Far From The Madding Crowd Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy
An atmospheric image of a mystery woman in a dress, wondering the moor, on a stormy night.

Far From The Madding Crowd

The Redgrave Theatre

Key Information
  • Dates Sat 05 Dec 2020 - Mon 28 Dec 2020
  • Location The Redgrave Theatre
  • Location

    Livestreamed from the Redgrave Theatre

    Now available on demand

  • Evenings

    7.30 pm on 05, 07 and 08 Dec

  • Matinees

    2.30 pm on 08 Dec

  • Running Time

    2 hr 40 mins
    (inc interval)

Haunting...brooding...smouldering...dynamic drama

Written by Thomas Hardy
Adapted by Mark Healy
Directed by Paul Chesterton
Designed by Max Dorey

Based on the literary classic by Thomas Hardy, Far from the Madding Crowd is the story of Bathsheba Everdene. Having inherited her father’s farm, Bathsheba finds herself playing mistress in a man’s world. She is pursued by three very different suitors: Gabriel Oak, a sheep farmer, captivated by her fetching wilfulness; the handsome and reckless Sergeant Troy; and William Boldwood, a prosperous and obsessive landowner. But are any of them a match for the independent and spirited Bathsheba?

Download the programme here.

This amateur production of ‘Far From The Madding Crowd’ is presented by special arrangement with Nick Hern Books

Age guidance 12+ (mild violence and peril) | See trigger warnings below

Please note this production uses flash/strobe lighting

Rehearsal Photography by Rachel Holman

Production Photography by Craig Fuller

Show Trailer (by Craig Fuller)

Performances

Buy a livestream ticket using one of the below links!

Sat 05 Dec 19:30
Mon 07 Dec 19:30
Tue 08 Dec 14:30
Tue 08 Dec 19:30

All performances will be streamed live.

Those who had purchased in-person tickets will be contacted by the Redgrave to be issued with a full refund and advised how to book a livestream performance.

Start time – As these shows are fully live, make sure you’re connected a few minutes ahead of the advertised start time so you’re ready when the show begins.

Restrictions – When you buy a ticket, you get access to watch the show on one device only. This means you can’t share the link with others. If you have friends who would love to see the show, share this page with them!

Waiver – The Redgrave and BOVTS are new to live-streaming and, as with any live event, there’s always a chance something will go wrong. If we’re unable to stream the show, for whatever reason, we will either offer you another date to see it, or a full refund.

Producing theatre during a pandemic...

The School is delighted to be working in professional theatre venues once again. Current Government guidance is that schools, colleges and universities, including vocational training centres, should remain open with face-to-face teaching taking place where it is safe to do so. The School continues to be in close contact with Bristol’s Public Health team who are satisfied that all relevant procedures are in place to allow our work to continue.

At the start of the autumn term, the School’s final year Professional Acting students changed their living arrangements in order to form household bubbles aligned with their casting. This allows for physical contact between some of the characters, as you would expect in a regular theatre performance. All rehearsals and off-stage theatre work have been conducted following governmental guidance. The cast, director and key members of the technical team have been rehearsing together with minimal contact with other members of the School  and those who are not bubbled have been maintaining social distancing throughout this process.

The off-stage teams working at the theatre are zoned and the production has a dedicated Covid officer to ensure safe practices are maintained before, during and after each performance.

All at the Theatre School are grateful for the public support we continue to receive and look forward to welcoming you virtually to Far from the Madding Crowd.

