Past Performances

All's Well That Ends Well -- Summer 2010

AWTEW Poster WebDirected by Jill Cole

Summer 2010

When Bertram leaves the family chateâu in Rossillion to stay with the ailing King of France, Helena quickly follows, cures the king, marries Bertram...and then departs for Italy.

And so begins this completely unlikely, madcap plot of young love, hot blood, confusion and trickery which sees strong women triumph over the weaknesses of the opposite sex - and traces Bertram's journey from boyhood to manhood.

Set against a backdrop of atmospheric café accordion music, live drumming, mime artists and a stage teeming with life, this production from The Castle Players delivered a highly imaginative, inventive and original night of open-air Shakespeare in the grounds of County Durham's very own ‘chateâu' which transported the audience to the chic sophistication and wild impetuosity of 1930s France. 



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Cast Crew
Countess of Rossillion Chris Best   Director Jill Cole
Bertram Chris Patterson   Assistant director Lynn Smith
Helena Ellie Grassick   Stage manager Laura Pennell 
Parolles Gordon Duffy-McGhie   Assistant stage manager  Mike Elder 
Lord Lafew
Keith Turner   Stage management team Sam Fells, Richard Rainbow, Sally Roberts
Lavatch Andrew Stainthorpe (speaking), Amanda Lawson & Caroline Thornton (mimes)   Wardrobe  Lesley Cutting 
Rynaldo Alex Fewell   Technical management & installation Bob Blyth & Harry Robinson 
King of France Ian Kirkbride   Lighting design & operation  Lynn Smith 
Dumaine Brothers Steven Bainbridge & Oliver Smith   Sound operation  Will Barker & Vaughan Freeman 
Duke of Florence Harry French   Experience design Christine Naseby 
1st Soldier Peter Cockerill   Props  Sally Roberts 
2nd Soldier Angus Wheeler   Large prop making  Simon Pell & Peter Cockerill 
Widow of Florence Trudi Dixon   Bed designed and made by Anthony Nixon Furniture 
Diana Sarah Fells   Window scene painting by  Geoff Hewitt 
Marina Nic Worsnop   Marketing 

Fred Tracie, Chris Bell, Bill Gibson, Chris Best, Tesesa Wilcox, Val Wilson, David Kelly, Peter Cockerill, Lynn Smith, Christine Naseby, Andrew Harrison, Andrew Stainthorpe, Carol Goldberg, Jill Cole, Sue Campbell

Messenger Matthew Jones   Front of House  Mal Bell, Fred Tracie, Tesesa Wilcox, Bill Oldfield, Carol Goldberg, Jane Cockerill,John Dent, Annalisa Ward, Mary Stastny, Bill Gibson, John Purkiss, Andrew Harrison, Ed Bentley, Chris Bell, Penny Randall-Davis, William Freeman, The Turrets, Teesdale Lions 
Pages Rhys Ward & Liam Sampson   Construction Will Barker, Angus Wheeler, Peter Cockerill, Chris Swift, Peter Atkinson, Mike Ward with production team and cast members. 
Maudlin Harry French               
Ensemble Judith Bainbridge, Susie Blackburn, Marianne Dixon, Libby Duffy, Alex Fewell, Sue Foulston, Gail Jordan, Kim Hodgson, Katie Knox, Carolyn Naseby, Josie Pollard, Phoebe Shaw, Chris Stead and members of the cast  
Lords & Soldiers Christopher Evans, Graham Fewell, Gregory Jagger, Fred Tracie and members of the cast  
Drummers Matt Bacon, Michael Bedwell, Ben Day-Preson  


Much Ado About Nothing -- Summer 2011

muchadoaboutnothingDirected by Simon Pell

Summer 2011

The summer 2011 production of Shakespeare's well-loved play, Much Ado About Nothing was set in 1588. The English fleet has just defeated the almighty Spanish Armada at the Battle of Gravelines. Back home the entire country prepares to welcome the victorious sailors with street parties, banquets and masked balls. Leonata, Governess of Messina warmly welcomes Don Pedro and his men, who are invited to stay for a month of celebrations. The rest is history but true love prevails as we follow the stories of Beatrice, Benedick, Hero and Claudio.

A live Elizabethan soundtrack was provided by world-famous lutist Jacob Heringman.

In 2011 the Castle Players incorporated several new elements to the experience, including relocating to the back lawn of the Bowes Museum and using new covered seating.


