Distinctive amateur drama
in Northampton since 1932

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The Wind in the Willows
by Kenneth Grahame, dramatised by Alan Bennett

Cast & Crew

Narrator Bernard Ballion
Patricia Coleman or Denise Swann
Andrew Rowe
John Myhill
Richard Jordan
Owen Warr
Ambrose Rost
Rob Kendall
Rabbits Natalie Shellard, Jonathan Whalley
Jane Vaughan, Cameron Minney, Joey Ballion
Elaine Ashton, Lynette Ashton
Field Mice
Jesse Ballion, Jacob Shellard, Adam Shellard, Oliver Knight, Doreen Wright
Weasels Andrew Nettleship, Ambrose Rost, Elizabeth Allan, Robyn Whalley, Nigel Crouch
Tony Janney
Derek Banyard
Clerk of the Court Sue Howes
Robert Vaughan
Gaoler’s daughter
Hannah Collier
Washer Woman
Sue Howes
Train Driver
Robert Vaughan
Barge Woman
Suzanne Richards
Elizabeth Allan
Derek Banyard
Rupert Motorist
Jonathan Whalley
Monica Motorist
Natalie Shellard

Director Derek Banyard
Stage Manager Denise Swann
Assistant Stage Managers
Bernadette Wood, Kate Billingham
Lighting & Sound Richard Walker, Robert Vaughan, The Works
Jean Edwards
Music Matthew Churcher, Rebecca Bell, Hannah Bell
Set Construction Mark Mortimer, Ken Marriott
Costume Masque Theatre, The Works
Additional Costumes Pauline Sandwith
Publicity & Photos
Ian Clarke
Martin Borley-Cox
Front of House
Masque Theatre members
Programme Sellers
Masque Youth Theatre members

Rob Kendall as Albert and John Myhill as Toad. Photo by Ian Clarke

Production No. 374

More images from The Wind in the Willows


Derek Banyard, director

Down by the riverbank something stirs... those peering through a crack in the wall into Derek Banyard's garden will have noticed much fun and frivolity as rehearsals for the second of this year's summer shows at Abington Park get into full swing.

Alan Bennett's adaptation of Kenneth Graham's Wind in the Willows is a production NOT be missed!     In the space of just 24 hours, Derek and the rest of the Masque team will be turning the courtyard of Abington Park Museum from the 16th Century Sicily of A Comedy Errors into a quaint riverbank setting as they leap forward in time and space.

There are caravans, cars trains and barges... there are weasels, stoats, foxes and otters... there are rabbits, carthorses and hedgehogs... and of course there's Toad, played by Masque newcomer John Myhill, who was born to play the role, and I'm not taking the mickey!

Together with his pals Ratty, Moley and Badger, brought to life by Andy Rowe, Patricia Coleman and Richard Jordan respectively.

A stunning setting will leave the audience wondering how the courtyard is bigger on the inside than the outside as Toad Hall, Badger's house, Moley's house and the Wild Woods are created along with the riverbank.

The play marks a brave move by Masque Theatre to try something different this summer with the hope that everyone will come and spend a summer evening down among the rose gardens.  Bring your children and grandchildren, bring a picnic for a truly memorable summer evening... and listen carefully... can you hear that...?  It's the wind in the willows...

2 - 7 August 2010 at 7.30pm
In the open air in the Courtyard, Abington Park Museum, Northampton

Page last updated: 14/04/2012 Masque Theatre © 2012

by Greta Hendy

When the Northampton Drama Club did Toad of Toad Hall in 1944 as part of Northampton’s Holidays at Home, I was still 10 years off of becoming a member.  But I did get to know quite a few of the cast.  Whilst queuing to see The Wind in the Willows, I met one of the 1944 animals:  Catherine Huckle, daughter of founder member Horace Smith.  She spoke of being roped in and of playing at various park venues.

No known photos exist but I suspect that scenery and costumes were sparce.  Not so this year with Derek Banyard’s caravan, car, train, two boats, plus the homes of Badger, Ratty, Mole, the prison and the gypsy camp.  Congratulations to Derek and Mark Mortimer.  Also to the backstage crew - led by Denise Swann with gluttons for punishment Mark and Clare Brittain and Bernie Wood. So often taken for granted, this crew did a great job.

The main quartet were well played.  Badger’s (Richard Jordan) Churchillian pronouncements, Ratty (Andrew Rowe) patient and pedantic, Toad’s (John Myhill) bombastic ways.  I did like the way Patricia Coleman portrayed Mole, particularly her hands (paws) always spread as if ready to scrape away earth; a lovely attention to detail.

Especial thanks and praise must be given to Denise Swann.  Not only did she stage manage but learnt the part of Mole to give a very good performance on Saturday when Patricia was unable to perform.

I also liked the subtle representation of the animals, just the ears or a tail; also the make-up by Tamsyn Payne.

Over 600 grandparents, mums and dads and a lot of children came and all appeared to really enjoy themselves.

I now have to mention our upstanding chairman, chairman of 78 Derngate and pillar of the community Rob Kendall.  I don’t think I will ever forget his portrayal of Albert the horse.  His droll delivery in a Brummie accent, his posture, his costume full of horse accoutrements including brasses and the way he stood still except for a gentle pawing of the ground.  Rob, it was BRILL.

Well done everyone.

P.S. Also a mention about the museum staff.  They were so friendly and helpful, especially the lass who provided paper towels and helped mop up the wet seats during The Comedy of Errors.

A scene from The Wind in the Willows