The Secret Garden (Swale)

Jessica Swale

Full Length Play, Drama  /  5f, 3m, 1girl(s), 2boy(s)

The Secret Garden
by Frances Hodgson Burnett
adapted by Jessica Swale

When a garden's kept proper, all weeded and neat, that chases the wild away. But when it's left alone, for nature, who knows what secret things'd grow there....

In Jessica Swale's richly imagined adaptation of Hodgson Burnett's much loved classic, we follow the fortunes of Mary as her ice begins to melt and her curiosity leads her on one of the greatest adventures in popular literature.

The Secret Garden (Swale)

by  Jessica Swale

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  • Cast Size
    Cast Size
    5f, 3m, 1girl(s), 2boy(s)
  • Duration
    120 minutes (2 hours)
  • SubGenre
    Adaptations (Literature)
It's 1910, and life for the spoiled young Mary Lennox is pretty easy. She spends her days luxuriating in the Indian sunshine whilst her aristocratic parents rule the Indian Raj. But when an unexpected twist of fate leaves Mary orphaned, she finds herself on her way to England to live with her distant Uncle in Misselthwaite Manor on the Yorkshire Moors.

Misselthwaite is no place for children. Full of dark corners and strange night-time noises, Mary is certain there is more to Misselthwaite than meets the eye. But although she can't solve the mysteries alone, when her maid Martha offers the hand of friendship, Mary won't have it. Mistresses can't be friends with their servants...or can they?

Will Martha melt Mary's frosty exterior? Will Mary uncover the source of the cries in the night? And will her curiosity lead her to solve the greatest mystery of Misselthwaite, the legend of the Secret Garden?

The play was first presented at Grosvenor Park Open Air Theatre, Chester in July 2014


Licence details

  • Minimum Fee: £55 per performance plus VAT when applicable.



  • Time Period: 1910s / WWI
  • Duration: 120 minutes (2 hours)
  • Setting: The play is set in 1910, in India and Yorkshire.
  • Additional Features: Puppetry
  • Features / Contains: Period Costumes


5f, 3m, 1girl(s), 2boy(s)
Cast Attributes
  • Reduced casting (Doubling Possible)
  • Features Children
  • Roles for Teens
  • Flexible casting
  • Roles for Children
  • Room for Extras

Mary Lennox, a young girl

Martha, a servant, the same age as Mary

Dickon, Martha’s brother

Colin Craven, a sickly boy

Mrs Medlock, a strict housekeeper

Archibald Craven, Colin’s father (Mary’s Uncle)

Ben Weatherstaff, the Gardener

Mrs Phipps, a servant at Misselthwaite

Mr Pitcher, a servant at Misselthwaite

Dr Craven, Archibald’s Cousin

Mrs Lennox, Mary’s mother

Mr Lennox, Mary’s father

Ayah, the Lennox’s Indian house servant

Inspectors 1 and 2, Earthquake experts

Dr Madeleine Brés, a pioneering Doctor

Several puppets.


Many of the parts can be doubled.





Jessica Swale

Jessica Swale is a writer and director. She is Artistic Director of Red Handed Theatre Company and a returning playwright at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Plays include Nell Gwynn (winner of the Egerton Foundation New Play Award 2015), All's Will that Ends Will (Bremen Shakespeare Company) and adaptations of Sense an ...

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