When The Cat's Away at Smallhythe Place

Emmeline Pankhurst speaking at a Women's Social & Political Union (WSPU) meeting, 1912.

This event took place in 2018 as part of the Trust's Women and Power programme, and our Triumphant Women exhibition and has now finished. Smallhythe Place welcomes Lynchpin Productions to the Barn Theatre on 22 September with their performance of ‘When The Cat’s Away’, a new writing by Claire Parker, a timely play for 2018 and part of the National Trust’s celebration of Women and Power.

Fernstead, Surrey, the golden Edwardian summer of 1914. The sleepy village seems immune to the political storm clouds gathering over the Continent. But there is a more immediate conflict closer to home that is about to grab the villagers’ attention. Across the country, the suffragettes’ campaign grows ever more militant. The consequences for the activists are severe and they resort to a game of "Cat and Mouse", keeping one step ahead of the authorities.

Just weeks before the harvest, the villagers of Fernstead prepare for their annual pageant. This year it is going to be directed by Helen Billington, a retired actress who has returned from London after some 30 years, accompanied by her beautiful young ward, Peggy. They both cause a stir but for different reasons. Peggy instantly captures the heart of Alfie, the Chief Inspector’s son. But now Piggy has been missing from the village for some weeks… Helen says she is staying with cousins in the Isle of Wight.

Helen, as the villagers observe, is a ‘lady of advanced views’ and when her actress friends arrive to help with the pageant, the Fernstead Players feel the full force of the suffragette spirit. 

Traditional values are threatened and the community is dramatically divided. Will the villagers fetch the pitch forks?  And will life ever be the same again?

Unfolding to a backdrop of authentic songs and voices from the era, the story conveys
the bravery and wit of the women who campaigned for the vote a century ago.

Lynchin Productions present a performance inspired by the reality of the Suffragettes struggle
'When The Cat's Away' commemorates of the centenary of women finally achieving the vote in 1918.
Lynchin Productions present a performance inspired by the reality of the Suffragettes struggle

About the company

Lynchpin is a local theatre company based across two counties (Surrey and Hampshire) and on the edge of two boroughs (Waverly and Guildford); close to London and not far from the sea, they have a pilgrim route on their doorstep.

Passionate about excellence in writings new and old, audience entertainment and creating opportunities for theatre practitioners, Lynchpin are a versatile and growing company. They encourage development and education for playwrights, actors and audiences' alike.


Smallhythe Place garden and wildlife

Our events for 2019 have now finished as we are now closed for the winter from 27th October until 4th March. We've got lots planned for 2020 so keep an eye out to see what's coming up next year. All details will be released in January.