The Maskers' Studio Theatre
13 Sept - 18 Sept 2021

Performances at 8pm.


A Double Bill - two plays in one evening!

These plays contain some strong language.
Recommended for ages 14 years and older.

The Maskers wish to thank Jane Tomlinson for the use of her painting
"Spring garden patrol, Eynsham" as the art work for 'Yards Apart' publicity.
More of Jane's art can be found at


The Reviews


13 September 2021

This evening I spent a very enjoyable few hours at the Maskers Theatre seeing a Double Bill of plays. It was fabulous finding myself back in the audience once again after a considerable hiatus.

First up was Yards Apart, an incredibly heart-warming tale of two people, their very different lives and world views which collide for the betterment of everyone involved.
My star of the overall evening goes immediately to Anna Hussey, who sparkled as the bolshy, free spirited Viki, a pregnant mother who has newly arrived in the UK from Eastern Europe.
Anna’s accent and physicality whilst pregnant where both superb, and exceptionally natural.

Philip de Grouchy’s character Mark reminded me warmly of my gardening obsessed granddad. Mark was somewhat set in his ways, a little grouchy (by name and nature it seems!) but with a heart of gold underneath all his flaws.
I was incredibly impressed by writer and director Mary Stone’s script and vision. I entered the interval with a big smile on my face.

My second show of the evening was Sharks in the Custard, a farcical take on the world of modern art and the sad reality that sometimes things do have to change, no matter how happy you are.
The gossipy chit chat between the three cleaners (Jill Desborough, Allegra Carlton and Jane Russell) felt reminiscent of the TV show Dinnerladies, as the central characters chewed the fat over the proverbial water cooler which was very enjoyable to behold.

I must commend Clive Weeks, Jez Minns, Mary Stone, Adam Taussik, Meri Mackey and Hazel Slawson who were responsible for the overall set design and dressing.
Both of these short plays had truly excellent and impressive sets, I really enjoyed being taken from a garden to an art gallery all in one evening.

Congratulations to the cast and crew of both shows. I had a really lovely evening back in a theatre at long last.

The double bill of Yards Apart and Sharks in the Custard runs from 13 – 18 September.

- Hannah-Cait Harrison

Yards Apart - Neighbours, but can they be friends

Sharks in the Custard - A biting comedy

Yards Apart

Mark is retired and spends his days pottering around the garden (which he loves almost to the point of obsession), avoiding the neighbours and scaring off the local cats with his BB gun. When his neighbour Viki literally crashes into his world he's eager to send her packing and return to his quiet, solitary life. But Viki and Mark are destined for a collision course that pits equally entrenched opinions against each other.

Can these two lonely people overcome their differences and help each other when it counts?

Sharks in the Custard

Liz, Vera and Mair enjoy their cleaning work in the art gallery. It gives them a few hours of peace and quiet every day, away from the noise of the hectic outside world and the unhappy chaos of their home lives. They banter and tell stories. And they also crack jokes about the works of art in their care, in particular the avant-garde art. But they all agree they wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.

However, rumours of government cut backs threaten to upset their cosy regime and they find themselves up to their necks in shark-infested custard!

Directors & Casts

Yards Apart

The Director of this production is Mary Stone
Mary is delighted to be presenting her one-act play, Yards Apart, for its world première at Maskers. It will be the fifth show she has directed, following: Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons, Lemons (2019), God of Carnage (2016), Colder Than Here (2013) and the NODA award winning Last Train to Nibroc (2011). Mary has also directed for The Chesil Theatre's 10x10 festival, produced several shows and worked backstage in a number of roles from Stage Manager to Lighting Operator. Mary used to tread the boards too, and had roles in Entertaining Angels, Kindertransport, Blood Wedding, An Inspector Calls and Habeas Corpus all at The Chesil Theatre. Mary has also written comedy sketches, short plays, a short film and has had a short story published in an online anthology of horror stories!

Mark is played by Philip de Grouchy
A member of the Society since the early 1970's, Philip has played a large variety of parts in every kind of show and was last seen playing Leonato in Much Ado About Nothing. Philip was also in our last show at the Studio, Quartet, just before first lockdown.

Viki is played by Anna Hussey
Anna joined Maskers over 2 years ago and has been involved both on and off stage. Debuting with Maskers in Wyrd Sisters as part of the ensemble in 2018, Anna has contributed backstage and helped with marketing in 2019 before returning to the Maskers’ stage for 100 to play Nina in October. She has had her first experience of Masker’s summer open-air production, playing Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.
Anna has been involved with local dramatic groups since 2014 and started off exclusively in costume. The acting bug grabbed her in 2016 when she performed in A Midsummer Night’s Dream as Snout the Tinker with the Curdridge Players. She has also performed with SUP in And Then There Were None, contributed to their war memorial performances of For the Fallen and played Mother in The Railway Children.
Anna is over the moon to be cast in Yards Apart as it’s an exciting new production and gives her the opportunity to explore and build on the character of Viki with Mary and Philip, as well as exploring themes about perceptions, beliefs and tolerance.

Sharks in the Custard

The Director of this production is Jez Minns
Jez is not a complete newcomer to directing. In his younger days he directed some adventurous, large-cast shows for an amateur company in Warwickshire. However, this is his first time with Maskers and he has been amazed by the professionalism and expertise of everyone involved. Normally an actor, Jez was last seen playing Borachio in Much Ado about Nothing. His last appearance in the Studio was in the Maskers’ Christmas show, The Flint Street Nativity, in which he played the seven-year-old bully-boy, Bradley Jerrams.

