March to July 2020


Friday 1st May to Saturday 18th July 2020

Chesil Theatre offers
enries for a national playwriting festival

Ten plays. Four performances. Two days. One theme

Chesil Theatre’s new writing festival – TakeTen has launched with The Road Not Taken selected as theme 

TakeTen Chesil Theatre New Writing Festival (‘TakeTen’), the new biennial contest has a simple format:
• plays need to be ten minutes in length,
• scripts can include one to four actors, with minimum props, lighting and sound, and
• they must also be unperformed, unpublished and original work.

The theatre company has built a strong reputation for cultivating new plays and discovering new writers over the past decade and has attracted the attention of some renowned actors. Having watched a performance, Sir Ian McKellen enthused: “I thought the whole enterprise was startlingly good and an example of what a theatre company like the Chesil can do better than a professional one. They should be very proud of the result of their labours.”

TakeTen builds on this success and the company hopes its new contest will be the most successful festival yet.

David Small, Chairman, Chesil Theatre, says: “Chesil Theatre has long been associated with performing ground-breaking work, and ‘TakeTen Chesil Theatre New Writing Festival 2021’ aims to cement that reputation and to give new talent an opportunity to be celebrated – in front of a paying audience – over one weekend. We received a large number of suggestions for the festival theme, with The Road Not Taken selected owing to its wide opportunity for interpretation. While it is the name of a well-known poem by Robert Frost, we hope that new playwrights will have a lot of fun with it and use its versatility to come up with some theatre firsts.”
A unique feature of TakeTen is its final rehearsal period taken over a concentrated time. This makes it easier for those who can’t normally commit to the theatre’s usual eight-week schedule to take part. The set for each play is also kept intentionally simple, allowing for the 10 winning plays to be performed back to back and with minimum set change time.

David Small concludes: “The whole ‘hothouse’ atmosphere of the festival creates a tremendous team effort when 50 people or more finally get together for the four performances over one frenetic weekend, culminating in a final end of show party.”

All entries must be in by 11:59 on 18th July 2020. Those shortlisted through an initial selection process then go to a panel of judges before the short list of 20 and final 10 winners are announced in autumn 2020. Chesil Theatre then start appointing directors and stage management, with auditions and casting following.

Entry criteria from or email

** All productions are either cancelled or postponed **

Tue 17 - Sat 21 Mar 2020


Silly Cow by Ben Elton


Tue 24 - Sat 28 Mar 2020

Totton Drama


Thu 26 - Sat 28 Mar 2020

Curdridge Drama

The Shadow Factory by Howard Brenton


Sat 28 Mar - Sat 4 Apr 2020

Chesil Theatre

Dracula By Liz Lochhead


Mon 30 Mar - Sat 4 Apr 2020


Sharks in the Custard and Yards Apart by Mary Stone and Tony Layton


Tue 31 Mar - Sat 4 Apr 2020

Hamble Players

The Hollow by Agatha Christie


Thu 23 - Sat 25 Apr 2020



Tue 5 - Sat 9 May 2020


The Railway Children by E. Nesbit. Adapted by Dave Simpson


Fri 8th, Sat 9th, Fri 15th, Sat 16th May 2020

The Worthy Players

Cash on Delivery by Michael Cooney


Wed 13 - Sat 16 May 2020

Cheriton Players

Murder Weapon by Brian Clemens


Thu 14 - Sat 16 May 2020

Bishopstoke Players

One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean


Sat 16 - Sat 23 May 2020

Chesil Theatre

A Fine Bright Day Today By Philip Goulding


Sat 16 and Fri 22 - Sat 23 May 2020


The Long Game by Julie Wilson


Tue 14 - Sat 18 Jul 2020

Chesil Theatre

A Midsummer Night’s Dream By William Shakespeare


Tuesday 17th to Saturday 21st March 2020

RAODS presents
Silly Cow
by Ben Elton

Silly Cow is a slick, razor-tongued modern satire on the viciousness of tabloid journalism with an ingeniously dramatic dénouement. Doris is a newspaper columnist and reviewer with a talent for caustic insults and career assassination. She is being sued by the actress Trudi Hobson, after writing an article which savaged the respected thespian with accusations of small talent and large thighs. The queen of spleen isn’t worried: she’s got a job offer, a plan for a television show, and the cleavage to help the judge see things her way. But she’s about to discover that even journalists can’t escape reaping what they have sown, and that there’s nothing quite as dramatic as an actress’s revenge.

