Winchester: The First 100,000,000 Years

By Richard Conlon

Director's Notes   I   Cast & Crew   I   Gallery   I  Performances


An original play for everyone who loves Winchester, as well as anybody that doesn’t!

Join Winchester’s own Blue Apple on a whistle-stop tour of the city they call ‘home’. A love letter and comedy about a particular place and its individual history.

What was it like when dinosaurs ruled the high street? Where did those first settlers on the banks of the Itchen get a decent cup of coffee? And did Jane Austen ever get caught up in the one-way system?

With their trademark visual style, characteristic joie de vivre and a reckless ability to play fast and loose with the facts, Blue Apple’s performers will expose the soft underbelly of their own wonderful city and give it a good poke.

I think we all discovered new things.

For the past year Blue Apple has been reflecting on the nature of ‘home’: how we make our homes in one place or another; what makes a place distinct or unique; why people (or birds or animals) choose one spot over another. Our winter production focussed on just a few hours in Winchester on Christmas eve but this new summer show takes a longer view.

Our intention is to be storytellers not academics, so please don’t look for absolute historical accuracy in our play – we hope that during our romp through time you will discover some ‘truths’ rather than ‘the facts’. When we were researching the history of this city I think we all discovered new things; things which we could be proud of, and things we should perhaps be chastened by.

We started this rehearsal and research process by looking at how far afield our parents and grandparents had been born and it proved to us that places like Winchester do not exist in a bubble. To misquote John Donne: “No city is an island, entire of itself; every city is a piece of the continent, a part of the main”.

The process of people making this place their home has been going on for a very long time and it continues on all sorts of fronts. Look to the skies to see Red Kites wheeling and thriving above us, and see the Japanese Knotweed as it clogs our streams. Migration is a natural law which brings blessings and challenges, and I suspect those early Britons who asked, “What are the Romans ever going to do for us?” were pleased in the end about the flushing toilets.

Thanks to you, as ever, for being the final cast-member in this show, for going on this romp with us, for sharing our home for a night.

Richard Conlon
Writer and director

Cast & Crew

Prologue: ‘To Begin At The Beginning…’ - Blue Apple Ensemble

The Cretaceous

The Naturalist - Sam Dace
The Dinosaurs - Michelle Pluck, James Elsworthy, David Hunt, Ryan Nicholas
The Planet - Rachel Collins
The Asteroid - Chris Pearce

The Fire And The Wheel

Narration - Sue Dashper, Amy Britt, Jocelyn Kirby, Elenor Moody, Jan Bachowski
Fire Maker - David Hunt, Ashely Sale
Wheelwright - Katie Cole, Katy Francis
Head Migrator - Tom Hatchett
Migrators - Rachel Collins, Tommy Jessop, Neil Bennet, Jocelyn Kirby, Lucy Thomas, Jason Kidd, Emma Rabjohn

“North And North And North They Walked…”

Narration - James Benfield
Britain First - Devin Kazazes
The Walkers - Coline Cadoret, Neil Bennet, Ros Davies, Lucy Parrot, Neil White


The Travellers - James Smith, Michelle Pluck, Lucy Thomas, Andrew Malster, Daniel Austin, Ryan Nicholas, Emma Rabjohn, Jonny Ling, Anna Brisbane, Rachel Collins
The Locals - Jason Kidd, Laura Walton

Venta Belgarum

The Britons - Sam Dace, Katie Appleford, Lawrie Morris, Neil White, Amy Britt, James Elsworthy
The Romans - Neil Bennet, Paul Smith

The Break-Up, And What Came Next…

Briton - Katy Francis
Roman - Neil Bennet
Other Britons - Lawrie Morris, Sam Dace, James Elsworthy, Katie Appleford, Neil White, Tommy Jessop, Joseph Huh
Narrators - Tom Hatchett, Ashely Sale, Olayele Aluko
William Of Wykeham - Felipe Jin Li
The Page - Alice Peck
The Medievals - Andrew Malster, James Smith, Michelle Pluck, Lucy Thomas, Daniel Austin, Ryan Nicholas, Emma Rabjohn, Jonny Ling, Anna Brisbane, Jason Kidd, Laura Walton, Rachel Collins


Dancers - James Benfield, Tommy Jessop, Ros Davies, Katy Francis, James Elsworthy, Anna Brisbane

The Packing Of The Bags

The Family - Neil Bennet, Ashely Sale, Sue Dashper, Katy Francis, Alice Peck

The Woman In The Window

Narration - Tom Hatchett
Jane Austen - Anna Brisbane
Jane’s Father - Tommy Jessop
Admirer - Katie Cole
Regency Men - Ashley Sale, James Benfield
‘Venta’ Cast - Andrew Malster, James Smith, Michelle Pluck, Lucy Thomas, Daniel Austin, Ryan Nicholas, Emma Rabjohn, Jonny Ling, Anna Brisbane, Jason Kidd, Laura Walton, Rachel Collins

The Man On The Bike

Narrators - Neil Bennet, Neil White
William Walker - James Elsworthy
Francis Fox - Devin Kazazes
Thomas Jackson - Ashley Sale
Puppeteers - David Hunt, Michelle Pluck & James Elsworthy

The Twentieth Century

Narration - Sue Dashper
The Habels - Lucy Parrot, Lawrie Morris
TV Presenter - Ryan Nicholas
Preacher - Paul Smith
Winchester - Chris Pearce
Hampshire - Sam Dace
Great Britain - Ros Davies

Saturday Night High Street

Naturalist - Sam Dace
Dancers - Elenor Moody, Tommy Jessop, Daniel Austin, James Elsworthy, Paul Smith, Amy Britt, Alice Peck, Ros Davies, David Hunt

Epilogue: ‘Magic And Miracles’ & ‘The Pale Blue Dot’ - Blue Apple Ensemble

Director - Richard Conlon
Choreography - Amanda Watkinson
Additional Choreography - Rosa Kentwood
Musician - Kate Mellors
Set Design & Construction - Mark Pyke
Costumes - Polly Perry
Projection Design - Amber Tunstall
Lighting Design - Maria Chirca
Puppets & Puppetry Support - Nigel Luck
Lead Rehearsal Room Assistant - Michelle Pluck
Lead Performer Support - Chris Pearce
Blue Apple Volunteers - Chris Pearce, Sue Dashper, Laura Walton, Michelle Pluck, Rachel Collins
Winchester College Volunteers - Coline Cadoret, Olayele Aluko, Felipe Jin Li, Devin Kazazes, Joseph Huh, Jan Bachowski
Graphic Design - Richard Williams
Photography - James Yeats-Brown
Printing - Diguru Limited


Thursday 21, Friday 22 & Saturday 23 June 2018
Theatre Royal Winchester