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Lumley Mill

    a Musical Drama by John Bartlett


Drama Play with music : 'Lumley Mill' by John BartlettA play with music set in the fields and farms of England circa 1890. John Bartlett's play is a lovingly created look back at those simpler times of shepherds and squires; innocence and indulgence; Morris men, maidens and milk-maids.

The play begins just before dawn on a May morning. The farm labourers Nadger, 'Squibsy' and John Harris, together with 'Old Tupp' the shepherd and Billy Bates, the carter and his son Nipper gradually assemble from all over the hamlet to form the Morris men and dance the dawn in. They are suddenly joined by a fellow farm hand who is being pursued by the Squire and his men for an alleged poaching offence. The other Morris men quickly hide him and subsequently pack him off to sea in a fishing boat, thus enabling them the opportunity to find the real culprit.

In parallel with this, we meet 'Squibsy' and Dolly, two star-crossed lovers who yearn to marry; Harold Eldridge, the miller at Lumley Mill who may well have invented 'creative accounting'; the Goodchild family, Henry and Molly (the local publicans) and their daughters, Victoria (in service at the manor house), Joan, Violet and Emmie. There's Major Gifford and his long-suffering wife up at the 'Big House', sending their son Matthew off to school at Harrow, and 'Wassname' Johnny, the village simpleton, the catalyst in solving the poaching problem.

The play is packed with many colourful leading characters and a host of supporting roles who combine to form a glorious tribute to a bygone age that evokes both humour and pathos.

'Lumley Mill' can either be performed in the 'Promenade' style in which the audience are free to move at will around the performers (an overlooked but interesting theatrical style) or, in a normal proscenium arch theatre.

Using the music of (preferably) a live band playing traditional English folk tunes, this play is an unusual, but fascinating glimpse at the social mores and constraints of Victorian agricultural society. The cast list is quite large, so there is ample scope for doubling if necessary, or for involving a large number of actors where this is possible.


Total Cast Size : 39
    Principals - Adult : 10m, 8f; Juveniles : 1m, 4f
    Support - Adult : 5m, 8f; Juveniles : 1m

Male Principals (10) Female Principals (8)
  • Nadger - farm labourer
  • Jethro 'Old' Tupp - a shepherd
  • Billy Bates - a carter
  • Joe 'Squibsy' Randall - farm labourer
  • John 'Strap' Harris - farm labourer
  • 'Wassname' Johnny - a simpleton
  • Henry Goodchild - the publican
  • Harold Eldridge - the miller
  • Convict
  • Major Gifford - retired, lives at the Manor
  • Dolly Slater - a milk-maid
  • Molly Goodchild - Henry's wife
  • Jessie - a country maid
  • Mary Hobbs - a country maid
  • Miss Kimble - the school teacher
  • Sarah Flaherty - an Irish peddler
  • Lily Thorn - a maid in service
  • Victoria Goodchild - also in service
Male Juvenile Leads (1) Female Juvenile Leads (4)
  • Nipper Bates - son of Billy
  • Emmie Goodchild - fourth daughter
  • Violet Goodchild - third daughter
  • Joan Goodchild - second daughter
  • Ruth Kitter - a girl about ten yrs old
Male Support (5) Female Support (8)
  • Harry Adams - farm labourer
  • Constable
  • Farmer Slocombe - a gentleman farmer
  • Judd - the head dairyman
  • Gabrial Hobbs - a sweep
  • Old Sally - head milk-maid
  • Mary Olden - a milk-maid
  • Gladys - a milk-maid
  • Martha Jane - a milk-maid
  • Mrs Hobson - the Manor housekeeper
  • Mrs Gifford - the Major's wife
  • Young Molly - Henry's wife-to-be
  • Matty - childrens nurse at the Manor
Male Juvenile Support (1)  
  • Matthew Gifford - the Major's young son

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