Townhill Park House
(The Gregg School)
16 - 20 July 2019

Performances at 7:30pm & Matinée at 2:30pm on Saturday 20 July.
Grounds Open at 6pm (1pm on Saturday Matinée)  

Early Bird Offer until 12 May
See Ticket Information for more details


This is an Open Air production


The Reviews


17 July 2019

One of Shakespeare’s most loved and oft-played comedies, Twelfth Night tells the tale of twins lost at sea (Viola and Sebastian), the fallout from the resultant shipwreck, mistaken identities, unrequited love and not a little mischief-making and chaos before order is restored.

Maskers Theatre Company have developed a reputation for high quality outdoor productions – and for good reason! After years performing their annual summer outdoor show in the lavish grounds of first Mottisfont National Trust then Hamptworth Lodge, they have found a new location back in Southampton in the beautiful setting of Townhill Park House (The Gregg School), a natural raised performance area, plenty of space for pre-show picnics and, on this occasion, the accompanying 80s music establishing the setting and creating an excellent ambience from the moment you arrive.

After a slightly hesitant start, where some of the audience took a while to realise that the background music had segued into the actual play itself, and some of the dialogue was difficult to catch (either because of strong accents affecting the lyrical flow of Shakespeare’s iambic pentameter or volume affecting clarity), the players were soon into the swing of things and the production didn’t look back!

Some actors seem born to play Shakespearean roles, some to play comedic roles – and then there are those who seem born to play both. Adam Taussik (Sir Toby Belch), Sarah-Jayne Wareham (Maria) and Sam Hussey (Sir Andrew Aguecheek) must surely fall into that third category! Their collective extroverted characterization and comic timing, both verbally and physically, is excellent and they had me laughing aloud on a number of occasions.

More subtle and restrained, (in comparison, but still excellent and hilarious nonetheless!), are the humorous performances from Suze Avery (Viola), Alec Walters (Malvoleo), Ruby Tansey-Thomas (Olivia) and James Fairley (Sebastian). Make no mistake, each member of the cast has their moment to shine and do so, the supporting actors and ensemble each combining with the principals to make this a really high quality collaborative production.

There are very different challenges in performing al fresco to those of being on a more traditional indoor stage, but none more so than the new venue being almost directly under the take-off route from Southampton Airport! More inexperienced actors may have persevered with delivering their lines, undeterred by the engines entirely drowning out their dialogue, or be completely thrown off-kilter and lost their way completely. Not the case here at all! The company not only accepted that this was an inevitable consequence of their new location, but embraced the cameo roles of the aircraft as they flew overhead and seamlessly incorporated them into the play. Do not be deceived by how skilful this actually is to achieve and to appear so effortless in doing so – and the audience clearly appreciated and enjoyed each little nod and ad lib to cover the intrusion; and there was not a prompt to be heard – happy days! It’s also difficult to have an intricate lighting design when most of the play is performed in broad daylight, but Clive Weeks’ atmospheric lighting in Act 2 added to the overall aesthetic appeal.

Director Fran Morley and her production team have ensured that the aesthetics and music are most firmly placed in the 1980s, with costume and make up easily identifiable with styles from New Romantic boy bands and artists such as Adam Ant, Cyndi Lauper, Toyah, Madonna, David Bowie and Annie Lennox, Miami Vice suits (complete with no socks), choreographed movements reminiscent of Bananarama or one of Ric Mayall’s alter egos on a wild night out, and a soundtrack throughout cleverly compiled by James Norton to connect with the narrative. Apart from one or two slightly sticky sections, the unexpected fireworks from elsewhere and overhead interruptions from the flightpath (both very nicely handled by the cast!), this a generally well paced and slick production. It is also very good to note that each actor remains in character until completely out of sight of the audience (which I have often seen overlooked in some other outdoor productions where the entrances and exits may be further afield than the actors are normally used to).

Run continues until 20 July (7.30pm each evening with a 2.30pm Saturday matinee). Grounds open for picnics from 6.00pm (1.00pm for matinee). Pack up a picnic and a chair, and head off to Townhill Park House for a thoroughly entertaining evening of mischief and mayhem!

- Anne Waggott

If music be the food of love, play on.

