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2004 was a year of firsts for the company. We were thrilled to be the first
company in the country to take a West End theatre show on an open-air tour. The production
of ART, directed by no less than Nigel Havers, was critically acclaimed and
opened the company up to a whole new audience. This production also
introduced us to Simon James Green, who continued as our Artistic Director
throughout 2004 and beyond. 2004 was also the first year that we embarked on children's
theatre, with a musical production of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. We have never looked back, taking all the positive things
from this year with us.
by Yasmina Reza
Translated by Christopher Hampton
Serge buys a new painting. Marc hates it. Yvan’s certainly not sure. What begins as a debate about the merits of modern art soon turns into a hilarious debate about the very nature of their longstanding friendship.
When ART opened in London, it took the West End by storm, winning every major award for Best Comedy. Since then it has gone on to become one of the most successful shows in Broadway history and has broken box office records throughout the UK.
The chance to take ART back on the road, this time as director, was an opportunity not to be missed. It feels like coming home, as I have been involved with this wonderful play for the last seven years, playing the part of Serge both in the West End and on tour. I absolutely love ART and think it is one of the genius plays of the last fifty years. It is a comic masterpiece about men and friendship which works equally well on the big stage or, as you will see it, as a more intimate chamber piece. The secret to ART's success lies in the magnificent writing of Yasmina Reza which has been masterfully translated by Christopher Hampton. Most great pieces of writing reveal more with each reading and this play is no exception - the more I get to know it, the more I marvel at the layers of interpretation it reveals.
The challenge of directing ART was to get the chemistry between the characters spot on and this has been achieved in fine style by our brilliant new cast, plus we have the added bonus of bringing the play to some of the country's loveliest stately homes and gardens - all in all a treat to be relished definitely by me, and hopefully by you as well!
Nigel Havers, Director
What the papers said...
"a bold new venture...excellent
"a riveting performance...wickedly
ART, Winner of
Tony Award • Best Play
Adventures in Wonderland
by Lewis Carroll
Directed by, and musical score by, Richard Main
When I opted to direct Alice for 2004, I was asked, more than once, why I chose to take Chapterhouse in this new direction. Over the years, the company has performed some wonderful Shakespearean plays and hopefully we will continue to do so. However, besides Shakespeare, I have a great love of both musical theatre and classical children's literature, of which Alice is an outstanding work.
My first memory of the book is my sister reading the first chapter to me when I was very small and unwell. I made a swift recovery and therefore she didn't have the chance to finish it for me, but since then I have read it many times, finding new things to wonder at with every reading.
I hope this production will provide happiness and will also take some of you back to your own first memories of encountering Alice, the White Rabbit and all those most magnificent of characters.
"beautiful locations...imaginative and clever
You Like it
by William Shakespeare
Directed by Simon Clark
As You Like It is concerned with love: what we feel when we're in it; what we do; what we don't do; how it makes us act in the most ludicrous fashion and in the most noble; how we confuse it with lust; how it confuses us; but most of all (and perhaps this is an excessively romantic reading), how it transforms the world.
Of course, it also has a few sheep jokes and a jester in a funny hat which helps.
What the papers said...
"the audience loved
"Shakespeare seen relaxed from a folding
chair, glass of wine to the right, cigar in the left hand, isn’t likely
to be showing his darker side"
Midsummer Night's Dream
Directed by Philip Stevens
A Midsummer Night's Dream will be my debut production as Artistic Director for Chapterhouse Theatre Company after touring with them as an actor since the company's first show, Romeo and Juliet, in 2000.
Subsequently, I have been involved in over 300 performances for the company at venues across Britain, and have had the honour of playing some of Shakespeare's greatest characters.
Directing A Midsummer Night's Dream is a wonderful opportunity for me. In my opinion, it is the most loved of all Shakespeare's plays and is by far the most accessible; no matter how old you are or what views you may have on Shakespeare, there is something in it for everyone.
Setting the play in the 1920s gives me the chance to draw on some perfect themes for the play. Jeeves and Wooster, Hercule Poirot, Charlie Chaplin and the traditional stereotypes of the English country garden: village fetes, cricket greens, Flappers and the Charleston, to mention but a few. With these ingredients added to the beautiful stately homes and castles to which Chapterhouse tours each summer, it couldn't be more enticing!
What the papers said...
"a fun evening’s
"a wonderful play exquisitely performed, in an
incomparable venue...The audience was truly
blessed as well as bewitched. If only the rest of life were like
"All good entertaining stuff
enhanced by imaginative direction, excellent acting, fine costumes, some
delightful music and song. A breath of fresh
Theatre Company brought Shakespeare to life in this beautiful
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Photo Credit Steve Hill except where noted
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