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Thursday, 8 February 2024

Quartet100-year-old comedy kicks off Theatre Centenary

On Monday February 26, Hebden Bridge Little Theatre starts its Centenary year with Noel Coward's Hay Fever – fittingly penned in 1924.

The production, which runs until Saturday March 2, is directed by the theatre's president Hannah Stow and features a highly experienced and talented cast who are determined to put on a hilarious Centenary show piece.

Hay Fever, which was Coward's first commercial success, combines high farce with a comedy of manners, focusing on a family of self-obsessed bohemians who pursue a life unconstrained by mainstream values.

Judith Bliss is a retired actress who lives with her author husband David and their two children, Simon and Sorrel, in the Berkshire countryside. Independently of each other, they invite four guests to stay over the weekend. But this quickly becomes a game of humiliation in which the invitees pair off with an entirely different member of the family.

Eventually, unable to stand any more of their host's self-serving behaviour, the guests conspire together to leave the house as quietly as they can.

Emma Stafford, who plays the lead Judith Bliss, (see photo above), says "Judith is especially fun to play because of her theatrical background. She's larger than life, and just can't help herself lapsing into melodrama at the slightest excuse. Her frequent protestations about growing old gracefully are rather undermined by her penchant for younger men, which she indulges shamelessly."

Tickets for Hay Fever (February 26 to March 2) and other Centenary productions cost £11-£9, and can be obtained online at