Shakespeare's classic comedy

One of William Shakespeare's finest and best loved comedies set in a 1980s' ‘New Romantic’ style, Twelfth Night's classic love triangle will both enchant and amuse you. It centres on the twins, Viola and Sebastian, who are separated in a shipwreck. Viola, disguised as Cesario, falls in love with Duke Orsino, who in turn is in love with the Countess Olivia. Upon meeting Viola, Countess Olivia falls in love with her, thinking she is a man. Clear so far? With a cornucopia of cross dressing, mistaken identity, musical interludes and riotous subplots, Twelfth Night is guaranteed to tickle your funny bone. Fear not for, in the end, love conquers all.

Maskers Theatre Comany are putting on this beautiful event in the stunning outdoor splendour of Townhill Park House at The Gregg School in Southampton.

Director & Cast

The Director of this production is Fran Morley
Fran is returning to direct for Maskers after an absence of about 25 years. Long ago shows include Womberang and The Accrington Pals at The Gantry, Flare Path and Noises Off at The Plaza in Romsey, and Canterbury Tales and The Three Musketeers at Mottisfont Abbey. She was Youth and Community Director at the Nuffield Theatre for many years and only retirement (and a long rest!!) have brought her happily back into action with Twelfth Night.

Viola (a shipwrecked young woman who disguises herself as "Cesario") is played by Suze Avery
Following roles as a mouse, an androgynous fairy, and a succession of boys, Suze was delighted to be cast in a straightforward female role; only to discover that (spoiler alert!) Viola dresses as a man, falls in love with a man who thinks she’s a man, and has a woman fall in love with her! Who was it who said that the course of true love never did run smooth?!

Sebastian (Viola's twin brother) is played by James Fairley
James joined Maskers to play Pip in Great Expectations. He was previously a member of Applause Youth Theatre in Dorking, where his greatest stage memory is receiving a standing ovation from Sir Michael Caine at the Leatherhead Festival. Previous roles include Jack in Vinegar Tom, Laurence in Abigail’s Party and Haemon in Antigone. James is very excited to be working with a great crew and cast in bringing this classic to life.

Duke Orsino (Duke of Illyria) is played by Ruben Sanchez-Garcia
Ruben joined Maskers in 2010 and has appeared at Hamptworth as a pirate in Treasure Island, Oberon in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Passepartout in Around the World in 80 days. Other acting credits include Soldier in Chair, Peter in Zoo Story and Andrey in Afterplay. He directed Butterfly Kiss at the Maskers Studio in 2013 (mentored by Fran Morley) and Don Quixote for Maskers' final production at Hamptworth last year. He's looking forward to going back to the 80s and putting an exotic accent to Orsino.

Olivia (a wealthy countess) is played by Ruby Tansey-Thomas
Ruby has been a member of the Hampshire theatre scene since the age of ten when she joined the Nuffield Youth Theatre. Since then she has been in many productions of Shakespeare’s greats, including a touring production of Much Ado About Nothing, a version of The Tempest rehearsed in under 24 hours, and a physical theatre adaptation of Macbeth, among others. A recent graduate from the University of Exeter, she is very excited to return to Southampton and make her debut for Maskers in one of her favourite EVER shows.

Malvolio (steward in Olivia's household) is played by Alec Walters
Alec hasn’t appeared with The Maskers for some years, so he is delighted to be back once again. Notable roles from the past include: The Duke of Buckingham in The Three Musketeers (also directed by Fran Morley), Macduff in Macbeth, Demetrius in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Hans in Ondine, Jack in The Importance of Being Earnest; plus various other open-air plays including: Wild Oats, The Hypochondriac, The Scarlet Pimpernel, Alice, Lysistrata, and Thieves’ Carnival.

Maria (Olivia's gentlewoman) is played by Sarah-Jayne Wareham
The last time SJ performed in the open air for Maskers, she was a parrot in Treasure Island. Definitely more lines to learn for this one but she still gets to flap around causing mischief and mayhem! Her most recent productions for Maskers include Comfort Me with Apples, An Edwardian Christmas Soiree, Magrat in Wyrd Sisters and the title role in Antigone.

Sir Toby Belch (Olivia's uncle) is played by Adam Taussik
Since joining Maskers 15 years ago, Adam has played characters of many ranks, from peasants to kings (with a smattering of vicars and soldiers), but never before a knight (though Don Diego in last year’s Don Quixote was almost there). For this show, Adam will also be renewing the Shakespearian tone of A Bunch of Amateurs, in which Dennis was keen on his food and drink, and channelling the spirit of Dionysus into the hard-drinking Sir Toby's 'cakes and ale'. He hopes his Belch lives up to the name...

