Past Performances

The Tempest -- Summer 1996

The Tempest

Sailors tumbled from the Elizabethan era into the swinging 60s as they arrived on Prospero's island for a production which saw three silver-painted Ariels swinging from the magnificent beech tree in the Bowes Museum grounds, an aeroplane crashing on to the stage and a moon landing by the king's drunken butler.


"The Castle Players can walk on water.  It's true, I saw it with my own eyes.  This talented, totally topical Tempest cast walked out of Dr Who's Tardis across an angry sea of blue parachute silk on to Prospero's island to take their first night audience in the grounds of the Bowes Museum by storm."   The Northern Echo 12 July 1996
Summer 1996

Designed and directed by Simon Pell


Prospero, rightful Duke of Milan David Philbrick
Miranda, daughter of Prospero Rachel Herring
Ariel, a tricksy spirit Jill Cole
Chris Best Philippa Francis
Caliban, a deformed savage Robert Reed
Antonia, sister of Prospero Judith Nash
Alonso, King of Naples John Worsnop
Ferdinand, son of Alonso Tom Moorhouse
Sebastian, brother of Alonso Chris Lee
Gonzalo, an honest councillor Trevor Clarke
Adrian, a lord Alan Haddick
Franciso, a lord Matthew Davies
Trinculo, a jester Andy Moorhouse
Stephano, a drunken butler Mike Harris
Shipsmaster Angus Wheeler
Boatswain Rowan May
Iris Helen Roberts
Ceres Sarah Burrows
Juno Roz Almond
Spirits Roz Almond
Sarah Burrows Alison Davies
Trudi Dixon Margaret Lee
Ronnie Lowery Rowan May
June Mouncey Helen Roberts
Mary Stastny Ellen Wilson
Sycorax Mary Stastny
Young Prospero Rowan May
Young Mrs Prospero Roz Almond


Assistant director Robert Reed
Production manager Jane Vafeas
Stage manager Mike Elder
Sound design Harry Robinson
Choreography Judith Nash
Wardrobe mistress Lesley Cutting
Properties Jane Vafeas
Large properties Dick Francis
Assistant stage managers Nic Worsnop
Bryony Bell Patrick Murray
Wardrobe assistants Margaret Lee
  Cathy Burrows
Lighting and sound Harry Robinson
Bob Blythe Neil McCarthy
Paul Richardson David Blackie
Dick Francis  


Caliban, Stephano and Trinculo in their 1960s finery


Spirits of the island


Stephano meets Ariel

Much Ado About Nothing -- Summer 1998

Much Ado About Nothing

The war is over; and the action of the play starts on VE Day, 1945.  Incorporating more than 20 unforgettable songs of WWII, The Castle Players' version of Much Ado About Nothing was the tenth summer Shakespeare.  With over three hundred members having contributed to various productions over the years, the group had come a long way since The New Broom.

Summer 1998

Designed and directed by Simon Pell



Leonata, governess of Messina Chris Best
Antonia, her elder sister Trudi Dixon
Beatrice, Leonata's niece Rachel Herring
Hero, Leonata's daughter Carolyn Robson
Margaret, attendant on Hero Nic Worsnop
Ursula, attendant on Hero Jill Cole
A messenger Jane Hartley
Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon John Winter
Benedick, a lord Gordon Duffy-McGhie
Claudio, another lord Steve Tinkler
Don John, Don Pedro's bastard brother Allan Jones
Borachio, a follower of Don John Rob Reed
Conrade, a follower of Don John Angus Wheeler
Friar Francis, a priest David Philbrick
Dogberry, the Constable Andy Moorhouse
Verges, his partner John Worsnop
A sexton Doris Dobson
First watchman Greg Tassell
Second watchman Rowan May
A lady Jan Mole
A girl Rebecca Renton
Local citizens Sylvia Beadle
Dorothy Kelton Josie Pollard
Jennie Winter Victoria Manifold
Judith Nash Jan Mole
Rebecca Renton  


Assistant director Andy Moorhouse
Production manager Jane Vafeas
Stage manager Mike Elder
Stage management Mary Stastny
Philippa Francis Maddie Best
Sound design Harry Robinson
Lighting and sound team Harry Robinson
Bob Blythe Paul Richardson
Peter Best Ben Hobbs
Wardrobe mistress Lesley Cutting
Wardrobe assistants Christine Naseby
  Valerie Milne
Properties and masks Jane Vafeas
Properties assistant Bryony Bell
Flowers and arrangements Christine Naseby
Dance coaching Anne Woyka

The masked ball

Borachio and Conrade meet the watchmen

The School For Scandal -- Summer 1999

The School for Scandal

The School for Scandal by Richard Brinsley Sheridan marked a major change for The Castle Players.  After ten years of Shakespeare, the group presented the first of two Restoration comedies.  The Bowes Museum's 18th century sedan chair provided the model for one of the key props in this production, offering regular exercise to its two bearers, 'Sid' and 'Dan'!

