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In association with Simon Friend Entertainment


By Bill Bryson
Written by Tim Whitnall

Fri 03 Feb 2023 - Sat 18 Mar 2023

Bill Bryson’s smash-hit memoir journeys to the stage for the first time in this World premiere. 

From Calais to Scotland, Bill travels the length and breadth of Britain. How can the nation that produced Marmite, Gardener’s Question Time and people who say “Ooh lovely” at the sight of a cup of tea, hold such a special place in this American’s heart?

A world premiere stage adaptation that celebrates one of the nation’s most beloved books and celebrates the quirks of our small island.

Notes From A Small Island spent three years in The Sunday Times bestsellers list and sold over two million copies.

Tickets from £15

Performance Information
Running Time: Approximately 2 hours 35 minutes including an interval

Content guidance: This production includes the use of very strong language, language reflective of historical attitudes around Mental Health, reference to drug use, sexual references, mention of suicide, flashing lights, pyrotechnics, loud sound effect explosions, and haze.

This production is most suitable for those aged 12+

Accessible Performances
Audio Described Performance: Saturday 11 March at 2.30pm with a Touch Tour at 12.30pm, described by Colin Johnson
Open Captioned Performance: Saturday 11 March at 2.30pm
Closed Captioned Performance: Saturday 11 March at 7.30pm


Join us

Post Matinee Q&A on Saturday 11 March (BSL interpreted)

In Conversation with Tim Whitnall on Wednesday 15 March, 2pm.

Join us for a fascinating afternoon with Tim Whitnall, the BAFTA and Olivier Award winning adaptor of Notes From A Small Island, and discover the process of transforming Bryson’s iconic travelogue into a stage play. The talk will be held in our auditorium and followed by a classic British afternoon tea in our Riverside Restaurant. Tickets: £22.50 (including afternoon tea). Book tickets here.

Food and Drink

Enjoy a freshly prepared two-course meal before Notes from a Small Island in our Riverside Restaurant. Browse our menu below here and visit our Food & Drink page to make a reservation.

Adapted by Tim Whitnall  

Directed by Paul Hart

Designed by Katie Lias  

Lighting Design by Ali Hunter 

Sound Design by Ed Lewis

Projection Design by George Reeve

Assistant Director Sibylla Archdale Kalid  

Audio Describer Colin Johnson

Dialect Coach Elspeth Morrison 


Bryony Corrigan

Cynthia and others

Bryony trained at LAMDA and is a core member of ‘Mischief Theatre’ company.

Theatre credits include: Good Luck, Studio! (Mercury Theatre/Salisbury Playhouse); Magic Goes Wrong, Groan Ups & Mischief Movie Night In (Vaudeville Theatre, West End); Clear White Light (Live Theatre, Newcastle); Mischief Movie Night (Arts Theatre &
UK Tour); My Romantic History (Live Theatre, Newcastle); The Play That Goes Wrong (West End and Broadway); Peter Pan Goes Wrong (Apollo Theatre, West End) and How I Learned to Drive (Southwark Playhouse).

Television credits include: Anansi Boys (Amazon); The Walk-In (ITV), The Goes Wrong Show (Big Talk for BBC); Good Omens (Amazon/BBC); A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong, Peter Pan Goes Wrong, Inspector George Gently & Holby City (BBC) and Downton Abbey (Carnival for ITV).

Radio credits include: Our Friends in the North (BBC Radio 4) and Christmas Goes Wrong (BBC).

Video Games include: Squadron 42 (Cloud Imperium Games) and Dark Souls 3 (FrognationLtd).

Mark Hadfield

Bill Bryson

Theatre credits include: Dmitry (Marylebone Theatre), Henry VI: Open Rehearsal, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Talk of the City, The Seagull, Twelfth Night, The Canterbury Tales, Love’s Labour’s Lost, Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC); Sydney &The Old Girl and The Weatherman (Park Theatre); Vanya and Masha and Sonya and Spike, Jeffrey Bernard is Unwell, Man & Superman and Don Juan (Bath Theatre Royal); Tamburlaine (Swan Theatre); Pinocchio, Therese Raquin and The Hour We Knew Nothing of Each Other (National Theatre); Road (Royal Court); The Libertine (Bath/Haymarket Theatre Royal); Richard III (Almeida); The Painkiller (Garrick Theatre); The Meeting and Matchbox Theatre (Hampstead Theatre); Made in Dagenham (Adelphi Theatre); Jeeves and Wooster: Perfect Nonsense (Duke of York’s Theatre); Singing in the Rain (Palace Theatre); Uncle Vanya (The Vaudeville Theatre); A Christmas Carol (Nuffield Theatre); Peter Pan (West Yorkshire Theatre); The Lion King (West End); The 39 Steps (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Donkey's Years (No. 1 Tour); Duchess of Malfi and Volpone (Greenwich Theatre); Into the Woods (Open Air Theatre, Regents Park) and Rookery Nook and Talent (Menier Chocolate Factory).


TV credits include: Outlander (Starz); Maigret, The Vice, Foyle’s War and Doc Martin (ITV); From the Cradle to the Grave (BBC 2); The Wyvern Mystery and People Like Us (BBC); Trollied (Sky1); Wallander (Left Bank) and Headless (FIVE).

Film credits include: Belfast; Football Monologues; Girls Night Out; Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein; In the Bleak Midwinter; Felicia’s Journey; A Cock and Bull Story and Hamlet

Wendy Nottingham

Mrs Smegma and others

Wendy is best known for her collaborations with Mike Leigh, including the BAFTA award winning Vera Drake and Grief at The National Theatre. She most recently filmed a guest role in Wes Anderson’s upcoming feature as well as a role in Shakespeare & Hathaway alongside Mark Benton.

