Anne of Green Gables

Written by Lucy Maud Montgomery, Adpt. by Emma Reeves

Thursday 17th to Saturday 19th November and Wednesday 23rd to Saturday 26th November at 7:30pm, plus a matinee on Saturday 19th November at 2:30

Directed by Mark Wakeman

AuthorLucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery

Lucy Maud Montgomery was born in Clifton, Prince Edward Island, Canada on 30 November 1874. Her mother, Clara, died of tuberculosis when Maud was 21 months old. Stricken with grief over his wife's death, Hugh Montgomery gave custody to Montgomery's maternal grandparents, Alexander and Lucy Macneill. She went to live with her grandparents in the nearby community of Cavendish and was raised by them in a strict and unforgiving manner. Montgomery's early life in Cavendish was very lonely. Despite having relatives nearby, much of her childhood was spent alone. Montgomery credits this time of her life, in which she created many imaginary friends and worlds to cope with her loneliness, with developing her creativity.

In 1893, following the completion of her grade school education in Cavendish, she attended Prince of Wales College in Charlottetown, and obtained a teacher's licence, completing the two-year program in one year. In 1895 and 1896, she studied literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia. Upon leaving Dalhousie, Montgomery worked as a teacher in various Prince Edward Island schools. Though she did not enjoy teaching, it afforded her time to write. Beginning in 1897, she began to have her short stories published in magazines and newspapers. Montgomery was prolific and had over 100 stories published from 1897 to 1907.

In 1908, Montgomery published her first book, Anne of Green Gables. An immediate success, it established Montgomery's career, and she would write and publish material (including numerous sequels to Anne) continuously for the rest of her life.

In 1911, she married Ewen Macdonald, a Presbyterian minister, and they moved to Ontario where he had taken the position of minister of St. Paul's Presbyterian Church, Leaskdale. Montgomery wrote her next 11 books from the Leaskdale manse. The Macdonalds had three sons; the second was stillborn. The great increase of Montgomery's writings in Leaskdale is the result of her need to escape the hardships of real life. Montgomery underwent several periods of depression while trying to cope with the duties of motherhood and church life and with her husband's attacks of religious melancholia and deteriorating health. For much of her life, writing was her one great solace. Montgomery stopped writing about Anne in about 1920, writing in her journal that she had tired of the character.

In 1926, the family moved into the Norval Presbyterian Church, in present-day Halton Hills, Ontario. In 1935, upon her husband's retirement, Montgomery moved to Swansea, Ontario, a suburb of Toronto, buying a house which she named Journey's End, along the east bank of the Humber River. Montgomery continued to write and returned to writing about Anne after a 15-year hiatus, filling in previously unexplored gaps in the chronology she had developed for the character. She published Anne of Windy Poplars in 1936 and Anne of Ingleside in 1939. In the last year of her life, Montgomery completed what she intended to be a ninth book featuring Anne, titled The Blythes Are Quoted.

Montgomery died from coronary thrombosis in Toronto on April 24, 1942. A note was found beside her bed reading, in part, "I have lost my mind by spells and I do not dare think what I may do in those spells. May God forgive me and I hope everyone else will forgive me even if they cannot understand. My position is too awful to endure and nobody realizes it. What an end to a life in which I tried always to do my best." It was revealed by her granddaughter, Kate Macdonald Butler, in September 2008 that Montgomery suffered from depression - possibly as a result of caring for her mentally ill husband for decades – and may have taken her own life via a drug overdose. However, there is another point of view that the message may have been intended to be a journal entry rather than a simple suicide note.

She was buried at the Cavendish Community Cemetery following her wake in the Green Gables farmhouse and funeral in the local Presbyterian Church. During her lifetime Montgomery published 20 novels, over 500 short stories, an autobiography and a book of poetry.

Montgomery was honoured by Britain's King George V as an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE), as there were no Canadian orders, decorations or medals for civilians until the 1970s.

Adapted by Emma Reeves

Emma Reeves

Emma is a versatile writer working in adult drama, children's drama, radio and the stage. Her TV credits include The Dumping Ground, Tracy Beaker Returns, Young Dracula, Sadie J, Belonging, The Murder of Princess Diana (Lifetime Channel), Half Moon Investigations, Spirit Warriors and Doctors.

Her adaptations include Anne of Green Gables (2004), Carrie's War (Lillian Baylis Theatre 2006 and West End 2009), Little Women (West End 2010) and Cool Hand Luke (West End 2011).

In 2011, Emma was nominated by the Writers' Guild for Best Children's Television Script for Tracy Beaker Returns: What You Don't Know.

In 2012, Tracy Beaker Returns won the Royal Television Society award for Best Children's Drama with Emma's nominated script Money.

