Top Girls

Written by Caryl Churchill
Directed for Actonians by Sarah McMahon


Caryl Churchill wrote 'Top Girls' in 1981, at the height of Maggie Thatcher's reign. Her lead, Marlene, is a true product of the 80's, almost trying to outdo the men around her. She is single-minded and driven, to the exclusion of family members.

The second act flips between Marlene's sister Joyce's back yard inn the fens and the 'Top Girls' agency. Angie, her 16 year-old niece, who is slightly slow and her best friend Kit who is 12, are trying Joyce's patience. We then see how Marlene operates at work and the contrast between Joyce's life and hers.

Act 3 is set in Joyce's kitchen one year earlier, on a rare visit from Marlene. She has not seen either Joyce or Angie for 6 years! tension mounts as we explore the fractured relationship between the sisters and learn more about Angie and her difficulties.

Act One performed as a One-Act Play

Won the first round in the AAD Festival

All-England Theatre Festival
9th April
Princess Theatre, BURNHAM-ON SEA Somerset,

Actonians Drama Group were given the Adjudicator's Award for the set and costumes for "Top Girls" Act 1 by Caryl Churchill.

At the Rose Bowl evening held at the Grand Hotel, Bristol, Pat Stimson was awarded the 'Quartet Community Foundation Award for Best Supporting Actress – Drama' for her as Dull Gret in this production.

"An outstanding characterisation and worthy of any theatre company. Her appearance was totally convincing in an amazing medieval costume as in the Bruegel painting. The use of her pockets to secrete wooden spoons, extra food, bottles of wine and so on was skilfully mimed, together with the use of her eyes to register her emotions. This brought out the comedy superbly and was nothing short of brilliant."


Marlene Sarah Godsell
Isabelle Bird Louise
Lin Bowden
Pope Joan Win
Sue Anstey
Lady Nijo Nell
Debby Ashton
Dull Gret Mrs Kidd
Pat Stimson
Patient Griselda Rachel Taylor
Angie Waitress
Dee Mason
Joyce Di Pardoe
Kit Hannah Evans
Shona Jeanine
Natasha Finch
Set Design Sarah McMahon
Stage Manager Mark Whitehouse
Lighting Sound
Rob Pardoe
Costumes Pat Stimson
Prompt Angie Croome
Set Construction
Mark Whitehouse
Steve Anstey
Mark Whitehouse
Steve Anstey
Sarah McMahon
Godfey Laundy
Alison Horner
Food Properties Helen Briggs
Bar Co-ordinator Andy Fisher
Front of House Ann Aplin
Advance Sales Bob Allen
Photographs Ray Bulmer