Page 1

Appeal 2017

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 1

29/01/2016 12:57

APPEAL 2017 Joint chairs Sir David Davies Dame Vivien Duffield Patrons Bryn Terfel Joanna Lumley for further information contact Charlotte Pomroy Jack Rush 01962 73 73 73 GR ANGE PARK OPER A SUTTON MANOR FARM ALRESFORD SO24 0AA

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 2

29/01/2016 13:00

Grange Park Opera West Horsley Place


21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 3

03/02/2016 15:15

A centre for culture, learning and a marketplace for the exchange of ideas

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 4

29/01/2016 13:00

Welcome In less than two decades , Grange Park Opera has established itself as

one of Europe’s leading opera festivals and become synonymous not only with artistic excellence, but the warmth of the relationship shared between loyal audiences, supporters and artists. Not without reason has it become known in the opera world as ‘a small jewel with big performances’. For 18 years, the festival was held at The Grange in Hampshire, but from 2017 it moves to West Horsley Place, recently inherited by the author Bamber Gascoigne. Glowing brick façades, framed by antique box hedges and walled gardens, sit in the midst of a 300-acre estate slumbering in the Surrey countryside. Behind the house, an ancient orchard opens into a wooded glade, which is to become the setting for a new cultural venue, the Theatre in the Woods. Here Grange Park Opera will realise the next chapter in its quest to make world-class performing art accessible to all. The Theatre in the Woods will be used and enjoyed by many people from many walks of life and for many generations. It will host cultural and educational endeavours by an array of organisations, with Grange Park Opera as its anchor tenant.

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 5

The new 650-seat theatre, just beyond the historic orchard, is modelled on the four-tiered horseshoe shape of La Scala, Milan, with a vibrant acoustic and a generous orchestra pit.

Far from being an exclusive, single-use opera house, the Theatre in the Woods will be a springboard for dynamic, eager young people often hard-pressed to find the means and marketing to enable them to grow to their full potential. They will be able to showcase all manner of projects from avant-garde fashion shows and puppeteering to smaller-scale operas, dance and string quartet masterclasses. Each night of the season there will be 50 affordable seats dedicated to under 30s.

The Theatre in the Woods will welcome many cultural partners from Welsh National Opera and Wexford Opera to Richard Alston Dance Company.

This creative haven will be accessible to all-comers of all ages. Just 23 miles from London, the return fare from Waterloo is £13.20, taking 45 minutes. Horsley station is one mile from the theatre.

A long lease (a 49-99 year term is in discussion) from the Mary Roxburghe Trust, into which Bamber Gascoigne has generously placed his inheritance, greatly

29/01/2016 13:00

expands what it is possible to achieve. The collaboration will breathe new life into this enchanting, secret arcadia. It will be a bastion of cultural progress, striving to abolish the myth of elitism that surrounds opera today and to nurture the next generation’s connection with the wider arts •

Since its inception in 1998, Grange Park Opera has performed to some 250,000 people with more than 50 productions and 450 performances. In 18 festivals, it has become a treasured feature of the international operatic landscape.

Grange Park Opera is a not-for-profit organisation. Sister charity Pimlico Opera, founded in 1987, has presented co-productions with prisons for 26 years and has taken more than 50,000 public into prison. Each week the Primary Robins project gives a singing class to 1,600 children aged 7-11 in schools in deprived areas.

This £10m Appeal is a rare chance to make a difference to the performing arts landscape in a vision that celebrates culture, learning, heritage and artistic excellence. Phase I of this pioneering project commences in spring 2016 (subject to planning consents) and aims to achieve enough of the construction for the first performance in June 2017 when scaffolding will envelop an unfinished theatre. Phase 2 continues after the 2017 festival and includes exterior brickwork. PROJECT COSTS


Phase 1

Phase 2

May 16-Apr17

Jul 17-Apr 18

Groundworks inc piling Steel frame, metalwork Roof, upper floors, stairs, boxes External walls inc fanfare balcony Internal walls, finishes, fitting out, acoustic requirements Services, landscape Preliminaries, scaffolding Project team fees Increased costs 6.2%

