Open Air Theatre
A History of Guildbury shows at Farnham Castle
July 2009 saw Guildburys perform their 20th summer show open air at Farnham Castle. Each year it all starts at the door to the Castle grounds. Every single item for the production is brought in through the tiny doorway to the keep, and hey presto – there’s a theatre and an enthusiastic capacity audience! The most important element at Farnham is the show itself and plays for our open air production are carefully selected to appeal to a wide audience and to ensure a great evening’s entertainment.
- Over the last 20 years in excess of 20,000 have seen our shows and enjoyed the castle and all it has to offer.
Initially there was no stage and the first few shows were performed on the grass. The planning was endless and the logistics were a huge challenge. Dressing rooms were needed and the first dressing room was an old army tent; the first bar area was a camping tent – how times have changed with a purpose built stage, imaginative sets, professional sound and lighting, large dressing tents, equipment tents and a comfortable bar tent. The stage and sets achieve professional standards, the lighting and sound rigs are ever more adventurous and ambitious – but the constants are the quality of the shows, the skill of the actors, the superb costuming and enthusiastic loyal audiences.
For company members and audiences alike ‘Guildburys at Farnham Castle’ is a delightful experience, everyone enjoying not only the show but the picnics and the quintessentially British experience of open air summer theatre in a really beautiful setting.
- Many fans return year after year with their picnics and their rugs.
We all love it with a passion and our audiences love it too; the audience survey conducted during the 2009 show provided us with some fantastic feedback and comments.Our show directors have a wealth of experience in producing wonderfully colourful and entertaining shows.
- We achieved a 98% customer satisfaction rate in the 2009 audience survey (the only negative comments concerned the weather!) and the survey indicated that audiences come from a large surrounding area and not just from Farnham itself – some travel from a distance of 50 miles to see the show.
- We attract new audience members each year (around 30% in 2009 were new attendees) and our total seating capacity for the shows is 1500. The 2009 show achieved 85% of that capacity, with bookings for the show starting early in April thanks to a committed and loyal audience which grows each year.
- The box office and Online booking open in late April
- See what our audiences say here