The Barn Theatre, Southwick Community Centre
October 7, 8, 9 & 10, 2015


by Patrick Hamilton

Directed by
Guy Steddon

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“Very fine performances”
– Shoreham Herald –


Matthew Arnold – Kenneth Raglan

Dan Dryer – Rupert Cadell

Derek Fraser – Sir Johnstone Kentley

Sarah Frost – Leila Arden

Natalie Notley – Mrs Debenham

Simon Robinson – Charles Granillo

Guy Steddon – Wyndham Brandon

Peter Thompson – Sabot


Production Crew

Directorial AssistantsDan Dryer

Directorial AssistantsJohn Garland

Stage ManagerJulian Batstone

Lighting DesignMartin Oakley

Sound DesignBob Ryder

Technical OperationMartin Oakley

Technical OperationKieran Pollard

WardrobeMaggi Pierce

WardrobeCherry Fraser

PropertiesAnita Shipton

PropertiesDi Tidzer

Set Construction & PaintingNigel Goldfinch

Set Construction & PaintingCarl Gray

Set Construction & PaintingDave Comber

Set Construction & PaintingDave Collis

Set Construction & PaintingSue Chaplin

Set Construction & PaintingSheila Neesham

Set Construction & PaintingMargaret Davy

Set Construction & PaintingGary Walker

Poster & Programme DesignJudith Berrill

PublicityRosemary Bouchy

PublicityMaggi Pierce

PublicityPeter Joyce

PublicityJudith Berrill

Foyer PhotographyRay Hopper

Front of HouseBetty Dawes


Programme Note #1: Rope

GS wrote: ” Welcome to tonight’s performance of Patrick Hamilton’s seminal thriller Rope.

Patrick Hamilton was better established as a novelist than a playwright, in fact he only wrote four plays overall, a shame given that two of them – Rope and Gaslight – are rightly regarded as classics. Hamilton’s success is attributable to the fact that he would get a good idea and then develop it simply and naturally.

The idea of Rope first came to Hamilton when the details of the notorious Leopold and Loeb murder in America came to light. Rope uses this as more than mere inspiration but actively explores the central idea of the fiercely intelligent men killing another person for supposedly intellectual reasons rather than any real motive.

The central conceit of Rope is so simple and brilliant that it is still ‘borrowed’ liberally. There has been a murder and the body has been put into a chest, the audience has been informed of this in the opening moments of the play and given the killers’ identities. They play then unfolds in real-time as we progress through a macabre social gathering, not knowing if and when the chest’s contents will be discovered. Things may well get very tense!

It’s a very modern style of theatrical storytelling which makes its age even more startling – the play was first performed in 1929 – and it’s a shame the play is less lauded today than the film version made by Alfred Hitchcock nearly 20 years later. This play is a simple one but, as such, it represents theatre at its purest.

When I originally began working on staging this play, the last thing I was thinking of was being a member of the cast. I was more that happy taking the director’s chair and was genuinely apprehensive of having to take on a rôle in the play as well as direct. When it became clear that this was the only course of action available that would see the play staged, it was apparent that I’d need a lot of support to be able to move forward. I am delighted to have been given the support by John Garland and Dan Dryer who have been extra ideas, eyes and ears – they have made this a lot less stressful for me! I must also thank the cast and the crew who have been obliging and helpful at every turn and very understanding if I seemed distracted! My sincere gratitude to all who have worked on the play and given their time and help.

Now, it’s time to sit back and get ready to get uncomfortable ”