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 Connecting professional and amateur theatre in Newbury, West Berkshire and beyond

Watermill Theatre

Box office

01635 46044.

The Watermill Theatre, Bagnor, Newbury, RG20 8AE. A map is here. A seating plan is here.

The Watermill Theatre has appointed Claire Murray as Executive Director – a new role that has recently been created. Claire will support and work closely alongside Paul Hart, who remains Artistic Director/CEO, as well as the Board of Trustees, to deliver the strategic aims and objectives of the theatre, helping to create a high-quality, balanced artistic programme delivered by world-class creative teams and casts, and leading the operational teams to ensure the smooth running of the organisation.

Claire Murray said, “I'm over the moon to be joining Paul Hart and the team at The Watermill as Executive Director. The company is renowned for its artistic brilliance, and its engagement and participation programme makes a vital difference to thousands of people every year. The Watermill consistently punches above its weight; this beautiful, compact theatre has a mighty impact. At a time when its contribution to a thriving cultural sector and to the health and wellbeing of its communities is more important than ever, I’m excited to be appointed to this new position to build on The Watermill’s success for future generations.”

Paul Hart said, “We are really looking forward to welcoming Claire to the Watermill. We have grown hugely as an organisation in recent years and Claire’s experience and passion is going to be invaluable as we continue to develop. Despite the difficulties of the last year, it’s a hugely exciting time for us with our summer season opening at the end of this week and shows launching in the West End and on tour so I’m thrilled for Claire to be joining the team at this time.”


Reviews of The Hound of the Baskervilles

21st May to 19th June 2021

Review from the Newbury Weekly News.

Watermill triumph over adversity

Live theatre returns to the garden with uplifting The Hound of the Baskervilles revival

The Hound of the Baskervilles at The Watermill, Bagnor from May 21 - June 9

I felt a palpable sense of renewal visiting a theatre again for the first time since late February last year. Watching excellent theatre online has been a godsend during the pandemic, but seeing the Watermill’s bar, restaurant and front of house staff at work, audiences sitting around tables having lunch, drinks or ice cream, and actors performing in front of us on a makeshift stage in the garden, was special.

During The Hound of the Baskervilles matinee clouds of poplar fluff blew magically across the garden as if the Watermill had become a snow globe that had been shaken.

An usher sitting near me was armed with an umbrella to shoo away swans that glide by on the river Lambourn. The sun shone warmly, summer finally here.

The production is a revival from last summer, with two of the original actors in the cast. Director Abigail Pickard Price and last year’s cast have devised a drama as gossamer light as the poplar fluff swirling around the stage. Arthur Conan Doyle’s drama about a murder in Devon, a monster hound prowling the moors and an escaped convict on the loose is turned into a Gonzo Moose-style comedy full of meta-theatre and social distancing jokes. Much of the fun comes from seeing Rosalind Lailey, James Mack and Roxana Bartle multi-task, switching from character to character with the change of a hat, or the adoption of a new accent. The staging is simple, like touring mummers in a village square, effectively making connections with the audience.

The cast state that their task in bringing this play to audiences is to save British theatre: a mock-heroic stance that sees Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson as female sleuths and Mack taking on female characters. It’s more pantomime than a serious statement on gender politics and casting, but with a female director and stage management team, it’s a positive sign for the future. The plot is tongue-in-cheek with the intention to amuse a family audience, reviving the spirits after months of lockdown, encouraging long-missed communal laughter. In this, the production fully succeeds and you leave impressed by the Watermill’s creativity in adversity.


Extract of review from A Younger Theatre.

five stars
"The team’s parodical approach to the text brings a refreshing edge to an overly examined piece, often poking fun at plot points and Conan Doyle’s writing styles. Not only do the actors play multiple roles, but they also swap characters between one another, overcomplicating the scenes in a hysterical way, as well as creating all the sound effects and doing the costume changes themselves."


Extract of review from Wokingham Today.

