The New Theatre

“Britain has a new opera house. The theatre has excellent sightlines and clear supportive acoustics. Its potential is enormous”.

The Times


The UK’s first new opera house in the 21st century is something to sing about.

West Horsley Place is a Surrey demi-Eden: a 300-acre estate with a glorious sprawling 15th century house surrounded by formal gardens with secret corners, aged trees, box hedges and a majestic crinkle crankle wall. Behind the house, an ancient orchard opens into a glade: the setting for the new Theatre in the Woods.

The opera house, glimpsed amongst the trees, appears as a cross-gartered brick drum and within is an intimate five-tiered auditorium, modelled on the horseshoe shape of La Scala, Milan. Its vibrant acoustic has been much-praised and there is a generous orchestra pit which in 2017 housed the 70-strong orchestra for Wagner’s Die Walküre.

Set within the Surrey Hills, we are 23 miles from London. Horsley Station is 1 mile away with trains from Waterloo, Vauxhall, Clapham Junction (45 mins; 4 trains per hour). Woking Station is 8 miles away (25 mins; 8 trains per hour).

Since its inception in 1998, Grange Park Opera has performed to some 300,000 people with more than 50 productions and 450 performances. In 18 festivals, it has become a treasured feature of the international operatic landscape.



Phase 1 accomplished 90% of the building works, creating an opera house in 11 months. The £10m target was achieved in July 2017.

Phase 2 (October 2017 – April 2018) is now in full swing. It was decided to extend the Appeal and aim for £14m. From this grand total, we will build the Lavatorium Rotundum and create the cushion of a £2.5m Endowment Fund.

Phase 3 will include a colonnade around the theatre and forecourt – 14 larch tree trunks (45cm x 3.9m) seasoned for a year in Sussex. We will also install Oak flooring in the vestibule and a resin floor in the theatre.

The Theatre in the Woods will be used and enjoyed by many people from many walks of life and for many generations.

Tales From the Theatrical Woods

Tales From the Theatrical Woods is the name of our regular newsletter charting the progress of our new Opera House: you can read old issues here, and subscribe to receive future mailings.

Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Chapter 24
Chapter 25
Chapter 26
Chapter 28

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Henry VIII & more

From a fatal quarrel with Henry VIII to the colourful divorce of society beauty Mary Duchess of Roxburghe, the beguiling West Horsley Place is a historical treasure...

Project Timeline

From hearing about West Horsley Place on Twitter to the opening night: read all about the progress of the UK's newest Opera House, The Theatre in the Woods.