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The Clearing | October 2010

by Helen Edmundson, directed by Patricia Melluish.

The Clearing takes us to the seventeenth century. The Irish people are being forcibly moved off their land as a result of Cromwell’s desire to drive the native Irish from their homes in order to give their lands and property to soldiers and businessmen who had supported him during the English Civil War. For generations the English perceived the Irish as ‘sub human’ and so thought very little of forcing families to leave their homes and start a new life in a part of Ireland, Connaught, that was little more than a desert at the time. Connaught had no law and order or infrastructure and thousands of those sent there died from famine and disease.

Against this backdrop of persecution unfolds an enthralling tale of the effect Cromwell’s orders have on the lives of the regular people, both English and Irish, trying to continue their everyday lives in the face of political upheaval, prejudice and fanaticism. The play follows Robert and Madeleine – a blissfully happy English-Irish couple – and how their small, contented world is turned upside down and how they cope with the circumstances they find themselves in.

While the subject matter is serious the play is not downbeat – it is an exploration of how different people act in situations that challenge the very foundations of their world and how some people will be crushed and others will find their wings.

Killane Farrell                                    Emily Smith
Pierce Kinsellagh                               Stephen Whalley
Solomon Winter                                 Pieter Swinge
Susaneh Winter                                 Sandie Campbell
Robert Preston                                  Ian-Paul Munday
Madeleine Preston                            Jenny Jones
Sir Charles Sturman                         Stuart Scott
Soldiers                                               Bill Ransom, Stephen Whalley
Commissioner of Transportation    Andrew Herbert
Sailor                                                   Bill Ransom
Appeal Judge                                     John Heather


Stage Director:                           John Heather
Choreographer:                          Hollie Campbell
Set Design:                                 Bill Ransom, John Heather
Lighting Designer:                     Jon Lewis
Sound Designer:                         Ian James
Set Construction:                       Bill Ransom, John Heather
Special Construction:                Bill Ransom
Stage Manager:                          Heather London
Asst Stage Managers:               Ruth Aylward, Liane Marchant
Sound Assistant:                        Rachel Cormican
Props:                                          Beryl Neal
Wardrobe:                                  Margaret Uzzell, Valerie Polydorou
Make-up & hair:                        Christine Lever, Jean Golder, Penny Vetterlein
Wigs:                                            Jean Golder
Prompt:                                       Mary Ransom

House Manager:                         John Heather
Refreshments:                            Nina James
Raffle:                                           Ruth Aylward, Heather London
Box Office:                                   Margaret Uzzell
Programme Editor:                    John Guttridge
Programme/poster design:       Graham Copeland

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