What happens if it rains?
In most cases the show goes on, in fact over the past 34 years we have cancelled less than 10 performances due to adverse weather conditions. The vast majority of our seats are covered and we will always try to go ahead with a performance, even if it means in some cases delaying the start or pausing the show for a brief period.
What is the cancellation policy?
However, no performance is guaranteed and in some circumstances if we feel there is a risk to the safety of our audience or performers we will cancel a show. In such circumstances, the decision to cancel a performance would not normally be made until the time a performance is due to start. This is due to the very localised weather we experience at Hever and its unpredictable nature, it is not unusual for it to be raining at 7.45 and sunny at 8 o'clock.
Whatever the weather, and even with our substantial seating canopies we do remind audience we are still outside, and suitable (warm or waterproof) clothing is advised. And please do remember that umbrellas are not allowed in the uncovered seats within the reserved seating auditorium.
In the event of a cancellation or abandonment of a performance or where less than half the performance has taken place no monies shall be refunded. Audience members may claim tickets of an equivalent value for any future performance in the same or following season at the Festival Theatre subject to availability. Original tickets should be returned to the Theatre with a covering letter.
What time can we come into the grounds?
The gates open at 6.30pm for evening performances, with the shows starting at 8pm. This allows time for the day visitors to the Castle to exit the grounds and clear the car parks ahead of the evening shows.
Can we park at the Theatre, and how far is it from the car park to the Auditorium?
If you do arrive earlier than 6.30pm you will not be allowed down to the theatre or its car park and must wait in the car park opposite the main entrance. However space is very limited in this area, so we strongly advise that guests try not to arrive before 6.30 when the gates open. There is plenty of parking for all.
The gates open at 1.45pm for Matinée and Family performances, with the shows starting at 2.30pm. You will not be allowed in to the Castle Grounds if you arrive before this time, but are welcome to enjoy the gardens after the performance. Exit is when the Castle closes at 6pm. You will need to purchase a ticket from Hever Castle if you'd like to enter the grounds before 1.45pm; or to go inside the Castle at any time.
Yes there is free parking available in the Theatre Car Park most of which is on hard standing. It is clearly signposted from the main entrance on performance days, and once you enter the grounds (taking the right hand drive at the main entrance, next to the church) it is a five minute drive down the lane to the car park. There is plenty of parking but please listen to the car parking stewards who are there to direct you.
Can I visit the Castle during the day? And if so where should I park?
It is not possible to leave cars overnight.
It is a 5 - 10 minute walk to the Theatre from the car park.
Of course, but your Theatre ticket only allows access to the grounds for the performance you have booked: from 6.30pm for evening shows and 1.45pm for afternoon shows. Outside of these times you will need to purchase a ticket from Hever Castle for access to the Gardens, and Castle if desired.
Is the venue accessible?
If you do visit the Castle during the day that you are coming to an evening performance, you will need to ensure that you are parked in Lakeview Car Park which is the one we use for Theatre guests. You can mention this to the Castle car park attendants when you arrive, but if it is not possible at that time you will simply need to move your car at 6pm when the Castle closes. Do remember to move your car as Lakeview car park is much closer for you to walk to at the end of the evening, plus the Castle locks its other car parks at the end of each day and access would not be possible until the following morning.
The Theatre aims to provide good access for all our visitors, and every year welcomes many members of our audience with different needs.
Do we need to bring chairs to watch the show?
There are reserved spaces close to the ticket huts and entrance to the grounds for blue badge holders and those with restricted mobility.
For those in wheelchairs, the route to the auditorium is mainly paved and without steps, and there are reserved spaces in the auditorium for those wishing to remain in their wheelchair throughout a performance. Please ensure you reserve the correct seats with the box office when booking your tickets.
There are accessible toilets at the Guthrie Pavilion. The route to this area is between 5 and 10 minutes long and does include a small hill on the way back to the auditorium. Please ask the Theatre stewards on the evening if you would like assistance.
We also have a limited number of wheelchairs available to borrow at the Theatre to assist those with limited mobility. We cannot guarantee they will be available for you to keep throughout the entire length of your visit to the Theatre, and we ask that you contact the Box Office in advance should you wish to use one.