Cast

Amelia Paltridge Bathsheba Everdene 

Jake Kenny-Byrne Gabriel Oak/Soldier 

Lionelle Nsarhaza Liddy Smallbury 

James Jip Sgt Francis Troy/Bailiff Pennywise/Farmer 

Dewi Wykes William Boldwood/Matthew Moon 

Katie Dorman Fanny Robin/Soberance Miller 

Theo Spofforth Joseph Poorgrass/Lawyer Banks/Vicar 

Eliza Smith Mrs Hurst/Maryann Money

Creative and production team

Director Paul Chesterton
Production Designer Max Dorey
Lighting Designer Mary Bennnett
Sound Designer Maddie Coward
Musical Director Pam Rudge
Voice Coach Carol Fairlamb
Dialect Coach Kat Hicks
Fight Director and Choreographer Jonathan Howell
Movement Director Michelle Gaskell
Producer Ruth Sidery
Production Manager Mark Munday
Production Supervisors Alix Abram and Rosie Giarratana
Production Assistant Frederick MacLeod
Stage Manager Kizzie Tims
Deputy Stage Manager Leila Glen
Assistant Stage Manager/Book Cover Cat Simpson
Assistant Stage Managers Spencer Cash-Archer, Jenni Everett and Rosie Maynard
Props Supervisor Eliza Podesta
Props Makers Laura Davies, Tabitha Dodds, Frankie Dowers
Props Assistant Frances Pilsworth
Lighting Operator Joe Culpin
Production Electrician Alastair Barrows
Sound Operator Laura Davies
Costume Supervisors Lizzie Marie and Albert Taylor
Costume Assistants Susie Pearce, Charlie Rowen and Summer York
Costume Makers Jasmine Barron, Amber Bowerman, Katie Ireland, KT Vacara and Summer York
Hair and Make Up Advisor Sophia Khan
Construction Manager Andy Scrivens
Workshop Supervisor Hannah Bracegirdle
Construction Assistants Neamh Campbell and Joe Culpin
Scenic Artists Rowan Batoctoy, Gina Hammersley and Leri Tecwyn
COVID Supervisor Chantel Blackwood
COVID Officers Matilda Bradley and Joe Waddington
Marketing for BOVTS Matt Carmichael, Kathryn Dillon, Rachel Holman and George Spender
Production Photographer Craig Fuller
Head of Costume Course Jill Blundell
Costume Making Tutor Ali Poynter
Head of Scenic Art Course Cathy Stewart
Head of Production Arts Courses Joe Stathers
Stage Management Tutors Alix Abram and Ruth Sidery
Scenic Crafts Tutor Meriel Pym
Sound Tutor and Fiddle Player Frank Bradley

LIVESTREAM

Broadcast Director Paul Chesterton
Broadcast Engineer Dave Taylor
Lighting Director Mary Bennett
Vision Supervisor Rod MacLachlan
Vision Mixer Lily Baron
Head of Cameras Elkie McCrimmon
Camera Operators Kirk Bishop, Hannah Bracegirdle and Holly Stevens
Sound Supervisor Maddie Coward
Sound Mixer Tom Codd/Maddie Coward
Gallery PA Caitlin Ravenscroft
Captions Emily Poole

THE REDGRAVE THEATRE

Theatre Manager Sue Ellicott
Box Office and Front of House Manager Johnny Mauchline
Technical Manager George Malin
Technicians Mark Tucker, Will Wilkinson

Special thanks to

Rosie Giarratana
Alix Abram
Eleanor Condon
Anj Cash-Archer
Jemma Edwards
Albert Taylor for his excellent propping
Meriel Pym
Lois Edmunds
Saskia Bath
Angelica Robins
Jill Blundell
Andy from Gales of Westbury Park Butchers
Sharon Clark
Eleanor Condon
Matilda Bradley
Jane Porteus

Student Q&As

We spoke to our talented students about their roles in the show to give you a greater insight to the show and our courses.

Kizzie Tims, Stage Manager

headshot of woman with short black hair in a black top with hoop earrings

What is your role in the show and what does this entail? 

I am the Stage Manager so I have an overlooking perspective on the show. I manage the team and plan ahead. It is a lot of paperwork and meetings, but it gives you such an overarching view of what is happening and you can do a bit of everything, propping, planning, spreadsheets etc. 

Why did you choose to study your course? Do you have any advice for future applicants? 

I applied because I had spent a long time watching theatre and being overcome with emotion and excitement, I tried acting as a kid and it really was not me. So I thought that was my shot at theatre gone, but no! I saw a member of stage management, with the cans pack and clipboard – they had all the answers and were so cool and in control – and then I found backstage! My advice would be not to worry about whether you “have what it takes” – all you need is a good attitude and a huge smile! 

What has been your favourite experience at the School so far? 

By far it was when I first walked into my first show venue, first day of tech. For the first time I was on the other side, not in an auditorium seat but on stage, doing my thing, smiling from ear to ear. The positivity was really overwhelming, I felt like young me would have been so proud! The school pushes you to progress so quickly sometimes you don’t give yourself credit for how far you have come but two years ago I didn’t even know what a stage brace was, then 1 year later I had successfully built two full sets. 

Who should come to see/watch Far from the Madding Crowd? 

I would say everyone, but you Thomas Hardy superfans are really in for a treat this time! Anyone who is hungry for a story, during these insane times; anyone wishing they were somewhere else, and want to be popped in a field, in the middle of Hardy’s Wessex, with a whole load of sheep. 

