The Kenton Theatre
The Kenton Theatre web site is at www.kentontheatre.co.uk.
01491 575698. Monday to Friday from 11:00 to 5:00, Saturdays from 10:00 to
noon. Recorded information at other times.
New Street, Henley on Thames, RG9 2BP. Click here for a map.
Arcadia, 21st to 24th March
Tom Stoppard's play is set in an English country house in both 1809 and the present day. In 1809, proposals are being considered for the complete landscaping of the gardens, against a background of rivalry, both literary and sexual. Young Thomasina Coverley, meanwhile, makes a scientific discovery well ahead of her time, and Lord Byron, an unseen guest in the household, stirs up trouble between other guests over romantic liaisons. In the present, rivalry again appears between competing academics researching the secrets of the house and its former occupants. Was Thomasina a scientific genius? Who was the hermit? Sometimes described as “a serious comedy about science, sex and landscape gardening”, the play is exuberantly funny and thought–provoking in its exploration of the relationships between past and present, order and chaos, science and history. Clever, touching, witty ….one of the most enthralling plays you will ever see. A Henley Players production.
I Believe in Unicorns, 28th March
Danyah Miller returns to the Kenton with another Michael Morpurgo story brought to life. This intimate show is set in a library full of books that hold more than stories within their pages. It is a tale of the power of books, and the bravery of a young boy called Tomas. Tomas hates reading and school, but his world is turned upside down the day he meets the Unicorn Lady in his local library...
Gypsy, 25th to 28th April
Gypsy is loosely based on the 1957 memoirs of Gypsy Rose Lee, the famous striptease artist, with a spotlight on her mother, Mama Rose. The story follows the dreams and efforts of Mama Rose, whose name has become synonymous with "the ultimate show business mother", to raise two daughters to perform onstage and casts an affectionate eye on the hardships of show-business life. Rose is determined that her younger daughter June will have a successful career, but after June elopes, Mama turns all her attention on her older, less talented daughter, Louise, who eventually becomes a famous burlesque stripper. An HAODS production.
Henley Drama Festival 2018, 1st to 5th May, 19:30 but 19:00 on Saturday at The Hexagon
This year there will be four classes for entries:
- Class I Open
- Class II All Women or Men
- Class III Best Youth (Cast all under 18 at date of performance)
- Class IV Best Original Play (Unpublished)
Performances will be judged nightly by the Adjudicator from the Guild of Drama and awards will be presented on Saturday 5th May by director, writer and film maker Jo Southwell, who will also present the main award for the winner.
Adjudicator - Colin Dolley. On Friday 4th May, after his critique of that night’s plays, the Adjudicator announces the two productions to be invited back for the Gala Night on Saturday.
A Necessary Woman, 16th May, 19:30
Sunday 2 April 1911. Census Night. The Government continues to ignore the burning question of female suffrage. Women up and down the country prepare to avoid and evade the census as a protest and challenge to authority. “No Vote, no Census!” is their battle cry. Suffragette Emily Davison is hiding in a cleaning cupboard, in the crypt beneath the Palace of Westminster. Emily plans a daring act in Parliament for Monday morning, but with a greater Police presence and security tighter than usual, will she achieve her ambition before she is caught and returned to prison? Based on a true event to celebrate the 2018 women’s suffrage centenary.
Shell Shock, 7th June, 19:30
A darkly comic and personal realisation of one old soldier’s battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Shell Shock was created with the support of military and mental health charities such as Help for Heroes and Combat Stress and presents the biographical tale of ‘Tommy’, a former soldier attempting to fit back into civilian life after a long career in the military. Tommy’s observations on everyday absurdities are frequently humorous, sometimes violent but always poignant. Nothing is safe…post office queues, shopping at Ikea and a Nintendo Wii all feel the full force of Tommy's outraged frustration. Based on Shell Shock: The Diary of Tommy Atkins by Gulf War veteran Neil Blower Watkin.
9 to 5 - The Musical, 13th to 16th June, 19:45
Music by Dolly Parton. A WLOS production.
Ghost Station, 13th to 14th July
A small group of London teens break into a dead tube station - closed up since the late 40’s. The station is a dark time capsule, unchanged and boarded up with commuters passing through on trains unknowingly every day. But things take a strange turn when they film the quiet platform. As they look through the view screens on their phones they can see children in school uniforms, dancing girls, soldiers, nurses and more! Over days of filming they realise the children and adults they are seeing are about to fall victim to a disaster, when dozens of people will be killed in a dreadful accident on the platform. Can they find a way to reach into the past and speak to the people they can hear and see so clearly? Can they change history? Featuring sing-a-long popular songs from the 40's such as Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and Chattanooga Choo Choo. Presented by performing arts students and adults from Artemis Studios, this is a roller coaster story with laughter, tears and some toe tapping songs!
Sweeney Todd, 14th to 15th July
Sweeney Todd has become a bloody, worldwide success since being awarded eight Tony Awards (including Best Musical), for its Broadway premiere and has now been adapted for high school performers in Sweeney Todd School Edition. Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's (A Little Night Music, Pacific Overtures) tasty, thrilling, theatrical treat has simultaneously shocked, awed and delighted audiences across the world. An infamous tale, Sweeney Todd, an unjustly exiled barber, returns to nineteenth century London, seeking vengeance against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife. The road to revenge leads Todd to Mrs. Lovett, a resourceful proprietress of a failing pie shop, above which he opens a new barber shop. Mrs. Lovett's luck sharply shifts when Todd's thirst for blood inspires the integration of an ingredient into her meat pies that has the people of London lining up. And the carnage has only just begun!
Previous drama festivals
Henley Drama Festival 2017, 1st to 6th May 2017
Henley Drama Festival 2016, 2nd to 7th May 2016
Henley Drama Festival 2015, 5th to 9th May 2015
43rd Henley Drama Festival, 5th to 10th May 2014
42nd Henley Drama Festival, 6th to 11th May 2013
The Henley Drama Festival at the Kenton, 8th to 12th May 2012
40th Kenton Drama Festival, 4th to 7th May 2011
39th Kenton Drama Festival, 4th to 8th May 2010
Kenton Drama Festival, 5th to 9th May 2009
35th Kenton Drama Festival, 9th to 13th May 2006.
33rd Kenton Drama Festival, 11th to 15th May 2004.
32nd Kenton Drama Festival, 14th to 17th May 2003. The details are in the Archive.