Summer 1999

Designed and directed by Simon Pell



Sir Peter Teazle Gordon Duffy-McGhie
Sir Oliver Surface Trevor Clarke
Joseph Surface Alex Fairbairn-Dixon
Charles Surface Robert Bullard
Crabtree Fred Traice
Sir Benjamin Backbite Michael Harris
Mistress Rowley Doris Dobson
Moses Rob Reed
Trip Nic Worsnop
Snake Andy Moorhouse
Lady Teazle Mary Stastny
Maria Carole Cuthbertson
Lady Sneerwell Trudi Dixon
Mrs Candour Chris Best
Careless Alan Haddick
Sir Harry (Toby) Bumper Angus Wheeler
Pump room orderlies Helen Dexter
Shona Rennie Ian McCann
Spa clientele Judith Nash
Josie Pollard Sylvia Beadle
Georgina McBain Anne Burton
Rachel Herring Carolyn Naseby
Carolyn Robson  


Assistant director Rob Reed
Production manager Jane Vafeas
Site coordination Christine Naseby
Stage manager Mike Elder
Stage management team Lez Woodhouse
Pippa Francis Maddie Best
Lighting and sound design Harry Robinson
Lighting and sound team Harry Robinson
Dick Francis Bob Blythe
Paul Richardson Peter Best
Wardrobe mistress Lesley Cutting
Wardrobe assistant Christine Naseby
Large props Dick Francis
Properties Jane Vafeas
Properties assistant Bryony Bell
Masks Jane Vafeas
Make-up Mitch Mitchell
Sir Peter Teazle enjoys a steam bath

Charles Surface and Sir Toby Bumper

Lady Sneerwell, Mrs Candour and ladies of the spa

The Beaux' Stratagem -- Summer 2000

BeauxPosterDirected by Simon Pell

Summer 2000

The Castle Players donned their powdered wigs for a second year in George Farquhar's romantic comedy, set in an 18th century coaching inn. 

For the first time in several years, a full set was created under the beech tree, with streets of half-timbered houses providing a striking backdrop to the action onstage.

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Cast Crew
Boniface Fred Traice   Designed & directed by Simon Pell
Cherry Helen Dexter   Assistant directors Mary Stastny, Jill Cole, Andy Moorhouse
Aimwell Gus Fleming   Choreography  Mary Stastny 
Archer Gordon Duffy-McGhie   Production manager  Jane Vafeas 
Lady Bountiful Nic Worsnop   Site co-ordination  Christine Naseby 
Dorinda Emily Blanchard   Stage manager  Lez Woodhouse 
Sullen Alan Haddick   Stage management team  Maddie Best, Trevor Clarke, Mike Elder 
Mrs Sullen Carole Cuthbertson   Lighting & sound design  Harry Robinson 
Gipsy Judith Nash   Lighting & sound team  Peter Best, Bob Blyth, Dick Francis 
Count Bellair John Wosrnop   Wardrobe  Lesley Cutting (with Christine Naseby) 
Foigard Andrew Stainthorpe   Large props  Dick Francis 
Gibbet Edmund Purdy   Props  Jane Vafeas (with Bryony Bell) 
Hounslow Chris Best                         
Bagshot Dave Lakie  
Scrub Ian McCann  
Country Woman Sarah Fells  
Sir Charles Freeman Angus Wheeler  
Maid to Lady Bountiful Josie Pollard  
A Fellow Andy Moorhouse  
Servant to Lady Bountiful Ralph Duffy-McGhie  
French Officers Michael Harris & Angus Wheeler  
Clergyman John Beadle  
Tapster Edward Cole  
Chambermaid Jodie Tatchley  
Travellers, Churchgoers & Ladies Sylvia Beadle, Sarah Fells, Carolyn Naseby, Mary Stastny, Michael Harris, Jill Cole