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apted and directed by Jessica Swale

'Swale skilfully knits the epic and intimate' **** Whatsonstage

'... a deftly choreographed piece...' **** The Stage

'...a superb evening...' Newbury Weekly News

'...a multi-skilled, well-matched ensemble...' The Observer

'This play is a delight and not just for Hardy fans...' Henley Standard

‘…a fast-moving, action packed adventure…’ Newbury Theatre

Thu 16 Apr 2015 - Sat 23 May 2015

When Bathsheba Everdene inherits a farm from her uncle, no-one expects her to take on its management herself. But our spirited young heroine will not be deterred and takes up the mantle with vigour. Yet, whilst she rises impressively to the challenges of sheep farming, it is the trials of the heart that threaten to undo her. Caught between a pair of suitors, the kind and dependable shepherd Gabriel Oak and the prosperous eligible bachelor William Boldwood, her choice seems hard enough, then the dashing Sergeant Troy appears over the horizon, with a swagger in his step and a dangerous secret in his past. Who will she choose? And will she realise the disastrous consequences of a wrong choice before tis too late?

Hardy’s much loved tale is both a thrilling romance and a joyous celebration of English rural life. It is adapted by Jessica Swale who recently adapted and directed Sense and Sensibility for The Watermill.

Running Times
Act 1: 75 minutes
Interval : 20 minutes
Act 2: 75 minutes 

Designed by Philip Engleheart
Original Music and Arrangements by Catherine Jayes
Lighting designed by James Whiteside
Sound designed by Neil Starke

Gina Beck


Credits include: Glinda in Wicked (Apollo Victoria); Christine Daaé in The Phantom of the Opera (Her Majesty’s); and Cosette in Les Misérables (Queen’s); Woman 2 in Jacques Brel is Alive and Well and Living in Paris (Charing Cross Theatre); Letitia Hardy in The Belle’s Stratagem (also directed by Jessica Swale at the Southwark Playhouse); Maria Von Trapp in The Sound of Music (Kuala Lumpur); Kate Hardcastle in The Kissing Dance (Jermyn Street Theatre); Wendy Darling in Peter Pan (Birmingham Rep); Rebecca in Imagine This (Plymouth Theatre Royal); 'Turning Woman 3' in the recent film of Les Misérables.

Alice Blundell


Alice trained at ALRA and graduated in 2012. Credits include The Christmas Grump (Northern Stage), Treasure Island (Queens Theatre Hornchurch), Tallest Tales from the Furthest Forest (Northern Stage) and Confessional (Theatre 503).

She is co-founder of The Letter Room, an associate theatre company of Greyscale, credits include Bonenkai and The Man Who Thought the Moon Would Fall Out of the Sky.

Television credits include: George Gently (BBC/Company Pictures).

Simon Bubb

Gabriel Oak

Theatre includes: Much Ado About Nothing (Shakespeare’s Globe); Saint Joan, War Horse, The Habit Of Art, People (National Theatre); Romeo & Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, King John (RSC); The Philanthropist (Donmar Warehouse); Noises Off (Old Vic Tour); Hay Fever (Manchester Royal Exchange); Unless and The Importance Of Being Earnest (Scarborough); The Soft Of Her Palm (Finborough).

TV includes: Eastenders, Doctors, Holby City, W1A.
Radio includes: The Archers, Clare In The Community, Mr & Mrs Smith.

Matthew Douglas


Theatre Includes; Cat On A Hot Tin Roof (Northampton/Manchester Royal Exchange) The Wind In The Willows, Travesties, The Importance Of Being Ernest, Hamlet (Birminghham Rep) Hayfever (West Yorkshire Playhouse) The Winter's Tale (Headlong/UK Tour) Hecuba and King Lear (RSC/Young Vic/Tour) Othello (Cheek By Jowl/World Tour) The Big House (Abbey Theatre Dublin) She Stoops To Conquer (Birmingham Rep/UK Tour) Much Ado About Nothing (Ludlow Festival) A MIdsummer Nights Dream and The Winters Tale (AFTLS/US Tour).

TV Includes; Outlander (Stars) Midsummer Murders, Trial and Retribution (ITV) Eastenders, Doctors, After Thomas, The Great Escape, The Untold Story, (BBC) .

Film Includes; Miracle Landing On The Hudson, Papadopoulos and Sons.

Ian Harris


Ian has appeared at  The Watermill previously in two Christmas shows: Pinocchio and James and the Giant Peach.

