Toad of Toad Hall

Written by A A Milne (from an original story by Kenneth Grahame)

Thurs 2nd December - Sat 4th December & Tues 7th December - Sat 11th December 1982

Directed by Robbie Cattermole

This is the classic children's story, 'Wind in the Willows', adapted by A A Milne. It tells the story of Mole, Water Rat, Badger, and Toad, and takes place along a peaceful riverbank surrounded by lush meadows. Mole is originally from a neighbouring meadow, but one fine spring day he ventures away from his home and finds the magical life of the river awaiting him.

AuthorA A Milne

Alan Alexander Milne (1882 - 1956)

Best known for his books about the teddy bear Winnie-the-Pooh and for various children's poems, Milne was also a noted novelist and playwright.

Born in Kilburn, Milne attended Westminster School and Trinity College, Cambridge. During this time, he collaborated with his brother Kenneth and their articles appeared with the initials AKM. Milne's work came to the attention of the leading British humour magazine Punch, where, from 1906 he became a contributor and later an assistant editor. In 1913 he married Dorothy 'Daphne' de Selincourt and his son, Christopher Robin Milne, was born in 1920. He joined the British Army in World War I and served as an officer however, in 1934 he wrote a denunciation of war titled 'Peace with Honour', which he countered somewhat with 1940s 'War with Honour'.

Milne leaves a bibliography of over 25 plays, 7 novels, 4 works of non-fiction, countless articles as well as his poems and stories for children.

Original storyKenneth Grahame

Kenneth Grahame (1859 - 1932)

Kenneth Grahame was born in Edinburgh to an affluent family. After his father was appointed Sheriff-Substitute of Argyllshire in 1860, the family moved to Inverary, however, when his mother died he was sent at the age of five, with his siblings to Cookham Dene in Berkshire to be raised by his grandmother. He was educated at St Edward's School, Oxford and joined the Bank of England as a clerk in 1879, working his way up to become Secretary to the Bank in 1898.

Grahame contributed essays and stories to 'The Yellow Book' and the "National Observer", and his collections 'Pagan Papers', 'The Golden Age' and 'Dream Days' were well received by critics. His stories centred on a fictional family of five children which he had created during his own childhood.

After his marriage to Elspeth Thomson, Grahame created the character and story of Toad to amuse his son, but it was not until 1908 that he published 'The Wind In The Willows', which had its origins in letters he had written to the boy. The book was not an immediate success, but would achieve wider popularity thanks to the stage version, 'Toad of Toad Hall' by A. A. Milne. Whilst he would go on to edit the 'The Cambridge Book of Poetry for Children', he would publish no more work of his own.

PlayToad of Toad Hall

'Toad of Toad Hall' is the first of several dramatisations of Kenneth Grahame's 'The Wind in the Willows' which itself was first published in 1908. The play, adapted in 1929, includes incidental music by Harold Fraser-Simson. Milne extracted the adventures of Mr. Toad (which form only about half of the original book) because they lent themselves most easily to being staged. Milne loved Grahame's book, which is one of the reasons he decided to adapt it.

The play has four main characters: Ratty, Badger, Mole and Toad. The story begins with Mole doing his spring cleaning. Fed-up with the task he emerges on to the riverbank and meets Ratty (a watervole). The two encounter various other creatures during their adventures, such as an otter and his son called Portly, squirrels, rabbits and a kindly old Badger who invites them to say at his house. They also meet the irrepressible Toad who owns Toad Hall, a very impressive property. When Toad Hall is taken over by the wicked creatures from the Wild Wood (weasels, stoats and ferrets) the new band of friends help Toad recover his home which culminates in the 'Battle of Toad Hall' where they are victorious. Toad's caravan and car adventures are included, as well as his imprisonment and escape. Although not specifically a musical, the play contains six songs.

The Bench Production

Toad of Toad Hall poster image

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


MarigoldJude Salmon
NurseIngrid Corrigan
MoleJo German
Water RatChris Hall
Mr BadgerTerry Cattermole
ToadJohn Scadding
AlfredPeter Holding
Jim Charlton
Chief FerretBrian Sweatman
Chief WeaselAnthony Elliott
Chief StoatKaren Cartwright
First Field MouseKate Eliott
Second Field MouseKaren Cartwright
PolicemanBrian Smith
GaolerTony Heptinstall
UsherDerek Cusdin
JudgeDavid Urquhart
PhoebeAmanda Payne
WasherwomanNicola Scadding
Mama RabbitIngrid Corrigan
Lucy RabbitKate Elliott
Harold RabbitDavid Roberts
FoxJason Day
Barge-WomanKay Jones
Sylvia Brierly
Kate Elliott
Karen Cartwright
Jude Salmon
Nicola Scadding
David Roberts
David Urquhart


Director Robbie Cattermole
Stage Manager David Graham
Musical Director Ruth Prior
Lighting Lezley Picton
Paul Francis
Sound Tony Czapp
Kathy Kelly
Costumes Jane Hart
Karen Cutting
Set Design and Painting Jenny Graham
David Penrose
Set Construction David Graham
John Kershaw
Props Eve Moore
Choreography David Urquhart
Make-up Jacquie Penrose
Lezley Picton
Front of House Janet Simpson
Sheila Spackman

Production Photographs