Springhead has historically been a venue for performance. Long before the Trust was established, both the Mill room and the gardens were regularly used for staging readings, plays and concerts.
The Gardiner family and their circle of friends staged Advent and Easter plays, and Marabel Gardiner and her son, Sir John Eliot Gardiner, mounted operas in the gardens. Following this theatrical tradition, Rosalind Richards, the last member of the Gardiner family to live at Springhead, conceived the idea of creating an open-air theatre.
The Rotunda Open Air Theatre is made up of a level ‘stage’ area facing a series of tiered terraces. It is located in front of the Rotunda, a nineteenth century stone structure which was imported from Venice in the 1950s, and is the focal point of the gardens. With its backdrop of chalk hills, and Springhead’s beautiful lake, this unique and spectacular setting attracts both professional and amateur productions. Since the first production of ‘Shakespeare in the Garden’, audiences have been treated to a breadth of performances from classical plays and modern theatre, to contemporary dance and community choral productions. The theatre also provides an educational resource for visiting school groups.
Find out about forthcoming events, including theatrical and musical productions which are held in the summer at our open air theatre, and in the winter in our mill building.