The Crucible

Written by Arthur Miller

Thursday 22nd April to Saturday 24th April and Tuesday 27th April to Saturday 1st May 2010

Directed by Sian Green

In 1692 puritan America the small town of Salem is whipped into a frenzy of hysteria. After being found dancing in the woods with other young girls of the town, Abigail Williams begins a path of moral destruction; accusing her fellow townspeople of witchcraft and dark magic. She will stop at nothing to take revenge, dragging up secrets from her past along the way.

AuthorArthur Miller

Arthur Miller (1915 - 2005)

Arthur Miller was born in New York City. His father lost his business in the Depression and the family was forced to move to a smaller home in Brooklyn. As a young man, Miller held jobs ranging from radio singer to truck driver to clerk. Miller began writing plays as a student at the University of Michigan, joining the Federal Theatre Project in New York City after he received his degree.

His first Broadway play, 'The Man Who Had All the Luck' opened in 1944 and his next play 'All My Sons' received the Drama Critics' Circle Award. His 1949 'Death of a Salesman' won the Pulitzer Prize and is considered to be his most successful play.

In 1956 and 1957, Miller was subpoenaed by the House Un-American Activities Committee and was convicted of contempt of Congress for his refusal to identify writers believed to hold Communist sympathies. The following year, the United States Court of Appeals overturned the conviction. In 1959 the National Institute of Arts and Letters awarded him the Gold Medal for Drama. Miller was married three times, most famously, his second wife was Marilyn Monroe. His writing earned him a plethora of honours, including the Pulitzer Prize, seven Tony Awards, two Drama Critics Circle Awards, an Obie, an Olivier, the John F. Kennedy Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Dorothy and Lillian Gish prize. He held honorary doctorate degrees from Oxford University and Harvard University.

Throughout his life and work, Miller remained socially engaged and wrote with conscience, clarity, and compassion. Miller's work was infused with his sense of responsibility to humanity and to his audience.

PlayThe Crucible

When The Crucible opened in 1953 at the Martin Beck Theatre, it came under attack for not living up to the standard of Miller's previous play; Death of a Salesman. Miller put this down to the production itself, which he felt had been presented coldly and in an overly stylised manner. Nevertheless, later that year Miller was awarded the 'Best Play' Tony award and ever since The Crucible has continued to cement its position as one of the great theatre classics. Arguably Miller's best work, The Crucible is certainly his most widely performed and is now part of curricula worldwide because of its historical, political, theatrical and moral influence.

The Crucible is Miller's classic dramatisation of the witch-hunt and trials that besieged the Puritan community of Salem in 1692. Seen as a chilling parallel to the McCarthyism and repressive culture of fear that gripped America in the 1950s. The plot revolves around a young girl Abigail Williams and the lengths she will go to get what she wants - namely one John Proctor. Initially Abigail and other young girls are seen dancing in the woods at night. When confronted, Abigail falsely accuses many of the local townsfolk - including the wife of her erstwhile lover - of witchcraft. The story of how the small community of Salem is stirred into madness by superstition, paranoia and malice, culminating in a violent climax, is a savage attack on the evils of mindless persecution and the terrifying power of false accusations.

The Bench Production

The Crucible 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. Listen to the show trailer as broadcast on Angel Radio or check out the preview in the Chichester Observer.

In The News 'Guide' Awards 2010, Damon Wakelin was nominated for 'Best Amateur Actor' for his portrayal of John Proctor and Alice Corrigan was Runner-up for 'Best Amateur Actress' for her portrayal of Elizabeth Proctor.


Abigail WilliamsCharley Callaway
Betty ParrisNadia Diaper
Elizabeth ProctorAlice Corrigan
Ezekiel CheeverJeff Bone
Franics NurseKevin Jacks
George HerrickJack Cronin
Giles CoreyJaspar Utley
John ProctorDamon Wakelin
Judge DanforthRoger Wallsgrove
Judge HathorneAlan Welton
Mary WarrenFern Bicheno
Mercy LewisBeth Evans
Mr PutnamTerry Smyth
Mrs PutnamDiana Wallsgrove
TitubaDaniella Dzikunoo
Rebecca NurseIngrid Corrigan
Reverend ParrisMark Wakeman
Reverend HaleDan Finch
Sarah GoodZoë Chapman
Susanna WalcottClaire Lyne


Director Sian Green
Producer Mark Wakeman
Stage Manager Sally Hartley
Assistant Stage Manager Sharron Morris
Jen Jones
Lighting Design Jacquie Penrose
Lighting Operation Megan Green
Sound Design Sarah Parnell
Sound Operation Callum West
Costume Design Diana Wallsgrove
Costume Team Sue Dawes
Marion Simmons
Diana Wallsgrove
Melanie Cole
Robin Hall
Set Design Pete Woodward
Set Construction Simon Growcott
Photography Lorraine Galliers
Programme Editor Dan Finch

Director's Notes

I've been racking my brains in an attempt to put my love for The Crucible into words. I studied the play for my GCSE in drama and learnt so much from it. Not only did it teach me about the world of theatre but also about humankind. It taught me about the nature of acting; that an audience should be more than just a spectator to self-indulgence. The play tells a harrowing story in which the small town of Salem is slowly taken over by mass hysteria. The morals are not particularly heart-warming ones - we are shown how a majority will nearly always overpower an individual, regardless of moral prevalence. But it is true to life and all the more enticing for this fact.