PlayAnne of Green Gables

The Bench Production

Anne of Green Gables Poster Image

This play was staged at The Spring Arts and Heritage Centre (formerly Havant Arts Centre), East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.


Katie Maurice Jessi Wilson
Josie Pye Phillippa Thorne
Ruby Gillis Julie Wood
Marilla Cuthbert Ingrid Corrigan
Marian Ingrid Corrigan
Matthew Cuthbert Alan Welton
Mr Carr Alan Welton
Mrs Lynde Megan Green
Miss Stacey Megan Green
Mrs Barry Zoe Chapman
Miss Harris Zoe Chapman
Diana Barry Melissa Hackney
Anne Shirley Tasmin Halford
Mrs Blewett Di Wallsgrove
Gilbert Blythe Stuart Reilly


Director Mark Wakeman
Producer Jaspar Utley
Stage Manager Chris Vanstone
Assistant Stage Managers Hilary Davis and Sofia Wilson
Sound Design Jacquie Penrose
Lighting Design Thomas Hall
Lighting Operation Jeff Bone
Sound Operation Sue Dawes
Costumes Di Wallsgrove
Props Jaspar Utley and cast
Set Design David Penrose
Set Construction David Penrose and Julie Wood
Programme Editor Derek Callam
Photography Julie Wood

Director's notes

So how did I end up directing Anne of Green Gables? Well it was all quite simple. After directing Little Women in November 2013, I was intrigued to see if there was another literary classic that we might enjoy doing. I spotted that Emma Reeves (who adapted the version of Little Women that we did) had also adapted Anne of Green Gables and thought it might make a suitable follow up. I really like Emma's adaptations, she somehow manages to distil down the books to create pacey and engaging stage versions. It's like she creates a greatest hits of all the famous bits in the books… and isn't that what you want to see in a stage version?

A play with so many scenes and characters is always a difficult job to balance, but I've had a fantastic cast and crew who have worked their socks off to bring this show to you. So a big thank you to them and especially to you our audience. Companies like the Bench can only survive if you come along and support us and we are very grateful for each and every one of you who made the effort. I hope you have a lovely evening and enjoy spending time with one of literature's most famous orphans, whether it's the first time you're meeting her or if she is an old and dear friend.


The Southampton Daily Echo Curtain Call Awards 2016. Bench Theatre received six very worthy nominations! When the winners were announced on Friday 27th January 2017, there were THREE WINNERS from this production!! Our congratulations to Tasmin, Jessi and Mark for their awards.

Best Actress in a Drama:

WINNER: Tasmin Halford in Anne of Green Gables

Best Supporting Actress in a Drama:

WINNER: Jessi Wilson in Anne of Green Gables

Best Director:

WINNER: Mark Wakeman for Anne of Green Gables


Remote GoatJill Lawrie

Fine adaptation of literary classic

Lucy Maud Montgomery born in 1874 on Prince Edward Island Canada had a lonely childhood and created many imaginary friends thus developing a creativity that saw over 100 stories published in the decade spanning 1897-1907! "Anne of Green Gables", her first book to be published, had immediate success leading to a prolific output during her lifetime totalling over 500 short stories, novels, poetry and her autobiography.

This heart-warming fable has been cleverly adapted for the stage by Emma Reeves and includes a modern day counterpoint that mirrors part of the orphan's narrative. Middle-aged siblings Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert have applied to adopt an orphan boy from the asylum to assist them at home but in error they have been sent a feisty, vividly imaginative red-head, Anne Shirley. The warmth, dramas and love she generates over the next 5 years brings an immense emotional depth to the Cuthbert's lives.

Mark Wakeman (Director) a stalwart Bench member for many many years can be guaranteed to produce a first-class performance whether as playwright, director or actor and in this production he does not disappoint, this being the follow-up to his "Little Women" he directed 3 years ago.

The challenging restrictive confines of the stage for a dozen cast members with multi scene shifts were admirably catered for alongside carefully sourced sound effects and convincing costumes. The talented cast brought these characters to life as the storyline unravels with particular mention for Jessi Wilson who gave a very assured performance as the tormented present-day school girl/narrator, comical cameo portrayals and fine vocals. Stuart Reilly (Gilbert Blythe) amused as Anne's handsome schoolboy opponent and both Ingrid Corrigan (Marilla Cuthbert) and Alan Welton (Matthew Cuthbert) endearingly portrayed dignity and compassion in their blossoming love for the wayward teen.

However the night surely belonged to Tasmin Halford who captivated as the exuberant, sensitive heroine Anne. Crowned with stunning carrot red plaits she cast a beguiling spell, deeply convincing both through her anguish and joy.

A thoroughly enjoyable production exceptionally well observed and consistently absorbing.

Production Photographs