Twelfth Night

Written by William Shakespeare

Thursday 6th July to Saturday 8th July and Wednesday 12th July to Saturday 15th July 2017

Directed by Jacquie Penrose

AuthorWilliam Shakespeare

William Shakespeare (1564 - 1616)

Shakespeare is considered by many to be the greatest playwright of all time and is possibly the most famous playwright in the English-speaking world.

Born in Stratford-upon-Avon he was also probably educated there however, very little is known of his early life. The next documented event in his life is his marriage in 1582 to Anne Hathaway. The couple had a daughter the following year and twins in 1585. Another gap followed (referred to by some scholars as 'the lost years') with Shakespeare only reappearing in London in 1592, when he was already working in the theatre.

Shakespeare's acting career was spent with the Lord Chamberlain's Company, which was renamed the King's Company in 1603 when James succeeded to the throne. The group acquired interests in two theatres in the Southwark area of London, near the banks of the Thames - the Globe and the Blackfriars.

Shakespeare's poetry was published before his plays, with two poems appearing in 1593 and 1594, dedicated to his patron Henry Wriothesley, Earl of Southampton. Most of Shakespeare's sonnets were probably written at this time as well. Records of Shakespeare's plays begin to appear in 1594, and he produced roughly two a year until around 1611. Some of his most famous tragedies (including Macbeth) were written in the very early 1600s. The first collected edition of his works wasn't published until 1623, some 7 years after his death.

Twelfth Night is believed to have been written between 1601 to 1602 as entertainment for the close of the Christmas season

Shakespeare spent the last five years of his life in Stratford, and he was buried in the Holy Trinity Church there.

PlayTwelfth Night

Twelfth Night is a comic tale of disguise, of love lost and won, of mistaken identities happily resolved. Shakespeare's play is enduringly popular, and as this production is set in the 1920s, we are promised an evening of comedy served with a delicious helping of glamour.

The Bench Production

Twelfth Night 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.


OrsinoBen Tanner
OliviaAlice Corrigan
ViolaMelissa Hackney
SebastianLeigh Cunningham
Sir Toby BelchSue Dawes
Sir Andrew AguecheekPhillippa Thorne
MariaAngie McKeown
FesteArchie McKeown
MalvolioVincent Adams
Fabian (now Flavia)Daisy Dawes
AntonioRoger Wallsgrove
Sea CaptainJeff Bone
ValentineAndrew Caple
Curio (now Curia)Faye Williams
PriestJeff Bone
Officer 1Faye Williams
Officer 2Andrew Caple
ServantCeri Tipler
Entourages for Orsino's and Olivia's householdsAlan Welton, Elowyn Chapman


Director Jacquie Penrose
Assistant Director Janice Halsey
Producer Tina Read
Stage Manager Maurice Lillie
Set Design David Penrose
Lighting Design Andrew Caple
Sound Design Jacquie Penrose
Lighting Operation Simon Walton
Sound Operation Mark Wakeman
Costume Design Di Wallsgrove
Set Build
Programme Editor Derek Callam
Photography David Penrose
Flyer Design Pete Woodward
Songs written by Archie McKeown
Front of House Manager David Penrose


The NewsJames George

Jacquie Penrose's production of Shakespeare's joyous comedy for The Bench is a curious beast.

It looks gorgeous on David Penrose's rich but simple set and there are some stonking performances, but in a play that revolves very much around one of Shakespeare's two favourite plot devices - girl-dressed-as-boy - the cross-casting of women as men in some of the masculine roles was a bit bewildering, particularly Leigh Cunningham as Sebastian. I'm not sure I got that. That's very much a subjective point of view and it must be said that Miss Cunningham does a fine job as Sebastian. There’s good work, too, from Ben Tanner, as the besotted Orsino and Archie McKeown as Feste.

I've not seen McKeown before; he's also responsible for the specially composed music, playing the guitar and singing the songs. And he does it very well. Acting-wise he's got his eye in, but needs, perhaps, a little more control. Alice Corrigan, flashing that gorgeous pre-Raphaelite hair to wonderful effect, is beautifully in control as Olivia and Vincent Adams is your ticket-money with his Malvolio. He manages the bombast without overplaying and the pain and embarrassment following the trick that is pulled on him is agonisingly real.

Production Photographs