For the last couple of months this play has been my life. I have lives and breathed Puritans, revenge, love, lust, envy, God and the Devil (that just doesn't sound healthy does it! But a racy combo nevertheless). I can say with every ounce of sincerity that directing this play has been one of the most enjoyable experiences of my 19 years. I owe this to the wonderful cast that I have been blessed with, the fabulous crew that I was lucky enough to come by and of course Arthur Miller and his awe-inspiring way with a pen and paper. This play is deep, engaging, riveting and tragic. I hope you'd agree.

Sian Green


The NewsJames George

Dialogue worth the money

I think the Crucible stands head-and-shoulders over every other play Arthur Miller wrote. For that matter it stands head-and-shoulders above most other plays written in the 20th Century and The Bench's revisiting proves that in many ways. Not the strongest production I've seen - performances range from the truly impressive to the truly poor and there are some curious directorial choices - but the play really is the thing. Based on actual events in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1962, it deals with a community in the grip of hysteria as neighbour accuses neighbour of witchcraft.

Top of the acting tree is strikingly pre-Raphaelite Alice Corrigan as the falsely accused Elizabeth Proctor. Her nice underplaying in the face of a script that can often appear to demand a shout-fest is inspirational. As her husband John, Damon Wakelin's final scenes in which Proctor battles with his conscience are mighty too. Also up there are Jasper Utley's beautiful Giles Corey, Charley Callaway's Abigail and Daniella Dzikunoo's Tituba.

There are some sight-line problems - the result of some awkward blocking - and the lighting is often over bright - particularly in the pre-dawn sequence played in full light. I also disliked the final - and I thought pointless - offstage song following Elizabeth's tragic yet joyous last line. Intrusive and unnecessary. But go and wallow in Miller's sublime dialogue. Well worth the money.

The News, 23rd April 2010

remotegoatJill Lawrie

A heartrending inspirational historical drama

Bench Theatre are committed to producing a wide range of quality drama both modern and classical and in this case offered the opportunity to a young fledgling director. At just 19 years old Sian Green has undertaken the daunting challenge of directing 'The Crucible'. Arthur Miller's classic historical drama based on the Salem Massachusetts witch hunt in the 1600s and arguably one of the greatest masterpieces of the twentieth century. A tale of vengeance, jealousy and mass hysteria revolving around a group of seemingly ordinary folk.

Opening on a group of young local girls dancing in the forest at night, they are secretly observed by Reverend Parris. He has grave concerns that the girls, being led by the coloured slave Tituba, have been trading with evil sprits. When challenged his niece Abigail denies witchcraft, but when her attempts to rekindle her adulterous affair with farmer John Proctor are thwarted, the situation escalates into mass hysteria, with many local women arrested and even hanged. Proctor feels forced to admit his adultery and declares Abigail's lies as "a whore's vengeance". Following incarceration, when offered a reprieve for his life in return for a confession, he goes bravely to his death.

In this well costumed production, scenery is kept to a minimum to facilitate the large numbers on stage. From this cast of 20 there were some fine powerful performances, notably the highly accomplished Damon Wakelin (John Proctor) gaining strength throughout and culminating in an emotional and commanding climax. Fern Bicheno (Mary Warren) again improved as her character developed bringing a convincing sincerity to her role. Charley Callaway (Abigail Williams) is proving to become an extremely versatile and talented actress. She excelled as the witch trials scheming catalyst. Alice Corrigan (Elizabeth Proctor) played Proctor's cheated wife and Jaspar Utley (Giles Corey) gave a polished performance as this popular character.

This was an ambitious production with some impressive characterisation and enjoyed by a large enthusiastic audience.

remotegoat, 29th April 2010

Production Photographs

Charley Callaway, Damon Wakelin Alice Corrigan, Damon Wakelin Charley Callaway, Mark Wakeman
Mark Wakeman, Diana Wallsgrove Zoë Chapman Nadia Diaper
Ingrid Corrigan Jeff Bone, Dan Finch Damon Wakelin, Fern Bicheno
Roger Wallsgrove Claire Lyne, Nadia Diaper, Beth Evans, Charley Callaway Kevin Kacks, Claire Lyne, Nadia Diaper, Beth Evans, Charley Callaway, Alan Welton, Mark Wakeman