The Herbal Bed

The Herbal Bed 31 Oct - 1 Nov 2013Click here for photographs of this production
Congratulations to all involved in “The Herbal Bed”, for putting on another outstanding Bradfordians production. Excellent performances all round, magnificently supported by the production team. Well done to everybody involved.

How much do you know about Shakespeare? Our next production will be the challenging play by Peter Whelan, “The Herbal Bed”, based on a real-life episode in the life of his elder daughter, Susanna. This very human story shows us that, just as Shakespeare’s own plays seem ever timeless, people’s problems have changed little through the ages.

Exactly four hundred years ago, in 1613, Susanna Hall was accused of adultery by a neighbour, for obscure reasons, and sued for slander. Her story is involved and puzzling, leaving us with an enigma, which you will delight in unravelling. A gallery of fascinating characters, each with their own “back story” people the quiet streets of Stratford on Avon. The play also reveals a little-known puzzle about Shakespeare’s own life.


Susanna Hall – aged 30 . Unfulfilled in many aspects of her life. Devoted and loyal to her husband and his work.A complex and enigmatic figure.
To be played by Tina Scudder

John Hall – her husband, aged 38. The eminent and highly respected physician in Stratford on Avon. An austere Puritan, devoted to his work of saving the sick. Highly moral. Seemingly unemotional and oblivious to the feelings of others. His world is turned upside-down by events.
To be played by Al Brunker

Rafe Smith – a haberdasher in the town. Early thirties. In love with Susanna. A Puritan, staunchly loyal to his friend John Hall. Not weak but under great emotional strain, which compromises his values.
To be played by Dominic Newton

Jack Lane
– late twenties. Son of a “good” family, but weak, lazy and self-indulgent. In fact, a likable rogue. Apprenticed to John Hall by his family to learn a trade; this was common in such families with rather ne’er-do-weel sons. Accuses Susanna of adultery. Why?
To be played by Gareth Lloyd

Hester Fletcher – late teens, early twenties. A much more interesting “servant” role than is usual. Devoted to both Susanna and John. Why?
To be played by Kate Burton

Bishop Parry – a “Friar Tuckish” figure. Enjoys the good things in life. Kindly and HerbalBedlikeable, but self-indulgent, definitely a cleric of the old school. Interested in the world. Admires and likes John for his work, but dislikes rigidity, and Barnabas Goche!
To be played by Graham Billing

Barnabas Goche
– the arm of the law. Almost a” witch-finder”. An ultra-Puritan,cold and austere, intent upon rooting out evil. Very disapproving.
To be played by Simon R Green

Elizabeth Smith  –  daughter of John and Susanna Hall.
To be played by Rhianna Emberson
Understudy – Hollie Roberts