How to Visit Pompeii With a General Plan and Three Itineraries

Written by Jacquie Penrose

Tuesday 22nd March 2011

Directed by Jacquie Penrose

It's Tuesday, so it's Pompeii - and for Elspeth and Corinne - their feet ache, it's hot and they're beginning to think that all this history and culture isn't quite what it's cracked up to be. The main problem it seems, is the effect that all of it has on the feet.

The first round of the All England Theatre Festival (Western Area, Southern Division) is usually held at the Hanger Farm Arts Centre in Totton. Bench Theatre first entered the festival competition in 2006 and has been a regular contributor ever since.

AuthorJacquie Penrose

Jacquie Penrose (b 1950)

Jacquie Penrose is a writer and playwright and (with Bench Theatre) an amateur actor and director. She started writing in the 1980s and to date has written 14 plays, plus some novels and shorter works. At least 7 of her plays have been performed by Bench Theatre: 'Cross Your Heart', 'A Perfect Gentle Knight', 'Time and Tide' (trilogy), 'Renaissance', 'And God Created Michelangelo', 'Dreams of a Hero', 'The Party Guest'. She has also had a number of pieces performed as rehearsed readings by professional (Equity) actors in London, and she wrote and devised 'All About Us' a community play commissioned by Havant Borough Council (about the borough and its inhabitants) in 1990.

Jacquie has been awarded a substantial Arts Council Bursary for her writing, and in 2010, was awarded Best Director, and Best Original Play at the Totton round of the All-England Theatre Festival for 'The Party Guest'. Among several acting roles, she played Olga in Chekhov's 'Three Sisters' for which she received an excellent review however, she usually prefers to be more involved backstage. Since she joined Bench Theatre in 1976 she has directed countless productions, the first of which was 'Private Lives' in 1978. She remembers most fondly her work with the lighting design for the production of Ibsen's 'Ghosts' (a play she also directed) in 1991. Jacquie also spent several years as Editor of the Bench newsletter, 'Bench Press'; at least 5 years working on the Bench Executive Committee and 3 years as Committee Chair. She currently lives in Havant with her husband David.

PlayHow to Visit Pompeii With a General Plan and Three Itineraries

The scene is Pompeii, on a hot day in August. In this comedy, Aunt Elspeth and her niece Corinne are on a package holiday, that they seem to have to force themselves to enjoy. As the play progresses it becomes clear that they have both been coerced in to going by Elspeth's sister (Corinne's Mum) and neither of them really want to be there. Their differing outlooks mean that finding something they both enjoy is not as easy as they would have hoped but in their contemplation of the ordinary lives of the Pompeii residents, together they reach an understanding.

The title of this play was taken from a 1982 locally produced guide to the excavated site of Pompeii, by Piemme & Enrika D'Orta. The play was originally written in the early 1980s and first performed by Bench Theatre in 1987 as part of a touring trilogy of plays, all written by Jacquie, under the banner 'Time and Tide'.

How to Visit Pompeii With a General Plan and Three Itineraries poster image

The Bench Competition Entry

This one-act play was staged at the Hanger Farm Arts Centre, Totton as part of the first round of the All England Theatre Festival 2011 competition. A very successful production, it was awarded the Adjudicators Award for the festival by Sonia Woolley GoDA.


ElspethDi Wallsgrove
CorinneRosie Carter


Director Jacquie Penrose
Stage Managers Sally Hartley
Julie Wood
Photography Melanie Cole

Production Photographs

How to Visit Pompeii... Winners

How to Visit Pompeii... Awards

The Bench Totton Winners 2011

...including cast and crew award winners from Computer Dating and Lonesome Pine also staged at the same festival.

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