The Masques return after a three-year gap and this year’s production All At Sea! will be performed by a cast of 60 actors, dancers and singers of all ages, drawn from the local community.
Directed by Ade Morris, the cast will also be supported by a professional team from The Watermill Theatre who helped re-create the Masques for the first time in the Millenium Year 2,000.
The original seven Masques were written by Boxford resident Charlotte Peake inspired by her own life and performed between 1899 and 1910 as series of small outdoor musical plays.
Writer Geraldine McCaughrean says:
‘It was a treat to be asked, back in 2000, to adapt one of Charlotte Peake’s original masques. I can’t believe my luck that I am now let loose on writing original shows. Never knowing who and how many will sign up to take part, it’s a work-in-progress right up the last minute: hairy, but such fun!’
In this light-hearted, romantic comedy, Charlotte Peake and her extraordinary friends and entourage will take you on board a transatlantic liner on a voyage back to the Roaring Twenties. Beset by love, weather and a troubling cargo below decks, the good ship Welford is in for a stormy crossing, by way of a few songs and some dancing. As the trip descends into inevitable anarchy many of the passengers discover that what they are truly looking for is far closer to home than they thought
Rehearsals are under way and director, Ade Morris, says:
‘This dramatic, all dancing, all singing event promises to be as unique and memorable as ever, and the beautiful house itself will play the usual essential part - this time becoming the ocean liner - setting sail across the rolling parkland. With original music, costume and dance to reflect the ‘flapper’ period this production promises to be a great night out in one of the most beautiful spots of rural England.’
The performances are suitable for all ages. There will be barbecue food available and a bar, or you can bring a picnic to enjoy on the lawn before the performance.
All At Sea! is the seventh Masque to be re-created and Welford Park hosts the Masques for the third time, by kind permission of the Puxley family, since the productions moved from their original site at Hoar Hill in Boxford. It is designed by Libby Todd, composer and musical director is Dave Stevens and the choreographer is Deborah Camp.
For performance times and to buy tickets visit watermill.org.uk or call the box office on 01635 46044.
Tickets are £9 (£11 on the door) on Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday evenings and Saturday matinee, and £12 (£14 on the door) on Friday and Saturday evenings. Discounts are available and children age 11 and under are free. Saturday 29 July matinee is a Relaxed Performance.
The Boxford Masques won the West Berkshire Business Award for Culture and Tourism in 2014.