The Maskers' Studio Theatre
13 - 18 May 2019

Performances at 7:30pm.  

Telephone bookings 0333 666 3366 (booking fee applies to phone bookings)

This play contains strong language. Suitable for ages 14 & over

The production is presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH LTD

Hollywood royalty takes on the Bard with comedic consequences!

Perfect Casting?

Jefferson Steele is a fading A-list Hollywood hero who needs a boost to his career. His agent saves the day by finding the perfect role for him as Shakespeare’s King Lear at Stratford. On arrival in the UK he finds that instead of performing at the RSC in Stratford-on-Avon he's booked to appear in sleepy Stratford St. John in Suffolk miles away from anywhere, with a bunch of enthusiastic am-dram thespians desperate to save their theatre from property developers.

Full of twists and turns, Hislop and Newman's clever writing includes plenty of comedic moments. You will easily recognise some of the wonderful types that Dorothy, the director of the Stratford Players, has in her cast. These include bitter solicitor Nigel, leading light of the group who expected to play Lear and Mary, playing the Fool, who idolises Jefferson and is only too thrilled to welcome him into her B&B!

Director & Cast

The Director of this production is Hazel Burrows
Hazel has been a Masker for many years, acting, directing, set painting and supporting. Her most recent directing credits include Sitting Pretty, Ten Times Table and co-directing An Italian Straw Hat. Her most memorable acting roles were in Our Lady of Sligo, Beauty Queen of Leenane and Ring Around the Moon. Hazel worked as a teacher and a commercial artist, producing exquisite paintings on silk.

Lauren Bell is played by Marie McDade
Marie has been a Masker since 2011 and has appeared in a wide range of productions at the Studio, the Nuffield Theatre and outdoors at Hamptworth. This time last year she was Granny Weatherwax in Wyrd Sisters - an aged crone - so is looking forward to being the polar opposite in this show as a blonde trophy wife!

Jessica Steele is played by Molly McDade
Having appeared in several shows for both the Nuffield Youth Theatre and previous Maskers’ productions, this will be Molly's second outing as an American since her first Maskers’ show, Our Town, in 2014, and her first major part since appearing as Tabaqui the Jackal in The Jungle Book in 2015. Jessica Steele is a very different role to the ones she has played before but she is definitely looking forward to the challenge.

Nigel Dewbury is played by Philip de Grouchy
This character is described as 'the classic am-dram performer, pompous, stuck-up and self-regarding. He believes he is the star of the show and should play all the leading roles’. Some small-minded and jealous rivals have declared that Philip has been type-cast in this role; he would like to remind them that the greatest challenge any actor can confront and triumphantly overcome is playing himself!

Dorothy Nettle is played by Jan Spiers
This is Jan’s third play with Hazel as director and she is thrilled to be working with her again. Ladies’ Day and Sitting Pretty were our last comedies and A Bunch of Amateurs is proving to be just as much fun! Other plays Jan has appeared in include Humble Boy, An Ideal Husband, 'Allo Allo', Stepping Out, Quartet, The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the Moon Marigolds, and, after a short break, she is looking forward to playing Dorothy in our cosy, quirky Maskers Theatre!

Mary Plunkett is played by Maria Head
Maria has been a member of Maskers for some time and has played a wide variety of roles including Goneril in King Lear at the Nuffield Theatre. She is delighted to play Mary in A Bunch of Amateurs, who starts the play as Goneril and ends it as Reagan. As they both die at the end of King Lear, it’s all the same really! So wonderful to be in such a great comedy. What a reprieve from B*****

Jefferson Steel is played by John Carrington

Denis Dobbins is played by Adam Taussik

Reporters are played by Carolyn & Huw Thomas, Ralph Baggs, Martin Caveney

Carolyn and Huw are new Maskers, having moved to Southampton a few months ago, and so this is their first show. They say it’s been great fun and very interesting to see the production come together.

Originally from Leatherhead, A Bunch of Amateurs is Ralph’s first play with Maskers. He has been having a huge amount of fun with this incredibly talented and wonderfully funny team. Ralph has little experience in the theatre; however, he has been a part of 'action sports' movies, one of which is on Netflix.

Martin has enjoyed being a member of the Maskers for 27 years, being involved in a wide cross section of plays and having the opportunity to act in leading roles as well as smaller ones. He has also been involved in backstage production with lighting, sound, and props. Martin has made friends for life through the Maskers and is looking forward to sharing this production with a truly professional bunch of amateurs.

Creative Team

Production Manager
Jill Desborough
Musical Director
Ruth Kibble
King Lear Consultant
Ken Hann
Stage Manager
Kathryn Salmon
Set Designer
Hazel Burrows & John  Hamon
Lighting Designer
Tony Lawther
Lighting Operator
Sound Designer
Jamie McCarthy
Sound Operator
Costume Design & Wardrobe
Sheana Carrington
Properties & Furniture
Alison Tebbutt

Ticket Information

Tickets £11

No concessions


Available after the performance

For the Maskers

Technical Manager:- Jamie McCarthy;   Lighting Consultant:- Clive Weeks;   Sound Consultant:- Jamie McCarthy;   Marketing Director:- Peter Court;   Marketing Team:- Sarah Russell, Angela Stansbridge, Clive Weeks, Robert Osborne, Meri Mackney, Paul Baker;   Front of House Manager:- Chris Baker;   Box Office Manager:- Chris Baker;   Photography:- Clive Weeks;   Bar Manager:- Meri Mackney

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Shirley's own LOCAL theatre!

Maskers Theatre Company
Off Emsworth Road
SO15 3LX

Registered Charity 900067

Established 1968

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