December 1, 2021
Tonbridge will be transformed into a winter wonderland this month thanks to Bravo Production’s Castlemas. Here, ten-day festival organizers Hannah Rochell and Oliver Tourle tell SO magazine why they were inspired to create such a fabulous and bountiful festive event…
Can you tell us what Castlemas is?
This is a ten day festive event that will allow the local community to come together and immerse themselves in the magic of Christmas. As well as a local Christmas market there will also be a Jingle Bell bar and a sprinkle of snow every night! In the heart of the Château’s lawn will stand an enchanting heated Igloo Theater which will host a variety of shows for the whole family. The workshop experiences will be held in the room of the castle bedroom and Father Christmas will be in his cave, ready to welcome everyone this Christmas.
What made you want to organize a festive event like this?
Last year, friends and family couldn’t celebrate Christmas together. Therefore, we wanted to create a magical experience for people to enjoy together again. Castelmas is a celebration of our local community, the arts and of course Christmas. The Igloo Theater will host over 40 fantastic performances and the local store’s Christmas Market, in conjunction with the TN Card, will host over seventy local independents and TN Card partners. The goal is for everyone who attends Castlemas to be able to watch or do something to adapt their own experience to what we are offering.
How did the idea of the ten days of festive extravagance come about?
We wanted to bring a variety of entertainment to our city and after producing several events at the castle we thought this was the right place! The goal is to enhance the Christmas festivities in our area and create a new seasonal tradition for people to come back every year. At Bravo, we have a huge passion for the arts and our region. It is time for the Château to come to life this Christmas with an event that brings together the whole community.
Was it quite a challenge to come together?
As we bring together so many performances, people and companies, we would be lying if we said it wasn’t a challenge, but we are fortunate to have a real support system around us. Like so many others, coming out of the pandemic has often been overwhelming as we adapt and re-settle into our routines. As Castlemas is a new event, we have to work very hard to build these relationships with businesses and people. It’s a bit like starting a new business every time you host a new event! But we are so lucky to have people who trust us, understand us and work alongside us to make this December one to remember.
What do you think people will enjoy most about Castlemas?
We hope people will love the castle atmosphere brought to life by the magic of Christmas. Castlemas will offer the warmth and beauty of Christmas, the feeling of community and unity after these two long years. We are also delighted that Castlemas also has its own beer brewed by the wonderful Constellation Brewery!
What’s new in Castlemas
There will be performances by West End Royalty Kerry Ellis, magician Ben Hanlin, actress and singer Jess Robinson, BGT’s D-Day Darlings, Queenz, Dreamboys and more. There will also be lots of entertainment for children! Purchasing a ticket also guarantees access to Castlemas on the day of your chosen performance.
Although entry to Castlemas itself is free, non-ticket holders and walk-in customers will only be able to access the Jingle Bell Bar and Mistletoe Town if we have not reached our capacity limits.
We strongly recommend that you book a free ticket to any of our attractions to ensure you make it an unforgettable experience! Purchasing a ticket for a show at the Igloo Theater, a workshop experience or a visit to the Santa Claus cave gives guaranteed access to Castlemas.