We're back... and in the Open-Air!

27 - 31 AUGUST & 4 - 5 SEPTEMBER 2020

Racks Close ~ Castle Cliffe Gardens ~ Guildford Castle Bandstand (see here for map)


"One of my happiest moments in the last six months."

THY ETERNAL SUMMER is a celebration of Shakespeare, community and the joy of sharing a live theatre experience once again.

The show, whose title comes from Sonnet 18 (go on, look it up), features some of Shakespeare’s best-loved scenes and sonnets from plays including amongst others Hamlet, A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Much Ado About Nothing.

"All my best Shakespeare moments together with some of my very favourite actors - what more could I want."

Photography by Steve Porter Pictures

"We felt so safe and ’normal’ enjoying an open air GSC show.  Thank you!"

For the last few weeks we've been working with Guildford Borough Council on the project who have given us special permission for the event to go ahead as a pilot event.

Using the principles of our popular Sonnet Walk Weekend, audience groups of no more than 25 will follow a prescribed route between three performance sites: Racks Close to Castle Cliffe, and on to the Bandstand in the Castle Gardens. Performances are staggered to start every 30 minutes, last 75 minutes each and social distancing will be in force throughout. The route between the three performance sites will ensure audiences do not cross over. Seating will be provided at the three sites.

Find out more about how GSC are bringing live open air theatre back to Guildford, as Co-Founder Matt chats with Peter Gordon.

Matt Pinches, Co-Founder: “We've all been living through an extreme period of unprecedented restrictions on our everyday lives, but we hope that the shared experience of attending a live event will be another step in helping our community continue to return to some form of normal.”

How are we ensuring your safety?

Our audiences and artists are at the centre of everything we do, so using UK Government and Public Health England guidelines, we've created extensive protocols to ensure public and staff safety. The full range of the protocols can be read here, but here's a quick summary:

  • Reduced audience numbers
  • Clear signage and one-way system
  • Seating placed 2m apart in the open-air
  • Face coverings for our Box Office and Steward Team
  • Hand sanitiser stations and protective equipment for staff
  • Regular and thorough cleaning
  • Contactless payments
  • No onsite bar facilities


We are supporting the NHS Test & Trace programme. The UK Government has asked organisations to do this in order to keep our communities safe. This means that if you attend our live performances we'll collect your data and some information about you, so that we can help the NHS Test & Trace service in preventing the spread of COVID-19. How does NHS Test & Trace work, and how is GSC handling my data?

Got a question? See our FAQs below



Thursday 27 August              6pm, 6.30pm, 7pm, 7.30pm

Friday 28 August                   6pm, 6.30pm, 7pm , 7.30pm 

Saturday 29 August              2.30pm, 3pm, 6pm, 6.30pm, 7pm, 7.30pm

Sunday 30 August                 2.30pm, 3pm, 6pm, 6.30pm, 7pm, 7.30pm

Monday 31 August                2.30pm, 3pm, 6pm, 6.30pm, 7pm , 7.30pm 

Friday 4 September              6pm, 6.30pm (2 left), 7pm, 7.30pm

Saturday 5 September         2.30pm, 3pm (4 left), 6pm, 6.30pm (1 tkt left), 7pm (1 tkt), 7.30pm (1 tkt)

Running Time: 75 minutes (approx.) no interval

Performances start at: Racks Close Quarry Street, Guildford, GU1 3XZ
Finish: Guildford Castle Gardens, South Hill, Guildford, GU1 3SX


Tickets £20 Adults (16 and over) - £16.50 Children (under 16)

Priority Booking opens 5 August, 11am

General Booking opens 7 August, 10am


You've probably got a few questions about how this will work, so we've listed below some of the most common.

Also see our dedicated COVID-19 Protocols webpage to find out what precautions we have put in place to ensure everyone's safety.

If you have a specific question, please email us. We kindly request that you don't call the Box Office as we are currently operating on a reduced staff. [/expand]

What happens if I have booked then have to self-isolate, and can no longer attend? Can I get a refund for my ticket?

No. All tickets are sold as nonrefundable and non-exchangeable.

Should the event/performance be cancelled/abandoned due to UK Government restrictions related to COVID-19 being enforced full refunds will be offered to ticket holders.

We ask that if you, or any of your party, meet any of the following criteria on the day of the performance, that you do not attend:

    • In the last 7 days, have developed a new, continuous cough, lost your sense of smell or taste, or had a high temperature.
    • In the last 21 days, have tested positive for Covid-19.
    • In the last 21 days, have been in contact with anyone who has tested positive for Covid-19.
    • In the last 21 days, have been contacted by NHS Test and Trace system and told to self-isolate.

You may be asked to confirm these questions when you arrive on site.

Is seating provided?


      • Seating in the three sites we are using (Castle Gardens, Castle Cliffe and Racks Close) will be set out in advance. Seating will be allocated according to your booking.
      • To accommodate household/support bubbles as much as possible, there will be pairs of seats and single seats available. If you are attending in a group of more than two people, you will not all be able to sit together, but the arrangement of seating will ensure everyone remains 2m metres apart.
      • Our Front of House Team will show you to your seats.
      • Seating is NOT to be move under any circumstances.
      • Do NOT bring your own seating.

Are numbers limited?

Yes. A maximum of 25 people will be at each performance

Can I sit with my family/friends/household bubble?
        • To accommodate bubbles as much as possible, seating will be in pairs and single seats.
        • If you are attending in a group of more than two people, you will not all be able to sit together, but the arrangement of seating will ensure everyone remains 2m metres apart.
        • You will be seated for approx. 25 mins at the most at each of the three performance areas.

Is this promenade performance suitable for patrons who require mobility access?

There are two sets of stairs, one large (a spiral staircase out of Racks Close). Therefore we will be recording the performances in Castle Cliffe for access patrons to watch on their phones. please email the Box Office in advance to let us know about your requirements. See Venues ~ See Access for more details

Can I bring a picnic? Are there toilets? Is there a bar?

        • In order to ensure minimum dwell time and numbers on site, there will be no onsite bar or refreshments available.
        • Picnicking is NOT allowed.
        • We request that you only bring with you the minimum of personal belongings that you require for this 75 minute performance.
        • Do bring a bottle of water with you.
        • To ensure minimum touch points and reduce numbers gathering, there will be NO interval and NO toilet facilities at the performance. The nearest public facilities are on Tunsgate.

Where do I park?

The nearest car park is Millmead. It is a short, uphill walk to Racks Close.

Where does it start/finish?

Performances begin in Racks Close and finish at the Bandstand. You will exit on to South Hill. View on a map

Can I bring my dog?

We regret that we can only allow Guide Dogs at the performances.


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