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West Horsley Place stars in My Cousin Rachel film as first Grange Park Opera festival opens

PUBLISHED: 11:06 07 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:06 07 June 2017

Rachel Weisz in My Cousin Rachel at West Horsley Place (Photo: Fox Searchlight / Nicola Dove)

Rachel Weisz in My Cousin Rachel at West Horsley Place (Photo: Fox Searchlight / Nicola Dove)

Fox Searchlight / Nicola Dove

Making its first steps into the international spotlight, West Horsley Place near Guildford celebrates this week with a starring role in a major new film release and the opening events of Grange Park Opera's summer festival

The plan is to rescue West Horsley Place and transform it into a vibrant cultural centre (Photo: Francesco Guidicini/The Sunday Times)The plan is to rescue West Horsley Place and transform it into a vibrant cultural centre (Photo: Francesco Guidicini/The Sunday Times)

A major film adaption of Daphne Du Maurier’s gothic romance novel, My Cousin Rachel, opens in cinemas across the country this week, with West Horsley Place used as the main location for filming.

The old-fashioned thriller, starring Rachel Weisz and Sam Claflin, is a tale about a widow and a smitten young man, and according to Rolling Stone magazine it’s a “dread-filled delight.”

It’s a busy time for the historic 380 acre West Horsley place, near Guildford, which also sees the launch of the first Grange Park Opera festival at the Theatre in the Woods on Thursday June 8.

The Mary Roxburghe Trust was created by Bamber and Christina Gascoigne to rescue and restore the estate and has granted GPO a 99 year lease for its annual summer festival, which opens with internationally acclaimed tenor Joseph Calleja in Puccini’s Tosca.

It’s only the beginning for the Trust though, who hope to establish a vibrant centre for the performing and visual arts and for the teaching of crafts.

Inherited in 2014 by historian Bamber Gascoigne from his great aunt, Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe, the central features of West Horsley Place are a Grade I listed house and eight surrounding Grade II listed buildings.

All are of significant historic and architectural importance but are now in a very bad state of repair. Testament to this, in October 2016, West Horsley Place was added to the English Heritage ‘At Risk’ Register.

With My Cousin Rachel set to hit cinema screens across the nation and Grange Park Opera unveiling Surrey’s exciting new opera venue in the woods, this week marks a significant step forward in the vision that will transform the site in the coming years.

• For more information, visit www.westhorsleyplace.org

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