A New Artifice Production!

Henry Irving, Ellen Terry, Jane Austen and George Frederick Watts all feature in our 2017 plans


Rotten Perfect

by Claire Parker

Artifice’s new production is a play about the partnership between two giants of the Victorian Stage: Henry Irving and Ellen Terry. It’s securely based in factual research and also also features Alice Comyns Carr – wardrobe mistress and costume guru. There’s a fictional ambitious young actor, too and the revolutionary voice of George Bernard Shaw. It’s a fascinating insight into the dynamics and difficulties of making theatre work at the highest level of the day. Conflict and humour abound to ensure a great evening.

Rotten Perfect was first performed in the Barn Theatre at Smallhythe Place (home of Ellen Terry) in June 2016. It was extensively revised for a ScripTease event last year, and planning is now well underway for the launch of a brand new production by Artifice, directed by Kate Napier, at the Watts Gallery, Compton, from 29th September to 1st October, 7:30pm.

Watts is hosting this production as part of the centennial celebration of the eminent painter George Frederick Watts – to whom Ellen was briefly married as a teenaged girl.

We’re very excited to be combining the effervescent text with Artifice’s unique style of performance in this beautiful gallery setting, and looking forward to having, and providing, a great time at Watts.

Watch Out, for trailers

brief scenes and illuminating monologues, to be found at the Farnham Flash Festival during June, and around the Watts Gallery and Limnerslease house over August Bank Holiday and the Heritage Open Days in September.

Watch Out, for Murder!

Murder in the Mud Bath, an evening of good food and murder mystery will be taking place at the Wilfred Noyce Centre, Godalming to raise funds for Rotten Perfect.

Catered for us by the wonderful Café Mila, the menu is firmly based in chocolate – savoury as well as sweet – and the PRIZE DRAW already has some spectacular prizes waiting for lucky winners. You could be the lucky winner of any of these:

G Live Footloose voucher for 2, Watts Gallery Breakfast Tour for 2, CH Wakeling Butchers, Denbies Vineyard tour for 2, Albury Vineyard tour and tasting voucher for 2, Silent Pool tour voucher for 2, and many more.


Contact us to be kept up to date on this not-to-be missed occasion.


Artifice Seasons in 2017

We’re building two Artifice Seasons for this year – which is the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death, so we’re looking forward to some exciting bookings on that score. We’re focusing on two periods in particular:

Mid-May to July, which will include appearances at the Farnham Flash Festival and in Winchester
September to October, launching with Rotten Perfect at Watts Gallery.

Please contact us if you’d like to explore possibilities of Artifice contributing to your planning at these times.


Our basic repertoire contains the following productions. Rotten Perfect will join the list from September.

Domestic comedy – what to do if your husband’s not spending enough time at home and you suspect him of playing away. Add in an opportunistic aristocrat and a merry widow and you have a fizzing mix that was a huge hit for David Garrick for whom it was written, which entertained Jane Austen, and which has delighted Artifice audiences from Edinburgh to Winchester.
Written by a very successful and prolific actor and writer, this undeservedly little-known play is interesting because it features centrally in the plot of Mansfield Park by Jane Austen. Equally important is its treatment of class, loyalty, sexual exploitation and parenthood. An 18c piece with 20c relevance.
A play about writing a novel by Jane Austen, this piece was originally commissioned by Chawton House Library as part of their celebration of the 200th anniversary of the publication of Sense and Sensibility. Drawing on Austen’s juvenilia as well as her major works, it’s an evening’s journey through the progress of a heroine of Sensibility, punctuated by music and a little dance.
Written and performed in the same year as The Importance of Being Earnest, this is a darkly witty treatment of the subject of ambition and idealism, with blackmail and romance lurking close by.

We are also very happy to receive enquiries about booking all or part of any of these shows for events at any time.  


Education, Education, Education

All our productions provide proven enjoyment for audiences. They will also serve A level English and Performing Arts specifications. The diagram here provides an indication of how this can work for OCR-based courses.

Please click to visit our Past Productions page,

click to see how these productions can help your teaching and learning.

and contact us if you’d like to know more about booking a performance or about education workshops.