Theatre includes: Treasure Island (Bristol Old Vic), The Homecoming and Twelfth Night (York Theatre Royal), Great Expectations (Manchester Library), The Grapes of Wrath (Colchester Mercury), The Pocket Orchestra (Trafalgar Studios), A Christmas Carol (Liverpool Playhouse), Huck (Shapeshifter/Fresh Glory), A Winter’s Tale (Salisbury Playhouse), The Rivals (Worcester Swan), The Wizard of Oz (Basingstoke Haymarket), The Wife of Bath (Rude Mechanical Theatre Company), Hamlet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Ludlow Festival), Tom’s Midnight Garden (Pleasance Theatre, London & New Victory Theatre, New York).

Emma Jerrold

Mary Ann

Since training at Bristol Old Vic, Emma Jerrold has garnered an extensive list of theatre credits in London and around the UK.

Recent theatre credits include: The Comedy of Errors at Shakespeare’s Globe, Emil and the Detectives and Macbeth (both at the National Theatre) and Persuasion at Salisbury Playhouse.

On screen she has featured in long-running soap Eastenders for BBC TV and Bad Girls for Shed Productions.

Lisa Kerr


Theatre includes: The Magic Flute, Lion Boy (Theatre De Complicite); Cinderella (Tobacco Factory); Our Country’s Good (Out Of Joint); From Up Here (Pitch Perfect Musicals); Top Girls (Chichester Festival Theatre); The Big Fellah (Out Of Joint); Christmas Carol (Library Theatre Company); The Good Soldier (Theatre Royal Bath); Andersen’s English, Mixed Up North (Out Of Joint).

Film includes: Reuniting The Rubins (Factor Films); Klink Klank Echoes (Gilrei).

Sam Swainsbury

Sergeant Troy

Theatre includes: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Privates On Parade (Michael Grandage Company); The Taming of the Shrew (RSC); When Did You Last See My Mother? (Trafalgar Studios); The Comedy of Errors/Richard III, A Midsummer Night’s Dream/The Merchant of Venice (Propeller); Hay Fever (Rose Theatre, Kingston); A Day At The Racists (The Finborough Theatre); The Rivals (Southwark Playhouse); Burial At Thebes (Nottingham and Barbican); Hysteria (Birmingham Rep); Slope (The Tramway, Glasgow).

Film includes: Amerikan Kanibal, Gateway to Heaven, Silent Hill Requiem, Thor: The Dark World.

Television includes: Mum (Pilot), Atlantis, Call the Midwife, Doctors, Harley Street, Jekyll.

Ed Thorpe


Ed graduated from the Actor Musician course at Rose Bruford College in 2013, and is represented by Philippa Howell.

His theatrical credits include: Peter Pan (Watermill Theatre);Tom's Midnight Garden (Birmingham Stage Company/National Tour); Wind in the Willows (The Lord Chamberlain's Men) and Novemberunderground (Burning Oak Theatre Company).

Radio credits: He Died With His Eyes Open (BBC Radio 4 Drama).

'Using the inspired versatility of the set and the finely tuned movements of the cast, nothing is overlooked ...' **** The Stage

'The characters of Bathsheba’s three suitors are excellently defined...' The Stage

Read the full Stage review 

'Swale's vision of Hardy's Wessex tale is sweeping, making no allowances for the Watermill's tiny stage.' **** Whatsonstage 

'Swale's storytelling which skilfully knits the epic and intimate with some delightful music making and singing from the talented cast, thanks to evocative original music and arrangements by Catherine Jayes.' Whatsonstage

Read the full Whatsonstage review

‘… a superb evening full of contrasting elements…so cleverly brought to life by this excellent cast.’ Newbury Weekly News

‘… the nine excellent actors… bring Bathsheba’s farm to life…’ Newbury Weekly News

‘Hardy’s story was always a glorious look at human life and in this production each actor makes their character so entirely believable that the audience live with them through their joys and sorrows.’ Newbury Weekly News

Read the full Newbury Weekly News review

‘…a fast-moving, action packed adventure…’  Newbury Theatre

‘Don’t bother to see the film, out soon; go to the Watermill.’
Newbury Theatre

Read the full Newbury Theatre review

‘This play is a delight and not just for Hardy fans: the staging and stagecraft are expertly wrought making the most of the minimal space…’
Henley Standard

‘…this show had us all leaving with smiles on our faces - and with not an ounce of the story sacrificed despite that. That's quite an achievement.’
Henley Standard

Feedback from members of the audience...

'Wonderful production.'
'I lived every emotion with you all. An incredible evening.' 
'Hardy would have been proud of you all.'
'Brilliant performance.'