Sir Andrew Aguecheek (friend of Sir Toby) is played by Sam Hussey
This is Sam’s first show with Maskers and only his second foray into the world of Shakespeare, having previously played Lysander in A Midsummer Night’s Dream. More usually found performing in musicals, his previous roles include Bill in Made in Dagenham, Joe Casey in Our House, Dick Whittington, and numerous ensemble parts. He’s very much looking forward to his first open air production!

Feste (Olivia's servant, a jester) is played by Hazel Slawson
Since joining the Maskers in 2017, Hazel has appeared in Around the World in 80 Days and Wyrd Sisters, performing in a variety of roles including a Guard, a Sailor and Robber #3. This is her second outdoor show and she is delighted to appear in Twelfth Night with a character that not only has a name, but also has a guitar!

Fabian (a servant in Olivia's household) / Sea Captain are played by Sue Dashper
During Sue's time in Maskers, she has been involved in a number of productions, including Contractions and Metamorphosis in the Studio and Sitting Pretty and An Italian Straw Hat at the Nuffield Theatre. She has been in many outdoor productions at Hamptworth: Don Quixote, Around the World in Eighty Days, The Jungle Book, Ann Boleyn and Treasure Island. She is currently enjoying the challenge of Shakespeare in the outdoors and is excited to be playing in this new venue.

Valentine (gentleman attending on the Duke) / Antonio (man who rescues Sebastian after the shipwreck) are played by Jez Minns
Thinking he would never act again, Jez took a few years off from the theatre to write poetry and paint watercolours. But he missed the Maskers so much that two years ago he came back and since then has been in every show he can. He is delighted to be in Twelfth Night and the 1980s theme brings back many embarrassing memories from his teenage years!

Curio / Officer / Priest are played by Angela Stansbridge
Angie has been a member of Maskers since 1973 and has enjoyed playing a wide range of parts in plays including: Room at the Inn, Ten Times Table, The Comedy of Errors, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Treasure Island and The Importance of Being Earnest. She also directed Mistletoe Junction. Angie won the Maskers’ Award for Best Supporting Actor for her multiple roles in last year’s summer show, Don Quixote! She is also part of the hardworking Marketing Team and is rarely seen without flyers and posters to pass around. Angie is enjoying playing multiple parts again in Twelfth Night and seems to have become typecast as a man!

Creative Team

Production Managers
Eric Petterson & Chris Baker
Stage Manager
Robert Osborne
Assistant Stage Manager
Anna Hussey
Set Construction
Brian Stansbridge
Set Painting
Hazel Burrows, Katie Knight & Sonya Greene
Lighting Design and Production Engineering
Clive Weeks
Lighting & Sound Operators
David Cowley & Oliver Trojak
FOH Sound and Electrical Engineering
Jamie McCarthy
Music Selection
James Norton
Original Music Composition
Issac Treuherz and Hazel Slawson
Eric Petterson
Car Park Manager
Brian Stansbridge
Stage Crew
Costume Design & Wardrobe
Serena Brown, Susan Wilson & Sarah-Jayne Wareham
Properties & Furniture
Adam Taussik
Illria Sign Construction
Tom Foyle and James Norton
Catering Manager
Chris Baker

Ticket Information

EARLY BIRD OFFER - buy before 12 May and get £2 off Adult fixed night ticket!

Fixed night: £13* until May 12th, then £15
Flexible night in advance: £17
On the gate: £17 (Cash & cheques only)

(Not recommended for under 5s)
5 to 16yrs: £12 (all options)

(16+ in full time education - ID required)
£13 (all options)

10% off fixed night tickets for groups of 10 or more (not applicable for Early Bird Offer)



Patrons are welcome to picnic in the beautiful grounds of TownHill Park House (The Gregg School) from 6.00pm (1.00pm on Saturday 20 July for the Matinée).

Note – the Gertrude Jekyll garden also will be open for viewing but no picnics are allowed in that area.

You are advised to bring low back chairs, rugs, etc., as NO SEATING IS PROVIDED. We suggest you also bring jumpers or coats, as it can get cold even on the warmest of evenings.

The Gregg School is a private school and the grounds are not generally open to the public and there is no public access prior to the performance dates. Dates of occasional open days to view the gardens at other times can be found on the Gregg School website.

Ample free parking and toilet facilities will be provided with provision for disabled patrons.

There is a short walk of approx. 100 metres to the performance area. Hot and cold drinks and snacks will be available to buy. No unaccompanied children under 16. No dogs (except guide dogs).

Poster, Flyer & Programme

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
Image Gallery
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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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