Shakespeare FAQs

Important information to help you get the most from EODS Open – Air Shakespeare

Covid: still the need for caution

While the government’s decision to scrap most of the rules we’ve been living under is great news for live theatre, there are still some basic precautions we’re asking audiences to respect and follow. In practice, all this means is donning a mask when you move around the venue (but not at your seat); following the clearly marked one way system; pre-ordering drinks and food; and resisting the temptation to enter the cast tent – even to offer a physical or metaphorical pat on the back.

Sticking to these simple rules is just a mark of respect for our talented cast and crew, many of whom are still too young to have received the reassuring protection of both jabs.

We are not hiring cushions or rugs this year. As it can get chilly towards the end of the evening, we suggest that you bring a jacket or jumper and perhaps a cushion or rug to ensure your complete comfort..

Where are the Italian Gardens?

You’ll find The Italian Gardens nestling below Helen’s Gardens, King Edwards Parade Eastbourne BN20 7XL and above the Holywell Café on the lower, seafront  promenade. 

There are two main routes to the Italian Gardens. Opposite the junction of King Edward’s Parade and Chesterfield Road BN20 7NU, there is a wide path which takes you towards the sea, past a small planted and raised rotunda called the Crow’s Nest.  At the Crow’s Nest turn right and you will find a series of shallow steps down to the entrance to the Gardens. Alternatively, you can reach the Gardens by walking down the restricted access road immediately to the left of Helen’s Gardens.

Click here to see the location on Google Map

Where can I park my car?

Free on street parking is available on King Edwards Parade and surrounding streets

What time does the Italian Gardens open for the performance?

6.45pm. This year, Covid restrictions mean that we can’t allow picnics on site – but Helen’s Gardens or the King Edward’s Parade lawns make pleasant picnic spots.

Can I get anything to eat or drink?

Most definitely!  EODS has a hospitality marquee where you can buy tea, coffee, wine, beer and our famous home-made cakes before the performance; pre-order for the interval; or buy during the interval. You can also pre-order before 6.30pm on the day via ButlApp (search for EODS).

 What happens if it rains?

 If the forecast is for weather that makes the performance impossible, reluctantly it will be cancelled. You should retain your tickets and contact the Eastbourne Theatre Box Office who will  swap them for tickets of an equivalent value on another night or, if no such seats are available, offer you a full refund.

Bearing in mind the vagaries of the English weather, you will be reassured to learn that all seating is under cover.  In the event of light rain during the performance, the show will most definitely go on!   But if the rain makes it impossible for the performance to continue once started, it will be abandoned. If this happens before the interval, you should retain your tickets and seek a swap or refund as detailed above. For any performance that is abandoned after the interval, we regret that no swap or refund will be possible.

Poor weather may occasionally result in a delayed start, but we regret that no swap or refund is possible in these circumstances.

 How is the seating arranged?

Seating is available on three sides of the auditorium. There are three levels of tiered seating with two rows on each tier.  Please see seating plan below.

Click here for a layout plan

I am disabled: is there anything I should know?

 The performances take place in the Italian Gardens, which you can reach either by a path leading from The Crow’s Nest on the Seafront, which involves shallow steps, or by the sloping limited access road by Helen’s Gardens. (For further information see –Where are the Italian Gardens? above). A disabled permit will allow a car to be driven down the limited access road to drop off the disabled person, but the car cannot be parked there – it must be returned to King Edwards Parade or nearby roads.

In the auditorium there are allocated wheelchair positions for a wheelchair and a carer. These are limited in number and we recommend that you book in advance. Any unsold wheelchair spaces will be released to the general public 30 minutes prior to the start of each the performance.

There is a public disabled toilet on the lower promenade by the Holywell café, again at the bottom of an incline. An entry key is available from the Box Office at the Italian Gardens.

Can I bring my dog?

We regret only disabled assistance dogs can be brought to the Italian Gardens.

Is the Production suitable for children?

With all the production’s humour, colourful sets and costumes, there will be plenty for older children to enjoy. But we don’t suggest it for younger children. For the comfort of other theatregoers, should children of any age become noisy, we will have to ask that they are taken out of the auditorium.

Is there space for a pushchair/pram in the auditorium?

It is difficult to accommodate pushchairs or prams, because of the nature of the layout of the seating and the need to be mindful of health and safety regulations. So we don’t recommend that you bring children of an age who still need a pram/pushchair.

Where are the nearest toilets?

Portable toilets are situated close to the entrance to the Italian Gardens. Additional public toilets, including a disabled toilet, are available on the lower promenade  near  the seafront Holywell café. Please ask at the Box Office at the Italian Gardens for a key if you need access to the disabled toilet.

Curtain Down

 The show will be finished by 10pm.