Open-air Summer Show


by William Shakespeare

A scene from Much Ado About Nothing

Summer 1946
Performed in the open air in the courtyard of Abington Park Museum, Northampton


Don Pedro Maurice Dunmore
Don John Eric Roberts
Claudio Frank Clarke
Benedick Henry W. Gascoyne
Leonato John Parkin
Antonio Ernest Goulding
Balthazar Walter De La Mare
Conrade Philip Rowell
Borachio Peter Johnson
Friar Francis Norman Gibbs
Dogberry Ashley S. Baxter
Verges Victor Wilkins
A Sexton Walter De La Mare
A Boy Reginald Elliott
A Messenger Victor Wilkins
Hero Alison Dunmore
Beatrice Phyllis Perkins
Margaret Joan M. Fisher
Ursula Eileen Kelly
Messengers, Watch, Attendants, Acolytes, Gentlemen, Ladies Keith Archer, John Bennett, T. Burnley-Jones, John Clipson, David Dilley, J. Dilley, Patricia Edwards, Christopher Haggett, David Jones, Geoffrey Lee, Barbara Mitchell, Richard Murby, H.H. Smith, Michael Smith, Cyril Turner, Alan Walker.

Producer Osborne Robinson
Stage Director Charles F.G. Swallow
Stage Manager
Margaret J. McMain
Assistant Stage Managers
Joyce Hare, Robert Inglis
Wardrobe Florence C. Brawn, Evelyn M. Swallow, Robert J. Warner
Business Manager
Phyllis Gascoyne
Dances arranged by
Josephine Marsh


  • This was the group's first open-air Summer Show in the courtyard of Abington Park Museum

Programme Notes: 'Eavesdropping and gossip'

A gay, romantic comedy, Much Ado About Nothing, written in 1599, ranks with Twelfth Night and As you like lt as $hakespeare's three sunniest comedies.

According to John Masefield, "it is full of great and wonderful things." Unquestionably, this comedy proves the far-reaching effect of eavesdropping and gossip on human destiny.

The story is skilfully and delicately woven. The Governor of Messina, Leonato, father of Hero and uncle of Beatrice, receives a visit from Don Pedro, the Prince of Arragon.

Accompanying him are two brave nobleman, Claudio and Benedick. Beatrice, whom James Agate has described as the fairest rose of Shakespearean comedy, is scornful of men.

Straightway, this vivacious lady engages in wordy warfare with the witty Benedick who has pledged himself to bachelorhood. Claudio falls deeply in love with the charming Hero, but mischievous conspiracies wreck their intended marriage and envelop Beatrice and Benedick. Mercifully, however, Dogberry and Verges, two comic policemen conceived in Shakespeare's happiest vein, intervene and truth ultimately triumphs.

All the scenes are throbbingly alive and all the characters possess a vitality that compels interest. The brilliant interplay between Beatrice and Benedick sparkles with wit and pungency and is the highlight of this bright,sunlit comedy.

A scene from Much Ado About Nothing

Northampton Drama Club

From the programme for Much Ado About Northing

Since its inception in 1935, the Northampton Drama Club has been the focal centre of dramatic activities in the Town.

In seeking to foster and encourage a vital and informed interest in the drama by creative work, it has acted as a parent-body to a number of the leading dramatic societies. Whilst this work was suspended and most societies closed clown during the war, the Club kept the flag of drama flying high, the present production being the fifth under the auspices of the Borough Council. Each year, it has also continued to provide for its members a varied and attractive programme of plays, lectures, recitals and socials.

On 25th May last, the Club gained fresh laurels by winning the Coventry Drama Festival Trophy with a production of Bernard Shaw’s The Dark Lady of the Sonnets which was highly praised by the Adjudicator, Mr. Eric Crozier, the well-known Sadler's Wells Producer.