Arts Derbyshire


Get Ready for Spooky Season with Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods at the Theatre at Chatsworth House

Stephen Sondheim’s award-winning musical comes to Chatsworth House just in time for the spooky season. Gear up for Halloween with witches, ghosts, wolves, giants, and all your fairy tale favourites.

You may have heard of the local theatre company, Chatsworth Players, who have been performing in the stunning theatre at Chatsworth House since 2008. They typically perform classic plays that complement the setting. Since Lockdown though, The Players have been branching out. They performed a modern piece out of doors last summer called Heroes and brought a modern play to the theatre last October, Lettice and Lovage. Both of these shows went down a treat and received highly complimentary reviews from the National Operatic and Dramatic Association (NODA). This summer was also their first entry into the Buxton Fringe with Flowers for Algernon, and the lead actor. Marcus Grant was nominated for Best Actor at the Fringe – a very successful debut!

The Players will complete their 2022 season with another first – their first musical. They have chosen Stephen Sondheim’s Into the Woods, and have received Arts Council funding for the project. Into the Woods is not a musical in the traditional sense. There are no large chorus numbers and no dancing. It is more like a play with songs. The play centres around a Baker and his Wife who have been put under a curse by their neighbourhood Witch, which prevents them from having children. To lift the curse, they must go “Into the Woods” and find the cow as white as milk, the cape as red as blood, the hair as yellow as corn, and the slipper as pure as gold. While Cinderella, Rapunzel, Little Red, and lots of other fairy tale favourites become intertwined, this show is definitely NOT a Panto! Act II reveals the real-life consequences of marrying a Prince, straying from the path, and chopping down a beanstalk…

Groups in Buxton and High Peak or in the Chesterfield area have the facilities to produce and cast musicals. But with the theatre at Chatsworth House only seating 100, and with the cost of hiring a musical director, lights, and sound, The Chatsworth Players had to make a convincing case to the Arts Council for their support. Fortunately, the Arts Council saw its merit, particularly in providing an opportunity for locals to participate in a show by Stephen Sondheim. They have provided funding and the show has attracted 10 new members to the cast, so look out for some new young faces on stage!

The Chatsworth Players were formed in 2007 by retired professional actress and director, Sylvia Jackson. Sadly, Sylvia died in 2020 of Covid. The Players are now run by a steering committee chaired by her daughter Lindsay. “This production of Into the Woods reaches back to one of the original reasons that mum founded The Players,” said Lindsay. “She wanted to bring people together from the disparate groups across the Peaks to perform something really ambitious and worthwhile, that the individual groups wouldn’t be able to do on their own. This production will give our local talent the chance to shine in one of the greatest modern pieces of musical theatre. Sylvia would have loved it! And she would also have loved to see the many new faces – both on stage and behind the scenes that we’ve attracted to work with us. I know you’re going to love it!”

Into the Woods will be performed at the theatre at Chatsworth House October 12-15 at 7pm. Directed by Lindsay Jackson, with Musical Direction by Andrew Marples, this play (with songs) explores the unintended consequences of getting what you wish for.

Tickets and more information at

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