Far from the Madding Crowd (White)

Thomas Hardy, Matthew White

Full Length Play, Drama  /  3f, 5m

Far from the Madding Crowd
Adapted by Matthew White from the novel by Thomas Hardy

The passion, melodrama, earthy humour and strong, gripping plot of Thomas Hardy's novel Far from the Madding Crowd are vividly conveyed in Matthew White's fast-moving and admirably economical adaptation. Written to be performed with the'simplest of s…

Far from the Madding Crowd (White)

by  Thomas Hardy Matthew White

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  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    3f, 5m
  • Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Adaptations (Literature), Period
  • Audience
    Target Audience
    • Appropriate for all audiences

1997 - premiered at The Watermill Theatre, Newbury (produced by Jill Frazer and James Clutton


The story takes place in a rural community in Dorset. Bathsheba Everdene, a young, spirited farm-owner, is loved by three men; Gabriel Oak, her stoical, devoted shepherd; William Boldwood, a neighbouring farmer, whose regard borders on obsession and the dashing but irresponsible Sergeant Troy. Bathsheba marries Troy but, hearing that Fanny Robin, his previous lover, has died in childbirth, he disappears and is presumed dead. Boldwood's subsequent proposal is accepted by Bathsheba, but Troy reappears to claim his wife. Boldwood shoots Troy and is consequently imprisoned. Gabriel, who has remained constant to Bathsheba throughout everything, proposes to her himself and is finally accepted. 


Premier production at The Watermill Theatre, Newbury in 1997. The cast included Jacqueline Charlesworth as Bathsheba and Jonathan Wrather as Sergeant Troy. It was directed by Matthew White, designed by Meg Surrey, and lit by Paule Constable.


Performing Groups
  • Community Theatre
  • Professional Theatre
  • Outdoor
  • No Special Cautions

Licence details

  • Minimum Fee: £69 per performance plus VAT when applicable.
  • Mandatory Music/Media Fee: £10 per performance



  • Time Period: 19th Century
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Additional Features: Play w/ Music


Various simple settings. The action of the play takes place in various interior and exterior settings in Dorset. The period is 1840s. 

The costume element is important, especially if there is a simple set. Sergeant Troy is dressed in military uniform, Bathesheba has several dresses of good quality, Boldwood is simply but elegantly dressed. The rest of the characters are farm workers or serving girls and their costumes are rough and unshowy. 


3f, 5m
Cast Attributes
  • Non-Traditional casting
  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Flexible casting
  • Strong Role for Leading Woman (Star Vehicle)
Casting Notes

Ideally the two actors playing Joseph Poorgrass and Jan Coggan will also have musical skills. In the original production they both played instruments and provided accompaniment for several songs. 







Thomas Hardy

Matthew White

Matthew's writing credits include TOP HAT (R&H) which enjoyed a successful West End run at the Adelphi Theatre, toured Britain and Japan, and which won three Olivier awards including Best New Musical; MR STINK, a theatrical adaptation of David Walliams's best-selling novel (Leicester Curve and national tour), FAR F ...

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