish Forsyth (also trustee of Eton College, Glyndebourne, Britten Sinfonia)
Iain Burnside, pianist and broadcaster
Tony Bugg, head of global insolvency, Linklaters
Joanna Lumley, actress, former model, author and activist
In July 2014 Macfarlanes undertook a governance review of the charity which was completed in September 2014 and the recommendations implemented.
Why is the charity moving?
The charity’s lease was due to expire after the 2018 festival. However, in March 2015 the lease was unexpectedly and unilaterally terminated following six months of negotiation between the landlord and the charity’s chairman.
Twenty weeks later (July 2015) new terms were tabled which the GPO charity trustees considered and took legal advice. In October the charity agreed to mediation. However, a week later, this route was closed down.
Was it all about rent?
No. The terms tabled in July 2015 included many controversial issues, one relating to the Endowment Fund which has separate trustees.
Is GPO going to be compensated?
What about GPO’s donors?
Our donors’ generosity has enabled Grange Park Opera to achieve much since 1998 and the legacy of the charity’s past is the foundation of the future.
What about people who gave money to build the theatre at The Grange?
Grange Park Opera will continue to honour commitments to them and very much welcome them.
There is a special place in people’s hearts for Grange Park Opera.
Please contact us if you have any questions.