Essential Surrey



London Living Large

"an absolutely joy" British Theatre Guide

"high-octane production" Guildford Dragon

Charles Marlow and Kate Hardcastle are engaged to be wed. So far, so swell, except they've never met…

This isn't a problem until the debonair Marlow turns up at an isolated country inn for the night, unaware that it is in fact Kate’s home and believes his future family-in-law are the staff.  When Kate poses as a barmaid to keep up the pretence to conquer Marlow’s heart, a single night of mischief and madness ensues. READ OUR PLOT PRIMER FOR MORE

This summer, in the popular Guildford Castle Gardens, we'll be introducing you to outrageous Mrs Hardcastle, her crusty husband, their industrious daughter Kate, and her bumpkin of a brother Tony Lumpkin... this is Oliver Goldsmith's sublime Georgian comedy of manners, one of the best-loved and most-performed of English comedies.

Director TOM LITTLER (Love's Labour's Lost, All's Well That Ends Well, The Wind in the Willows) transports this production to the 1930s country house world of Jeeves and Wooster, complete with fearsome aunts, hapless young men, determined debutantes and hilarious misunderstandings.


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PICNICS - please note:

  • Due to the requirement to ensure social distancing for our audiences, we regret we cannot allow picnics inside the Bandstand area of the Castle Gardens.
  • Should you wish to picnic in other parts of the gardens you may do so at your own discretion and we request that you follow whatever guidance is in place at the time for the general public. Click here for venue map
  • There will be an onsite bar, but this will be pre-order ONLY and details will be sent to ticket holders in advance.


Full biographies will be featured in the 32-page Souvenir Programme

NATASHA RICKMAN - Kate Hardcastle

For GSC: Thy Eternal Summer (2020), All That Glisters (2020) and Loves Labours Lost (2018).

Trained: RADA.

Theatre includes:  Ready Or Not (Arcola Theatre/Tour); King Lear, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Hamlet, Grimm Tales, The Snow Queen (Creation Theatre); The Picture of Dorian Gray (English Theatre of Frankfurt); The Mousetrap (West End); Roots (Nottingham Playhouse and tour); Romeo and Juliet, Joan of Arc, Dogs Dialogue, The Talented Mr Ripley: [OffWestEnd Award-nominated for Best Supporting Actress] (The Faction); Julius Caesar, Iph (Mercury Theatre); Relatively Speaking, Within the Gates (Frinton Summer Theatre); Suitcase Stories (Sell A Door, United Arab Emirates Tour); Much Ado About Nothing, Canterbury Tales (Cunard).

Radio includes:Selling Shoes in Southend (Frequency Theatre). 

Natasha is co-founder of Women at RADA, an initiative campaigning for gender equality in theatre. She is also a core ensemble member with The Faction and artistic associate at Jermyn Street Theatre.


Trained: Royal Central School of Speech & Drama and ALRA

Theatre includes: Lise in The Boss Of It All (Soho Theatre), Desiree in Upstart Crow (Gielguld Theatre), Novice in Trade (Tour with New Perspectives Theatre), Mother/Coco in Conundrum (Arcola Theatre), Madam Irina/Debbie in This Island`s Mine (King’s Head Theatre), Melanie in Dare To Dare (The Space Theatre), Madame Tricastin in Til We Meet in England (Peckham Safehouse), Femi in The Sun, The Moon and The Stars (Yard Theatre) Belle in Flush (Matchstick Theatre), Alison in Mastering Business (Stockwell Playhouse) Zohra in Don Quixote in Algiers (White Bear Theatre), Third Witch in Macbeth (Cockpit Theatre), Dot in Far From Fiction (Lion and Unicorn Theatre), Virginia in Papa’s Bathtub Gin (Rosemary Branch Theatre), Muse in A Novel Approach - Bookends (Etcetera Theatre).

