70th Season - 2011/2012

Note: Performances at 7.30pm with no performances on Sunday or Monday except where stated.
There is usually an exhibition of the work of local artists in the Foyer during a production.

Printable calendar with Highbury meeting and production dates

20 September - 1 October 2011
39 Steps by Patrick Barlow
A wonderful spoof of the Hitchcock thriller.

“The 39 Steps” by Patrick Barlow (New Play)
Cast of 1 female, 3 males
    Richard Hannay is bored and under-employed, when a beautiful foreign girl begs him to take her home, and tells him that she is trying to foil a plot by a dastardly secret agent. When she is murdered, Hannay begins to take her story seriously. He flees when he is accused of her murder, and escapes capture as he journeys to Scotland in search of the spy. On the way, he meets the beautiful Pamela.  After a great number of trials and tribulations, he manages to foil the plot and gets the girl!
    The play is a very funny, but affectionate, adaptation of the John Buchan spy story. Although the main character is constant, all the other parts are played by the one female member of the cast, and the two clowns. The staging will be very simple, as there is no set as such, but good technical effects, such as excellent lighting and sound effects, will be essential.  It’s great fun, with a break-neck pace, and lots of gags which would keep the audience satisfied. It would have to be taken completely seriously by the cast in order to have maximum effect.

17 - 22 October 2010 in the STUDIO (Mon - Sat with a 2.30 Sat Mat)

Playhouse Creatures by April de Angelis.
A fascinating glimpse into the tumultuous lives of the first 17th century actresses.

“Playhouse Creatures” by April de Angelis (Free Choice)
Cast of 5 females
    This play is set in 1670. It traces the adventures of five women involved in the theatre. Nell Gwyn works in a pub, but longs to become an actress because she thinks they have nice clothes to wear. Mrs Farley finds work with the Bettertons in the King’s company, and eventually Nell also tricks her way into the company.  The women have their admirers, including the king, but the life of the actresses is not always glamorous. Doll acts as the chorus in the play, which is peppered with snippets from performances on stage. The play has its comic moments, and is a fascinating glimpse into the theatre of the seventeenth century.

8 - 19 November 2011

Hedda Gabler by Henrik Ibsen
A classic tale of a woman trapped by marriage.

“Hedda Gabler” by Henrik Ibsen (International Classic)
Cast of 4 female, 3 male
    Jorgen and Hedda Tesman are welcomed back from their honeymoon by Aunt Juliane. Hedda has plans for improvements to the house which may not be within the budgetary constraints of Jorgen’s academic salary, even though he hopes to be made a professor. Jorgen learns from Mrs Elvsted that his old academic rival Ejlert Lovborg has created quite a stir with the publication of a book.  When Lovborg calls at Jorgen’s invitation, he tells him that he has written a sequel to his first book, and no-one else has read it. Lovborg is clearly in love with Hedda, and cannot reconcile himself to the fact that she is married to Jorgen. Hedda tells Lovburg that Mrs Elvsted is in love with him, and burns the manuscript in jealousy. She gives Lovborg a pistol, and he shoots himself. When Jorgen announces that he will try to rewrite the book with Mrs Elvsted’s help, Hedda shoots herself. She cannot live in the claustrophobic middle class world in which her marriage has placed her.  

27 December 2011 -7 January 2012
Matinee Performances starting at 2.30pm -27, 28, 29, 30 December, 7 January 2012
Evening Performances starting at 7.30pm - 27, 30 December, 4, 5, 6, 7 January 2012

The Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe by Norman Robbins
An engaging family pantomime .

“The old woman who lived in a shoe” by Norman Robbins (Play with Music)
Cast of 5 females, 8 males (some gender switching possible!) plus possible chorus of Villagers
    This is a typical pantomime script, with lots of groan-worthy jokes, and the odd bit of slap stick. Calumnia is a wicked witch, who likes to cause trouble. Mother Goose is an immortal, who prevents Calumnia’s plans from causing any permanent harm. The Squire of Tumbledown intends to throw Dame Dallymore out of her cottage, along with the orphans she looks after. Corydon, her son, falls in love with Princess Marigold, whose father is Old King Cole. Marigold is carried off in a giant’s shoe, but is rescued by Corydon and the other goodies. All ends happily, with the lovers back together, the evil witch thwarted and the Dame made rich

7 - 18 February 2012

First Things First by Derek Benfield
A fast-moving comedy of too many wives

First Things First by Derek Benfield
Cast of 3 Male, 3 Female
George has been best man at both of Pete’s weddings. So when Pete’s first wife, presumed dead, turns back up, it is George who breaks the news. As the situation escalates out of control in this fast-paced comedy, the men try to conceal the truth from both wives, with hilarious consequences!

Oleanna. by David Mamet
A controversial play about political correctness.
This Amateur production is performed by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Limited

“Oleanna” by David Mamet (Free Choice)
Cast of 1 female, 1 male
    The man is a tutor at the University, the girl one of his students. She arrives at his office to ask for help because she does not understand some of the points he has made in his book and lectures. He is pre-occupied with a deal to buy a house and the tenure of his post, for which he has recently been interviewed. He criticises her work, which makes her feel stupid but then reveals some of his own insecurities and scepticism about the university system. He offers her an A grade and extra tuition. She then makes a complaint, interpreting his behaviour as sexist and paternalistic. He tries to persuade her to retract. The balance of power between them, formerly heavily weighted towards him because of his role and age, begins to shift.
    In the final scene we learn that she has also brought a complaint of rape. Again the interpretation of his actions is based on extreme political correctness. He is in a position to lose every thing, house, job, livelihood. The balance of power is definitely with her. He finally loses self control and the scene ends with a violent attack.