Liz is played by Jill Desborough
Jill has been a Masker since 2014 and has enjoyed acting in a variety of roles. Highlights include Much Ado About Nothing (Townhill Park), The Jungle Book (Hamptworth) and The Killing of Sister George (Studio) and several Christmas Shows. While acting remains her first love, she has recently branched out into backstage roles, including stage managing last year's Christmas Show and directing Quartet.

Vera is played by Allegra Carlton
Allegra has played a range of character parts in numerous productions in Southampton for local amateur companies over many years. Highlights have included Rossignol in Marat/Sade (Nuffield Theatre), Aunt Betsy Trotwood in David Copperfield (Nuffield Theatre), Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest (Nuffield Theatre) and Lady Catherine de Bourgh in Pride and Prejudice (Mottisfont). She has also been involved in costume design and wardrobe in a considerable number of productions for Maskers (recent shows include Great Expectations, The Importance of Being Earnest, Don Quixote and Quartet). She is delighted to be cast in Sharks in the Custard, where her East Yorkshire origins are standing her in good stead.

Mair is played by Jane Russell
Jane is delighted to be taking part in her second production for Maskers – a completely different challenge to that of Mary in The Flint Street Nativity – and she has enjoyed working with fellow Maskers to bring this one act show to life. Although having performed in over 25 productions with both RAODS and EOMS since rekindling her love of acting in 2012, playing the part of Mair in Sharks in the Custard is the first time that Jane has had to master a Welsh accent: an interesting challenge but the perfect opportunity to binge watch Gavin and Stacey!

Bridget is played by Kate Grundy-Garcia
Kate has been a Masker for many years now and has more recently been in Antigone and Comfort Me with Apples, also performed at the studio. She looks forward to playing a small but compact role this time in Sharks in the Custard.

Guest 1 is played by Clare Minns
After many years performing with Southampton Operatic Society, being directed by her son is a new experience for Clare - but a very enjoyable and rewarding one.

Guest 2 is played by Graham Buchanan
Graham is a founder member of Maskers and is still actively involved with the company both on and backstage.

Atlas Cleaner is played by Albie Minns
No lines. No mistakes.

Creative Team

Production Manager
Meri Mackney
Assistant Director (Yards)
Hazel Slawson
Stage Manager
Kathryn Salmon
Set Design
Adam Taussik (both) & Jez Minns (Sharks)
Set Design Contributors & Constructiuon
John Hamon (Sharks), Jez Minns (Sharks), Clive Weeks, Meri Mackney
Set Dressing
Lighting Designer
Clive Weeks
Lighting Operator
Sound Designer
Jamie McCarthy
Sound Operator
Wardrobe & Costumes
Sheana Carrington (Sharks)
Jo Fox (Yards), Adam Taussik (Sharks)
Rehearsal Prompt
Chris Baker (Sharks)

Ticket Information

Tickets £12

No concessions

On arrive at the Masker’s Studio

  • Please give your name (or the name the tickets were booked under) to our Box Office receptionist, and they will confirm your booking.
  • If you have pre-ordered a programme you will be given it on arrival. Programmes will also be available for £1 from a FOH member.
  • For the safety of all our audience members and staff we will be operating some Covid risk reduction actions.  Please use the hand sanitising stations on arrival, & temperature checks will be in place.  We will also be increasing the fresh air circulating throughout the venue.
  • NHS Track and Trace QR codes are available for you to check in when you are at the venue.
  • We strongly recommend that customers use face coverings whilst in the building for the safety of our staff and other customers. Please be kind to our staff and those around you.
  • Our staff will continue to wear face coverings for your protection.
  • Our bar will be open for purchases of hot drinks and alcoholic beverages.  We would encourage you to pre-order you interval drinks, to assist our bar staff and reduce crowding at the bar.
  • We are now able to take, and prefer, card payments but can also take cash.

During your visit

  • Please continue to wear your face covering throughout your visit. Unless exempt, or whilst you are drinking in the bar only.
  • We ask you to keep movement around the theatre to a minimum.
  • Toilets are open for use. Please wash your hands before and after using the toilet facilities.
  • Hand sanitiser will be available for your use at various points around the theatre building.
  • We have installed an extra extractor fan to vent studio air to the outside pulling fresh air in from the other side of the building.
  • Where possible windows will also remain open.  This may make the venue cooler than you are used to, so please be prepared.
  • Enhanced cleaning will take place throughout the venue before, and after the performance.
  • The taking of photographs or videos whilst the show is on is not permitted.

How will we exit the building/event at the end of the performance?

  • When leaving, please do not crowd the stairwell and allow everyone to leave easily and quickly.
  • Please take any rubbish with you or leave it in the bins provided.

What if I have specific access needs?

  • The stair chair lift is available and our FOH staff will assist you should you need to use it.
  • Any other requirements may be discussed with our Box Office manager in advance of your arrival.

Book with Confidence, Exchange with Ease – COVID-19

If you or a member of your party are displaying COVID-19 symptoms or are required to self-isolate, you must not attend the theatre and all tickets in your booking will be exchanged or a gift voucher issued up to 24 hours prior to the performance. Tickets cannot be refunded after a performance has passed.

If the show is cancelled, will I get a full refund?

  • If we are required by any COVID-19 government guidance or restrictions to cancel a performance, tickets may be exchanged or refunded.

Poster, Flyer & Programme

For the Maskers

Technical Manager:- Jamie McCarthy;   Lighting Consultant:- Clive Weeks;   Sound Consultant:- Jamie McCarthy;   Marketing Director:- Peter Court;   Marketing Team:- 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

click on a photo to enlarge it

Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Yards Apart - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal
Sharks in the Custard - Dress Rehearsal

Thank You

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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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