Bamber Gascoigne Legacy Project

Update 25th July 

Thanks to the Matched Funding offer of £500k, we are delighted to announce that close to £1m has been raised towards the £2m total.

Levels of giving are given below. Or make a pledge by email.

Introducing the Bamber Legacy Project

That famous charm of Bamber’s wasn’t just a superficial social skill. It went very deep – it was a kind of grace. It was style, yes – but informed by kindness. It was goodness. That’s what lay beneath that golden presence – a golden heart’ – MICHAEL FRAYN

The Bamber Gascoigne Legacy Project commemorates the life of a man with a golden heart, converting our respect and appreciation of Bamber into something tangible.

The core of the project are more dressing rooms for the artists because Bamber cared about people and their talent. Architects drawings will be available soon.

We would like Bamber’s presence to be felt in many areas of magical West Horsley Place with a bench (so that people can sit and have a think about this wonderful man) and a bridge, which like him, connects people.

Bamber’s inheritance

In 2014 Bamber Gascoigne inherited from his aunt, the Duchess of Roxburghe, 14th century West Horsley Place. He was quick to agree with Grange Park Opera that we should build an opera house in the woods behind the ancient orchard.

Bamber and Christina have been very closely involved in everything that has happened at the Theatre in the Woods.

We built the theatre in 10 months, ready for the 2017 season. Then came the ornate brick exterior and the Lavatorium Rotundum (2018), then the rose colonnade (2019) and then came COVID.

To launch the Appeal, an anonymous donor offered £500k of Matched Funding, and thus we have nearly raised the first £1m.


What will be achieved?

Bamber’s backstage A 3rd storey of dressing rooms
Heating/cooling system enabling us to welcome visiting companies to the theatre
Bamber’s bench Bronze life-size casting by Raphael Maklouf, Bamber’s neighbour
Bamber’s bridge by the willow opposite the dock door
A major opera world première in 2024



2022 Autumn – Planning application for the dressing rooms (which were part of the original design)
2022/3 Winter – Work on the heating and cooling
2023 Summer – Martin Smith to commence building work on dressing rooms, Bamber’s bridge and further work on heating
2023 Summer – Completion of Bamber’s bench
2024 Summer – Completion of dressing rooms


What will it cost?

The Appeal target is £2m

Levels of support use Bamber’s catchphrases

A Golden Heart £50k (with naming of a new dressing room)
Fingers on buzzers £20k
Your starter for ten £10k
I’ll have to hurry you £5k
University Challengers £1k-£5k
No conferring other amounts – we are grateful for all contributions

Pledges may be paid over three years



For further information:
01962 73 73 73



Christina Gascoigne
Joanna Lumley
Bryn Terfel
Wynne Evans


Daily Telegraph

Daily Telegraph