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Cast Crew
Don Pedro Harry French   Director Simon Pell
Benedick Andrew Stainthorpe   Designer Simon Pell & Christine Naseby
Claudio Matthew Jones   Assistant director Mary Stastny
Don John Andy Moorhouse   Music Jacob Herringman
Tom Hughes   Songs Penny Randall-Davis
Conrade Andrew Harrison   Stage manager  Sally Roberts
Leonata Lynn Smith   Props Marzia Aloisio
Antonia Trudi Dixon   Technical design & installation Bob Blyth & Harry Roberts
Friar Francis Balthasar Peter Cockerill   Stage management & technical team 

Mike Elder, Kathy Kerr, Will Barker, Lez Woodhouse, Marianne Dixon, Sam Fells, Chris Best, Vaughan Freeman, Ian Forster, Sally Barker, Willian Freeman, Alex Doyle

Hero Laura Pennell   Transport & logistics management Peter Atkinson
Margaret Sarah Fells   Set construction & painting team Simon Pell, Graham Fewell, Matthew Heron, Andrew Heron, Lez Woodhouse, Charlotte Perkins, Sue Foulston, Harry French, Alex Doyle
Ursula Nic Worsnop   Wardrobe

Lesley Cutting (with Christine Naseby, Marzia Aloisio, Charlotte Perkins, Lorraine De-Guise, Janet Fowler, Christine Bell)

Beatrice Susie Kitson   Publicity  Andrew Harrison
Diana Sarah Fells   Video & DVD  Adrian Ball
Dogberry Graham Fewell   T-Shirt Sarah Fells (with Susan Littlefair Embroidery)
Verges Keith Turner   Overnight Security Winston
Sexton Fred Traice   Publicity  Andrew Harrison 
1st Watchman Angus Wheeler   Marketing

Fred Tracie, Chris Bell, Bill Gibson, Chris Best, Tesesa Wilcox, Peter Cockerill, Lynn Smith, Christine Naseby, Andrew Harrison, Andrew Stainthorpe, Sue Campbell

2nd Watchman Christopher Evans   Front of house

Teresa Wilcox (with Carol Goldberg, Annalisa Ward, Sue Kelly, Josie Pollard, Bill Gibson, Jean Turner, John Purkiss, William Freeman, Val Wilson, Ed Bentley and the Cast)

Messenger Charlotte Perkins   Car parking Teesdale Lions
Boy Liam Sampson   First Aid St John's Ambulance 
Watchmen Martin Foran   Photography  Mark Fuller 
Snug Peter Martin, Alastair Stewart  


Crowd Sue Foutston, Josie Pollard, Marzio Aloisio, Sue Kelly, Daisy Fells, Carolyn Naseby, Janet Fowler, Chris Stead, Gail Jordan, Judith Bainbridge, Amy Russell, Gregory Jagger, Kathy Kerr, Maxwell Laurie, Sarah Sawyer, Lorraine De-Guide, Jane Mardon, Judith Hamilton, Katie Christensen  
Musicians Jacob Herringman (lute), Alastair Fells (gyitar)  

Measure for Measure -- Summer 1995

M4M-PosterDirected by Simon Pell

Summer 1995

The political scandal and intrigue of Measure for Measure shifted naturally to a contemporary setting, with characters facing the electric chair in front of walls graffitied with newspaper headlines.

David Blackie was cast as the Duke but, when he fell ill shortly before the production, director Simon Pell was obliged to read the part from a script carefully disguised as a Bible.

Reviews and Links

  • Coming soon!


Also coming soon!       


Cast Crew
Vincentio David Blackie/Simon Pell   Designed and directed by Simon Pell
Escalus David Philbrick   Assistant director David Blackie
Angelo Allan Jones   Stage management   Kirsteen Cook, Mike Elder (with John Morrison, Anne Briggs)
Lucio Rob Reed   Lighting & sound Harry Robinson, Neil McCarthy, Chris Coates, Stephen Bell
1st Tart Judith Nash   Props  Jane Vafeas
2nd Tart Jill Cole   Wardrobe  Lesley Cutting
Mistress Overdone Trudi Dixon   Newspapers devised by David Blackie
Pompey Mike Harris   Special effects chair John Morrsion 
Claudio Angus Wheeler   Set construction & painting Simon Pell, Jane Vafeas, John Morrison, Margaret Lee, David Blackie, John Worsnop, Tom Moorhouse, 
Provost Christophner Lees   Scenic artists Simon Pell, Jane Vafeas, Mary Stastny, Tom Moorhouse
Juliet Margaret Lee   Banner painting Simon Pell, John Worsnop, Jane Vafeas
Friar Thomas Tom Moorhouse   Site coordination Jane Vafeas
Friar Peter John Stead   Front of house Trevor Clarke, Mary Stastny
Isabella Alison Davies   Production manager Jane Vafeas 
Francisca Nic Worsnop      
Justice Simon Pell      
Elbow Andy Moorhouse                 
Froth Tom Moorhouse  
Messenger John Morrison  
Barnadine John Stead  
Mariana Ellen Wilson  
Servants Nic Worsnop, June Mouncey  

Grimm! -- Winter 2007

headshotDirected by Bryony Bell

Winter 2007

Grimm! was created from the original tales of the Brothers Grimm by four members of The Castle Players - Bryony Bell, Andrew Harrison, John Beadle and Sarah Fells. The show also had original music by Bridie Jackson.