1,000,000 730,000 1,485,000 958,000

1,000,000 730,000 975,000 308,000

510,000 650,000

650,000 1,020,000 975,000 750,000 422,000

400,000 720,000 600,000 600,000 290,000

250,000 300,000 375,000 150,000 132,000



925,000 400,000



21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 6

6,548,000 2,767,000

29/01/2016 13:00

Plan of West Horsley Place showing the house, the formal gardens, the Theatre in the Woods, and the historic farm buildings

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 7

29/01/2016 13:00

The Theatre in the Woods Concealed within the richly textured, mysterious brick drum is an intimate auditorium of four tiers around a “decorated room”, with balcony fronts enriched for warmth and splendour, a painted ceiling and tree-like columns soaring from floor to roof through the generous atrium. STAGE DOOR







– pr


niu sce



1m – m1





PROJECT TEAM Nathaniel Lichfield & Partners (planning consultants), David Lloyd Jones (consultant architect / project co-ordination), Tim Ronalds Architects, Price & Myers (structural engineers), Max Fordham (services engineers), Ramboll Environ (acoustics), Mike Ibbotson (landscape), Bristow Johnson (cost consultant), J M Partnership (building control), R J Smith (building contractor)

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 8

29/01/2016 13:00





21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 9



designed to target an optimum reverberation time of 1.4 seconds


29/01/2016 13:00

An exquisite place; intensely atmospheric, inherently dramatic with venerable trees, ancient brick walls, secret walled gardens and a theatre in the woodland beckoning

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 10

02/02/2016 15:02

The aesthetic How does one reconcile a brand new opera theatre with a 15th century

manor house? The decision to pursue a traditional horseshoe inspired by Teatro alla Scala in Milan was helpful. Placing the theatre in woodland close to, but concealed from, the historic house resolved the dilemma. Behind a majestic crinkle-crankle wall and nestling in dappled woodland, the horseshoe configuration may be interpreted with some freedom. The theatre, glimpsed amongst the trees, will appear as a textured brick drum; its cladding echoing the splendid ancient walls of the house and gardens. The brief was simple: four tiers of seating in a ‘U’ form to accommodate an audience of 650 with a volume and surfaces designed to target an optimum reverberation time of 1.4 seconds. A generous pit enables the orchestral sound to develop within and, with the tiered seating butting into the 11m x 7.5m proscenium, an intimacy between performers and audience is secured. As they enter the building, guests will encounter the full spacial volume of the auditorium – conceived as a ‘decorated room’. The walled gardens and historic buildings provide the bars, restaurants and meeting places normally located inside a theatre. The foyer atrium is generous; around it thirteen tree-like columns soar from floor to roof. Backstage accommodation provides all that is necessary for the performers, musicians and stage technicians including dressing rooms, green room, wig, prop and equipment stores, and an unloading dock. The side stages are sufficiently large to provide for the three or four sets used in a single festival season. The stage, taken with the side stages, offers the possibility of a ‘studio format’ performance space, operating independently of the tiered auditorium. The theatre is kept cool on warm summer nights by air passing through, and being cooled by, a subterranean labyrinth set beneath the seats of the stalls. Future winter use will require heater batteries to be installed, and for warm air exhausted from the theatre to be re-circulated with fresh air drawn in from outside. High on the outside wall above the main door and set within the diamond patterned brickwork is a balcony from which trumpeters will summon the audience to the performance – an idea inspired by Wagner’s Bayreuth.

