Past Productions

Our Country's Good - October 2009

Directed by Barry Shyvers and Sarah Truelove
Stage Manager - Stuart Clark
Produced by Andrea Butler

Play Summary

Our Country's Good is the story of convicts and Royal Marines sent to Australia in the late 1780’s as part of the first penal colony there.  It follows Second Lieutenant Ralph Clark's attempts to put on a production of George Farquhar's restoration comedy “The Recruiting Officer” with a cast of male and female convicts.  The play shows the class system in the convict camp and discusses themes such as sexuality, punishment, the Georgian judicial system and the idea that art can act as an ennobling force.

As part of their research, Stafford-Clark and Wertenbaker went to see a play performed by convicts at Wormwood Scrubs, which proved very inspiring: "…in prison conditions, theatre can be hugely heartening and influential and indeed in prison your options are so limited you can become a born-again Christian, a gym-queen constantly working out, a bird watcher or you become passionate about theatre.”

The convicts were, at least momentarily, civilised human beings, and they had taken their work very seriously.  The convicts knew their lines absolutely because they had nothing else to do and they didn't want to waste time with pleasantries as soon as you came into the room they started rehearsing.  The two hours were very intense because the time was so valuable and we saw immediately how doing a play could become absolutely absorbing if you were incarcerated.

Most of the characters in the play are based on real people who sailed with the First Fleet, though some have had their names changed.  Wertenbaker was able to read the journals of First Fleet members in order to portray them accurately.

Kate Awcock                         Captain Watkin Tench
Kate Awcock                         Shitty Meg
Alice Burrell                          Mary Brenham
Adam Hardy                          Judge David Collins
Adam Hardy                          John Sideway
Simon Kerr-Davis                Ralph Clark
Kate Organ                            Dabby Bryant
Kate Organ                            2nd Lt William Faddy
Alan Powell                          Harry Brewer
Alan Powell                          John Arscott
Alan Powell                          Jeremy Campbell
Barry Shyvers                       Robbie Ross
Barry Shyvers                       Ketch Freeman
Amelia Simmons                  Lt George Johnston
Amelia Simmons                  Duckling Smith
Becky Syms                          Reverend Johnson
Becky Syms                          Liz Morden
Chris Walton-Turner           John Wisehammer
Chris Walton-Turner           Governor Arthur Phillip

Off Stage
Caroline Brackley                Prompt
Andrea Butler                       Producer
Nigel Cassford                     Lighting
Stuart Clark                           Stage Manager
Gillian Earle                          Programme design
Helen Gallifant                     Costumes
James Gallifant                    Box Office
John Greenyer                     Properties
Roger Mandera                    Stage Gaffer
Owen Miller                           Sound
Barry Shyvers                       Director
Charles Truelove                 Stage Gaffer
Sarah Truelove                    Lighting
Sarah Truelove                    Assistant Director
Ros Williams                        Publicity



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