Anne Boleyn

by Howard Brenton

directed by Meri Mackney

Performed in the Open Air at

Hamptworth Lodge, Landford, SP5 2EA


Wednesday 17th to Saturday 27th July 2013
(no performance Monday 22 July)


Just why is James I prancing around in Anne Boleyn’s coronation dress? What is Anne up to in the woods with William Tyndale? And why is Henry VIII getting wildly frustrated?

This gripping, ghostly, ghastly, giggle-inducing tale of love, religious intrigue and political manipulation is Maskers’ offering at Hamptworth Lodge this year.

Specially written for The Globe Theatre, this play takes a rather ‘Horrible Histories’ look at the Tudors through the eyes of the Jacobeans – yes, Anne gets beheaded in the end but there are a lot of laughs along the way.

Expect it to be loads of fun but also rude, crude and laced with occasional expletives.

Howard Brenton has taken the unusual approach of having James I (James VI of Scotland) looking back at the history of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn 70 years earlier and using that to inform his own political jousting as he takes the reins of a kingdom which has been ripped apart by religious division. However, James is far from simply the studious type as he comes from a much less courteous court and delights in shocking the stiff-necked English!

History tends to depict Anne as either the pawn of an ambitious family, directed mercilessly towards the King’s bed as her sister Mary had been before her, or as a determinedly ambitious woman manipulating her way to power. Brenton’s play reveals her as both softer, deeply in love with the King, and stronger, using the King’s affection for her as a means of promoting religious reform and needing all her lively intelligence to keep her ahead of the game. Only her failure to provide a son, coupled with the machinations of Thomas Cromwell, can bring her down.

Under 12's at family discretion.

‘Anne Boleyn’ was awarded Best New Play in the
WhatsOnStage Theatregoers Choice Awards for 2011

Comments on the Globe’s production of ‘Anne Boleyn’:

‘Historically illuminating as well as imaginatively free-wheeling’ - Independent on Sunday

‘Rich, sprightly and unfailingly vivid’ - Time Out

Show Notes

The weather was good (hot and sunny) for the week before (the get-in week) and the whole run up until the second half of the matinee on the final Saturday when it rained heavily. It also rained steadily through most of the evening performance that day too.

Ticket sales were up on previous years.

As Hamptworth Lodge was up for sale there was a good possibility that this would be our 6th and last production at that lovely venue.

No programme available yet


Click to view ticket conditions and performance times


Ticket Information & Performance Times

Gates open: 6pm evenings; 1pm matinees for picnics. This is an open air production and patrons are advised to bring jumpers, coats and something to put over your knees as it can get cold after sunset even on very hot days.

Please Note: No seating is provided. Please bring a rug or low-backed chair.

There is ample free parking and toilet facilities provided, including facilities for the disabled. There is a short, flat walk of approximately 100 metres to the performance area.

Hot and cold refreshments will be available to buy.

Please note: Hamptworth Lodge is a private home not usually open to the public and there is no access to the grounds prior to the gate opening times.

Tickets available on the gate - cash or cheque only please!

Tickets through Ticket South - - 023 8071 1818

Group bookings: 023 8071 1812

Also in person from:
- The Mayflower Theatre Box Office in The Marlands Centre, Southampton
- Salisbury Information Centre, The Guildhall, Market Place, Salisbury
- Romsey Heritage & Visitor Centre, 13 Church St, Romsey

Ticket Prices:
First Night (Wed 17th July) All tickets £10;
Tues-Thurs and Sat Matinee £12
Fri – Sat Evenings £15

10% discount on ten or more full-price tickets, except Friday and Saturday evenings
Disabled patrons concessions available
School or college groups discounts

Saturday 27 matinee performance - fancy dress competition with prizes for best Tudor costumes!

All performances 7.30pm, except Sunday 21st 2.30pm matinee only and Saturday 27th 2.30 matinee in addition to evening performance


From the Daily Echo

"In the sylvan setting of the Archery Lawn, the Maskers are performing a play based on history but with a generous helping of fantasy.

Issues of religion and royalty are at the heart of the matter that spans the time of Henry VIII and James I. Anne Boleyn’s dress discovered by James I forms the basis of the linking narrative.

The play gives us a view of plotting and intrigue as well as bawdy behaviour in the courts of the time.

Seminal performances come from John Souter (Cardinal Wolsey/Henry Barrow), Adam Taussik (Henry VIII) and William Baggs (James I). Ruth Kibble (Anne Boleyn) makes the role her own with a performance full of manipulation and conviction. Her scenes with Marcus Kinsella (William Tyndale) are particularly convincing.

Music at the court is provided by the Melting Pot Theatre Band and adds to the authentic atmosphere that director, Meri Mackney, has achieved.

A must-see for history buffs and lovers of outdoor theatre."

By Jim Rumsey
10:36am Monday 22nd July 2013 in Curtain Call

Comments from audience members:

"Saw Anne Boleyn at Hamptworth estate this evening and blown away...fantastic show...would like to see more." - JS

A rollicking bawdy Tudor'll laugh your head off!