TV includes: Katherine Cousens in HBO series, The Nevers

Film includes: Keisha in Calloused Hands

SARAH GOBRAN - Mrs Hardcastle

Sarah trained at GSA and is a co-founder and joint producer of Guildford Shakespeare Company. To date she has played Beatrice, Adriana, Hermione, Katherina, Regan, Gwendolyn, Mistress Ford, Maria, Titania, Nerissa, Lady Capulet, Luciana, Silvia, Phebe, the Princess of France as well as a fine line in woodland and farmyard animals including a fox, a shrew and a sheep. Sarah set up and ran the Education Department of GSC before handing it over to Head of Development for Education & Outreach, Ant Stones in 2014.

Other Theatre credits include: Peter Pan (Proteus Theatre); Sugar Daddies (Stephen Joseph Theatre/Yvonne Arnaud Theatre); Far From the Madding Crowd (The Phoenix Theatre); Gulliver’s Travels (Sutton Theatres); Desires of Frankenstein (Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre); Just William (Charles Cryer Theatre).

JAMES SHELDON - Young Marlow

For GSC: Macbeth (2020 Education Film); Thy Eternal Summer (2020), Love's Labour's Lost (2018), Robin Hood (2018).

Theatre includes: Lockwood in Michael Oakley’s Wuthering Heights (Oxford Shakespeare Company); Adolf in Tom Littler’s Creditors (Jermyn Street Theatre/Theatre By The Lake); Dumaine/Holofernes in Tom Littler’s Loves Labour’s Lost (Guildford Shakespeare Company); Little John in Richard Neale’s Robin Hood (Guildford Shakespeare Company); Jean in Tom Littler’s Miss Julie (The Jermyn Street Theatre/Theatre By The Lake) 2017/2019; Dr Banner/Lawrence in Phillip Wilson’s After the Dance by Terrence Rattigan (Theatre By The Lake); Andy in Brian Martin’s Align (Theatre 503); Nicholas in A.A. Milne's The Dover Road (Jermyn Street Theatre);  Tom Wingfield in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie and Charles Bruno in Patricia Highsmith's Strangers on a Train (English Theatre Frankfurt); Soranzo in John Ford’s ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore; Willy Wax in Clifford Odets’ Rocket to the Moon; Henry VIII in Howard Brenton’s Anne Boleyn; Uncle in Lawrence Till’s Perfect Boy.


Trained: The Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.

For GSC: Twelfth Night, The Merry Wives of Windsor (2019)

During this last year Tom played Tweedledum & Tweedledee in Alice: A Virtual Theme Park (ONCOMM Best Digital Platform based production) for Creation Theatre/Big Telly

Theatre includes: The Prince & The Pauper (New Vic Theatre); Lady Chatterley’s Lover (Churchill Theatre Bromley & UK tour); Julius Caesar, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Storyhouse, Chester); Jeeves & Wooster in Perfect Nonsense, Sense & Sensibility, Single Spies, Dial ‘M’ For Murder, The Rivals (Theatre by the Lake, Keswick); Elton John’s Glasses (Watford Palace Theatre); A Christmas Carol, Treasure Island, The Wind in The Willows (Creation Theatre); The Merry Wives of Windsor, Romeo & Juliet, The Wind in The Willows, Macbeth and The Comedy of Errors (Chester Performs); Twelfth Night: A Gender Experiment (The Rose Playhouse); The White Carnation (The Finborough/Jermyn Street Theatre); Roots (Nottingham Playhouse/Hull Truck/New Vic); The Winter’s Tale, The Rivals, The Grapes of Wrath, Arsenic and Old Lace (The Mercury Theatre Colchester); The Mousetrap (SE Asia Tour and West End); Dad’s Army: The Lost Episodes and Dad’s Army Marches On (UK No. 1 Tours).


Trained: Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

Theatre includes: The Whip, King John (RSC); This Island’s Mine (King’s Head Theatre); Henry V (Shakespeare at the Tobacco Factory); A Christmas Carol, The Pied Piper (Redbridge Drama Centre); The Enchanted (Bunker Theatre); Normal (Rift Theatre/Styx); Snow White (Sixteenfeet Productions); The Hotel Cerise (Theatre Royal Stratford East); Little Revolution, ICU (Almeida Theatre); Carpe Diem (National Theatre).

