Spring and Port Wine

by Bill Naughton

27th, 29th, 30th November and 1st December 2001
Croft Street Community Centre, Lincoln

Seven short months after we first sat down in the pub and discussed setting up a new theatre group, we were on stage. In the absence of any other takers Jez Ashberry volunteered to direct our first outing – ‘Spring and Port Wine’ by Bill Naughton, a touching, comic, atmospheric ensemble piece set in Bolton in the early 60s.

Inspired by the 1960s film version featuring a quietly menacing James Mason as Rafe and a teenage Susan George in a mini skirt, Jez brought together a mix of experienced actors and outright newcomers in the company’s first cast. Ian Smith worked wonders with a tardis of a set which had to accommodate a dinner table, six chairs, a sofa, two armchairs, a television set and a bureau in a space hardly big enough for Jason Hippisley to swing his towel.

The onset of spring and a few glasses of port wine after work are what puts a spring into the step of young Hilda, but her home life is soured by the overbearing manner of her father Rafe, who rules Hilda and her brothers with a rod of iron. After a series of arguments and confrontations – and the trials of Mother, who has pawned Dad’s best coat in spite of her husband’s fanatical dislike of debt – the Cromptons manage to avoid a family break-up by finally being honest with each other.

Our first production was described by the Lincolnshire Echo as ‘a sterling performance’ and involved 28 members and friends of the company.

Daisy Crompton Su Toogood
Florence Crompton Juli Charlton
Betsy Jane Gaynor Little
Wilfred Crompton Philip Little
Harold Crompton Jason Hippisley
Hilda Crompton Carly Bustin
Rafe Crompton Steve Watters
Arthur Patrick Cant


Director Jez Ashberry
Stage manager Jonathan Newton
Properties Emma Snedden
Costumes Pat Gregory, Vicky Ashberry
Set Ian Smith, John Davey
Sound and light James Ralph
Front of house Charles Newby, Christine Bellamy
Publicity Jacquie Pryce
Incidental music Anne Nugent
Photography Chris Goddard