Tuesday 24th to Saturday 28th March 2020

Totton Drama presents
The Totton Festival of Drama 2020

Experience an unparalleled variety of live theatre as 12 productions from across the south compete at the Totton Festival for silverware and a place at the next round of the All England Theatre Festival.

Box Office
Hanger Farm Arts Centre
Aikman Lane
West Totton
SO40 8FT

Phone: 023 8066 7683

Thursday 26th to Saturday 28th March 2020

Curdridge Drama presents
The Shadow Factory
by Howard Brenton

Our production of the Shadow Factory will be a prime example of how a small village hall can stage such a big production.

During the dark days of September 1940, German raids on Southampton resulted in the destruction of factories producing those aircraft vital to the war effort - the iconic Spitfire. While the factories were damaged, much of the machinery was salvageable and was moved to bus depots, local garages and even laundries - the Shadow Factories. The play tells the story of the tensions sparked between the Government and those ordinary families whose businesses and properties are summarily requisitioned.

Saturday 28th March to Saturday 4th April 2020

Chesil Theatre presents
by Liz Lochhead

At the close of the nineteenth century, a freak storm in Whitby brings more than bad weather. Count Dracula has arrived to sate his lust for blood

First you have to invite him in …

Contains strong language and adult themes

Monday 30th March to Saturday 4th April 2020

Maskers presents
Sharks in the Custard and Yards Apart
by Mary Stone and Tony Layton

Yards Apart by Mary Stone
Mark is retired and spends his days pottering around the garden (which he loves almost to the point of obsession), avoiding the neighbours and scaring off the local cats with his BB gun. When his neighbour Viki literally crashes into his world he's eager to send her packing and return to his quiet, solitary life. But Viki and Mark are destined for a collision course that pits equally entrenched opinions against each other.
Can these two lonely people overcome their differences and help each other when it counts?

Sharks in the Custard by Tony Layton
Liz, Vera and Mair enjoy their cleaning work in the art gallery. It gives them a few hours of peace and quiet every day, away from the noise of the hectic outside world and the unhappy chaos of their home lives. They banter and tell stories. And they also crack jokes about the works of art in their care, in particular the avant-garde art. But they all agree they wouldn’t want to work anywhere else.
However, rumours of government cut backs threaten to upset their cosy regime and they find themselves up to their necks in shark-infested custard!

Tuesday 31st March to Saturday 4th April 2020

Hamble Players presents
The Hollow
by Agatha Christie

An unhappy game of romantic follow-the-leader explodes into murder one weekend at The Hollow, home of Sir Henry and Lucy Angkatell, arguably Agatha Christie’s finest comic grande dame. 

Dr. Cristow, the Harley Street lothario, is at the centre of the trouble when, assembled in one place, we find his dull but devoted wife Gerda, his mistress and prominent sculptor Henrietta and his former lover and Hollywood film star Veronica.  Also visiting are Edward and Midge whose romantic assertions are likewise thrown into the mix. As the list of romantic associations grow so does the list of potential suspects when Cristow is shot dead.

Nearly everyone has a motive, but only one of them did the deed!