What have you enjoyed the most about working on  Far from the Madding Crowd  ? 

Working as a whole. I have enjoyed being physically back and able to do all the things I love again – making props, building furniture, sourcing little gadgets and giszmos, helping the creatives and company make such a gorgeous piece of storytelling… It is good to be back. 

Without giving too much away(!) what does the technical/creative team have in store for the audience? 

A whole lot of drama, a fantastic love story and some drop dead gorgeous costumes… Ooh and stunning sound and lighting that will put you right in the countryside. 

What does this show mean to you in light of all that’s happening? 

It means everything, it is us pioneering a way of working through this. It is escaping, with no need for planes or trains, to another world where COVID does not exist – even just for an hour or two! 

 

Amelia Paltridge playing Bathsheba Everdene

Headshot of female acting student

Photographer – YellowBelly

What is your role in the show and what does this entail?

I play Bathsheba Everdene, an independent and strong-willed female character who inherits her uncle’s large farm. Finding herself thrown into more wealth and responsibility than she ever thought she’d have, she has to learn on her feet, navigating adulthood and figuring out how to survive in the patriarchal world of agriculture.

Why did you choose to study your course? Do you have any advice for future applicants?

Honestly drama school was never really on the cards for me. I was in my first year at Bristol University studying English Literature, considering a change to Biology, when I was advised to apply to drama school by the leader of an acting workshop I did in London. So I did, mainly just for the experience, and here we are! My advice for future applicants would be to not censure or conceal yourself – try to show your true self in auditions, because not only is that wonderful to witness someone being authentically themselves, it often helps the panel to more easily see who you are and how you’d fit in a year group.

What has been your favourite experience at the School so far?

Probably the devised project we did in second year. Created out of nothing, it was a culmination of personal, familial and fictional stories and improvisations that were explored throughout the process, and characters that were grown out of that fertile imaginative soil. The final product was so magical and a true labour of love from our hearts – it was a bit like a crazy and colourful homemade quilt made up of all these beautiful bits and bobs stitched together. It was even more amazing to have the rest of the school watching as well – we miss those close proximity in-person showings.

Who should come to see/watch Far from the Madding Crowd?

Everyone! It’s got love, loss, comedy, drama, horror, music, twists and turns that keep you on your toes – the list goes on. For all those who have missed theatre, this is such a wonderful story that translates beautifully from page to stage while keeping the beauty of Thomas Hardy’s storytelling. Don’t let the fact that it’s set in the 19th Century deter you – its themes and conversations are just as relevant today, and the story is just as gripping as your favourite soap.

What have you enjoyed the most about working on Far from the Madding Crowd?

Without a doubt, playing Bathsheba Everdene. I read Far From the Madding Crowd when I was about 16, and ever since she has been one of my favourite female literary characters. So it has been an absolute joy to inhabit a character who I relished reading and learnt so much from back then. Such a gorgeously three dimensional, complex and strong female character.

Without giving too much away(!) what does the technical/creative team have in store for the audience?

The set, sound and lighting truly bring this production to a whole new level – they breathe so much life into the play and help us as actors have fun on stage. There is a rustic, rural feel/look to it all but it’s by no means twee – there’s true grit and haunting elements throughout.

What does this show mean to you in light of all that’s happening?

Inevitably a huge amount – it’s going to be exhilarating to be back on a stage after months of Zoom acting. Not only that but it is my first final year show, which adds a whole other layer of excitement and trepidation. So all in all this show just reminds me how grateful I am to the school for working so hard to give us the best opportunities and experiences they can despite everything that’s going on.

Lizzie Thomson, Costume Supervisor

Headshot of girl smiling at camera with shoulder length brown hair

Costume student

What is your role in the show and what does this entail? 

I’m a Costume Supervisor along with Albert. This involves working closely with the designer to realise costumes, overseeing costume makes, hiring and sourcing costumes, buying fabrics, planning the dress plots and getting the costume assistants ready to dress the show!  

Why did you choose to study your course? Do you have any advice for future applicants? 

I wanted to have experience of working on shows, as well as learning the techniques to construct costumes. It feels like a theatre industry environment, as well as an educational one, and the responsibility given to supervise productions feels very valuable and also safe. Also Bristol is a brilliant place to be. It really helps to have a passion for theatre when applying, having a background with local or am-dram companies is very useful!  

What has been your favourite experience at the School so far? 

I loved the productions we worked on in first year: Her Naked Skin and The Laramie Project. They were both really fun to dress, lots of quick changes as well as the buzz of being backstage, quick makeup changes and lovely costumes. 

