The vibrant and varied programme this year includes opera, plays, films, jazz, classical music, speakers, comedy, musical tribute nights and family favourites.
The events take place in three spectacular locations in the award-winning gardens of Hever Castle, childhood home of Anne Boleyn, one of Kent’s top tourist attractions.
The Loggia in the tranquil Italian Garden with the magnificent lake view, Anne Boleyn’s Woodland Walk is the perfect setting to enjoy some shows including The Crow House (Aug 17) and a retro caravan with a mind of its own in The Wagon of Dreams, which starts tomorrow (Aug 4), and the Two Sisters Theatre, the original heart of the festival, where the outdoor seating is tiered and under cover or you can choose to sit where you like on the lawn and enjoy the vista from your own chairs or blanket, in the sunshine or under the stars.
It is 500 years since Anne Boleyn’s first appearance in English court and the Festival Theatre is celebrating with the critically acclaimed play Anne Boleyn by Howard Brenton (Aug 18-20).
Hever Castle Historians Dr. Owen Emerson and Kate McCaffrey also discuss their new book Becoming Anne charting her formative years (Aug 10).
Musical Tribute nights sparkle across the programme: including Take That (Aug 26), Sinatra (Aug 6), Joni Mitchell (Aug 12) and Just Floyd (Aug 25).
Other musical highlights include The Music of James Bond introduced by former Bond Girl Madeleine Smith (Aug 5).
Festival favourites Opera Brava with Carmen (Aug 13) and La Traviata (Aug 14), Charles Court Opera with Mikado (Aug 29), Ronnie Scott’s All Stars (Aug 21) and The Last Night of the Hever Proms (Aug 28) complete the programme.
Tickets for the longest Hever Festival Theatre Season ever are available at heverfestival.co.uk or through the Box Office 07379 488 477.
On Stage & Screen
An afternoon of wartime letters between actress Celia Johnson and her husband Peter Fleming read by daughter, Lucy, and Simon Williams heads to Hever Festival on August 3. The touching and amusing letters tell of Celia’s experiences during the war – from coping with a large, isolated house full of evacuated children through to learning how to drive a tractor and dealing with rationing. Described as a ‘Theatrical Gem’ by the British Theatre Guide, Posting Letters To The Moon provides an engaging and fascinating historical insight into a time of true austerity and fearfulness.
The UK’s biggest-selling album group of the 21st century, Westlife will be broadcasting their first-ever Wembley Stadium show at Tunbridge Wells’ Odeon cinema on August 6. The spectacular showing will be their biggest and most historic yet, with 20 years of hits delivering an unmissable night for diehard fans. From ‘Uptown Girl’ to ‘Flying Without Wings’, Irish heart-throbs Shane, Nicky, Mark, and Kian invite fans everywhere to come together in their local cinema and share this unforgettable live experience, up close and personal.
Celebrating the life-time genius of Stevie Wonder, mesmeric vocalist Noel McCalla, and award-winning saxophonist Derek Nash play live at the orangery at Chiddingstone Castle this Sunday (August 7). Fans will be taken on a musical journey through decades of all the biggest and best Stevie Wonder hits, from the classics Isn’t She Lovely & Superstition to beautiful arrangements of My Cherie Amour and Overjoyed. Get ready for an unforgettable night at this ultimate live tribute and don’t miss out on booking tickets.
From Oscar-nominated visionary filmmaker Baz Luhrmann comes Warner Bros. Pictures’ “Elvis,” starring Austin Butler and Oscar winner Tom Hanks. Screening at Trinity Theatre on August 9, the story delves into the complex dynamic between Presley and his manager Parker spanning 20 years, from Elvis Presley’s rise to fame to his unprecedented stardom, against the backdrop of the evolving cultural landscape and loss of innocence in America.
Summer in Tunbridge Wells isn’t summer without Jazz on the Pantiles. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Georgian Colonnade in the heart of the historic Pantiles, the bandstand will once again be rocking world class jazz tomorrow night. (August 4) Don’t miss this Thursday evening delight which has seen the likes of The Vince Dunn Orchestra (pictured) play as well as Spice Fusion, The Skatonics and Derek Nash.
The MTV VMA nominee JC Stewart comes to Tunbridge Wells on August 10 for a night of heart-on-sleeve balladry at The Forum. Mixing raw emotion with classic pop, the rising star will be performing his current single ‘Don’t Say You Love Me’ amongst covers of top tracks from Spotify’s Best Pop UK, Spotify US’s Singled Out and Apple Music’s A-List: Pop. Entry Requirements: 16+ (under 16s accompanied by an adult).
Recommended by the Sinatra family’s Europe representative, Sinatra, Sequins & Swing: The Capitol Years Live celebrates the iconic hits, vocal majesty, and Hollywood glamour of Sinatra’s sensational Capitol Records years of 1953-1961. A must-see evening taking place on August 6 at Hever Castle’s Two Sisters’ Theatre, this musical like no other features classics Chicago, Lady Is a Tramp, and Come Fly with Me amongst a host of key song-scenes from the king of swing’s legendary movie and TV specials.
Dust off your boots and dig out your jam jars – it’s time to go bug hunting! On August 4 at Dunorlan Park, Research Curator Ian Beavis will be leading a fun and informative trail across the parks of Tunbridge Wells. Meet by the café for the hours long bug-hunt where you will discover the wildlife which exists right on your doorstep. Tickets cost £3 and accompanying adults are free.
Bring the whole family along to the Spa Valley Railway on August 4 for a swashbucklin’ good time and join Jolly Roger as he tries to find the lost treasure. Packed full of slapstick comedy, thrills, and spills – its set to be another sell-out show, departing from Tunbridge Wells West at intervals throughout the day.
Pose for a unique family portrait this Saturday (August 6) in the Orangery at Knole. Step back in time as you dress up in extraordinary historical costumes and celebrate the characters who lived and worked in this special house over the past 600 years. Don’t forget to bring your camera!
Bring your sports drink and grab an energy bar, TL Sports Triathlon is coming to Bewl Water this Sunday. (August 7) Get ready to swim, ride, and run against pro and aspiring triathletes in the most grueling and hilarious contest there is. Choose between three races: sprint, standard, and relay before receiving your unique medal for your heroics.