Philip Thicknesse: friend or foe?

In September 2017 the Woven Theatre Company produced a site specific drama at Landguard Fort in Felixstowe about the life and very lively times of Phillip Thicknesse who was Governor of the Fort 1753-66.

Landguard Fort itself is an extraordinary venue with a big central courtyard surrounded by rooms and fortifications. Philip Thicknesse, a fascinating and controversial character, brought to life in the place where he was Governor.

Thicknesse fought with everyone who thought they were his superior - he had a long running battle with Lord Orwell who commanded the troops that manned the Fort - but was adored by his wives and very much respected by his men for refusing to dole out physical punishments. He was especially appreciated by his third wife, Ann, a musician and opera singer who defied her father to earn her own living.

After his time at the Fort, and pursued by debt, Thicknesse set out for Europe with Ann, his pet monkey and Ann's parakeet, eventually dying in France in 1792, still very much a disputed figure.

Led by a team of professional writers and actors, with contemporary 18th century music, puppets and community participation, this was an event that defied the weather and went down a storm.

"Witty presentation with music, puppetry and audience participation. The performances were great. The setting was fantastic."

Writers: Peppy Barlow and Sally Wilden

Richard Blaine as Philip Thicknesse
Clare Hawes as Ann Thicknesse
Jamie Symons as Lord Orwell
Eloise Kaye as the Inn Keeper's Wife and the Ferrywoman and as the puppeteer bringing Philip's monkey and Ann's parakeet to life.
Pauline Dent as the Judge.
Adrian Cave as Music Consultant and soloist.
With a special guest appearance by Steve Gallant as the Sergeant.
Other parts were played by Penny Brookes, Daphne Fox, Mike Green, Charlotte Leach, Jack Leach, Moira Pinkney and John Temperton.
Puppet maker Alex Killick

Kindly supported by:
Arts Council England
Suffolk Coastal District Council
The Landguard Fort Trust
The Rotary Club Felixstowe
Suffolk Coast DCM
Peewit Caravan Park