An adaptation of Rosamunde Pilcher‘s 1987 novel by Terence Brady and Charlotte Bingham. The novel has a strong autobiographical element and secured her an international reputation.
First produced at the Royal Theatre, Northampton, in 2003.Performed by BATS at St. Teilo’s Church Hall, Bishopston on November 16th, 17th, 22nd, 23rd and 24th. Tickets cost £5, concessions £4. First night only: all tickets “buy one get one free”.
This production, BATS’ 86th, marked the 40th anniversary of the group’s first production, Breath of Spring.The raffle held during production raised £285 for the Happy Days children’s charity, who wrote to say that the money would “go towards funding an in-school theatre production of Robin Hood for 74 children with special needs from Crownbridge Special School, Pontypool.” Thank you to all those who bought tickets!
The Shell Seekers is the story of Penelope Keeling and her family and the passion and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. It is a story of love, courage and determination and also of the Shell Seekers itself, a painting which threatens to tear the Keeling family apart.The location of the play moves between time and place beginning with Penelope’s return to her Cotswold home from hospital in the present day. Her two daughters discuss her from another part of the stage and later Penelope herself is the observer of her family from the shadows. Penelope recalls her father, the famous painter Lawrence Stern and her Cornish childhood against the backdrop of World War II. The story continues through the advent of three children and Penelope’s desertion by her husband, with the pull of Cornwall ever present.
- Denise Currell
- Tony Currell
Cast (in order of appearance)
- ‘Penelope Keeling’ ~ Julie Greenwood
- ‘Nancy’ (Penelope’s daughter) ~ Carol Rood
- ‘Olivia’ (Penelope’s daughter) ~ Sian Cole
- Waiter ~ Mike Turner
- ‘Noel’ (Penelope’s son) ~ Steve Nelson
- ‘George’ (Nancy’s husband) ~ David Spear
- ‘Lawrence’ (Penelope’s father) ~ Stewart Hiorns
- ‘Penny’ (young Penelope) ~ Helen Gwiliam
- ‘Antonia’ ~ Helen Gwiliam
- ‘Richard’ ~ Tony Currell
- ‘Danus’ ~ Tony Currell
- ‘Roy Brookner’ ~ Barry Cooper
- ‘Ellen’ (Penelope’s housekeeper) ~ Doreen Davies
- Stage Manager ~ Mike Turner
- Assistants ~ Malcolm Poole, Alan Bailey
- Technical Manager ~ Alan Bailey
- Prompt ~ Ros Brace
- Props ~ Denise Currell
- Costumes ~ Heather Cooper
- Hair & Make-up ~ Julie Greenwood, Joyce Childs
- Front-of-house, Refreshments ~ Dorothy Morris, Heather Cooper, Geoff Davies, Maureen Bailey, Val Hiorns, Keith Gwynne, Jaimes Cooper, Laura Sims, Ian Evans, Marie Meates
The Shell Seekers novel, published in 1987, is a much loved bestseller for Rosamund Pilcher, who has said that it was to some extent based on events in her own life. It is a story about the Keeling family, set in London and Cornwall between World War II and the present, and of the passions and heart-break that have held them together for three generations. Anyone who has read the book will know that it is a guaranteed tear-jerker. The novel was adapted for stage in 2005 and was only released for amateur production in 2007. The time shifts and the frequent changes in location have created headaches for the production team — especially on such a tiny stage where frequent set changes are not possible. For this reason we have chosen a much ‘pared down’ approach that relies for its success upon the skill of the actors as story tellers and on our technical wizards in creating the atmosphere. I would like to give the team my thanks for working so hard to make this production work.
This year is an important anniversary year for BATS, and for some of our players, and we are glad that you can share it with us. So many groups have folded because of lack of interest, so it is lovely to see BATS so very well supported by our patrons, audience and all those who make BATS productions possible. However, this doesn’t mean that we don’t need new members, so please come along to one of our rehearsals if you are interested in joining us and I can guarantee you a warm welcome. I hope you enjoy ‘The Shell Seekers’ and we will look forward to seeing you at our Spring production, ‘Holiday Snap.’