Skip to main content

Combining the love of literature and the performing arts, our selection of experiences are sure to inspire you and add an extra element to your studies.

Calling all the drama queens, the music lovers and literary heroes! With its rich history, the Garden of England is a perfect place to study. Discover links to some of the most prolific writers to date and the abundance of performing arts experiences, and explore the county whilst gaining some invaluable inspiration for your own studies.

Whether you’re seeking to explore Kent’s connections to the wonderful world of writing or are just interested in seeing some sensational shows, there are lots of places to get a taste of great literature if you choose to study at the University of Kent. From profound plays to immersive experiences for avid thespians, follow the footsteps of fantastic writers and enjoy the tempting theatrical experiences that Kent has to offer.

The Marlowe Theatre

Take up residence at the Canterbury campus and you'll be just a stone's throw from this architectural wonder. Watch both local performances and phenomenal shows on the Marlowe Theatre’s stage fresh from the wonder-kindling West End. Listen to the words of well-known writers such as the wonderful William Shakespeare and enjoy a truly thrilling theatrical experience. Better still, the Marlowe's range of facilities ensures the building and a number of its performances are accessible, with a hearing support system, wheelchair access, and audio described, captioned, relaxed, and sign interpreted performances. Plus with ‘Discovery’ tickets for as little as £10, this night out won't break the bank. 

Smallhythe Place

Theatre lovers, we recommend exploring the elegant 16th century cottage of the extraordinary actress, Ellen Terry, who fell in love with Smallhythe Place whilst riding through the Kent countryside. The quaint and beautiful building is now a museum, displaying an accumulation of both personal and theatrical treasures. Get inspired by her life as one of the greats and delve into the decades of delights from her 65-year career. Browse the fascinating fashion pieces from her collection of costumes such as her iconic dress for playing Lady Macbeth. After a day of perusing the picture-perfect house, why not watch something at the charming 17th century Thatched Barn Theatre which features a range of performances throughout the year?

Rochester Dickens Christmas Festival

Prospective English literature students, we're guessing you've heard of an author by the name  of Dickens? Well, he had some very strong links to Kent. Indulge in a delightful Dickensian day out full of costumes, lamp-lit parades and delicious delicacies at the annual Dickens Festival. Be transported back to the Victorian Streets in the immersive experience that, like Oliver Twist, will leave you begging for more! See more on a guided tour, learn about the man himself and his rise to fame whilst roaming round Rochester, scattered with places and names that inspired many of his notable works. 

Sissinghurst Castle

Discover the secret life of poet and journalist Sackville-West at her former home, Sissinghurst Castle. Explore the vast 450 acre estate, then take your time to climb the tower and see sweeping panoramic views from Sackville-West's writing rooms and perhaps even pen your own poem after pondering the hidden history of the castle itself. Once a prison and home of the Land Army, step inside to witness the mix of grand and quaint décor with a vast collection of books, including one by Vita’s closest friend, Virginia Wolf.

The Hazlitt Theatre

Another one for theatrical fans, this picturesque proscenium-arch theatre shows a mix of traditional and modern drama. Experience famous texts transformed for the stage, delve into the dark worlds of gothic novellas, or lift your spirits with a packed programme of musicians. There are also comedy sets to see, with clever comedians to fill you with glee so why not gather a few friends together? It’s something fun to do whatever the weather! Plus, with disabled access, infra-red sound enhancement systems and free touch tours, the theatre is another brilliant accessible experience. 

St Margaret’s Bay and The Coastguard

Did you know Kent is home to 007 himself? Now we've got your attention. If you’re an Ian Fleming fan, why not unleash your inner agent and explore the scene of inspiration for many of Bond’s adventures. St Margaret’s Bay is a gorgeous stretch of sand where Fleming’s view of the white cliffs became the basis of the site of his fictional ‘Moonraker missile’. After enjoying the soft sea breeze be sure to check in at the Coastguard Pub, which has hidden links to Bond’s escapades. See if you can uncover the clues concealed in its sign which contain references to some of 007’s daring missions. Then settle down and relax for a drink, whether you prefer a shaving of lemon peel in your dry martini or a simple cider, enjoy socialising with your pals at the pub, it’s a great bonding experience.

Leeds Castle Classical Concert

When that summer holiday rolls around, there's nothing like kicking back for a night of pomp and circumstance at the Leeds Castle Classical Concert. With the epic Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, sensational soloists, world-renowned musicians and West End singers, this greatly anticipated night is an iconic celebration of classical music. Have fun with friends in the al-fresco atmosphere alongside the magnificent and historic home, sip some champagne while listening to the melodious music and watch as the fireworks display sends things out with a bang.

The Assembly Hall Theatre

Based in the heart of Tunbridge Wells, well known for its Georgian and Victorian architecture, the Assembly Hall Theatre shows a range of performances. These include musicals, comedy shows and spoken word events such as evocative TEDx talks. The theatre is home to operatic, drama, and choral societies, as well as a symphony orchestra, giving you a wide range of classical styles of performances as well as modern. With its display of genres and cultural spectacles, like operas and ballets from the Russian State companies, this is the perfect place expand your knowledge of the performing arts whilst having a fantastic time at the theatre.

Folkestone Harbour Arm Screen

Sunny days at the Harbour Arm in Folkestone are the ultimate way to soak up the rays, and with pop up bars, restaurants and a big screen right at the end, it's the best place to go for an al-fresco cinema experience. Whether you love classic films, watching the football or you just enjoy the thrill of a cinema experience, trust us, this coastal cinema is the place to be when it comes to those long Kent summer days. And because you'll definitely want to make a day of it, be sure to listen out for a range of live and local music sets against the backdrop of those glorious sea views.

What's the best way to explore a love of literature and performing arts? A degree in Drama and English Literature, of course. Discover the University of Kent's joint honours degree and start drafting your own university story.