She has also had many recurring roles in TV including the role of Mrs Crabbe in ITV’s Mr Selfridge and Mary in Season 3 of Peaky Blinders. Recent films have included The Children Act, Francis Lee’s Ammonite and The Last Letter From Your Lover opposite Shailene Woodley.

Anne Odeke

Yvonne Bunn and others

Anne Odeke is an actor, playwright and teacher.

Theatre credits include: As You Like It, The Merry Wives of Windsor, The Comedy of Errors & Bartholomew Fair (Shakespeare’s Globe); The Winter’s Tale (RSC); Macbeth (AFTLS – USA Tour); Princess Essex (UK Tour); The Witchfinder’s Sister & Misfits (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch); The Crucible (Royal Lyceum Edinburgh); A Midsummer Night’s Dream & Julius Caesar (Storyhouse Chester); Women in Power (Nuffield Theatre); The Secret Keeper & Snow White and the Happy Ever After Beauty Salon (Oval House); Next Lesson (Pleasance Theatre); Winnie and Wilbur (Birmingham Rep).

Audio credits include: Megamonster (Harper Collins); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (RSC/Harper Collins); Blackwater Mermaid (BBC Sounds) and United Kingdoms (BBC Radio 4).


Playwriting credits include: Little Women (Storyhouse Chester); Princess Essex (UK Tour) and Misfits (Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch). Anne has also written for BBC Radio 4 and is currently working on a new family play for the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch in tribute to the Windrush Generation.

Steven Pinder

The Colonel and others

Steven is best known for playing the role of Max Farnham in the Channel 4 soap Brookside. Steven played the role from 1990 until the series ended in 2003, and won the Manchester Evening News ‘Best Male Soap Star’ Award for his portrayal of this much-loved character. On stage, Steven has had a long association with the hit musical Wicked, having played The Wonderful Wizard of Oz & Doctor Dillamond in both the original UK & Ireland Tour, and the UK & International Tour, as well as Doctor Dillamond in the West End production at the Apollo Victoria Theatre.

Other television credits include: Casualty, Doctors, Holby City and Hotel Babylon (BBC); Emmerdale, The Bill, Crossroads, C.A.T.S. Eyes, Now and Then, Crown Court and Foxy Lady (ITV).

Other theatre credits include: Funny Money, Two into One, Who’s Under Where?, Father of the Bride and Scared to Death (The Mill at Sonning); Beacons (Eastbourne Theatre); Rehearsal for Murder (UK Tour); The Last of the Red Hot Lovers (Theatre Royal, St Helen’s); The Memory of Water (New Vic Theatre & Stephen Joseph Theatre); The Diary of Anne Frank (York Theatre Royal & UK Tour); Deathtrap and Season’s Greetings (Oldham Coliseum); Footloose (UK Tour); Keeping Up Appearances (UK Tour); Absent Friends (Oldham Coliseum & UK Tour); Last of the Summer Wine (Eastbourne Theatres & Tour); The Grouch (West Yorkshire Playhouse); Dead Funny (UK Tour); Ten Times Table and Constant Wife (Theatre Royal, Windsor) and Dial M for Murder (Middle Ground Theatre Company) amongst many others. Steven won the Best Actor Award at the 24:7 Manchester Festival for his role in Shadow of Your Hand.

Akshay Sharan

Richard and others

Akshay was the recipient of the 2018 Stage Debut Award for ‘Best Actor in a Play’ for The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Yard Theatre).

Theatre credits include: Jack Absolute Flies Again (National Theatre); Boys (The Barbican Centre); Renaissance (Stephens House & Gardens); The Bee in Me (Unicorn Theatre); Three Sisters & The Treatment (Almeida Theatre); The Reluctant Fundamentalist (National Youth Theatre); A Tale of Two Cities (Darlington Civic Theatre); Daughter of the Forest (Komola Collective); Citizen Chip (Speak Street Theatre) and Sara Pascoe’s Christmas Assembly (Battersea Arts Centre).

Television credits include: Grantchester (ITV); Guerrilla (Sky Atlantic) and Shiny Floors (NFTS).

Hayden Wood

Movie Announcer and others

Watermill credits include: The Prince and the Pauper (2019) and Burke & Hare (2018).

Theatre credits include: The Play That Goes Wrong (West End); Richard II (Arcola); Alice’s Adventures Underground (The Vaults); Doctor Who: Time Fracture (West End); Chris Mystery and the Mystery of the Missing Christmas Tree (Cheltenham Playhouse); Roald Dahl and the Imagination Seekers (UK Tour); The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (Park Theatre); Ghost City (King’s Head Theatre); The Bunker Trilogy (Southwark Playhouse, Edinburgh Fringe and Adelaide Fringe); Confetti & Chaos (Edinburgh Fringe); Sherlock Holmes: A Working Hypothesis (UK Tour); Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty (Hawthorne Theatre); The Owls Are Not What They Seem (Theatre Delicatessen); LINE (Stephen Joseph); The Girl With The Imagination (Greenwich Theatre); The Boy James, Lorca is Dead, Outland and The Tartuffe (Belt Up Theatre). Hayden also tours the world as Basil Fawlty in Fawlty Towers: The Dining Experience.

Hayden is delighted to be back at The Watermill having previously appeared here as Father Canty in The Prince and the Pauper and Burke in Burke & Hare. He also appeared in Burke & Hare for its runs at The Jermyn Street Theatre and New Wolsey.