Who should come to see/watch Far from the Madding Crowd? 

Anyone and everyone! It has everything, a love story, a strong independent woman, betrayal, suffering, drama…I don’t want to spoil anything, but all of this and more, with beautiful period costumes and a historical rural setting.  

What have you enjoyed the most about working on  Far from the Madding Crowd  ? 

I’ve really enjoyed going to the Costume Services to pick out costumes, as all the characters in the show are so varied, with lots of different accessories that add to their character. I’ve loved working with the costume team. As I’ve done a lot of shows as a one-person team,  it’s wonderful to co-supervise with Albert – it’s always a slightly crazy fun productive day in our workroom! Plus having two really motivated and talented costume assistants is great!  

Without giving too much away(!) what does the technical/creative team have in store for the audience? 

Beautiful, authentic, detailed, colourful costumes! (And bustles!)  

What does this show mean to you in light of all that’s happening? 

It feels really special to be collaborating with a group of people to make something creative happen. Every department is working so hard on it and to make it safe. It feels lovely that an audience will be able to experience what we’ve been working on, as escapism from everything going on right now. 

 

Mary Bennett, Lighting Designer

What is your role in the show and what does this entail? 

I am the lighting designer. I have complete creative control over the electrics for the show. My role includecreating an LX Plan and sitting in rehearsals. A short summary of the role would be to say my job is to make everyone look pretty and make sure they are seen on stage! I work alongside the Prod LX Ali to hire equipment to make sure we portray the director and designers’ vision as accurately as possible. Madding Crowd has so many different settings and seasons that I’m excited to let my creativity flow! 

Headshot of a female smiling at the camera with dark hair in a bob wearing a red and black top

Why did you choose to study your course? Do you have any advice for future applicants? 

I’ve always known that I’ve wanted to work in theatre. There was a moment where I was acting with a Youth Theatre Group, but I longed to be one of the people with a set of cans and a clipboard behind the scenes instead of actually being in the spotlight. I came to BOVTS thinking I wanted to be a Stage Manager with knowledge of all the other technical roles backstage. Now I long to be the one making the stage look beautiful through lighting as well as creating the designers and director’s vision. My advice would be to always keep an open mind, try new things and never say no. You never know what career path you might be drawn into throughout the course!  

 

What has been your favourite experience at the School so far? 

My favourite experience was definitely Nicholas Nickleby on the Bristol Old Vic main stage, it was my first lighting op role with the school, and I got so much more confident programming all the lighting. It was amazing to look at the show and think ‘I actually did that. I made the lighting look like that with my own programming skills.’ It was the first moment I felt proud of myself at the School. 

 

Who should come to see/watch Far From The Madding Crowd? 

I love the story of Madding Crowd, it’s like an older version of a rom com but just with added intensity and drama. We all love happy endings and resolve so it is definitely a nice change from tragedies we might stage. 

 

What have you enjoyed the most about working on FFTMC? 

Being a creative! I love making the decisions myself. Two years ago, I definitely wouldn’t have trusted my own judgement on making creative decisions but now I can’t wait to be able to have freedom to create my own vision of the show in terms of electrics. Last year I was a programmer and operator so I am looking forward to passing on my skills to other people and I always learn new things about the lighting board as I go! 

 

Without giving too much away(!) what does the technical/creative team have in store for the audience? 

One of the main lighting themes in the show is the change of seasons. I have been researching into the many different colours of each season so that we can create an accurate representation of whatever time of day in whichever season we want! Get ready for an array of colours, gobos (patterns) and effects in this show, it has a bit of everything! 

 

What does this show mean to you in light of all that’s happening? 

After been made redundant from my job back home and not being able to work in Bristol either as next to no shows are on right now, it means so much to be back working on stage. Whenever it’s a holiday and I am not working at the drama school I’m usually taking shifts back at my home theatre so it’s going to be a sad Christmas without theatre. Being away from the theatre during lockdown has made me appreciate this experience so much more. It is a gift to be able to put on a show right now and fingers crossed nothing will stop it going ahead! 

Albert Taylor, Costume Supervisor

headshot of male student with red hair and glasses looking at camera, wearing a black hoody

What is your role in the show and what does this entail? 

I’m one of the costume supervisors. I’m in charge of communicating between designer, management, costume makers, costume hires, and everyone who needs them. When shows go into tech, I’ve got to keep an eye on how these costumes hit the stage – continuity between scenes, repairs, quick changes; they are all dealt with by the supervisor and the team of dressers. 

