Saturday Afternoon Drama – Hard Times

Hard Times: For These Times

from the novel by Charles Dickens, adapted by Peter Malin

Date & Time: Saturday 28 November – 4pm performance and livestream on YouTube

Hard Times: For These Times, Dickens’ shortest novel, feels particularly apt right now as we focus on facts and alternative facts. It is set in the fictional northern town of Coketown in the 1850s when ‘muck was brass’ and Victorian society worshipped at the high altar of commerce. There was no time for sentiment or feeling and the imagination was shunned. It is a story full of memorable Dickens characters – Mr Gradgrind, Sissy Jupe and a group of circus performers led by the unforgettable Slearys.

OTG member Peter Malin’s adaptation loses none of the biting satire of the novel or the comedy invested in the characters.


Director Ruth Readshaw

Sound and Music Jeannie Harrison

Musicians Jeannie Harrison, Mark Prowen, Joseph Prowen, Sally Cheng

Technical Production Will Penington

Hats Oxfordshire Drama Wardrobe and Ruth Readshaw

Props Peter Malin and cast

Photography Richard Readshaw


THOMAS GRADGRIND M.P. of Stone Lodge                     Richard Readshaw

JANE GRADGRIND his wife                                                Victoria Wilson

LOUISA                                                                                  Charlie Morgan

TOM                       their children                                            Tom Mason

JANE                                                                                       Anna Clark

MR McCHOAKUMCHILD schoolteachers                           Gavin Gaughan

MRS McCHOAKUMCHILD                                                 Fleur Yerbury-Hodgson

JOSIAH BOUNDERBY mill owner and banker                    Ian Nutt

MRS SPARSIT his housekeeper                                             Fleur Yerbury-Hodgson

MARY his maid                                                                      Barbara Denton

MAID at the bank                                                                   Anna Clark

STEPHEN BLACKPOOL a worker in Bounderby’s mill      Craig Finlay

ROSE BLACKPOOL his wife                                                Lizzie McHale

RACHAEL his friend                                                              Anna Clark

LANDLADY                                                                          Victoria Wilson

SLACKBRIDGE a union official                                           Colin Macnee

CHAIRMAN of union meeting                                              Gavin Gaughan

BITZER a local youth                                                             Liz McHale

MRS PEGLER an old woman                                                Barbara Denton

JAMES HARTHOUSE a gentleman                                      Josh Wedge

WAITER at the hotel                                                              Colin Macnee

MR SLEARY a circus proprietor                                           Colin Macnee

MRS SLEARY his wife                                                          Barbara Denton

JOSEPHINE their daughter                                                    Fleur Yerbury-Hodgson

SISSY JUPE an abandoned circus child                                 Ruth Walker

Circus acts

MR E.W.B. CHILDERS                                                        Craig Finlay

MR KIDDERMINSTER                                                        Gavin Gaughan


MR GORDON the clown                                                       Lizzie McHale

EMMA GORDON                                                                 Victoria Wison

THE LITTLE WONDER                                                       Ian Nutt

MERRYLEGS a dog                                                              Merry