Brimstone and Treacle by Dennis Potter

Directed by Emma Northcott

Studio Production – 29th October to 2nd November 2024

The Play

Although written in the 70s all of the themes explored within the play remain relevant, such as religion, power, trust, class, race, despair and belief in miracles.

Written by Dennis Potter (The Singing Detective, Pennies from Heaven, Blue Remembered Hills) it concerns a middle-aged couple whose world fell apart two years earlier, when their adult daughter Pattie was involved in a devastating road accident.

From nowhere, Martin, walks into their lives, claiming to be Pattie’s fiancé. Mr Bates is highly cynical, while Mrs Bates is so desperate that she’s prepared to believe that Martin has been sent from heaven to help. However, is Martin the saviour he seems to be?

As with much of Potter’s work, whilst this play has a shocking and serious nature, but there is also dark comedy within the play.

Pattie (ages 18 to 35) – On a bed throughout the play. Unable to control her speech and movement, it appears that Pattie has no control over her body and speech. Often, she lies still, but there are times when she moves with the uncontrollable jerking of a person
with cerebral palsy.

Martin (ages 18 to 40) – Martin presents as a polite, helpful, clean-cut young man, however during the events of the play he shows that he is a master of manipulation with a hidden agenda.

Mr Bates (ages 40+) – A repressed, reclusive, disappointed man with a sombre yet vivid imagination. He is embarrassed about his daughter’s condition, and would rather they struggle on, than risk accepting help from an outsider. Patronising and undermining of his wife.

Mrs Bates (ages 40+) – A simple woman. She believes in patience, in duty and in God. Worn down and frustrated from nursing her severely handicapped daughter. She is at her wits end, exhausted and desperate for something to change.

The ages here are a guide and are potentially quite flexible. Mr and Mrs Bates will need to look as if they are the age to be the parents of Pattie.

This is a challenging play, and we will work hard to ensure that the issues are covered sensitively. Because of the nature of this show, particularly scenes between Pattie and Martin, we are going to use an ‘Intimacy Co-ordinator’ to help us to produce authentic performances in a safe space where the actors feel completely comfortable.

Copies of the play have been ordered and will be available from the box office very soon.

*You do not have to be a member of the Bancroft Players to audition, but you will be expected to join if you are cast.

Any questions – please contact me via

Audition Dates

Auditions Closed

  • Tuesday 30th Jul 2024 at  7:45pm
  • Thursday 1st Aug 2024 at  7:45pm


Tuesdays and Thursdays