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 11

29/01/2016 13:00

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 12

29/01/2016 13:00

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 13

29/01/2016 13:00

Bamber Gascoigne

I have had two very great surprises

in the past eighteen months. The first was the unexpected news that I had been left, by a 99-year-old aunt, Mary Roxburghe, a beautiful house in the country. A week after her death I received a request to go to a solicitor’s office. On arrival I was handed her will. I did my best to look calm and collected while they provided a cup of coffee and biscuits. The other great surprise was provided by Grange Park Opera. A small group of their trustees paid a visit. Again over coffee and biscuits, they described their proposal and asked Christina and me if it might be acceptable. It didn’t take us long to say ‘Yes, indeed’. It isn’t every day that you are invited to have an opera house in your garden. It was obvious from the start that West Horsley Place is perfect for an opera festival. They are planning to build the theatre tucked away romantically in a wood. A short path through the wood will bring opera-goers to our orchard, a magical place of amazingly old fruit trees, perfect for a picnic. A wrought-iron gate leads visitors into semi-formal gardens, areas of mown grass separated by ancient box hedges, which I can imagine already full of the bright tented pavilions for which Grange Park Opera is famous. And then the house itself. Amazing . . . and I could go on and on. But it is enough to say that the ground floor, an unbroken sequence of Tudor stone flags leading into the garden, has space for 150 people to dine in style.

Roll on the first night!

In an act of exceptional philanthropy Bamber Gascoigne has given the full freehold ownership of the house, land and ancillary buildings at West Horsley Place to The Mary Roxburghe Trust. The Trust wishes to introduce a range of uses focusing on arts and education to assist in the conservation of the estate and widen public access.

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 14

29/01/2016 13:00

When the morning sun catches the red brick and terracotta tiles, the whole house seems to glow. From across the park, through ancient trees this building from Tudor times endures: a testament to those who lived and worked there

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 15

02/02/2016 15:57

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 16 29/01/2016 13:01

Mary Crewe-Milnes, Duchess of Roxburghe (1915-2014)

A deep and dashing history In 1931, the Marquess of Crewe

(Bamber Gascoigne’s great-grandfather) and his second wife, Peggy, sold the great Crewe Hall in Cheshire. They had decided to ‘downsize’ and were looking for a small house in Surrey. Their searches brought them to West Horsley Place. They immediately fell under its spell, as almost everyone does, and bought it although it was, in Crewe’s biographer’s words, ‘larger than they had intended’. Beautiful, spacious and ideal for house parties and family gatherings, it was the perfect place for them to live in style in the years up to the war. The house then, as now, was full of a vast numbers of books because both Crewe and his father had been passionate collectors. There has been a manor house on the estate since soon after the Norman Conquest, but the present house is a sturdy timber-frame building from about 1500. It was still virtually a new house when Henry VIII seized it and gave it in 1536 to his cousin and childhood friend, Henry Courtenay. The grateful Courtenay felt he should ask the King and his retinue to lunch in the Great Hall – an expensive undertaking. The details of the 35 courses survive. The range of birds on offer is startling – stewed sparrows, larded pheasants, ducks, gulls, stork, gannets, heron, pullets, quail and partridge. But Henry was a fickle friend. Thomas Cromwell later persuaded him that Courtenay was unreliable, with a Catholic wife, and in 1539 the King had him beheaded – a mere three years after that congenial lunch! There is no external sign now of West Horsley Place being a timber house but inside there are fascinating glimpses in doorways, staircases, wainscoting. The original oak structure (much of it now finally weakened) is still holding up the entire building. The elegant front

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 17

of the present house is, in fact, pure sham. The owner, in about 1640, seems to have decided that it was embarrassing to live in such an old house. So he went for a cheap option – he commissioned the brick façade and had it screwed to the old timbers. At the top, it has drifted five inches away from its support, but screwing it back is supposedly a simple task in comparison to other restoration work that is needed. Mary Crewe-Milnes, Duchess of Roxburghe (19152014) was a god-daughter of Queen Mary, after whom she was named. Her mother, Peggy Primrose, was the daughter of the British prime minister the Earl of Rosebery. In 1935, Mary married the dashing, eligible Duke of Roxburghe, known as Bobo, and moved to the enormous Floors Castle, in the Scottish Borders. She was living there in 1953 when Bobo had the butler serve her with divorce papers with her breakfast. The Duke told her to leave the castle but her solicitor advised her not to go quietly, pointing out that in Scots law the size of the alimony depended on how willing or unwilling the wife had been to leave. On the instructions of her counsel, she staged a ten-day sit-in which became a sensation in the national press. First the Duke sacked all the servants he could, leaving her only her lady’s maid, whom the Duchess paid herself. The huge empty castle was eerie for the two women alone, with their nights soon lit only by oil lamps after the Duke had disconnected the electricity. When he cut off the water, the solicitor said her point was made. It had been worth it – the alimony was excellent. Mary moved south and, with her mother’s death in 1967, she became châtelaine of West Horsley Place, living there for more than 40 years and playing an enthusiastic part in local activities.