Film includes: Callum, Our Night, Home, Angry Face.

ROBERT MASKELL - Mr Hardcastle

For GSC: Thy Eternal Summer (2020), Alice in Wonderland (2018), Love’s Labour’s Lost, Robin Hood (2018), Macbeth (2013) and Richard III (2012).

Theatre includes: Fiddler on the Roof (Menier Chocolate Factory & The Playhouse); La Cage aux Folles (The Playhouse); The Sound of Music (The Palladium); End of the Rainbow (UK Tour); For Services Rendered (Union Theatre); Someone Who'll Watch Over Me (Broadway Studio); Henry IV Parts 1&2 (Forty Hall Open Air Theatre);James and the Giant Peach; Daisy Pulls It Off(The Watermill); A Man of No Importance(Salisbury Playhouse); Blind Eye, Compliance (Theatre 503); Twelfth Night (Iris Theatre); Bar Mitzvah Boy (Upstairs at the Gatehouse); White Witch (The Chelsea Theatre); Eleanor Marx the Jewess of Jew’s Walk (Upstairs at The Sydenham Centre)

Film includes: TheTherapist(RSA Films); Farming (Farming the Film Ltd.);A Simple Man (Wychwood Films). 

TV includes:London: The Greatest City (Channel 4); Eroica (BBC).

Radio includes:Orley Farm, Rudolpho's Zest, Together (all BBC).

As a French horn player, Robert spent 10 years with The Philharmonia.

MATT PINCHES - Diggory / Marlow Senior

Trained: Bretton Hall. Co-Founder of GSC, appearing in over 40 productions.

Matt has been working in theatre for over 20 years, from panto to TIE, from national No.1 tours to village halls. He established GSC with Sarah in 2006, and is extremely proud of the journey they, GSC and their audiences have been on. During this time, Matt has had the privilege of playing many dream parts, including: Benedick (Much Ado); Toad (Wind in the Willows), Edgar (King Lear), Malvolio (Twelfth Night), Cassio (Othello), Touchstone (As You Like It), Bottom (Dream), Laertes (Hamlet). Matt is responsible for marketing, web development and sponsorship, and alongside Sarah, the theatre company’s overall development and strategy. He has recently rediscovered his love for rugby and now that he has a garden, is becoming a bit of a twitcher. Matt is a member of the Surrey Chamber of Commerce Council and sits on the Public Art Advisory Group for Guildford Borough.



Director - TOM LITTLER

Set & Costume Designer - NEIL IRISH

Sound Designer & Composer - MATT EATON

Assistant Director & Choreographer - INDIANA LOWN-COLLINS

Assistant Designer - ANETT BLACK

Company Stage Manager - BETH MANN

Deputy Stage Manager - CJ MITCHELL

Assistant Stage Manager - KIM MUNROE

Voice and Dialect Coach - NICK TRUMBLE

Audio Description – KERRY ELKINS


Thursday 17 June - Saturday 03 July
Evenings 7.30pm (7pm 3 July only)
No performances Sundays | No Matinees

Venue open 45 mins before start time

This performance will be Audio Described on Wednesday 30 June, 7.30pm 


Full £26.50
Concession £23.50 (Over 65, Equity, Students, Jobseekers, Reg. Disabled)
Children under 16 £16.50
Preview £18.50/£16.50 (Thurs 17 June)
Family (2 full, 2 children) £78

Buy for BOTH Summer 2021 shows at the SAME time and SAVE £5 when you book the same tickets for both shows in the same transaction. Tickets must be like for like, for example:
Buy 1 Full price ticket for She Stoops To Conquer and 1 Full price ticket for As You Like It and receive a £5 discount; Book 2 Full price tickets for both and receive a £10 discount on your booking. 

PLEASE NOTE: If booking for both shows you will only need to purchase ONE programme as we have a double season programme in the summer.

Running Time, including interval: 2 hrs 20 mins (approx.)


Interval Bar Partner