"With the titular character represented by a cuddly toy, actors often breaking character to don face masks and remind each other not to stand so close, and contemporary beat-box musical numbers deployed to fill in characters’ backstories, it’s a far more upbeat rendition of the source material that’s far more interested in cultivating joy."
"As a huge Sherlock fan I have to say that it’s also faithful to the source material, and while the humorous tone may not have been in the original book, it’s definitely a humour born of fondness for the story."


There are reviews of last year's production in the Archive here.

Reviews in the Archive

A Christmas Carol (December 2020)
Lone Flyer (October 2020)
Bloodshot (September 2020)
Camelot (August 2020)
The Hound of the Baskervilles (July 2020)
The Wicker Husband (March 2020)
The Prince and the Pauper (November 2019)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (February 2020)
One Million Tiny Plays About Britain (February 2020)
Assassins (September 2019)
Kiss Me, Kate (July 2019)
Our Church (June 2019)
The Importance of Being Earnest (May 2019)
Amélie (April 2019)
Macbeth (February 2019)
Robin Hood (November 2018)
Murder For Two (January 2019)
Jane Eyre (October 2018)
Trial by Laughter (September 2018)
Sweet Charity (July 2018)
Jerusalem (June 2018)
A Midsummer Night’s Dream (May 2018)
Burke and Hare (April 2018 and on tour)
Digging For Victory Senior Youth Theatre (March 2018)
The Rivals (March 2018)
Teddy (January 2018)
The Borrowers (November 2017)
Under Milk Wood (October 2017)
Loot (September 2017)
The Picture of Dorian Gray (September 2017 and on tour)
A Little Night Music (July 2017)
All at Sea! (July 2017)
The Miller's Child (July 2017)
Nesting (July 2017 and on tour)
House and Garden (May 2017)
See Newbury Dramatic Society for a review of Maskerade (May 2016)
Twelfth Night (April 2017)
Faust x2 (March 2017)
Murder For Two (January 2017)
Sleeping Beauty (November 2016)
Frankenstein (October 2016)
The Wipers Times (September 2016)
Crazy For You (July 2016)
Watership Down (June 2016)
Untold Stories (May 2016)
See Box Theatre Company for a review of The Sea (April 2016)
One Million Tiny Plays About Britain (April 2016 and on tour)
Romeo and Juliet (February 2016)
Tell Me on a Sunday (January 2016)
Alice in Wonderland (November 2015)
Gormenghast (November 2015) - see the Youth page
The Ladykillers (September 2015)
Oliver! (July 2015)
A Little History of the World (July 2015 and on tour)
Between the Lines (July 2015)
The Deep Blue Sea (June 2015)
Far From the Madding Crowd (April 2015)
Tuxedo Junction (March 2015)
The Secret Adversary (February 2015)
Peter Pan (November 2014)
But First This (October 2014)
Twelfth Night (November 2014) - see the Youth page
Journey's End (September 2014)
Calamity Jane (July 2014)
The Boxford Masques - Joe Soap's Masquerade (July 2014)
Hardboiled - the Fall of Sam Shadow (July 2014)
A Bunch of Amateurs (May 2014)
See Box Theatre Company for a review of The Canterbury Tales (May 2014)
Sense and Sensibility (April 2014)
Life Lessons (March 2014)
All My Sons (February 2014)
The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea (January 2014)
Pinocchio (November 2013)
Sherlock's Last Case (September 2013)
Romeo+Juliet (September 2013 and on tour)
The Witches of Eastwick (July 2013)
Laurel & Hardy (June 2013)
The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (May 2013)
The Miser (April 2013)
David Copperfield (March 2013)
Sleuth (February 2013)
Arabian Nights (November 2012)
The Tempest (September 2012)
Thoroughly Modern Millie (August 2012)
Boxford Masques (July 2012)
Ben Hur (June 2012)
Of Mice and Men (May 2012)
Love on the Tracks (April 2012 and on tour)
Henry V and The Winter's Tale (April 2012)