Thursday 23rd to Saturday 25th April 2020

Chameleons presents
Spring Quartet

Shoppers by Jean McConnell: Shoppers is about two well to do shopaholics have a surprising secret…

Doggies by Jean McConnell: Doggies is a hilarious tale about two dog owners…

Connie's Colander by Gaye Poole: Connie is a retired domestic science teacher. Emily, her daughter, is enjoying hosting her first TV cookery show, Connie’s Colander, bringing her mother’s recipes onscreen and up to date…

Cliff's Edge by Paul Beard: A suicidal failed actor, a maniacally depressed pub landlord and a schizophrenic passer-by are the characters in this blackest of comedies that is set on the cliff top at Beachy Head…

Tuesday 5th to Saturday 9th May 2020

RAODS presents
The Railway Children
by E. Nesbit. Adapted by Dave Simpson

Set in and around a country railway station at the turn of the twentieth century, the plight of the railway children grappling with their new environment is imaginatively brought to life for a modern audience while losing nothing of the original spirit of humour, tension, adventure and the final triumph of good over evil.

Friday 8th, Saturday 9th, Friday 15th, Saturday 16th May 2020

The Worthy Players presents
Cash on Delivery
by Michael Cooney

Peter Wooldridge plays Eric, a man drawn into making multiple false claims on our financial support systems, only to find that trying to extract himself from his misdemeanours leads to ever more complicated depths of deceit. His unwilling lodger, Norman – played by Martin Pettigrew – is dragged into desperate ploys which must be kept from his wife. Social workers, marriage guidance and undertakers are somehow drawn in, creating merry mayhem.

'Owing to the situation with the COVID-19 virus epidemic and associated evolving national guidelines, The Worthy Players' production of 'Cash on Delivery', set for early to mid-May, is under review. All details will be found on the website .'

Wednesday 13th to Saturday 16th May 2020

Cheriton Players presents
Murder Weapon
by Brian Clemens

When Chief Constable Bligh accompanies her friend Diane Tulliver home to Dysart Hall after a night at the opera they arrive to a horrifying scene. Diane’s husband Paul has been shot dead and ex-convict Charley Mirren is standing over him bearing a gun. It appears to be an open-and-shut case for Jessica Bligh, but as she and her colleague Inspector Fremont probe further they discover all is not what it seems. Through a series of flashbacks and re-enactments of the events leading up to Paul’s death, we soon find it is not just the murderer’s identity that is in question.

Murder Weapon is an ingeniously plotted, highly tense thriller from Brian Clemens, creator of The Avengers and author of Inside Job, Without Trace and Strictly Murder.

Thursday 14th to Saturday 16th May 2020

Bishopstoke Players presents
One Man, Two Guvnors
by Richard Bean

One Man, Two Guvnors is a fast-paced, hilarious farce that follows the mixed fortunes of Francis Henshall. Down on his luck and permanently hungry, Francis suddenly finds himself employed by two bosses.

Playing at Bishopstoke Memorial Hall on 14th to 16th May at 7.30pm. Tickets are £8 (£6 for those aged 16 and under) and will be available from 1st April online at, email or phone 07871 006551.

Saturday 16th to Saturday 23rd May 2020

Chesil Theatre presents
A Fine Bright Day Today
by Philip Goulding

When a town is slowly dying there is not much in the way of consolation, apart from memories and the reassuring routine of daily life.

Loss, love and courage – it’s a tug-of-war

Saturday 16th and Friday 22nd to Saturday 23rd May 2020

CATS presents
The Long Game
by Julie Wilson

Lawrence Tade, an ambitious business man, and his wealthy new bride Marina settle down to a happy married life. Well, not quite. Lawrence is not quite what he seems and basically he’s just after her money. He’s also scheming to ruin a local business and make his fortune.
Enter a few other characters, most of whom are a bit more ethical than he is. He underestimates his wife’s ability to fight back …….and the play ends as you wouldn’t quite expect.

Tuesday 14th to Saturday 18th July 2020

Chesil Theatre presents
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
by William Shakespeare

Enjoy this timeless magical comedy classic in the beautiful grounds of Wolvesey Palace, by kind permission on the Bishop of Winchester. Picnic with those familiar friends who can still surprise you – the bickering lovers, meddling fairies and Nick Bottom with his troupe of amateur actors.

Magic and mayhem in the forest.