Mumford Theatre to stage The Secret Garden

Published: 9 January 2012 at 13:14

Frances Hodgson Burnett’s children’s classic to visit Cambridge this January

A new adaptation of the much-loved children’s classic The Secret Garden will be visiting Anglia Ruskin University in Cambridge on 26 and 27 January.

Angel Exit theatre company is celebrating the centenary of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s novel with a production presented in their unique visual style, blending ensemble storytelling with striking physicality, puppetry, live singing and an original soundtrack.

The Secret Garden tells the tale of spoilt orphan, Mary Lennox, who is plucked from the vibrancy of India and transplanted to Misselthwaite Manor, a vast old house brimming with secrets on the grey Yorkshire moors.  Mary battles with loneliness and encounters locked doors, a curious robin, a gruff old gardener, and strange cries echoing through the house. 

Tamsin Fessey, the play’s director, said:

“The story is about grief and about how people push through it, keep going, and eventually grow.”

Actor Henry Douthwaite, who attended St Faith’s School on Trumpington Road in Cambridge, is taking on the roles of both elderly gardener Ben Weatherstaff and Archibald Craven, Mary’s grieving uncle.

Speaking after the first night of the tour in Dorchester, Henry said:

“The play has been very well received and I think we have a fantastic production to tour. People are already saying that it’s better than Moonfleet, which was Angel Exit’s previous touring production, so we’re all very excited.”

The 31-year-old, who now lives in Hampshire, is particularly looking forward to returning to the city where he grew up. Henry added:

“I always look forward to visiting Cambridge and despite it being such a historical place, an awful lot seems to have changed every time I come back.
“My first dramatic roles were on stage in Cambridge, in school plays at St Faith’s, so it’s always extra special to return to where my acting career began!”

The Angel Exit production, which is supported by Arts Council England and West Dorset District Council, will visit the Mumford Theatre on Anglia Ruskin’s Cambridge campus on 26 and 27 January (7pm).  To book tickets, or for further information, phone 0845 196 2320 or visit

Press reviews of previous Angel Exit productions

“Theatrical invention is everywhere... visually exciting throughout, this production never loses the quality of a life-changing adventure story.” The Stage (on Moonfleet)

“A unique brand of intuitive physical theatre.” British Theatre Guide (on The Black Curtain)

“There is so much vivid theatricality and inventiveness at work here.” Lyn Gardner, The Guardian (on Invisible Prisons)