The Director
Meri Mackney
‘Anne Boleyn’ is Meri’s second open-air show; the first being ‘Pride and Prejudice’, which she adapted for the stage as well as directed. Meri has been a Masker for more years than she cares to quantify as actress, director, stage manager and every backstage role going as long as it doesn’t involve heights!  Meri is currently the Chairman of Maskers Theatre Company.
Meri is delighted to be working with her wonderful cast and crew for this show and hopes the audience will enjoy it as much as she does. Meri says, ‘I chose this play to direct because it made me laugh and involved some of my very favourite characters from history. I’ve always felt Anne was a much maligned character and a very clever woman and I love this play’s take on her life and death.’
Ruth Kibble is playing Anne Boleyn. Anne Boleyn is one of the most infamous and recognisable figures in English history - no pressure then! In my 10 years with the Maskers, I have been lucky enough to work on a number of productions both on and off the stage, most recently in Crimes of the Heart in February. The joy of working on the summer show is not just in the privilege of acting in such beautiful surroundings, but in working closely with the people who are by turns your sounding board, your mutual support, your critics and your peers, in the pursuit of creating something magical. I hope this production enables you to see afresh not just Anne's story, but that of England at a turning point in history.
Jo Fox is playing Jane Rochford. Jo joined Maskers in November 2007 after watching a fabulous performance of Accrington Pals. She was a member of the chorus in An Ideal Husband in January 2008, the hospital nurse in Whale Music and played the cafe waiter in Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors in the open air at Hamptworth. She is looking forward to taking on her largest part to date playing Jane Rochford in Anne Boleyn. Outside of Maskers she works as a veterinary nurse and enjoys horse riding and playing flute and guitar.
Leah Barlow is playing Lady Celia. Leah has been involved with the Maskers for many years, after being introduced by her best friend. Spending her first few years supporting rather than playing, she was then conscripted as a chorus member for Beggar’s Opera (who were in need of singing, buxom lasses) and then enjoyed her first outdoor play with Pride and Prejudice at Mottisfont. Following a break from the Company for the last 2 years, Leah returned to play the ever cynical and sarcastic Fiona in Look At Me in October 2012 (who some say she identified with easily) and is now taking on her biggest part to date as Lady Celia
Molly Martinson is playing Jane Seymour. This is Molly’s first show with the Maskers. She is currently studying at City College and hopes to go on to university to study psychology/criminology. Molly is having great fun rehearsing the play and hopes you enjoy it as much as she does.
Sue Dashper is playing 1st Countrywoman. Sue's most recent appearance for Maskers was as the boss from hell in the 1-act play 'Contractions'. She has also appeared in 'Mitchell's Wings' and was in the chorus for the 2011 outdoor production of 'Treasure Island' here at Hamptworth.
Joanna Iacovou is playing 2nd Countrywoman. Joanna Iacovou has been an active Masker both on and off the stage for several years.  Her latest performance was as part of the fairy troupe in last year's summer show, and she recently made her directorial debut with "Forward to the Right" at the Totton Drama Festival; a two-hander for which one of her players was awarded 'best actor'. She played Martha, in Butterfly Kiss in May this year whilst in rehearsals for Anne Boleyn!
Allegra Carlton is playing 3rd Countrywoman and Singer. Allegra has a long history of involvement in local amateur drama including acting a wide range of character roles such as Lady Catherine de Burgh in the Maskers’ production of Pride and Prejudice. She has also been a member of wardrobe teams for many shows including this one.
Katie Knight is playing Lady-in-waiting. This is Katie’s debut with the Maskers. Katie is enjoying her first taste of open-air theatre!
Donna Beddall is playing Lady-in-waiting. This is Donna's first open air show and debut with the Maskers. Having trained from a young age in Dance, and gained a degree in Performing Arts, Donna's last major role was that of Abigail Williams from Arthur Miller's timeless classic 'The Crucible' in 2010. Ready to immerse herself back into the acting scene, Donna thinks her role as an extra in Anne Boleyn is the perfect way; "it's a fun and edgy script, with guaranteed laughs along the way! I'm very excited to be joining the Maskers, and performing in the open air."
The Musicians

The Melting Pot Theatre Band was originally formed to provide incidental music for a production of The Merry Wives of Windsor by the Southampton University Players in January 2005. It has had three other incarnations since then, with Southampton University Players in Lark Rise to Candleford in January 2006 and Molière’s Tartuffe in February 2007, and as the show band for the Gantry Youth Theatre’s rock pantomime Cinderella Rocks in January 2007. Anne Boleyn is its first collaboration with the Maskers, returning, as it were, to its Tudor roots.

Jane Warren (vocals, recorders) has been playing and singing mostly early music around Southampton since the early eighties. She was a founder member of the Frescobaldi Consort, Quattrio and the Melting Pot Theatre Band and currently sings with Southampton Choral Society. John and Portia Kitcher regularly play with both Schaapsenflatz recorder consort, of which they are founder members, and the Hampshire Recorder Sinfonia. They sing with Southampton Philharmonic Society as well as singing madrigals and other one to a part arrangements.