Assistance Dogs are permitted into the Theatre Auditorium.
We are an open-air venue situated in a Grade 1 listed Garden so certain restrictions may exist. For individual requirements please contact the Theatre Box Office, and we will always do our best to help.
No, not if you are sitting in the Centre, West and East Tiers where the seating is reserved and mainly covered. Just Rows E and F of the Centre Tier are uncovered.
Can we bring tables and chairs for our picnic?
If you are sitting in the unreserved Grass seating areas to either side of the auditorium, you may bring chairs to sit on. You are also permitted to use small tables in this area, or picnic rugs, but no gazebos. Please respect other members of the audience who are sitting in this area, and the theatre stewards who will redirect you if you are sitting in the wrong place.
Yes, and audience are very welcome to picnic in the Castle grounds before evening performances, and after matinée shows. Favourite areas include beside the lake, which is closer to the car park for ease of access or on the Theatre Lawn itself, which tends to keep the sunshine for a little longer into the evening! A bell will ring to warn you when the performance is due to start, and so when to begin to move to take your seats in the auditorium.
Do I have to buy a ticket for my child?
If you are sitting in the unreserved and uncovered grass areas for the performance you are welcome to stay with your picnic during the performance, but these areas are only available for Jazz, Classical and Musical Entertainment Shows.
All children over the age of 18 months must have an individual ticket for Family Shows. There is a reduced child price for these shows, which applies for children under the age of 16 years.
What ages are the Family Shows Suitable for?
Children under the age of 7 are not permitted to evening performances that start at 8pm with the only exceptions this summer (2017), being the concert performed by Jet Stream Jazz Big Band on Saturday 3rd June.
The Theatre Companies for the three family shows in the Summer Festival give broad guidance for suitability of age, but this clearly depends on individual children. There is nothing in the shows that is inappropriate for younger children, but the style of show may be more appealing to different ages. Please call the box office to find out more.
Is it there anywhere to eat at the Theatre?
The Guthrie Pavilion overlooking the lake, serves pre-theatre suppers
Can we bring alcohol to the Theatre?
before evening performances and a menu is available here
. Tables can be booked through the Theatre Box Office, and earlier access to the Castle grounds permitted for those who have booked a supper in advance.
Cream Teas are also available after the matinée performances of the Plays. A menu is available here
; these must be booked and paid for in advance, once again through the Theatre Box Office.
Audience can bring their own food and drink including alcohol for their picnic to enjoy before the show. Food and drink is allowed in the reserved seating stands, that is the East, West and Centre Tiers, but we ask audience not to picnic in these areas and no glass is permitted in them.
Can I take photos or video of the performance?
The Guthrie Pavilion is open before shows and during the interval for refreshments. It offers a range of snacks, hot and cold drinks and a bar.
No flash photography or videos may be taking during the performance. It is also not permitted to operate smart phones or tablets in the auditorium during a performance, so no photographs on these devices can be taken. It is hugely distracting for other members of the audience for screens to light up during a show, and the Performing Companies do not allow it. Most require the Theatre to monitor the audience and strictly enforce this policy. We politely request you to make the evening more relaxed for our stewards and other members of the audience by respecting this policy.
Can we dance during the show?
We want you to have the best time possible and fully enjoy the show! You can dance by your seat and in the grass seating areas, but aisles and access routes must be left clear at all times. For your health and safety, this means that no dancing is permitted in the walkways immediately in front of the stage; and the East and West Tiers (unless you are sitting in Rows A!).
Can I smoke at the Theatre?
No smoking is permitted in the Theatre Auditorium at any time. Audience are politely requested not to smoke in the Grass Seating Areas once a performance has begun.
Can we bring our dog?
No animals are permitted into the Theatre Auditorium and Grass Seating Areas, except for Assistance Dogs.
Can I get a refund?
All tickets are non-refundable, but tickets can be exchanged up to 3 days before the performance. There is a £5 administration fee and the original tickets must be returned to the Theatre Box Office. Ticket exchange is free for Festival Friends.