Beauties, Barmaids and Battleaxes

Adapted from William Shakespeare

February 2003

Link to cast & production team

Link to what the critics said

Link to photo gallery

Sexy, feisty and funny women in scenes from Shakespeare’s history plays

– another Bard in the Yard production by Eastbourne’s award-winning Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe.

Bard in the Yard has become an annual feature of the Eastbourne summer scene. This year’s show keeps the relaxed atmosphere and simple setting focusing on Shakespeare’s characters and language. Join us for an evening of 12 scenes from Richard II, the Henry plays, and Richard III.

The women range from queens, princesses and duchesses to pub owners, maids and prostitutes. With them you’ll see Henry the Fifth, Falstaff, Richard the Third – and lots of others. Most people will never have seen these scenes before – it’s a truly unique experience.

Eastbourne directors and actors involved are Laurie Atkinson, Fran Baldock, Peter Baldock, Ashley Bloomfield, Chris Cameron, Will Clannachan, Jerry Duckor, Sandra Gillespie, Reuben Hardie, Joanna Hulme, Anne Manchester, John Marwick, Barry Mawer, Florence McFarlane, Rowan McRae, Holly Robinson, Trevor Rose. Merilyn Noonen will be playing the hurdy-gurdy.

Cast & Production Team

1: The Duchess of York

Richard II: Act V Scenes 2 and 3

Duchess of YorkSandra Gillespie
Edmund, Duke of YorkJerry Duckor
Duke of Aumerle, their sonAshley Bloomfield
Bolingbroke – King Henry IVReuben Hardie
DirectorJohn Marwick


2: Lady Percy – 1

Henry IV Part 1: Act II Scene 3

Henry Percy, known as  HotspurChris Cameron
Lady Percy, his wifeHolly Robinson
DirectorLaurie Atkinson


3: Mistress Quickly – 1

Henry IV Part 2: Act II Scene 1

Mistress QuicklyFlorence McFarlane
FangWill Clannachan
SnareJerry Duckor
Sir John FalstaffBarry Mawer
Lord Chief JusticeTrevor Rose
DirectorJohn Marwick


4: Queen Margaret – 1

Henry VI Part 3: Act I Scenes 1& 4

Henry VIAshley Bloomfield
Queen Margaret, his wifeFran Baldock
Edward, Prince of Wales, their sonReuben Hardie
Richard, Duke of YorkLaurie Atkinson
DirectorJohn Marwick


5: Lady Percy – 2

Henry IV Part 2: Act II Scene 3

Earl of NorthumberlandTrevor Rose
Lady Northumberland, his wifeSandra Gillespie
Lady Percy, their daughter-in-lawHolly Robinson
DirectorJerry Duckor


6: Princess Katherine – 1

Henry V: Act III Scene 4

Princess Katherine of FranceJoanna Hulme
Alice, her companionAnne Manchester
DirectorFlorence McFarlane


7: Queen Margaret – 2

Henry VI Part 3: Act V Scenes 5

Edward IV, York’s sonWill Clannachan
Richard, Duke of Gloucester, York’s sonJohn Marwick
George, Duke of Clarence, York’s sonTrevor Rose
Queen Margeret, wife to Henry VIFran McGrath
Edward, Prince of Wales, her sonReuben Hardie
DirectorLaurie Atkinson


8: Mistress Quickly – 2

Henry IV Part 2: Act II Scene 4

Mistress QuicklyFlorence McFarlane
Doll Tearsheet, a whoreRowan McRae
Sir John FalstaffBarry Mawer
Bardulph, his manChris Cameron
Pistol, his ensignPeter Baldock
DirectorJohn Marwick


9: Lady Anne

Richard III: Act I Scene 2

Lady AnneHolly Robinson
Richard, Duke of GloucesterJohn Marwick
DirectorPeter Baldock


10: Queen Margaret – 3

Richard III: Act I Scenes 3

Queen ElizabethRowan McRae
Lord Rivers, her brotherTrevor Rose
Marquis of Dorset, her sonWill Clannachan
Lord Stanley, Earl of DerbyChris Cameron
Duke of BuckinghamPeter Baldock
Richard Duke of GloucesterJohn Marwick
Lord HastingsReuben Hardie
Queen Margaret, widow to Henry VIFran Baldock
DirectorLaurie Atkinson


11: Princess Katherine – 2

Henry V: Act V Scene 2

Princess Katherine of FranceJoanna Hulme
Alice, her companionAnne Manchester
DirectorFlorence McFarlane


12: Mistress Quickly – 2

Henry IV Part 2: Act II Scene 4

Mistress QuicklyFlorence McFarlane
Doll Tearsheet, a whoreRowan McRae
Bardulph, Falstaff’s  manChris Cameron
Pistol, Falstaff’s ensign, married Mistress QuicklyPeter Baldock
DirectorJohn Marwick
CostumesCarol Thompson
PropsJulia Stuart
Stage and House Manager HouseKate Booth
ProgrammeJohn Marwick
Publicity boardSteve Wilson


What the Critics Said

Beauties, Barmaids and Battleaxes by William Shakespeare

Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe, February 2003

Reviewed by Ewen Coleman

Although many of the more famous characters from Shakespeare’s plays are men, his women are no less interesting, especially those from his history plays which Butterfly Creek Theatre Troupe have chosen to portray for their Bard In The Yard season this year, Beauties, Barmaids and Battleaxes.

The period is the War of The Roses, the House of York (the White Rose) – the Richard’s and Edward’s – are fighting the House of Lancaster (the Red Rose) – the Henry’s.  In12 short scenes in roughly chronological order we see the role women played supporting their men at war.  In Richard II, The Duchess of York (Sandra Gillespie) intercedes for her son who is accused of treason.  In Henry IV, Lady Percy (Holly Robinson), suspects her husband, Henry Percy of preparing for war only to find later that he is killed in action.  Through the Henry VI and Richard III plays we meet one of Shakespeare’s more interesting women, Queen Margaret (Fran Baldock). She begins by raising an army against those who over threw her husband Henry VI only to lose her son Edward at the Battle of Tewesbury, ending up a bitter and twisted old lady under Richard III’s reign, her famous tirade against him one of the highlights of the production.

To provide some light relief through these scenes, the tavern owner Miss Quickly (Florence McFarlane) and her adversary Falstaff from Henry IV appear, as does Katherine (Joanna Hulme), the French princess showing us how not to learn English.  All the scenes are presented simply with no set and a minimum of props and costumes, the focus of the production on Shakespeare’s words and the interaction of his characters.  Strong performances from all the women in the central roles ably supported by the men makes this production a fascinating and insightful look at a different aspect of Shakespeare.


Photo Gallery
Catherine and AliceAliceAshley & Fran
The YorksPricess KatherineMistress Quickly & Falstaff
Mistress QuicklyMisress Quickly 2Lord Chief Justice
Dol & QuicklyHotspur and HenryEdward Dies
Duchess York 2Duchess york 

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