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Based on the book 
by Richard Adams

Adapted by Rona Munro 

'...a charming family show well worth hopping along to.' The Telegraph

'...as fresh and sweet as new morning grass...' The Guardian

'...a must-see production.' British Theatre Guide

'There's magic in the way the cast become the rabbits.' Whatsonstage

'...a funny, thoughtful and creative masterpiece.' ***** Get Reading

'A charming – and at times joyful – adaptation of an enduring children’s classic.' The Stage

'The production is characterized by the Watermill’s trademark excellence in staging...' ****The Reviews Hub

'...humour, action and a lot of joy... I’d totally utterly recommend this. Hop to it!' Muddy Stilettos

Thu 16 Jun 2016 - Sat 23 Jul 2016

Intimately linked to the nearby countryside, the staging of Richard Adams' best-selling book in the atmospheric warren-like surroundings of The Watermill will make for a very special theatrical experience.


Watch the cast in rehearsal and interviews with the Director, Movement Director and members of the cast.   

This stirring tale of courage and survival against the odds has become one of the best-loved adventures of all time. In this gripping adaptation, the long and perilous journey of a small band of rabbits in search of a safe home finally leads them to Watership Down.

'We've assembled a multi-talented cast and a vibrant team of theatre's hottest creative talents in order to tell this epic adventure story through movement, music and puppetry... Think War Horse, but with rabbits!

Richard Adams invented the story of Watership Down to entertain his daughters on long car journeys and they begged him to write it down. Thirty four years on and the story remains just as thrilling. Born and raised near Newbury, Adams always loved nature, and the tale is partly a love letter to the local countryside.

The story has always appealed to adults and children alike. Like the novel, the stage production will be exciting, funny and ultimately moving; a tribute to Berkshire's world-famous tale of Hazel and his band of brothers.' Director Adam Penford

Rona Munro is a critically acclaimed writer for film, TV and the stage. Her award-winning The James Plays (National Theatre) are currently touring the UK and internationally.
Adam Penford's director credits include the first London revival of Ayckbourn's A Small Family Business at the National Theatre and he is a Revival Director of One Man, Two Guvnors (West End, Broadway and UK tour). Richard Kent has designed productions for The Globe, Tricycle Theatre and The Donmar Warehouse. 

Find out what's been happening during rehearsals - read the blog.

Suitable for age eight or over. Parental guidance is advised.

Running Times
Act One: 53 minutes
Interval: 20 minutes
Act Two: 50 minutes 

Click on the picture to see more production photos

Watership Down Production Photos

Director Adam Penford
Designer Richard Kent
Lighting Designer Jack Knowles
Movement Director Naomi Said
Sound Designer and Composer Dom Coyote
Puppet Designer and Director Matt Hutchinson

James Backway


James trained at Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, graduating in 2014 and was nominated for the Spotlight Prize.

Theatre includes: the leading role of ‘Albert’ in War Horse at the New London Theatre, New Views: Is There Wi-Fi in Heaven? at the National Theatre; and The Sound of Music at the London Palladium.

TV includes: Humans

During his training he appeared in The Talented Mr Ripley, Three Sisters on Hope Street, Marat/Sade and as Hamlet in Hamlet.  

Charlotte Bate

Thethuthinang & Keehar

Charlie trained at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She has just finished playing a female Friar Lawrence in Romeo & Juliet at the Sheffield Crucible alongside Freddie Fox and Morfydd Clark.

Credits while training include: Medea in Medea, Viola in Twelfth Night, Sonia in Uncle Vanya, Millie in The Browning Version, Doris in Flare Path and Mrs Conway in Time and The Conways.

Edward Bennett

Woundwort & Holly

Theatre includes: Orson’s Shadow (Southwark Playhouse); The Rehearsal and Hayfever (Chichester Festival Theatre); Love’s Labour's Lost, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream and Hamlet (RSC); Things We Do For Love, School For Scandal, In The Next Room, Pygmalion, Little Nell, Habeas Corpus and Measure for Measure (Theatre Royal Bath); One Man, Two Guvnors (National Theatre Tour); Lovesong (Frantic Assembly); 3 Farces, Nan, Skin Game, Diana of Dobsons (Orange Tree Theatre); Plenty (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield); The Tempest and As You Like It (BAM/Tour/The Old Vic); Othello (Donmar Warehouse); School for
and Invention of Love (Salisbury Playhouse); The Importance of Being Ernest (York Theatre Royal).

Film includes: Skyfall, War Horse, Hamlet, Friends Just United.

Television includes: Miranda, The Scum Also Rises, Above Suspicion, Doctors, After You've Gone, Silent Witness.

Richard James-Neale


Richard trained at Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, London. 

Theatre includes: Peter Pan (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); Othello (Frantic Assembly / UK Tour); Emil and the Detectives (National Theatre); Romeo and Juliet, A Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare's Globe / International Tour); Romeo and Juliet (Pilot Theatre / UK Tour); Charlotte’s Web (Birmingham Stage Company); A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Tooting Arts Club); Pygmalion (Old Vic); The Tempest, A Midsummer Night's Dream (UK and International Tours); The Tempest (UK Tour); In Doggerland, Whispering Happiness (Box of Tricks); A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Comedy of Errors (Ludlow Castle); The Threepenny Opera (Lyric, Hammersmith), Murder in the Cathedral (Southwark Cathedral and Westminster Cathedral) both with the National Youth Theatre of Great Britain; Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Television includes: Atlantis (BBC); The Insiders (Channel 4).


