Masque Theatre's Exotic Summer Season

The Tempest
By William Shakespeare

Production No. 389

More images from The Tempest

Rob Kendall, director

Although the real weather of recent weeks may be a foreboding for The Tempest in the open-air, I am sure (well hopefully sure) that the weather will settle and we will have balmy nights.

The Tempest is often considered to be Shakespeare’s penultimate play, written circa 1611. It is sometimes described as a comedy and, although there are comic moments aplenty, there are also some very dramatic scenes where the plot shows us that the theme of the play is as much about power and control as it is also about the healing nature and power of love, as exemplified by Miranda (Naomi Blackburn) and Ferdinand (Lewis Marks).

As usual, there is a fair sprinkling of ‘Fill fathom five’ magic from Owen Warr’s hands as Prospero and dutifully carried out by Ariel (Verity Mackworth-Praed) and assisted by the spirits and goddesses: Clare Brittain, Laura Haynes, April Pardoe, Jan Stoppani and Amy Whitestone.

The comedy is provided by the well oiled antics of Barry Dougall’s Stephano and Robert Vaughan’s Trinculo. Caliban is played by Peter Collins.

The narrative of the shipwreck, that Prospero has been tempest-tossed onto the island, is fleshed out by David Heathcote as King Alonso with his bemused courtier Gonzalo played by Tony Janney, in addition to plotters Ian Clarke (Antonio) and Alistair Way (Sebastian), and supported by Kevin Pinks (Francisco) and complemented by the Boatswain, Craig Macpherson.

Lighting is again by Richard Walker and The Works with stage management from Clare Brittian and Mark Mortimer with continuity from Ingrid Heymann.

As a director trying to work up the actual tempest, and an idea of an island ‘filled with noises’, has been a stimulating challenge, especially with many new members to Masque joining us for the summer season.

Both The Tempest and Arabian Nights (as an RSC script) are being promoted as the final part of the RSC Open Stages scheme, so why not come and see us for both plays too?



Distinctive amateur drama
in Northampton since 1932

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Page last updated: 21/10/2012 Masque Theatre © 2012

LogoRSCOpenStages1This production is part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's Open Spaces project which aims to embrace, develop and celebrate amateur theatre, re-forging the bond with the world of professional theatre.

Owen Warr, Jan Stoppani, Naomi Blackburn and Alistair Way in The Tempest

Mon 23 - Sat 28 July 2012 at 7.30pm
In the open air at The Courtyard, Abington Park Museum, Northampton

Cast & Crew

Prospero Owen Warr
Miranda Naomi Blackburn
Ariel Verity Mackworth-Praed
Caliban Peter Collins
Alonso David Heathcote
Sebastian Alastair Way
Ferdinand Lewis Marks
Antonio Ian Clarke
Gonzalo Tony Janney
Stephano Barry Dougal
Trinculo Robert Vaughan
Lord Francisco Kevin Pinks
Boatswain Craig Macpherson
Master of Ship Kevin Pinks
Iris Jan Stoppani
Ceres Amy Whitestone
Juno April Pardoe
Spirits Laura Hayes, Clare Brittain

Director Rob Kendall
Stage Manager Clare Brittain
Assistant Stage Manager Brian Harrap
Continuity Ingrid Heymann
Lighting Design Richard Walker, The Works
Lighting & Sound Technician Mark Mortimer
Wardrobe Manager Clare Brittain
Costume Masque Theatre, The Works
Additional Costume Makers Julie Morris, Pam Mann, Berity Mackworth-Praed, Clare Brittain, Rob Kendall
Poster & Programme Design Tamsyn Payne
Company Photographs Ian Clarke
Hospitality Manager Suzanne Richards
Box Office & Front of House Masque Theatre members

Robin Armstrong

When the King of Naples' ship crashes on an island due to the magic of the vengeful Prospero, the stage is (literally) set for an evening of intrigue, power and the ever redemptive spirit of love.

Performed by the Masque in Abington Park Museum’s courtyard on a gorgeous summer's evening, it was a true challenge for the cast to match both the barmy temperatures and elegant surroundings, but it was one that their collective performances were more than equal to.

The Masque have long had a reputation for their excellence at providing the right costumes regardless of the production being staged; but in this department, as well as the make-up, they have outdone themselves.

In particular, the make-up work done for the spirit Ariel - giving her that other-worldly, almost supernatural presence - as well as both the make-up and costume for Caliban; rendering a savage son-of-the-earth with bad intentions.

But make-up and costumes, crucial though they are, have to be matched by the performances and in this the entire Masque cast were universally equipped to deliver. 

It is almost taken for granted that long-time Masque stalwart Owen Warr would bring the necessary gravitas to Prospero from his many Shakespearean roles over the years, but it is  worth taking the time to state what a valuable member of the group he has been, and once again his formidable delivery centres the play.

Naomi Blackburn, restored to a leading role after one line and two outbreaks of sobbing in Masque's previous Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead, is perfectly cast as Prospero's strong-willed, but ultimately lovestruck daughter Miranda.  Just the right balance of defiance and romantic leaning with newcomer Lewis Marks's Ferdinand, the son of the king in his first, but hopefully not last theatrical role.

Special mention also to Peter Collins.  Fully embodying the wretched, almost Gollum-like Caliban, slave of Prospero, it's a performance of need, desperation and sleaze.  Something definitely intended to be taken as a compliment!

And whilst the make-up and costume for Ariel (Verity Mackworth-Praed), assisted by Verity herself, was superb, it did not take away from her multi-talented performance.  Singer, dancer, actress and musician, is there nothing she can't do?!

With Ian Clarke, Tony Janney, Barry Dougall all in supporting, but every bit as important roles, the production was in safe hands from start to finish.  Well done everyone!

A scene from The Tempest