Why did you choose to study your course? Do you have any advice for future applicants? 

I left a costume making and design course to join here, so I’ve learned what I like, learning wise, and the moment I heard the course was a vocational one, I jumped right in. The focus on actually making and doing costume is so much better compared to all the hypothetical and design work of my last course before actually creating something. 

You need to be passionate. Long hours, hiccups around any corner, you have to have the drive to persevere even when it’s all upside down. The best bit about that is that your cohort are in the exact same boat as you – you’ve immediately got so many people to rely on, and that helps you stay positive in any situation. 

What has been your favorite experience at the School so far? 

Teching shows. From start to finish its Go Go Go and you bond with your actors and your dressers in the trenches over a 30-minute break for a stolen sandwich while sewing more snaps, and you really don’t get that kind of real experience outside of a drama school like this one.  

What have you enjoyed the most about working on Far from the Madding Crowd  ? 

Watching all the makes come together! We’ve got a good mix of costumes made specifically for the actors, and they’re all so beautiful!  

Without giving too much away(!) what does the technical/creative team have in store for the audience? 

Ooh! Costume has been really on the making side for this – there are so many dresses, uniforms, and outfits we’ve had the pleasure to make for this show, its been very exciting! 

What does this show mean to you in light of all that’s happening? 

Its great – Lockdown 1.0 cancelled our first go of touring Far From the Madding Crowd and so the fact we get to actually do it, on a stage no less, when so many opportunities are closed to everyone is something to be positive about. 

Jake Kenny-Byrne playing Gabriel Oak

Headshot of male acting student

Photographer Sam Stratford


What is your role in the show and what does this entail?
I’m playing Gabriel Oak. He’s a shepherd that falls in love with Bathsheba. He’s a man of the ground, earthy and mature with traditional ideals and sometimes a bit of a temper, but devoted to his craft and loyal. There’s a lot I get to do physically, particularly on the farm, which I’m finding a lot of fun!

Why did you choose to study your course? Do you have any advice for future applicants?
I didn’t know about drama schools until I was around 17,  [but] I knew I wanted to be an actor. It’s not only the rigour of the course, but the tools it gives you that give you as an actor the longevity for your career. Advice I’d give would be to prepare well, enjoy the audition process and trust in your potential, however long it takes.

What has been your favorite experience at the School so far?
Touring schools at the start of second year for our Nativity production was definitely a highlight. We toured to almost 40 primary schools and thousands of children. I enjoyed being cheeky, charming and engaging with the audience as a Wise Man; kids are the best audience because they have no filter so it really teaches you to up your game! Also, putting up and taking down set as well as maintaining the performance every morning was a challenge but so fulfilling.

Who should come to see Far from the Madding Crowd?
People of all ages should come see Far From The Madding Crowd regardless of whether they’ve read Hardy’s famous novel or not, because its themes of love, unrequited love and femininity in a patriarchal world are so relevant in today’s society. It’s also packed with drama, with a woman pursued by three men, action and tragedy. I think also a strong female protagonist like Bathsheba is inspiring for girls too.

What have you enjoyed the most about working on Far from the Madding Crowd ?
I’ve enjoyed the physical nature of Oak – he’s a labourer and very able with that, which I’m afraid being a city boy I lack, so it’s a great challenge getting to grips with it. It’s also really cool getting to play with many props and play someone who’d normally be quite older casting to me.

Without giving too much away(!) what does the technical/creative team have in store for the audience?
The technical/creative team have worked magic and they’ve got a lot in store for everyone. Without spoiling too much, given we had originally planned to tour this show last summer, a set had already been built…but it’s been expanded and is so rich in detail that really captures the pastoral world of the show through sound, set and lighting. I get to climb on some of it which I’m hyped about.

What does this show mean to you in light of all that’s happening?
This show means a lot to me because it’s the first show I’m acting in since the Covid-19 pandemic. We need to ensure theatres survive through this time, especially in these difficult times, to bring communities together through storytelling. Fingers crossed, once the lockdown is due to end 2 December, we’ll enjoy performing live to a socially distanced audience as well as live streaming to everyone around the world.

One of my favourite parts about BOVTS is that it feels ‘homegrown’. From the set to the costume, lighting, acting and sound, every single aspect of a theatre production or film is down to the students. The location of Clifton is so serene and the School being so small everyone knows each other and it feels so personal and special. Violet Morris, BA Professional Acting Student