Film includes: The Legend of Tarzan, Dragon, When I’m Gone, Nadya's Circus, The Situation.

Vicki Manderson


Vicki works as an actor, dancer and movement director.

As a performer work includes: Aphrodite in Flippers (Bold and Saucy Theatre); Lightboxes (Grid Iron), In Time O’ Strife, Knives in Hens, Home Inverness (NTS); Beautiful Burnout (Frantic Assembly/NTS); No Way Back (Frantic Assembly); Dr Dee (ENO/MIF); The Two Gentlemen of Verona (Royal & Derngate).

As Movement Director, work includes: Details (Grid Iron); Housed (Old Vic New Voices); Loaded, I do believe in monsters (CSSD); The Silence of The Sea (Donmar).

As Associate Movement Director, work includes: Let The Right One In, In Time O’ Strife, Black Watch (NTS); The Twits (Royal Court); The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (National/West End).

Alexander Morris


Alexander trained at The Liverpool Institute for the Performing Arts.

Credits since graduating include: James Blamey in Poldark series 2 (BBC), Doctors (BBC) and Shakespeare’s R&J (Tabard Theatre).

Credits whilst training include: Hayfever, Pericles and Happy End.

Alexander was nominated for the Spotlight Prize 2015.

Jess Murphy


Theatre: The Choir (Citizens Theatre/ATG); James and The Giant Peach (WYP); World Enough And Time (The Park Theatre); Macbeth (The Globe); The Lightning Child (The Globe); People (National Theatre); Collaborators (National Theatre); Into Thy Hands (Jericho House/Wiltons Music Hall); War Horse (National Theatre); The Hostage (Southwark Playhouse); The Unspeakable (ETT/Darien); Brief Encounter (Knee High); Bedroom Farce (The Little Theatre); Amadeus (Adam Spiegel Productions/ Wiltons Music Hall); Perhaps Merely Quiet (Icarus); Blood Wedding (Almeida); Playing For Time (Salisbury Playhouse).

Television: Holby City (BBC).


Film: Hereafter (Warner Brothers); Will’s Diaries (Charis Orchard); Sweeny Todd (Warner Brothers); Finding Time (The Mardi Bunch); Thirty (Montambanco); A Weekend In Venice (Ellie Brent); Framed (Dark Pier Entertainment).

Joseph O'Malley


Joseph trained at the Guildford School of Acting.

Recent theatre includes: Princess Caraboo (Finborough Theatre); Women of Troy (Scoop Theatre Southbank); One Man Two Guvnors (National Theatre); A Life of Galileo (Royal Shakespeare Company/ Birmingham Rep); Horrible Histories: Terrible Tudors and Vile Victorians, Groovy Greeks, Horrible Science (Birmingham Stage Company); Billy (Union Theatre); HMS Pinafore (Kings Head Theatre).

Filming work includes: Natasha (feature).

Scarlet Wilderink


Scarlet graduated from the Guildford School of Acting in 2013.

Scarlet was most recently in the West End production of War Horse (New London Theatre, London). She worked as the associate director/choreographer for Putting It Together (Glive Studio, Guildford) and transferred with the production to the St James Theatre, London.

Other performance credits include: Earthquakes in London (Broadway Theatre, Catford), and an actor-musician production of Cabaret (MAC theatre, Belfast).

'...the Berkshire venue could hardly be more appropriate – only a few miles north of Sandleford, where the action begins, and not far from the eponymous down in Hampshire where our furry friends end up.' The Telegraph 

'I spied [Richard Adams] in a wheelchair at the same matinee I attended of the Watermill’s summer staging of the novel (as adapted by Rona Munro) – a touching sight.' The Telegraph 

Read the full Telegraph review 

'...this play has got legs. And ears and whiskers.' The Guardian

'...there is much to enjoy as the fur starts to fly.' The Guardian

Read the full Guardian review  


'...there's no getting away from the essential power of Watership Down. Even now it feels extraordinary: an epic and timeless tale of friendship, courage and adventure. 'Whatsonstage

'Dom Coyote's folky songs, sung rousingly by the cast, are also great.' Whatsonstage

'Watership Down is lovingly brought to life by a multi-talented cast in this splendid adaption of Richard Adams’s book by Rona Munro.' British Theatre Guide 


'It is an immensely physical staging, brimful with playfulness and energy. It is tremendous fun and compelling to watch.' British Theatre Guide

'There is so much to enjoy in this vibrant production, from the excellent ensemble work to the foley-style sound effects and the spirited songs, music (Dom Coyote) and dancing.' British Theatre Guide  

Read the full British Theatre Guide review 

'There are moments of real joy and fun in Adam Penford’s sprightly production.' The Stage 

'...a superbly talented cast and imaginative dance, music and costumes...'****The Reviews Hub 

'...this is a charming show....' The Reviews Hub 

'...a thrilling adventure story' The Reviews Hub  

Read The Review Hub review 


'...the simplicity of it all was just so wonderful.' *****Get Reading

'True professionalism from not triple-threat - but quadruple skilled actors!' Get Reading

'A funny, moving, thoughtful and creative adaptation, well worth seeing.' Get Reading 


'...it is fantastic.'  Muddy Stilettos

'There’s plenty of exciting action, some charming folk songs and joyful jigs...' Muddy Stilettos

'If you want a really entertaining evening, seeing something unique, thought provoking and a beautiful adaptation of the story with humour, action and a lot of joy, then I’d totally utterly recommend this. Hop to it! Muddy Stilettos

Read the full Muddy Stilettos review 


'...a production bursting with energy that will appeal to older children and adults.' Newbury Theatre