29/01/2016 13:01

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 18

29/01/2016 13:01


Our passion for the beautiful does not make us extravagant, nor does our love of culture make us weak. As for our wealth, we do not brag of it. Instead, we use it well, appropriately, for the good of all. PERICLES 432 BC

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 19


29/01/2016 13:01

Grange Park Opera’s track record In 1997, Grange Park Opera

was nothing more than a desire to stage great performances in a derelict house in Hampshire. By the 18th festival in 2015, and the entertainment of an audience of over 250,000, turnover exceeded £4m. More than 80 people from the local area worked at the festival, 97 schoolchildren performed there and 473 young people under the age of 30 attended the festival, in many cases to see their first opera. In 2015 world superstar, Bryn Terfel, took the lead role in Fiddler on the Roof which was seen by more than 5,000 people in Hampshire and a further 6,000 at the BBC Proms, where tickets sold out in two hours. 95,000 tuned into the live radio broadcast. From the beginning there was an ambition at GPO to stage world-class productions that inspire, challenge and entertain. It has become known as a small jewel with big performances; a thriving organisation of national and international importance. Key achievements have been •

building and raising the money for a 550-seat theatre in 2002 that won four architectural awards

staging lesser-known operas to international standards including Don Quichotte and Thaïs (Massenet), Enchantress (Tchaikovsky), Le Roi Malgré Lui (Chabrier), Les Carmélites (Poulenc) and Eliogabalo (Cavalli)

presenting more than 450 performances of 50 productions

collaborating with prestigious artists and orchestras (BBC Concert Orchestra, Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra)

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 20

nurturing younger artists with scholarships and performance development

widening the audience demographic pioneering young audience initiatives

establishing partnerships with like-minded prestigious brands (Fortnum & Mason, Financial Times, Savills, Laurent-Perrier)

broadening income streams to fill the gap between the cost of the artistic programme and ticket sales; in excess of £16m has been raised from the private sector


Having built the theatre, the next goal was to present a more ambitious artistic programme; ambitious not just in terms of repertoire (Peter Grimes, Tristan und Isolde) but also in terms of artists. 2015 FESTIVAL Samson et Dalila, Eugene Onegin, Fiddler on the Roof, La Bohème. Besides Bryn Terfel, the festival presented other artists with truly international careers: Susan Gritton, Gianluca Terranova, Brett Polegato, Carl Tanner (2016 Luigi in Il Tabarro, ROH), Christophoros Stamboglis (ROH, Glyndebourne 2016). 2016 FESTIVAL includes Simon Keenlyside, Stefano Secco, Ruxandra Donose, Virginia Tola, Javier Camarena, Claire Rutter, Clive Bayley, Alastair Miles (also at Glyndebourne in Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg), Bryan Register, Anja Kampe. 2017 FESTIVAL AT HORSLEY includes superstar Joseph Calleja in nine performances of Tosca.

29/01/2016 13:01

Where is West Horsley Place? Between Leatherhead and Guildford, 10 minutes from the intersection of the A3 and M25 and just 23 miles from central London. Horsley station is one mile away with trains from Waterloo, Vauxhall, Clapham Junction (ÂŁ13.20 return). A Grange Park Opera bus will take you to the Theatre in the Woods.

Visit the website

for project updates and Frequently Asked Questions

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 21

02/02/2016 15:57

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 22

29/01/2016 13:01

“Grange Park Opera continues its unstoppable progress.” THE OBSERVER

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 23

29/01/2016 13:01

21161 GPO - WH Essentials.indd 24

29/01/2016 13:01

West Horsley Place - Essentials  
West Horsley Place - Essentials  

All of the essential information about the Appeal to secure our future at West Horsley Place - in one beautiful booklet.