Victoria Roberts is looking forward to the Hever Castle Summer Festival, which returns from May 28 to August 30, 2022 with a packed schedule after two years of reduced events…
Hever Festival covers the gamut of performing arts and history, but there are some central themes, theater director Ailsa Molyneux told the Times.
“Working with the great expertise of Hever Castle is very important to us. We are hosting the second in a trilogy of lectures by Dr Owen Emerson, a world leader in the history of Hever Castle, alongside Kate McCaffrey and Lauren MacKay, both experts in their field on Tudor and Boleyn history,” she said.
“Howard Brenton’s Anne Boleyn is back by popular demand, with the Three Inch Fools (who just enjoyed a fabulous run at the Trinity Theater with The Miraculous Misadventures of Robin Hood) and festival favorites Illyria with Shakespeare in the Hever Castle Gardens.”
And there are many other things to see…
“The performances of our fabulous lead artists form the backbone of our season and we are proud to work with them again,” said Ailsa.
However, she stressed, “It is also important that we encourage new events and new audiences at the festival every year.
“Working with us for the first time is comedian Joe Rooney, who kicks off our comedy program with A Celebration of Father Ted.
“Next is the award-winning Grinstock Comedy Club (based in East Grinstead) and Solve-Along-A-Murder-She-Wrote, with plenty of audience participation.
“Double BAFTA broadcaster, comedian and writer Jon Holmes brings us the greatest current reporting like we’ve never heard before,” Ailsa continued, advising: “Look for The Skewer on BBC Sounds so you know what you’re up to. expect from this “twisted comedy treat”.
The theme of musical tributes represents another bouquet of multicolored fireworks, with two balls celebrating the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee – First Night of the Hever Proms celebrates British composers (Saturday June 4), while the Brandenburg Sinfonia plays the classics waving the flag on the final night of the Hever Proms (Sunday August 28).
Other musical highlights include Q The Music, The Music of James Bond (Friday August 5) with Live and Let Die Bond Girl Madeline Smith featuring the iconic tunes.
Grammy-nominated artist Stacey Kent sings songs from her latest album Songs From Another Place (Saturday July 23), The 4 D’s will sing hits from Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons, among others, while Sinatra, Sequins and Swing bring Hollywood glamor with The Capitol Years (Saturday August 6).
Take this: rule the world
The fabulous tribute performances will include two doubleheaders – The Tina Turner and Aretha Franklin Stories (Saturday May 28) and Blurb and the Kaiser Thiefs (Thursday August 4). The Simon and Garfunkel Story returns to Hever on Sunday July 24 and the festival features Just Floyd (Thursday August 25), Take That: Rule The World (Friday August 26) and No Town Like Motown (Saturday August 27).
This year also marks 500 years since Anne Boleyn first appeared at the English court, and where better than here to celebrate her life with First Knight’s production of Howard Brenton’s play Anne Boleyn, during three nights (August 18-20)?
The curator of Anne Boleyn’s current exhibition at Hever Castle, Dr Owen Emerson, returns to the stage with Kate McCaffrey as they talk about the ill-fated Queen’s formative years in Becoming Anne (Wednesday August 10).
Two other historical writers discuss their novels – Lauren Mackay with her book Among the Wolves of Court: The Untold Story of Thomas and George Boleyn in St Peter’s Church, Hever, where Anne’s father Thomas is buried (Saturday 25 June ); and Alison Weir will be back on stage to talk about her latest novel Elizabeth of York, The Last White Rose and signed copies just released (Sunday May 29).
Lucy Fleming and Simon Williams
There’s more drama and romance with Jane Eyre’s production of Edenbridge’s Another Way Theater (Wednesday, June 1) and, for a unique matinee performance, the touching and amusing letters between actress Celia Johnson (Brief Encounter, This Happy Breed) and her husband, explorer Peter Fleming, are read by their daughter Lucy Fleming and her husband Simon Williams in Posting Letters To The Moon (Wednesday August 3). An absolute gem!
Hever’s family program has something for all ages throughout the holiday season and includes the latest Long Nose Puppets production The Hug (Friday July 22); Rapunzel from Immersion Theater (Wednesday July 27) and Terrible Tudors from Horrible Histories (Wednesday August 24).
All Stars by Ronnie Scott
Festival favorites Ronnie Scott’s All Stars return (Sunday August 21), along with Charles Court Opera’s Gilbert & Sullivan productions – Patience (Sunday June 5) and Mikado (Sunday August 29). Meanwhile, Opera Brava presents two classics – Bizet’s Carmen (Saturday August 13) and Verdi’s La Traviata (Sunday August 14).