The Winter's Tale

4ydd i 7fed Awst
Cyfarwyddwyd gan Abbey Wright

Exit, pursued by a bear
— Stage direction, Act III Sc 3

A sad tale's best for winter: I have one
Of sprites and goblins.
— Mamillius, Act II Sc 1

A friend suspected, a wife rejected, two children lost: King Leontes seems to have destroyed everything he loves through jealousy. But redemption awaits through the constancy of women and the simple goodness of a country shepherd and his son.

From the rigid codes of the Sicilian court to the bucolic joy of Bohemia, sunshine and shadow chase one another across the stage in Shakespeare's best-loved late romance.

I would there were no age between sixteen and three-and-twenty, or that youth would sleep out the rest; for there is nothing in the between but getting wenches with child, wronging the ancientry, stealing, fighting – Hark you now!
— Old Shepherd, Act III Sc 3

Director's note

The Winter's Tale is a play of two halves! It opens in the grey, claustrophobic Sicilia and leaps to the festive wilds of Bohemia. It is a study of the human mind, of its capacity for destruction and creativity. It is an itinerant play which expresses what it is to travel and to look back.

I have always loved it as it encompasses the fear and thrill of life – and in this tale, you get a second chance. It is farcical, brilliant and humane and remains one of Shakespeare's greatest works.

Oh, and the only one with a bear.

Music notes

When daffodils begin to peer,
With heigh! the doxy over the dale

Live music-making looms large at St Dogmaels, where a typical year brings together players and singers of all ages, backgrounds and abilities - from those who have never performed in their lives to members of national companies and orchestras.

Richard Morris - who has composed music for the Abbey Shakespeare Players for many years - conjured two contrasting sound-worlds for The Winter's Tale.

Sicilia is courtly and formal.

For Bohemia, life-enhancing central European folk song and dance traditions form the core.

Get you hence, for I must go
Where it fits not you to know.
O, whither?
It becomes thy oath full well,
Thou to me thy secrets tell.
Me too, let me go thither.
Or thou goest to the orange or mill.
If to either, thou dost ill.
What, neither?
Thou hast sworn my love to be.
Thou hast sworn it more to me:
Then whither goest? say, whither?


TimeLinda Kirk


Leontes, King of SiciliaJoseph Kao
Hermione, his wifeHeledd Hart
Mamillius, his sonAnnie Sheen
Perdita, his daughterAnnie Sheen
CamilloIan Wood
AntigonusAndrew Frank
CleomenesAnn Shepherd
DionTony Shepherd
PaulinaJane Morris
EmiliaAnn Christys
GaolerMike Hall
MarinerTim Chadwick
LordsTom Bailey, Tim Chadwick, Ed Long, Will Long, Henry Morris
LadiesAngharad Evans, Georgina Ferry
ChildrenKyra Cundy, Bethan & William Eyon, Isaac, Leo & Jethro Harrison, Emily Jenkins, Hermione Miltiadou


Polixenes, King of BohemiaEd Hancock
Florizel, his sonEd Long
Autolycus, a rogueRichard Mitchley
Old shepherdRichard Carwardine
Clown, his sonWill Long
MopsaEmma Hall
DorcasAngharad Evans
ServantHenry Morris


DirectorAbbey Wright
Composer & Musical DirectorsRichard Morris, Henry Ward
Lighting Designer & Technical DirectorDavid Long
Technical AssistantAndy Reader
WardrobeStephanie Ross, Jane Kipling
PropsPenny Miltiadou
Poster & Website DesignEd Long
Front of HouseJane Hall, Sue Jones, Penny Miltiadou, Janet Paynter, Susana Hanson
SetRobert Fitzmartin & Henry VIII


Oboe/Oboe d'amore/Oboe da cacciaSimon Denison
ClarinetAnn Macleod
Trumpet/GuitarDan Webster
RecorderAnn Christys
KeyboardsHenry Ward
ViolaBea Munby
VioloncelloBob Dent
PercussionAnn Christys, Dan Webster, Bea Munby, Ed Long