It used puppetry, ensemble performance and original music to create magical effects for adults and children alike.

Reviews and Links

  • Coming soon!


Coming soon! 


Cast Crew
Fisherman & Lion Andy Moorhouse   Directed by Bryony Bell
Alice, Soiuthwind & Gossip Jane Mardon   Written by Bryony Bell, Andrew Harrison, Sarah Fells, John Beadle
Witch Trudi Dixon   Assistant director  Sarah Fells 
Rosalind, Night & Witch Jill Cole   Lighting  Chris Best 
Chamberlin & Prince Sarah Fells   Sound  Angus Wheeler 
May-bird & Mood Ellie Grassick   Wardrobe  Lesley Cuttong 
Lady Nic Worsnop   Original music by  Bridie Jackson 
Witch Daughter & Princess Laura Heaviside      
Fish, Merchant & Gossip John Beadle      
Husband & Courtier Edmund Purdy      
Sun & Ashputtel Alex Fewell      
Wife & Witch Daughter Valerie Clarke      
Dummling & Young Ashputel Marianne Dixon      


The Two Gentlemen of Verona -- Summer 2007

2 gents posterDirected by Simon Pell

Summer 2007

"Two Gents" was one of only a few Shakespearian comedies not yet tackled by The Castle Players.  This production once again set modern music against a traditional Elizabethan setting and brought three memorable new members into the group. Antonio Giovannini and Gianluca Marghieri were two real "Gentlemen from Verona", opera singers who flew in to help promote the show during production week - and to appear in a final scene in a cheeky deviation from the original. They braved torrential rain to perform at venues across the region and to entertain the audience as they ate their sodden picnics.

The third new member was Bruno the dog - winner of The Castle Players' very own "Bone Idol" competition against over twenty competitors. Unfazed by lights, crowds or noise, he played the part of Crab alongside Gordon Duffy-McGhie's Launce. A natural performer despite unpromising beginnings in a rescue centre, Bruno also proved to be an escape artist to rival Houdini and his unrehearsed exits from the stage kept cast and crew on their toes. Our thanks to the Coates family from Middlesbrough for providing a canine taxi service to bring Bruno to rehearsals and performances.

"It's a commendation in itself and a testament to the Castle Players' reputation for delivering quality, lively productions, that among the audience there was a healthy smattering of young faces and, by 11 p.m. when the play was reaching its climax, most were still watching intently." - The Northern Echo

Reviews and Links

  • Coming soon!


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Cast Crew
Duke of Milan Ian Kirkbride   Designed & directed by Simon Pell
Silvia Naomi Bartholomew   Assistant director Mary Stastny
Thurio Andy Moorhouse   Crowd workshop leader  Jill Cole
Eglamour Graham Fewell   Stage manager  Lez Woodhouse
Proteus Matthew Jones   Props  Jane Vafeas 
Valentine Angus Wheeler   Wardrobe  Lesley Cutting 
Julia Emily Wilson   Technical design & installation  Bob Blyth & Harry Robinson 
Antonio Keith Turner   Stage & technical management 

Jane Vafeas, Kathy Kerr, Christopher Evans, Erica Lawson-Spence,

William Barker, Alex Pollard, Trevor Clarke, Bridget Tyldsley 

Lucetta Alex Fewell   The Experience  Christine Naseby 
Speed Chris Best   Set construction & painting 

Simon Pell, Graham Fewell, Jane Vafeas, Bridget Tyldsley,

John Beadle, Caroline Carter, Margaret Wright, Fred Traice,

Lez Woodhouse, Chris Best, Mary Stastny, Peter Cockerill,

Jane Mardon, Marian Rayner, Edmund Purdy, Bryony Bell

Launce Gordon Duffy-McGhie   Transport & logistics manager  Peter Atkinson 
Panthio Caroline Carter                           
Host Sarah Fells  
Outlaws Alice Byrne, Sue Byrne, Ben Mansfield  
Servant Maria-Teresa Lander  
Crab Bruno (the dog)  
Ursula Faye Wood  
Friar Patrick Andrew Harrison  
Don Alphonso Jim Perrie  
Mrs Don Alphonso Stella Saunders  
Friar Laurence John Beadle  
The Rich Mercatio Clive Barker  
Antonio's Brother David Kelly  
Antonio's Sister In Law Sue Kelly  
Street Singer Josie Pollard  
Nuns Nic Worsnop, Bryony Bell, Jill Cole, Kelly Louise Profitt  
Street Sellers Fiona Ottewell, Patrick Bentley, Anna Bentley  
Woman Rhonda Hart-Davis  
Mystic Annalisa Ward  
Citizens of Milan Jackie Edwards & Peter Cockerill  
Musician Alastair Fells  
King of the Sandwichboard Andrew Stainthorpe