Cast (continued)
Adam Taussik is playing Henry VIII. Since I was the King of France a few years ago I've been wallowing in the lower classes, but now is the time for another regal outing as much married Henry VIII - Perhaps I should work my way through the crowned heads of Europe? When not modelling codpieces, I have another life in Student Services at the University of Southampton.
William Baggs William Baggs is playing James I. Anne Boleyn will be my third production with Maskers. I started in the Spring of last year playing a mouse in Can You Hear The Music, which was great fun, swiftly followed by Lysander in A Midsummer Night's Dream. So, it's lovely to be back... with great costumes... a great part.... and a great production.
Paul Baker is playing Thomas Cromwell. Paul has appeared in every open air show for Maskers since 1996. He won a Daily Echo Curtain call award for playing Weasel Norman in Wind in The Willows. He would like to point out that, unlike his character in this play, he has not got a potty mouth!
John Souter is playing Cardinal Wolsey / Henry Barrow. John Souter is a long time acting member of the Maskers and this will be his sixth show at Hamptworth. He is looking forward to working again with the company whose close rapport with the audience in relaxed and friendly surroundings makes for a pleasurable experience.
Adam Warren is playing Robert Cecil. Adam Warren is new to Maskers but has been acting with Southampton University Players for ten years, most recently as the upper class twit Cecil Graham in Lady Windermere's Fan. This role is the fulfilment of his long-term ambition to act in the open air, especially at such a delightful venue as Hamptworth.
JamesNorton James Norton is playing George Villiers. James Norton has been active with the Maskers since 2007; he performed in the first production here at Hamptworth Lodge in 2008 as one of the twins in Comedy of Errors, and again as a pirate in 2011’s Treasure Island. Most recently, James went south to Mississippi, playing the kooky lawyer in Crimes of The Heart on the Nuffield stage. James is excited to be playing George Villiers, the dashing, suave sophisticated lover of King James 1.
Ashley Horne is playing Parrot / Simpkin. Ashley is new(ish) to Maskers having only acted in the Halloween shows last October. Having said that he has been acting in one way or another for several years having done youth festivals, university societies and the odd extras work. He is looking forward to his first outdoor performance hopefully to make people laugh and make the most of their summer evenings.
Albie Minns is playing Sloop. Albie Minns first appeared with Maskers in the 1986 production of Cyrano de Bergerac at Mottisfont and since then has acted in numerous outdoor and indoor theatre and studio productions. His favorite casting was as Frank Doel, the bookshop manager, in 84 Charring Cross Road, when Maskers played the Plaza Theatre at Romsey. Watch out for 'Sloop' in this production. He'll make you squirm!
Marcus Kinsella is playing Tyndale. Marcus will be playing Tyndale, an interesting and important cameo role. This will be my 5th Maskers production in just 2 years with the company. It's been hectic but very enjoyable!
David Collis is playing Dean Andrewes. While no stranger to outside performance, having played in past shows such diverse roles as a Squirrel, a mad food throwing waiter and a cut throat buccaneer. Anne Boleyn will be my first period drama, its funny, touching, gripping and big in every way and I am really looking forward to the challenge.
Bruce Atkinson is playing John Reynolds. I've been in the Maskers since the 1980's and have had experience in a large number of mainly character parts, I was in most of the open air plays at Mottisfont but have only been in one at Hamptworth. I used to live in New Zealand and enjoyed the Wellington scene where we used to be in plays with various repertory groups and, because there were few professional actors in NZ, we used to be roped in for small talking parts by NZBC which was fun.
Matt Gregg is playing 1st Countryman. Matt is an acting student at Itchen College. Matt says, "This is my first production with The Maskers, I cannot wait for Hamptworth Lodge!
Doing a performance to people you know in a drama room is hard enough but this is going to be a challenge, I hope you enjoy the play and everyone in it. Now it's time to hit the stage.”
Thierry Lambert is playing 2nd Countryman. "This is my first production with The Maskers. I’m looking forward to performing at Hamptworth Lodge and will be a good servant to King James. Hope you enjoy the play as much as we did rehearsing it."
Played by Brenda Atkinson, Hazel Burrows, Annemieke Van den Tol, David Jobson, Jonathan Shepherd, Joe Gardiner
Played by Tom Foyle
The Crew:  
Production Manager Christine Baker
Stage Manager Nick Lawther
Technical Director Jamie McCarthy
Lighting Designer Clive Weeks, Nick Lawther
Sound Designer Jamie McCarthy
Sound Recording Peter Burrows
Costume Design Serena Brown
Costume Team Allegra Carlton, Janet Scott, Susan Wilson
Set Construction Roger Lockett & team
Props Ella Lockett, Gill & Graham Buchanan
Front of House Management Pam & Geoff Cook
Venue Liason Brian Stansbridge
Box Office Chris Baker
Marketing Team Sarah Russell, Angela Stansbridge, Paul Green
Photography Clive Weeks

click on a photo to enlarge it


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Maskers Theatre Company
Off Emsworth Road
SO15 3LX

Registered Charity 900067

Established 1968

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