This is Meri’s third production at Hamptworth Lodge, having previously directed Anne Boleyn and The Jungle Book. Meri has been a Masker for more years than she cares to quantify as actress, director, stage manager and every backstage role going as long as it doesn’t involve heights! Meri is currently the Chairman of Maskers Theatre Company. She is delighted to be working with her wonderful cast and crew for this show and hopes the audience will enjoy it as much as she does. Meri says, ‘I have always admired this play, which has so many underlying currents but which can also be enjoyed as a piece of whimsy. It seems a perfect choice for a balmy (I hope!) summer’s evening entertainment.’
Eliza Doolittle played by Katherine Evans
This is Katherine's third production with Maskers, having previously performed as Cecily Cardew in The Importance of Being Earnest and Emily in Our Town. She has dreamed of playing Eliza since appearing as a bystander in My Fair Lady when she was 12, though she will have to be careful not to burst into song this time! She is currently studying Classics part-time at Reading University alongside pursuing her musical and dramatic interests.
Henry Higgins played by Jonathan Barney-Marmont
This is Jonathan's fourth time performing for Maskers after being a member of other societies for a few years. His last show with Maskers was Metamorphasis by Franz Kafka playing Gregor Samsa which could not be more removed from this role. Swiftly after that it was a run at The Mayflower Theatre in An Inspector Calls. Jonathan enjoys playing characters at all points of the spectrum and so has enjoyed playing Higgins. He relishes a return to open air theatre after acting in The 39 Steps at the Minack Theatre in Cornwall three years ago.
Colonel Pickering played by Adam Taussik
Since Adam was the Sarcastic Bystander in Maskers' last production of Pygmalion a few years ago, he has been up and down the social spectrum, from servants to kings, and the occasional soldier, ending up as Baloo in The Jungle Book last year. Coming from India, Colonel Pickering has much in common with the bear, inspiring the young hero. When not in uniform, he has another life in Student Services at the University of Southampton.
Mrs Higgins played by Hazel Burrows
Hazel has been a member of the Maskers since the early 70s, a look at her bathroom wall is evidence of how many productions she has been in with many photos on display! Wives, maids, old men, fairies, aristocrats even a pig. Over the last few years she has been persuaded to take up the challenge of directing, the most recent being Maskers February production of Alan Ayckbourn’s ‘Ten Times Table’ Playing Mrs Higgins in ‘Pygmalion’, a role for a lady of a certain age, has now come her way. The part of a mother who is intelligent, refined and independent... type cast again!
Mrs Pearce played by Jenni Watson
Jenni has been bitten by the acting bug since the age of three when she first performed in her local church nativity play! Over the years she has performed for Maskers as well as many other local groups, in a variety of settings. Her favourite roles include Vladimir (Waiting for Godot), Lady Booby (Joseph Andrews), Ellie Dunn (Heartbreak House), Paulina (A Winter's Tale), the Red Queen (Alice) and Nancy (Sitting Pretty). Jenni would like to thank her dialect coach in helping her prepare for the part of Mrs Pearce in Pygmalion.
Mrs Eynsford-Hill played by Maria Head
Maria has been a member of Maskers for many years. In September she played Sonia Serebriekova in Brien Friel's Afterplay and also appeared in Room at the Inn, a 1940's Christmas anthology. The last time she performed open air theatre was as Mistress Page in The Merry Wives of Windsor at Mottisfont. She is greatly looking forward to performing in the open air once more in such a beautiful setting, hopefully with lovely warm weather!
Clara Eynsford-Hill played by Katarina Smith
This is Katarina's first appearance with the Maskers and she is excited to be playing the rather silly, but funny and energetic Clara. She is also thrilled to get the wonderful experience to perform at the beautiful Hamptworth Lodge. Previous experience included playing Helena in A Midsummer Night's Dream and Margot in The Diary of Anne Frank with Southampton University Players, Alice in Alice Through a Broken Glass and The White Witch in The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
Freddy Eynsford-Hill played by Christopher Gardener
Christopher Gardener first approached theatre at the age of 12 after discovering a talent for impersonating sci-fi androids. Since then, he has performed in a wide range of productions with several theatre groups, including four pantomimes, The Great Gatsby, Our Town, and Silly Cow. Playing the amusingly buffoonish but lovably earnest Freddy Eynsford-Hill has been an extremely enjoyable experience for Christopher.
Alfred Doolittle played by William Baggs
William has been performing for Maskers for several years now. He started as a mouse in Can you Hear the Music before playing a tiger in The Jungle Book, a lover in A Midsummer Night's Dream, two kings - James I and Richard II, Algernon in Ernest and now a dustman - Doolittle - in Pygmalion. It's always a pleasure to perform in the Hamptworth summer show and he looks forward to going back for the fifth time.
Karpathy played by Paul Baker
Paul joined Maskers in 1996 and has been in every production in the open air since 1996. This year he plays the part of Karpathay who may or may not be foreign. Other roles Paul has portrayed include Thomas Cromwell in 'Anne Bolelyn' and Weasel Norman in 'Wind In The Willows.
Parlourmaid played by Sue Dashper
Sue has been a member of Maskers for a number of years now. She has been involved in plays in the Studio, the Nuffield Theatre as well as outdoor productions for the company. Her most recent performance was as Mrs. Samsa in our Studio production of Metamorphosis, and this will be her fourth appearance at Hamptworth.
Ambassadress played by Bridget Wilkinson
This is Bridget’s first appearance with Maskers, but she has acted and directed with Southampton University Players for many years. Favourite acting roles include Jones, the schizophrenic murderer in Semblance of Madness by John Newmeir; Dorine, in Moliere’s Tartuffe, and the childlike Rose Mundy in Brian Friel’s Dancing at Laughnasa. Bridget is delighted that her son, Tom, takes to the stage for the first time in this production. With her husband in the crew, it really is a family affair.
Ambassador / Taxi driver played by Jonathan Shepherd
This will be Jonathan’s fifth production with Maskers and his second at beautiful Hamptworth Lodge having previously appeared in Anne Boleyn in 2013. He is looking forward to playing the Ambassador, alongside Bridget Wilkinson, to whom he has been married or romantically linked in a number of previous stage productions over the years!
Bystander played by Marie McDade
This will be Marie’s third outing on the Hamptworth stage – from Shakespearean fairy to Kipling’s jungle Panther she is finally in human form – and looking forward to period costume that includes an umbrella!
Sarcastic Bystander played by Joanna Iacovou
Joanna has been a member of Maskers for just over 12 years. She has had varying roles during these years, her favourites being Ruby Birtle in J.B. Priestley's When we are Married and Rita in Willy Russel's Educating Rita. Most recently she appeared in Berkoff’s adaptation of Kafka’s Metamorphosis as Gregor’s sister Greta. In 2014 she had a very successful directorial debut with Thornton Wilder's Our Town which won two Curtain Call awards. She is keen to direct again but, for now, she is pleased to be back at Hamptworth as Sarcastic Bystander – one of the most famous bit-parts in theatre.
Butler played by Bruce Atkinson
Bruce has been a Masker for many years and played many roles. He enjoys the open air shows and has previously been seen at Hamptworth as an elder of the wolf pack in The Jungle Book and Dr John Reynolds in Anne Boleyn. He is having fun getting his tongue round the interesting names invented by the cast for their characters at the Embassy Garden Party.
Bystanders / Garden Party Guests / Maids played by Brenda Atkinson, Bruce Atkinson, Paul Baker, Sue Dashper, Jill Desborough, Molly McDade, Alan Watson, Bridget Wilkinson