Songs and Stories and Poems and Plays

Written by Charles Dickens and John Scadding and others

Friday 20th January and Saturday 21st January 1995

Directed by John Scadding

A One-man show featuring John Scadding, one the Bench's most long-serving members as both actor and director, in a production of short bits, long bits, well-known bits and original bits and - if they turn up on the night - some much needed friends.

AuthorCharles Dickens

Charles Dickens (1812 - 1870)

Born in Portsmouth, Dickens was first a journalist in London, then a periodical novelist. He is one of the most famous novelists in the English language and many of his stories concern the widespread poverty and social injustice prevalent in Victorian Britain.

AuthorJohn Scadding

John Scadding

John Scadding has been an amateur actor, director and playwright with Bench Theatre during his membership from 1972. As an actor, his first role with Bench Theatre was in John van Druten's 'I Am a Camera'. The first play produced by Bench theatre which was written by John Scadding, was Cinderella in 1975.

AuthorEugene Ionesco

Eugene Ionesco (1909 - 1994)

Ionesco was a Romanian and French playwright and dramatist, one of the foremost playwrights of the Theatre of the Absurd. Beyond ridiculing the most banal situations, Ionesco's plays depict in a tangible way the solitude and insignificance of human existence.

AuthorHugh Whitemore

Hugh Whitemore (b 1936)

Hugh Whitemore began his writing career in television although he is also well-known for his stage and screen plays. The plots of Whitemore's plays frequently focus on historical figures and he is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Honorary Fellow of King's College, London.

ProductionSongs and Stories and Poems and Plays

Songs and Stories and Poems and Plays poster image

'Songs and Stories and Poems and Plays' was devised by John Scadding (with a little help from Mr Dickens and others!) was performed by John (and some of his Bench friends) and consisted of the following songs, vignettes, readings and monologues. This production was staged at Havant Arts Centre, East Street Havant - Bench Theatre's home since 1977.

The Story of Little Dombey - by Charles Dickens

This story was adapted by Charles Dickens himself from his book Dombey and Son. Dickens loved reading his works to his family and friends. Very early on he was persuaded to give charity readings of A Christmas Carol and other pieces. In 1858, after his sensational separation from his wife, he decided to go professional and do readings for money!

The Havant Mysteries - by John Scadding

Legend has it that one Brother Jonathan of Warblington Abbey (long since vanished) decided that the Abbey of Warblinton and the Borough of Havant should have its own Mystery Cycle like the cities of York and Coventry and Wakefield possessed. With great enthusiasm he spoke to the Abbott who told him very firmly (in Latin) not to be daft and to put away such nonsense. Thus encouraged he went away secretly and wrote the cycle and secretly performed it himself in the middle of the night in a spot traditionally thought to be near what is now Pook Lane. This vast chronicle telling of the fall of Adam, the Birth of Jesus and the Resurrection of the same is to be presented this evening in the original Pook Lane version.

The Hangman - by Maurice Ogden

A poem originally written for young people, this tells the chilling story of town whose inhabitants are taken one by one. A salutary lesson that all it takes for evil to triumph is for good men to stay silent.

Extract from Rhinoceros - by Eugene Ionesco

Rhinoceros is a three-act play originally written in French in 1959. The inhabitants of a small, provincial French town turn into rhinoceroses - each act of the play shows a stage in the onset of "rhinoceritis". Ultimately the only human who does not succumb to this mass metamorphosis is the central character, Berenger, a flustered "everyman" figure who is often criticized throughout the play for his drinking and laziness.

Stevie Speaks - by Hugh Whitemore

From the Life and Works of Stevie Smith Stevie by Hugh Whitemore was a play performed by Bench Theatre in 1983. Stevie Smith herself was a rather eccentric writer and poet who lived with her maiden aunt for most of her life in Palmer's Green London. Towards the end of her life, in the 1960s and after the death of her aunt, she began to receive belated recognition for her work - even from the highest level. Stevie herself tells us all about it in her own words.

The Poems

WeathersThomas Hardy
Gare du MidiW H Auden
DublinesquePhilip Larkin
Monody on the Death of a Platonist Bank ClerkJohn Betjeman
Bide-a-WeeRobert Service
ChocolatesLouis Simpson
The Boy ActorNoël Coward
Sonnet 55William Shakespeare
Upon Westminster BridgeWilliam Wordsworth
My Clumsiest DearJ F Nims
WarningJenny Joseph

The Songs

A garland of pieces from shows written and produced, shows written and not produced and projects finished or unfinished.

  1. Oh Life is Hard
  2. Love Song
  3. I Want to Go
  4. We Would All Like To Be
  5. Who is My Lord
  6. Home
  7. Never Mind the Murky Weather
  8. What Might Have Been
  9. Meet Me


The Story of Little Dombey

Read by John Scadding

The Havant Mysteries

Read by John Scadding

The Hangman

Performed by Rita de Bunsen


Performed by Damon Wakelin

Stevie Speaks

Performed by Nicola Scadding