The Wind in the Willows

by Kenneth Grahame - adapted by Alan Bennett

directed by Sheana Carrington

Presented in the Open Air at

Mottisfont Abbey


Wednesday 12th to Saturday 22th May 2006

A Note from the Director

Approximately eight years ago I saw the delightful production of Alan Bennett's adaptation of The Wind in the Willows at the Old Vic. On returning home I kept imagining this fantastic play performed at Mottisfont, with the setting of Mottisfont Abbey as Toad Hall. The river -- of course -- but would we be allowed to use it? The wild wood -- the largest plane tree in England growing in the grounds -- what could be a more perfect backdrop?

I raised the idea of The Wind in the Willows at Mottisfont with the Maskers Committee and members of the company, and continued to discuss and develop the idea over the next few years. Everyone seemed to agree that it was a wonderful idea. Eventually the play was released to amateurs -- but then I had to wait until it could fit in with my personal commitments. When I was asked to direct this year's 25th production, we were in business at last.

Well, they (whoever 'they' are!) say "never work with children or animals". You could say the whole cast is portraying animals, so that is one part of the rule broken. As for the children -- that was double trouble! It is necessary to have two teams so that they can rest between performances, which is fine, but that means rehearsing their scenes twice -- not to mention other complications! Then there was 'boat practice'. Keeping the boat upright and your costume dry isn't easy with dialogue to say as well (even though our 'Ratty' had experience of boating).

There were the logistics of organising a cast of 49 -- with music, dance rehearsals, rehearsing in the pouring rain -- just to mention a few problems. However -- the pleasure of seeing all the scenes come together was tremendous -- all the hard work of the costume, props, set and backstage departments, especially the costume designs by Lewis Yapp which bring a freshness and quirkiness to the show, and complement Alan Bennett's script perfectly.

The Company joins me in hoping that the 'Motti Magic' that we have experienced for the last 24 productions continues at this, our 25th!

Sheana Carrington. Director Wind in the Willows

The Cast
Narrator David Pike
Mole Matt Avery
Rat Philip de Grouchy
Toad Johnny Carrington
Badger John Souter
Otter Martin Caveney
Portley, a young otter Holly Ryan, Georgia Humphrey
Albert, a horse Ken Spencer
Tommy, a hedgehog Daniel Mackney, Lydia Caveney
Billy, a hedgehog Georgia Griffiths, Phoebe Blandford
Rabbits Brenda Atkinson, Moyra Allen, Rae Kibble, Sarah Murdoch, Ron Randall, Jo Welch, Anna Carrington
Hedgehogs Bruce Atkinson, Richard Hackett
Squirrels David Collis, Graham Skinner, Nicola Caveney, Charlotte Webb
Field mice and small rabbits Abigail Caveney, Lydia Caveney, Phoebe Blandford, Cicely Blandford, Hernione 'Fizz' Blandford, Georgia Humphrey,  Anna Carrington, Holly Ryan, Daniel Mackney, Georgia Griffiths, Chloe Sensier, Olivia Thomas, Kirsty Figuera, Sophie Figuera, Thomas Welch, William Carrington, Lola Gerrard
Chief Weasel Adam Taussik
Weasel Norman Paul Baker
Weasel Sarah Hedges
Stoats Jez Minns, Rachel Thomas, Martin Caveney, Richard Hackett
Ferrets Rae Kibble, Jo Welch
Fox Sophie Carrington
Mr Parkinson David Collis
Motorist Rupert Alan Watson
Motorist Monica Emma Carrington
Magistrate Harry Tuffill
Clerk of the Court Moyra Allen
Policeman Graham Skinner
Gaoler's daughter Kate Grundy
Washer Woman Jenni Watson
Train Driver Bruce Atkinson
Barge Woman Avril Woodward
Gypsy Nicola Sensier
Production Team
Director Sheana Carrington
Production Manager Tony Austin
Stage Manager Angie Barks
Costume Design Lewis Yapp
Make-up advisor Libby Crawford, assisted by, Lara Duncan & Jan Spiers
Wardrobe Mistress Eileen Stannard
Set Design Ken Spencer
Set Construction Roger Lockett, Ken Spencer, students of Southampton City College
Riverbank 'Stove Master' Brian Stansbridge
Lighting Design Tony Lawther
Sound Design Jamie McCarthy, Lawrie Gee
Sound Operator Jamie McCarthy
Sound Reinforcement Tony Lawther
Technical Team Clive Weeks, Nathan Weeks, David Fawcett, Martin Clift, Julia Campone, students of Southampton City College
Properties Coordinator Emma Carrington
Properties Ella Lockett, Gill Buchanan, Liz Hill, Alison McCarthy, Jo Iacovou, Narinda Gill, Jenni Watson
Special Effects Tont Lawther -- PRESTECH
Musical Director Pam de Grouchy
Musical Accompanist Rosa Longman
Choreographer Adrienne Bath
Fight Arranger Paul Benzing
Front of House Manager Geoff Cook assisted by Pam Cook
Marketing and Publicity Angela Stansbridge and team
Stewards/ Box Office Maskers Theatre Company
Photography Clive Weeks
Publicity Design John Hamon
Programme Sandy White


Yorkshire Playhouse for Toad's car.
"Trigger the Train" presented by Roy Rogers.
St Denys' Rowing Club -- Ratty's boat.
Nathan Roe -- rowing advice for Ratty.
Southampton City College (Marine Technology) - "The Barge".
Manor Farm Country Park.
Ian Abrahams, Bitterne Local History Society.
Martin Humphreys -- transport.
All those who have taken care of the little animals of the River Bank!
The National Trust.


click on a photo to enlarge it


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Established 1968

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