General Information and FAQs
Dorset Opera Festival takes place at The Coade Theatre, Bryanston, Blandford Forum, Dorset. For satellite navigation purposes, the postcode to use is DT11 9LH. This takes you to Bryanston’s main gate from where it is a further 3 minutes up the very long drive.
The dress code is relaxed, not black tie. The auditorium is air-cooled but it is not air-conditioned -and can still be very warm on very hot days.
In line with national guidelines, this year we have no specific requirements of the audience, although we would ask you not attend if you have tested positive out of respect for your fellow opera-goers. We would like everyone to feel safe and comfortable and you are welcome to wear a mask if you prefer, though it is not required.
Arrival and Parking
Bryanston is open to the public from 5.00pm (12 noon on Thursday and Saturday for matinées). You are most welcome to wander round the glorious grounds. Please park as directed by personnel on duty. The Dorset Opera Festival requests that you take care not to spin wheels and damage the grass when leaving the site after the performance.
Evening performances begin at 19:00 and are expected to end by 10.20pm
Matinée performances start at 14:00 and are expected to end by 17:15
The Long Interval
There is one long picnic/dinner interval of approximately 45-50 minutes. On the lawns, please listen for the 20-minute interval bell. If you are enjoying formal dining dining in Bryanston House you will be escorted back to the theatre at the appropriate time.
Facilities exist for wheelchair users. A small number of wheelchair spaces are available in the auditorium. It is vital that you inform us of your requirements when booking tickets.
Latecomers will not be admitted until the interval or a suitable break in the performance. If for any reason you have to leave the auditorium during the performance you will not be let back in until a suitable break. Please strictly follow the guidance of the front of house staff.
There are lavatories in the theatre foyer and in the adjacent new Music School opposite the main theatre doors. There is a disabled lavatory in the theatre foyer.
Tickets are sold subject to the following terms and conditions
Please check that your ticket is for the performance you are expecting as mistakes cannot be rectified later. Reserved tickets will only be held for 7 days. Tickets returned to the box office will be offered for resale, although previously unsold tickets will take priority. Dorset Opera has no obligation to make refunds on returned tickets. Requests for a refund must be made to our offices in writing and the tickets concerned must be enclosed. A confirmation acknowledging receipt, will be sent. Resold tickets will be subject to a handling charge of £4 each. If we manage to sell returned tickets, reimbursement cheques will be sent out as soon as possible after the Festival. Dorset Opera shall have no liability to you for any failure to deliver or supply tickets or other goods or services you have ordered or any delay in doing so, or for any failure to commence or complete any performance or for any damage or defect or loss arising from any tickets provided or the execution of any performance that is caused by any event or circumstances beyond our reasonable control. The right to make alterations to the advertised details of the performances, including cast changes, is reserved – as it the right to refuse admission. Latecomers will only be admitted during a suitable break in the performance. Photography and sound or video recording are prohibited. Performances may include strobe lighting, explosions or gunfire. Young Person’s Tickets: Ten £10 tickets are available at each performance for young people in further education up to the age of 25. £10 tickets will be held at the box office for collection at the chosen performance. The young person must be present at collection and should be prepared to present some form of identification if asked to do so by the box office manager. Covid-19: We will abide by any relevant Government regulation regarding Covid restrictions that may apply to performances at the time of the Festival. These could include social distancing, restricting the availability and number of seats, the wearing of masks or full cancellation.
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On Friday and Saturday evenings, enjoy a 4-course formal dinner in one of the staterooms of Bryanston House. With a delicious choice of main courses, made on the night, you will sit down before the performance and continue in the interval. Tables seat 8 and smaller groups will be asked to share a table. We are pleased to cater for corporate groups or larger private parties by special request. Call 01258 840000. The chef will ensure that gluten free requirements are met for all items on the menu, as long as you notify us at time of booking. Read more about formal dining and take a look at the Menu 2023. You will make your reservation via the Box Office.
Pre-ordered Picnic hampers
Pre-order delicious picnic and afternoon tea hampers championing ingredients from Dorset’s larder by Dorset chef Gordon Sutherland of Eat in Style. You will collect your hamper from the marquee before the performance or in the interval. Take a look at the hamper contents and options (insert link). Pre-order your picnics up to 72 hours ahead of each performance. Book picnics via our box office
The Marquee Bar
Everyone is welcome at the Marquee Bar. Champagne, Pimm’s, wines, a selection of other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages including tea and coffee, are available prior to performances and during the Long Interval. There are also a selection of sandwiches and snacks. Pre-order your drinks. Link coming soon. There are some 200 seats in the marquee, some of which are available for reservation and some free-for-all on a first-come-first-served basis.
Reservation of seating in the Marquee
Advance reservation of seats in the large marquee costs £5 a head. The tables seat up to 10. If you are booking a small number of seats we may ask you to share tables with other small parties when busy. A member of our hospitality team will help you find your seats and help you carry your picnics if you need. The deadline for booking marquee seating is 21st July but if you miss the deadline, don’t worry. There are always some unreserved tables, first come first served. Make your reservations via the box office
There are a number of chairs and tables freely available to all on the lawn and you are most welcome to join us there to enjoy your picnic, whether preordered or your own. You are very welcome to bring your own chairs and tables but no gazebos please.
Reservation of private picnic tents
Reservation of one of our four private picnic tents may be made as soon as the box office opens (following the usual priority booking rules).They are available for simple hire (just chairs and a table) or luxury hire – to include table cloth, crockery, cutlery, glassware, flowers and 1 or 2* bottles of Pol Roger Champagne on ice. You will book your private cabana or pavillion via the box office
*1 bottle in the smaller cabana, 2 bottles in the larger pavilions