The Merchant of Venice

The Merchant of Venice

by William Shakespeare

edited & directed by Peter M Elrington
associate director: Graham Davidson

Mr Bard
Director's note: For many years "The Merchant..." has been produced and played in a very biased way. For an equal number of years, this has made me cross. In tonight's production I have returned to the text of the play and tried to truthfully present what Shakespeare was writing about - which side, if either, are the baddies and which the goodies.

In the interests of clarity, and particularly of the play's running time, I have had to make some fairly extensive cuts. In addition, some parts are 'doubled' and some have been 'stitched' together to make two into one. There has also been a rather delightful, gentler change in one particular role! If any of your favourite bits are missing, my apologies - but something had to go.

Finally, my thanks to all the cast and staff who have worked amazingly hard to get the show together.

The action takes place over several months in and around the streets of Venice and in and around the country estate of Belmont.



The Duke of Venice Ian Uprichard
The Prince of Morocco Ian Uprichard
The Prince of Arragon Chris Hudson
Antonio Tim Bradford
Bassanio Keith Rylands-Bolton
Portia Mary Davidson
Shylock Peter M Elrington (understudied by Hugh Dower)
Gratiano Graham Davidson
Salerio Hugh Dower
Lorenzo Simon R Price
Nerissa Gail Dennis
Jessica Lara-Jane Tomlinson
Tubal Ian Uprichard
Leonado - servant of Bassanio Luke Downend
Balthasar - servant of Portia Paul Burge
Stephanie - servant of Portia Anna Fulton
Launcelot Gobbo Nigel Dring
Old Dame Gobbo Sheila Buckthorp
Clerk to the Court Rebecca Pavia
Messenger Paul Burge
Gaoler Luke Downend



Stage Manager Marion Plenderleith
Designer David Broughton
Lighting Patrick Markham
Sound Ryan Dring
Soundtrack Graham Davidson
Stage Crew Pauline Uprichard & Karen Hunter
Wardrobe Viv Pyttlik
Set Decorations David Broughton, Alan Micklethwaite & Carrie Simpson
Set Construction Graham Davidson, Simon R Price, Hugh Dower & David Broughton
Special Props Graham Davidson, Simon R Price & Nigel Dring
Continuity Charlotte Broughton & Lynn Chapman
Box Office Vicki Makin
Poster, T-Shirt and Programme Cover Design Diana Elrington
Publicity Mary Davidson, Ruth Andrews, Marjorie Blatherwick, Hugh Dower, Joy Walker, Ted Warner & Graham Davidson


Merchants, Antonio and Bassanio played by Tim Bradford and Keith Rylands-Bolton Tim Bradford and Keith Rylands-Bolton
Chris Hudson playing The Prince of Arragon "Ah, 'tis a picture of the fool"

Chris Hudson struggles not to corpse as he finds himself looking at his own image due to a photo switch on the last night!


"It's terrible mate, it's really awful! The ships, it's the ships, mate. They've all crashed!"

Nigel Dring understudies for Salerio but stuggles to stick to the words that Shakespeare had intended for the role!

Nigel Dring

Nigel Dring and Lara Tomlinson Nigel Dring as Launcelot Gobbo and Lara Tomlinson as Jessica
Blind Dame Gobbo (Sheila Buckthorp) greets her son Launcelot (Nigel Dring). Sheila Buckthorp and Nigel Dring
Thanks to Lara Tomlinson for the photographs