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by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman

Bartholomew Players present: "A Bunch of Amateurs” by Ian Hislop and Nick Newman


Keen to boost his flagging career, fading Hollywood action hero Jefferson Steele arrives in England to play King Lear in Stratford – only to find that this is not the birthplace of the Bard, but a sleepy Suffolk village. And instead of Branagh, Dench, or Rylance, the cast are amateurs trying to save their theatre from developers. But nothing will come of nothing, and Jefferson must learn to put aside his monstrous ego, vanity and insecurity if he wants not to embarrass himself in front of a fascinated international press, or earn the respect of his teenage daughter.


Co-Directors Pip Burns and Joe O’Connor say: “A Bunch of Amateurs is a heartwarming, hilariously dramatic twist of events carefully crafted by writers, and comedic geniuses, Ian Hislop and Nick Newman, and we’re delighted to be bringing it to the Eynsham stage. Its cast of characters are funny, sweet, loyal to the arts, and realistically drawn from the personalities which inhabit amateur drama up and down the country; their dramas, loves and jealousies all stem from their shared love for the sheer joy of creating great theatre! With great comic dialogue and a plot full of twists and turns, we’re delighted to be able to share this treat with our Eynsham audience.”


We will follow any Government guidance in place at the time of the performance regarding COVID-19 safety measures – please check our website regularly for updates.


Venue: Eynsham Village Hall, Back Lane, Eynsham, OX29 4QW

Dates: Wed 17th, Thurs 18th, Fri 19th and *Sat 20th May 2023

Doors open: 7.00pm, Performance: 7.30pm

Price: £10.00 (no concessions)

Available: online from in advance from Denise Santilli, 07721 744020,, from Evenlode DIY in Eynsham or on the door


* Saturday night has now sold out


Jefferson – Gareth Hammond

Dorothy – Jo Burns

Mary – Louise Taney

Nigel – Nick Smith

Denis – Ianto Wain

Lauren – Claire Crowther

Jessica – Seren Lemaire

Journalists – TBC


Daily Info Review – Heather Kay

"…there was plenty of genuinely funny comedic business throughout, on all levels, from visual jokes to ironic observations and throwaway witticisms, and plenty of laughter from the audience throughout. The “bedroom farce” scene was hilarious.

To read the full review please click here.


NODA – Andrew Walter


"The show provided a challenge, and the company responded with an entertaining production in which there was much to admire.

What Gareth did really well was to reveal Jefferson’s vulnerabilities and regrets, particularly with regard to his inflated ego, and his relationship with his daughter Jessica. Gareth persuasively portrayed how Jefferson faces up to his demons. Gareth cleverly avoided any cliff edges on Jefferson’s road to self-discovery so this larger-than-life character remained believable throughout.  It’s a demanding role, but Gareth knew it thoroughly and drove the narrative forward with commendable pace.  He also employed body language to good effect, using gestures sparingly but appropriately and conveying some of Jefferson’s private thoughts through a wide range of expressions.

The Bartholomew Players…..the quality of their productions is consistently high."

To read the full review please click here.


The Oxford Drama Network – Nigel James:
The whole cast gelled well together. The use of the auditorium was good with effective use of flats and curtains… the crew managed the changes very well. The lighting and effects were good and appropriate. The play was greatly enjoyed by a full first night audience."

To read the full review please click here.

Audience feedback


most enjoyable, well cast



what a brilliant combination of play and actors!

really good and funny

great comedy entertainment

A BUNCH OF AMATEURS cast publicity.jpg
ABOA reviews
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