Decorative image of piles of scripts

Chris Neville-Smith

Things I've done for the stage

The Memory of Water

Text: Shelagh Stephenson's The Memory of Water, directed by Chris Neville-Smith; image: bucket and spade on beach in a blue mist.On the eve of their mother's funeral, three sisters meet in the seaside house they grew up in. Career-focused doctor Mary never had time for her mother, highly-strung Teresa winds up her sister with her alternative medicine shop, and self-obsessed Catherine never learns lessons from her string of doomed affairs.

Formalities soon give way, first to tension, and then to grievances going back to childhood. Drawn into the fray are Teresa's brow-beaten husband Frank, and Mary's suave Mary's lover Mike - but the one person Mary cannot escape is her mother, Vi. With ghosts from the past stretching back three decades, who really has the most to hide?

Written in 1996, The Memory of Water has become Shelagh Stephenson's most legendary play, featuring Haydn Gwynne in the stage premiere and Julie Walters in the television adaptation. It received the 2000 Laurence Olivier award for Best New Comedy, and is one of the most performed and studied contemporary plays.

When and where

The Memory of Water was shown at the City Theatre on the Sunday 21st - Saturday 27th June 2015. 2.30 p.m. Sunday Matinee, 7.30 p.m. all other days.

Cast and crew

The cast of The Memory of Water was:

Mary Jayne Stopford-Taylor
Teresa, Mary's older sister Heather Prestwich
Catherine, Mary's younger sister Samantha Craig
Vi, their late mother Liz Cooke
Mike, Mary's lover Dale Scott
Frank, Teresa's husband Mike Smith

The crew were:

Director Me
Production assistant & prompt: Teresa Hagger
Set construction: Pete Hagger and John Maddison
Lighting and sound Gordon Lawrie, Kayleigh Knox and Theresa Mulkerin
Props Jessica Beard, Heather Prestwich, Theresa Mulkerin and Tess Hagger
Wardrobe Marion Clapham

NEW! Photos

Unfortunately, the production photos has a bit of an accident, and for some reason, the colour balance which digital cameras are supposed to do automatically went to pot and most of the photos were wildly bleached. I've tried my best to salvage this selection into something recongisable - anyone who thinks they can do something better is welcome to try. As always, please contact Wendy Smith is you want high-resolution originals.

Anway, here's what you're getting:

Liz Cooke as the late Vi Heather Prestwich as oldest daughter Teresa Jayne Stopford Taylor as middle daughter Mary Sam Craig as youngest daughter Catherine
Mike (Dale Scott) makes an unexpected entrance and gives Teresa (Heather Prestwich) a fright Mike (Dale Scott) and Mary (Jaybe Stopford-Taylor) kiss straight away - they go back that much Catherine (Sam Craig), of course behaves inappropriately. 'We're orphans!' she cries, flinging herself on to Mike (Dale Scott) Mary (Jayne Stopford Taylor) and Mike (Dale Scott) in a moment of affection. 'Do you love me? Say it then.'
Teresa (Heather Prestwich) interrupts to do a spot of wardrobe clearing ... Teresa (Heather Preswich), Mary (Jayne Stopford Taylor) and Catherine (Sam Craig) end up wearing their mother's things Teresa's husband Frank (Mike Smith) enters looking surprised Teresa (Heather Preswich), Mary (Jayne Stopford Taylor) and Catherine (Sam Craig) pose for a photo
Catherine (Sam Craig) desperately waits for a call from her obvious sleazebag boyfriend Does Mike (Dale Scott) mind getting changed in front of everyone? Seems he has no choice. Catherine (Sam Craig) gets the inevitable answer from her loverat boyfriend, and everyone watches the reaction Teresa (Heather Prestwich) takes to the whisky, and she's a teetotaller. This surely can't end well ...
Catherine (Sam Craig) disgraces herself again, this time with her own brother-in-law Frank (Mike Smith) It's funeral day, and Mary (Jayne Stopford-Taylor) and Teresa (Heather Prestwich) are dressed in black. Mary realsies Teresa is holding a secret Vi (Liz Cooke) looks in the coffin. 'A bloody old woman. I don't recognise her.' Vi (Liz Cooke) has one last dance whilst Mary (Jayne Stopford-Taylor) reads some devastating news
And then Mary is left alone and inconsolable. A scramble to offer Mary (Jayne Stopford-Taylor) comfort, vodka or rescue remedy? Catherine (Samatha Craig) asks if her inappropriately short dress is suitable for a funeral. 'Apart from the fact we can see your ovaries, it's fine' Left to right: Mike Smith as Frank, Samantha Craig as Catherine, Heather Prestwich as Teresa, Jayne Stopford-Taylor as Mary, Liz Cooke as Vi, Dale Scott as Mike


The original casting information can be found on this archive page. The character information is free to anyone who wants it for their own auditions.