Director's Diary

27th April

Our first meeting of the cast and some of the crew took place on April 22nd at Quenington. It was a happy occasion and gave an opportunity for our new cast members to meet with the regulars – I hesitate to say the old members! After a warm-up we had a complete read-through of the play. I was delighted to announce that plans for live music in our production are now assured as we welcomed our jazz group headed by Peter Kingslake, who has arranged the music for Feste’s songs:

Baz DeSylva – Baritone sax

Ruth Gates – Clarinet

John King - Cornet

Peter Kingslake – Ukulele banjo

Ian Mitchell – Tenor sax

Last night, April 26th, saw our first rehearsal at Chalford Hill Methodist Church Hall. Although slightly small than QVH, it is almost the size and shape of what will be our acting space at Hatherop and we took some time to experiment with the unusual practice of playing to audiences in a traverse staging format. The actors were quick to pick up and develop the techniques required.



Director’s Diary

 25th February 2018

Plans for our production continue apace. A recent visit to Hatherop Castle enabled a quick (it was snowing a blizzard!) survey of options for the exact location of our acting space on the lawn. We are keen to place our two stands at right-angles to the front of the school building, roughly in the centre. Nice to think that Olivia might be living in such a grand structure!


Reflecting on the many hundreds of performances of Twelfth Night over more than 400 years, I discovered an anthology of criticisms compiled and edited by Stanley Wells some 20 years ago. In their midst was a piece written by Harley Granville-Barker in 1922 following a performance of the play at the Vieux-Colombier in Paris.

He starts: ‘It is very cheering to an Englishman to see a crowded French audience carried away in spontaneous enjoyment of a Shakespeare play.’

He goes on: ‘The translation of any play is a plaguily difficult matter; of a poetical play one must admit that in any logical completeness the thing can’t be done.’

I think we can sympathise with that view when La Nuit des Rois opens with Orsino claiming:

Si la musique est la nourriture de l’amour, qu’elle reprenne!

Donnes-m’en à l’excés et que ma gourmandise défaille de nausée,


It was so perfectly correct that it could not fail to be utterly wrong!!

However, Granville-Barker does go on to admit the ‘appalling’ discovery that French actors can speak Shakespeare better than English actors. Not a paradox because Elizabethan theatre had demanded a fire and rapidity of diction which French actors gave their audiences and English actors had lost.

Director's Diary

2 November 2017

Sunday 5th November marks the beginning of the process towards next July’s production of Twelfth Night in the grounds of Hatherop Castle.

Our auditions are open to all and if you become involved as actor or in any other capacity membership is free.

Starting at 10 in the morning come along and show us your carefree and irresponsible Sir Toby or a rather stupid Sir Andrew, as they caterwaul through the night. Olivia is a widow in mourning or is she really? Maybe a lady with a capacity for impetuous feeling. Viola is practical, accomplished, resourceful, intelligent and honest. Show us what you think. Her brother Seb is modest and courageous and maybe more emotional than Sis. Perhaps you see yourself as a puritanical and humourless Malvolio. Orsino tells us he is in love but he seems more preoccupied with the sensation of love. There are clowns and there are clowns in Shakespeare but surely none as festive, touchy and cynical as Feste. Be a sharp-witted gentlewoman called Maria or another of Olivia’s servants Fabian or Fabiana. We may have several maids and chaps waiting on Orsino, like Curio and Valentine. And we must not forget the seafaring types, the Captain and Antonio. A cameo role as the Priest means a wait till Act 5 but I am sure we will find something for you to do!

If you are a dancer be prepared to do an impromptu Charleston.

Director's Diary

31st July 2016



As we pack up the Dream costumes, wave goodbye to friends old and new, and reflect on the happy memories of another successful Arcadians production, our thoughts are already turning to 2017.

Our production of Shakespeare’s Pericles, Prince of Tyre, will be set in the exotic Mediterranean world of Sinbad, Aladdin and Ali Baba.  It is a swashbuckling adventure story, complete with kings and queens, handsome princes and beautiful princesses, marauding pirates, wicked stepmothers, sleazy lowlife - and the supernatural.

Ideas are already being discussed for the staging, the costumes and the music.  And we are hoping for a big turnout at the auditions, to fill the dozens of roles the play offers.  Anyone who auditions, and is able to meet the rehearsal commitments, will be offered a part.

There will be an information evening in Quenington Village Hall on Thursday 3rd November, and auditions in the same place on the afternoons of Saturday 19th and Sunday 27th November.

For more information, email Jonathan Vickers at

RoseBowl Awards, 2014

Dominic VALENTINE Wins Best Actor

Dominic Valentine

Dominic Valentine won the Metcalfes Solicitors Award for Best Actor (Drama) in our 2014 production of Falstaff at the October 2014 Rose Bowl Awards

Measure For Measure, 2014


Our 2013 production of Measure for Measure won the Joan Hawkins Award for Best Shakespeare at the October 2013 Rose Bowl Awards