The Children’s Hour

by Lillian Hellman

12th-15th November 2003
Millennium Festival Studio Theatre, Central Methodist Church, Lincoln

Vicky Ashberry made her directorial bow with our autumn 2003 production – and she certainly doesn’t shrink from a challenge!

Written in the 1930s, ‘The Children’s Hour’ is the best known work of the American playwright Lillian Hellman. It tells the story of how a malicious lie told by a schoolgirl eventually destroys the lives and livelihoods of her two teachers. Its insinuations of illicit love between two women were considered shocking when it first appeared on the Broadway stage, and when it was revived in the 1950s the play struck a chord with many audiences at a time when rumour, persecution and unfounded allegations were rife in the McCarthy era.

Vicky brought in a host of new members to take the schoolgirls’ roles and coaxed excellent performances from all of them – in particular newcomer Francesca Gugliotta, who played the central role of Mary Tilford, the disturbed girl whose lies lead to the closure of the school and the suicide of one of the teachers.

Overall an utterly convincing and deeply moving piece of ensemble theatre which won rave reviews despite attracting only our usual small but loyal audiences. The Lincolnshire Echo praised the ‘intense performances’ and predicted that audiences would be ‘deeply moved’ by the plight of the two women, excellently played by Melissa Corfield and Sheryl Tribe. The Lincoln Chronicle pronounced the show ‘brave and brilliant’, ‘hugely enjoyable’ and ‘gripping and gruelling theatre’.

Peggy Rogers Amy Edwards
Catherine Elodie Naidu / Ailsa Welsh
Lois Fisher Holly Jackson
Mrs Lily Mortar Su Toogood
Evelyn Munn Caroline Williams
Helen Burton Charlotte Evans / Jennifer Davidson
Rosalie Wells Kirsty McAra
Mary Tilford Francesca Gugliotta
Karen Wright Melissa Corfield
Martha Dobie Sheryl Tribe
Dr Joseph Cardin Matthew Morrissey
Agatha Christine Bellamy
Mrs Amelia Tilford Gaynor Little
Grocery boy Philip Arnold


Director Vicky Ashberry
Stage manager Harriet Ennis
Lighting Harriet Ennis, Vicky Ashberry
Costume Vicky Ashberry
Set construction Ian Smith, Edd Simpson
Stagehands Ian Smith, Edd Simpson, David Stubbs
Props Carolyn Jones
Front of house Charles Newby
Publicity Jez Ashberry
Programme Jez Ashberry, Myk Atkinson
Mrs Little’s hair Fran Pembury