Theatre in the Ballroom at Asthall Manor

Jan 19, 2019


The Old House, written and performed by RADA-trained Kate Maravan, directed by Kath Burlinson

Memory, loss, mother-daughter relationships and the hokey-cokey. Revisiting The Old House, Mother and Daughter hang on to fragments of what they know. Losses surface as seawater pushes and pulls over the shingle. Grief, laughter, liberation from the known, the wonder of the ordinary ebb and flow. here’s a slender chain that links a woman in her forties with her elderly mother and her dead, unborn, child. Sometimes, it’s as fragile as silk. Sometimes it’s an anchor chain. It’s the atomic bond of love and in the end, what families are all about.

By writer-performer Kate Maravan (Improbable, The Bush, Hampstead) ‘Maravan is outstanding’ Lyn Gardner 

'Inspired by my mother, The Old House explores an alive connection to the present moment, and how distinctions between well/ill, sane/insane, young/old are less defined.’ 

Audience comments:

‘So much beauty and sadness and complexity and silliness and everything human’

‘Spectacular, detailed, alive, and compelling' 

Director Kath Burlinson, Movement director Vincent manna, Sound designer Adrienne Quartly.

Coming to Asthall Manor Ballroom on Saturday 19 January 2019 7.30pm. Tickets £15. (Includes a glass of wine or soft drink and donation to Alzheimer's Society.) To book tickets please click here

Kieran Stiles Art Workshop - The Trees of Asthall in Gouache

Jan 25, 2019

This workshop focuses on how Pissarro used gouache to depict trees. Learn step by step how to use layered dabs of chalky paint to convey a shimmery feel of movement to the branches.We will work partly from photographs and partly from direct observation of the magnificent trees of Asthall Manor which surround the warm studio room where we will be working.

All materials included, but please bring photographs of favourite trees, and perhaps a camera or an ipad to take pictures for reference material during the workshop, and also a sketchbook for preparatory sketches.

Workshop cost £55 and runs from 1pm until 4.30 pm.

Calendar of the Rose Pruning Workshop

Jan 26, 2019

Jan 18, 2019

Ruth White yoga classes

Sep 03, 2018

Weekly classes are held during the school terms, and taught by Ruth and John White. They run from 7.30-9.00pm on Monday evenings. There is no need to book, but please come a little early if it is your first time. 

The Autumn term runs from 7th January to 1st April 2019.  No class on February 18th for half term.

For more information on term dates, prices and their practice, visit their website  or telephone 01608 651189/01608 652272.


Kieran Stiles Art Workshops - Watercolour to oils

Feb 22, 2019

Over two Fridays learn how watercolour studies can be useful in opening up interesting ideas about image-making during the process of translating a landscape into oils. 

In the first week on 22nd Feb we look at the textural wax-resist techniques of Norman Ackroyd RA (above left) which create a subtle granular appearance in his water colour studies.

The second session on 1st March we focus on methods of translation from the watercolour studies into oil paintings. Learn how to use expressive and experimental painting techniques (above right) to gradually build an interesting textural surface. 

The subject for these workshops is grassy wetland landscapes. Please bring a selection of favourite photographs to work from as source material (example below right).  All materials included, apart from a sketchbook for notes and preparatory studies, which you will need to bring. 

Friday 22nd Feb & 1st March 1-4.30 pm

£110 for the two sessions

Asthall Manor, Ballroom and Gardens

Asthall Manor, overlooking the swans and stumpy willows of the Windrush Valley, dates from the early seventeenth century, but probably occupies a medieval site. Lady Joan Cornwall and her son Sir Edmund Cornwall are believed to have lived in it during the fourteenth century.

The present house – or an earlier version of it – was probably built for the Jones family, who occupied it until the 1670s or 1680s, followed by the Peacock family, and then, from then mid-eighteenth century and for much of the nineteenth, by the Bateman family.

The Manor was a convalescent home during the first world war, and in 1919 it was bought by Lord Redesdale, father of Nancy and the other Mitfords. It was on Asthall Manor, as well as the Redesdales’ other houses, that Nancy’s fictional Alconleigh is based. In 1926, the Manor was sold to the Hardcastle family, who retained it until 1997.

The present symmetrical appearance of the house has resulted from alterations made for the Batemans in the nineteenth century, and for Lord Redesdale in the 1920s. Lord Redesdale also converted the barn into a ballroom/library, with its huge bay window and Jacobean-style ceiling, and built the cloisters to connect this new ballroom and the rooms above it to the main house. The house was slightly reduced in size by the present owner in 1998-9.

A more extensive history of Asthall, written by R.B. Peberdy for the Victoria County History series, can be found here.

The Ballroom at Asthall Manor is available for hire for life-enhancing events. click here for details. Please note, we do not take bookings for weddings.

The gardens were designed by I & J Bannerman in 1998. Their aim was to allow the garden to flow into the Windrush Valley landscape beyond it. The gardens blend form and freedom, open views and secret spaces. Long tranquil walks bordered with sharp wedges of yew, vast beeches enclosing a hidden lake, orchards sloping down to the mill stream, stone tubs overgrown with roses and a formal box-bordered parterre provide a quintessentially English setting for fine art. Asthall Manor’s entrance is notable for the sculptures by Anthony Turner which adorn its gateposts.

The garden has recently featured in the following books: Landscape of Dreams,  Secret Gardens of the Cotswolds and English Gardens, and has been the subject of many newspaper and magazine articles, most of which can be found here.  Most recently, head gardener Mark Edwards was interviewed on his innovative techniques of rose pruning for the Telegraph's Saturday garden section.

Volunteer with us: From time to time we take volunteers in the garden through the organisation WWOOF (Worldwide opportunities on organic farms): https://www.wwoof.org.uk

Jamaica We have a small guest house in Jamaica click here for further details