The Director of this production is Anna Hussey
Anna had a passion for theatre from a young age and pursued this further by studying Drama at Aberystwyth University. There she specialised in costume and stage design, as well as translating plays to stage. Although not pursued as a career, Anna has been involved with local theatre groups in a variety of capacities. Anna’s debut with Maskers was in 2018 with Wyrd Sisters in the ensemble and since then she has been honoured to be involved in a wide range of productions, including physical pieces like 100 in 2019, classic Shakespeare with Much Ado About Nothing in 2021, and performing in Totton Festival’s winner for Best Original Script Yards Apart in 2022.
Gormenghast is Anna’s directing debut with Maskers and she is excited to share her vision.
Chorus - the Voices of Gormenghast is played by Jo Fox
Jo has been an active Masker for 13 years and has played a variety of roles in that time, including Lady Jane Rochford in Anne Boleyn, Gwendolen in The Importance of Being Earnest, Ursula in Much Ado about Nothing and a monkey in The Jungle Book. She most recently appeared in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe where she played, among other things, the wardrobe door, so Jo is excited to be popping up as a door again in Gormenghast (as well as helping create a sense of the epic castle with movement and set)! As well as acting, Jo is also kept busy in her role as company secretary on the Maskers’ committee.
Countess - Gertrude, Countess of Groan; mother of Titus is played by Marie McDade
Marie’s first appearance with The Maskers was in Mitchell’s Wings in 2011. Since then, she has enjoyed a wide range of roles both in the studio and on the outdoor stage. These have included: Bagheera in The Jungle Book, Dogberry in Much Ado About Nothing, Granny Weatherwax in Wyrd Sisters, the comedies A Bunch of Amateurs and Out of Focus and, most recently, The Three Musketeers.
Barquentine - Master of Ritual is played by Duncan Randall
Duncan started as a character actor at primary school. He has been involved in various community theatre groups for over a decade. On moving to the south coast, he joined Titchfield Festival Theatre (TFT), creating roles such as, Bri in A Day in the Death of Joe Egg, Enobarbus (Anthony and Cleopatra), Goldberg (The Birthday Party) and the Landlord in Jim Cartwright’s Two. Duncan joined the Maskers for The Three Musketeers playing Athos, amongst others, and was recently in The Picture of Dorian Grey. Duncan has enjoyed the delicious language of Barquentine and exploring being a grumpy old man, no change!
Sepulchrave - 76th Earl of Groan; Father of Titus is played by Paul Baker
Paul has been in over twenty-five shows in the open air for Maskers and rarely ventures indoors. During that time, he has played a variety of roles including Weasel Norman in Wind in the Willows and Thomas Cromwell in Anne Boleyn and often multiple parts in the same production, as evidenced only last summer when he played four different characters in The Three Musketeers. This is Paul’s first production inside for over a year, so he fully expects it to snow - well there is definitely a storm in the play!
Dr. Prunesquallor - Physician to house of Groan is played by Molly McDade
Molly has been part of Maskers since 2014 and is delighted to be playing the hysterical Doctor Prunesquallor. As well as being in various Maskers' productions, including A Bunch of Amateurs and Around the World in Eighty Days, she is also a member of Southampton Operatic Society and has appeared in Legally Blonde and Crazy for You at MAST Studios.
Fuchsia - Titus' elder sister is played by Rachel Di Nucci
Rachel joined Maskers in 2020. She’s been in Four Weddings and an Elvis as Fiona and she portrayed Porthos and Milady de Winter in The Three Musketeers last summer. She looks forward to playing the delicate Lady Fuchsia, though she will be sad to miss out on the fight scenes. On balance though, she is grateful not to be playing another criminal obsessed with post, if only so she doesn’t need to try and keep track of an ever-growing pile of props!
Cora - Sepulcrave's sister; Titus's Aunt; twin to Clarice is played by Abi Linnartz
This is Abi’s second outing with Maskers, having appeared in The Three Musketeers in the summer of 2022. Previous productions include A Midsummer Night’s Dream, The Servant of Two Masters, A Day In the Death of Joe Egg, Antony and Cleopatra, The Bible (Abridged), The Last Secret, Frankie and Johnny in the Clair de Lune and Mapp and Lucia (all with Titchfield Festival Theatre); Murder Most Fowl, Hattie Blotter and the Philanthropists Groan (Murdered for Money). Abi has also performed at the Brighton Fringe in The Field Street Monologues (Rusty Bucket Productions).
Clarice - Sepulcrave's sister; Titus's Aunt; twin to Cora is played by Dawn Gatrell
Dawn previously performed in pantos at The Bent Brief pub and in The Shadow Factory, which premiered at the Nuffield City Theatre. This is her second appearance with the Maskers. She was first seen getting to grips with Shakespeare as the tavern owner in The Merry Wives of Windsor. In Gormenghast, Dawn will be playing Clarice, one of the twin aunts: dim-witted, largely overlooked, but thirsty for power.
Mr. Flay - ancient Retainer to the House of Groan is played by Sam Hussey
Sam has been with Maskers since 2019, when he played Andrew Aguecheek in Twelfth Night. Since then, he’s been involved in several productions, playing everything from Benedick in Much Ado About Nothing to escaped Texan convict Fist in Four Weddings and an Elvis.
Most recently he was very excited to play Mr Tumnus in The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe - a joint production between Maskers and Light Up youth theatre.
Gormenghast was the first play he ever went to see with his now wife Anna (the director), and he’s thrilled to bring another classic literary character to life as Mr Flay!
Swelter - the cook is played by Adam Taussik
Since joining Maskers 19 years ago, Adam has played characters of many ranks, from peasants to kings (with a smattering of vicars, soldiers and bears), but this will be the first chef – though not the first vinophile. For this show, Adam will also be keeping up the swashbuckling tone of The Three Musketeers, and wields a cleaver as well as the next man...
Steerpike - a kitchen scrubber are played by Ben Jones
Ben has recently returned to local acting after a ‘break’ of 17 years. Over the last year he has played Herr Zeller in the Sound of Music, one of Lola’s Angels in Kinky Boots (both with Spot On Productions) and, whilst rehearsing for Gormenghast, is also playing Glen Guglia in SDMS’s production of The Wedding Singer in Fareham. Ben is delighted to be playing Steerpike as his first role with Maskers. Having first been attracted to the source material as a teenager, he is thrilled at the opportunity to bring one of his favourite literary characters to infernal life(!), alongside such a talented cast of fellow performers.
Titus - 77th Earl of Groan; heir to Gormenghast is played by Thom Jones
Thom is a multi-genre street dance teacher and teaches on the world’s only government-accredited street dance teacher training course. He is also 1 of 6 street dance examiners for the Royal Academy of Dance. In his spare time, he spends most of his time with his dog, and enjoys performing in local am dram. This is Thom’s first production with Maskers and he has done a brilliant job stepping into the role at the last minute with only 2 weeks rehearsal.
The Thing - an outcast wild child is played by Daria Standall
Daria has come to the UK from Ukraine and this is her first appearance for Maskers. She is enjoying creating her character and working with the rest of the company.
The Ensemble - Grey scrubbers, servants and guards are played by the company