20 - 31 March 2012

Humble Boy by Charlotte Jones
A gently family comedy 

“Humble Boy” by Charlotte Jones (Free Choice)
 Cast of 3 females, 3 males
    Felix (a researcher at Cambridge in Astro-Physics) has returned to the family home for his father’s funeral. Felix and his mother (Flora) do not get on. Felix is upset that his mother has had his father’s beehives removed and this has fuelled their ongoing antipathy. Jim the gardener appears and exits at varying times throughout the action of the play.
Flora has been having an affair with George Pye for a number of years whilst Felix’s father was still alive. George has little regard for Felix and is pushing Flora to agree to marry him.  Rosie (George’s daughter) had an affair with Felix before he left to be an Astro-Physicist and has a daughter from the relationship (7 years old). Felix is aware of the child but is not aware that she is his.
    Rosie reveals to Felix that Felicity (daughter) is his and offers to him a way of being a father to her – Felix does not seem to be able to cope with this. It is revealed that James (Felix’s late father) had discovered a new species of bee and that he named it after Flora. She eventually rejects George’s proposal.  The play ends with the possibility of Flora and Felix moving towards some form of reconciliation, with also some possible onward movement between Felix, Rosie and their daughter.
    This play is a gentle exploration of family relationships, with an ambiguous ending. It has some very funny moments, but also some poignant ones.

16 - 21 April 2012 in the STUDIO (Mon - Sat)
CANCELLED - see 21 - 26 May

Brush Up Your Shakespeare
Villains and fools in Shakespeare.

Brush up Your Shakespeare – Villains and Fools in Shakespeare.
    As part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad, the Royal Shakespeare Company has teamed up with the Little Theatre Guild to run a series of events, called Open Stages, to celebrate the work of Shakespeare.  We want to encourage people, especially young people, to come and have a go at some Shakespeare.
A devised entertainment exploring the use of villains and fools in his works.

1 - 12 May 2012

The Sunshine Boys by Neil Simon
A witty American comedy.

“The Sunshine Boys” by Neil Simon (Comedy)
Cast of 2 females, 5 males
    Two comedians worked together for 43 years as a double-act and one day, one of them (Al Lewis) decide to retire after the last year of their partnership, when neither of them spoke to one another. Willie Clark has never forgiven Al Lewis for deserting him and ending the double-act and his career. Neither of them have worked since, and 11 years have passed.
Ben (Willies’ nephew and agent) has been trying to get Willie interested in doing more work – getting jobs off of his reputation, but Willie has consistently destroyed his own chances by being extremely difficult. Ben gets an offer for booth Al and Willie to team up again for a retrospect of comedy and comedians. After a lot of pain and irritability, Ben gets both Al and Willie to agree to do it. They meet for a rehearsal and the sparks fly again.
    They are rehearsing their sketch in the TV studio and after a number of false-starts they get most of the way through it. However, Willie winds Al up and he reacts and then leaves, Willie overreacts and has a heart attack. The last scene is back in Willie’s hotel rooms with him being looked after by a nurse. Ben arrives and tells Willie that Al is downstairs. The two have an acerbic reunion again, but this time there is less anger – Willie and Al come to more of a status quo and start to play off one another, much like they did when they worked together originally. The play ends with a witty twist!

21 - 26 May 2012 in the STUDIO (Mon - Sat)

Brush up your Shakespeare
A miscellany of Shakespeare lovers and other characters.

 As part of the 2012 Cultural Olympiad and with the support of a Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) project, we are celebrating our Shakespearean heritage by looking anew at some of Shakespeare’s work and characters. Using the techniques we learnt from the RSC workshops, we are presenting several short scenes, which will be performed as “work in progress”, so the cast will be acting out the scenes but will still have their scripts. Some scenes will be familiar, while others take characters and put them into different situations, to see what happens. There’ll also be a chance to talk with the players about what we’ve done. So come along and meet some of Shakespeare’s heroes, villains, fools and lovers!

12 -23 June 2012

A Servant of Two Masters by Carlo Goldini
Translated by John English.
A comedy of mistaken identity.

“A Servant to Two Masters” by Carlo Goldini (International Classic)
Cast of 3 females, 6 males
    As a tribute to John English, in the season following our celebration of his contribution to Highbury Theatre, we should like to present his translation of this classic play. Pantaloon has just arranged his daughter’s marriage to Silvio, when Truffaldino arrives to announce the arrival of Rasponi, to whom Clarice was engaged, but who was reportedly killed in a duel. Beatrice has disguised herself as Rasponi, who was her brother, now deceased. She confides in Clarice, revealing her true identity, and telling her that she is searching for her lover, Florindo. Truffaldino is taken on by Florindo, so he becomes literally a servant to two masters. After many confusions of mistaken identity, Clarice ends up with Silvio, Beatrice with Florindo and Truffaldino with Smeraldina.