Lettice and Lovage (February 2012)
The Wind in the Willows (November 2011)
Some Like It Hotter (November 2011 and on tour)
Great Expectations (September 2011)
Radio Times (August 2011)
The Marriage of Figaro (July 2011)
Moonlight and Magnolias (May 2011)
Richard III and The Comedy of Errors (April 2011)
The Clodly Light Opera and Drama Society (March 2011)
Relatively Speaking (February 2011)
Treasure Island (November 2010)
Single Spies (September 2010)
Copacabana (July 2010)
Daisy Pulls It Off (June 2010)
Brontë (April 2010)
Raising Voices (March 2010)
Confused Love (March 2010)
Heroes (February 2010)
James and the Giant Peach (November 2009)
Educating Rita (October 2009)
Spend Spend Spend! (July 2009 and September 2010)
Blithe Spirit (May 2009)
Bubbles (April to May and September to October 2009)
A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Merchant of Venice (March 2009)
Life X 3 (January 2009)
Matilda and Duffy's Stupendous Space Adventure (November 2008)
The Sirens' Call (November 2008)
Our Country's Good (September 2008)
See Newbury Dramatic Society for a review of The Recruiting Officer (October 2008)
Sunset Boulevard (July 2008)
Boxford Masques - Knight and Day (July 2008)
Black Comedy and The Bowmans (May 2008)
London Assurance (April 2008)
Micky Salberg's Crystal Ballroom Dance Band (April 2008 and on tour)
Great West Road (March 2008)
Merrily We Roll Along (March 2008)
Honk! (November 2007)
Rope (September 2007)
Martin Guerre (July 2007)
Twelfth Night (June 2007)
The Story of a Great Lady (April and September 2007, and on tour)
The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (April 2007)
For Services Rendered (March 2007)
Plunder (January 2007)
The Snow Queen (November 2006)
Peter Pan in Scarlet (October 2006)
The Taming of the Shrew (September 2006 and on tour in 2007)
Hot Mikado (July 2006 and September 2009)
Boxford Masques: The Crowning of the Year (July 2006)
Hobson's Choice (May 2006)
Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea (April 2006)
Tartuffe (February 2006)
The Jungle Book (November 2005)
The Gilded Lilies (October 2005)
Copenhagen (September 2005)
The Garden of Llangoed (September 2005 and September 2006)
Thieves' Carnival (July 2005)
The Shed (July 2005)
Mack and Mabel (May 2005)
The Odyssey (May 2005)
Broken Glass (April 2005)
The Winter's Tale (January 2005)
Arabian Nights (December 2004)
See Newbury Dramatic Society for a review of Whose Life is it Anyway? (November 2004)
Multiplex (November 2004)
Neville's Island (September 2004)
The Comedian (September 2004 and March 2005)
Raising Voices Again (September 2004)
Pinafore Swing (July 2004)
The Venetian Twins (May 2004)
The Gentleman from Olmedo (April 2004)
Mr & Mrs Schultz (March 2004 and on tour)
Sweeney Todd (February 2004)
The Emperor and the Nightingale (November 2003)
See Newbury Dramatic Society for a review of An Ideal Husband (November 2003)
A Star Danced (September 2003)
The Fourth Fold (September 2003)
The Last Days of the Empire (July 2003)
Accelerate (July 2003)
Dreams from a Summer House (May 2003)
The Triumph of Love (April 2003)
Gigolo (March 2003)
Raising Voices (March 2003)
A Midsummer Night's Dream (February 2003)
The Firebird (November 2002)
Ten Cents a Dance (September 2002)
Dancing at Lughnasa (July 2002)
Love in a Maze (June 2002)
Fiddler on the Roof (April 2002)
I Dreamt I Dwelt in Marble Halls (March 2002 and March 2006)
Only a Matter of Time (February 2002)
Cinderella and the Enchanted Slipper (November 2001)
Piaf (October 2001)
The Merchant of Venice (October 2001)
Witch (September 2001)
The Clandestine Marriage (August 2001)
The Importance of Being Earnest (May 2001)
Gondoliers (March 2001)
Rose Rage (February 2001)
Carmen (July 2000)