Of Mice and Men

Written by John Steinbeck

Thurs 5th May - Sat 7th May & Tues 10th May - Sat 14th May 1988

Directed by David Hemsley-Brown

In this adaptation of his own classic novel Steinbeck tells the story of George and Lennie, two itinerant farm workers in 1930's California. The hopes, fears and final tragedy of the characters are portrayed with a warmth and humanity that bring the period and location vividly to life.

AuthorJohn Steinbeck

John Steinbeck (1902 - 1968)

Steinbeck was born in Salinas, California. Although he studied science at Stanford University, he failed to graduate and he worked successively as labourer, caretaker, fruit-picker and surveyor while pursuing his writing. Much of his work drew upon memories and experiences of his life in California although his first novel, 'Cup of Gold' written in 1929 was about real-life pirate, Henry Morgan.

In 1943, Steinbeck served as a World War II war correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune and worked with the Office of Strategic Services. Steinbeck was married three times and had two sons by his second wife.

'The Grapes of Wrath', was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1940 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 and has been compared in its influence to 'Uncle Tom's Cabin'. His other novels include 'East of Eden', 'The Pearl', 'Sweet Tuesday' and 'Cannery Row'.

PlayOf Mice and Men

A tragedy of commitment, loneliness, hope and loss, 'Of Mice and Men' is a powerful and moving portrayal of two men striving to understand their own unique place in the world. Based on the author's own experience as an itinerant worker it was first published in 1937. The title comes from the poem 'To a Mouse' by Robert Burns.

Drifters in search of work, George and his mentally-disabled friend Lennie have nothing in the world except each other - and a dream that one day they will have some land of their own. Eventually they find work on a ranch and with their friend, Candy, save enough to put a deposit on a small homestead. However, when Lennie accidentally kills the young daughter-in-law of the ranch owner while trying to stroke her hair, they have to flee their home and place of work. George tries to save Lennie from the certain revenge and violence of the vigilante mob who track him down, but in doing so, the hopes of realising their dream are shattered.

Tackling the universal themes of friendship and a shared dream, and giving a voice to America's lonely and dispossessed, 'Of Mice and Men' remains one of Steinbeck's most popular works. It was first produced on Broadway in 1937 and was voted 'Best Play' of the season that year by the drama Critic's circle. 'Of Mice and Men' was made into a film at least three times; in 1939, 1981 and 1992.

The Bench Production

Of Mice and Men poster image

This play was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.


GeorgePete Woodward
LenniePeter Corrigan
CandyJim Hemmings
The BossJohn Scadding
CurleyAlan Jenkins
Curley's WifeBernadette Russell
SlimFrank Lyons
CarlsonDavid Penrose
WhitRichard Heyburn
CrooksMark Lavin
Candy's DogZiggy


Director David Hemsley-Brown
Stage Manager Robbie Cattermole
Assistant Stage Manager Nicola Scadding
Lighting Design Jacquie Penrose
Lighting Operator Jane Hemsley-Brown
Sound Chris Rayner
Costumes Jane Hemsley-Brown
Set Design David Penrose
Set Construction Peter Holding

Programme Notes

In a letter to his publisher in 1938, the year after the publication of 'Of Mice and Men', Steinbeck wrote "My whole work drive has been aimed at making people understand each other." Though it is in this light that both the novel and the play should be measured for their ultimate worth, such an evaluation can best be approached if 'Of Mice and Men' is treated first of all as a story. Most commentators agree that, considered solely as a story, it is a masterly demonstration of the narrator's art. In writing the novel, Steinbeck set out to produce a story in what he called the "play novelette" form. It was intended from the first that the novel would be adapted for the stage.

Production Photographs