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
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|
|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|
|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|
|Props||Jaspar Utley and cast|
|Set Design||David Penrose|
|Set Construction||David Penrose and Julie Wood|
|Programme Editor||Derek Callam|
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
WINNER: Mark Wakeman for Anne of Green Gables
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.