The Secret Hen House Theatre
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Since the death of her mother, Hannah’s family life has been somewhat chaotic. Her father is absorbed by running their dilapidated farm, and the four children are increasingly left to their own devices. These include “farming” each room of the house, looking after an enormous pet sheep called Jasper, and writing and directing plays in a disused hen house. But when the farm is threatened with demolition, Hannah determines to save it and realize her dreams at the same time….
flame as it flared up with a little hiss. The wind blew it out and he dropped it on the pavement. Hannah looked at the matchbox in his hand. There was something scrawled in biro on the cardboard. A mobile number. And a name. Hannah strained her eyes to make it out. Miranda. Jack had Miranda’s name and number written on his matchbox. In Miranda’s handwriting. Of course. He was going to Miranda’s dress rehearsal on Saturday, wasn’t he? The silence thickened. Hannah fished desperately inside
a description of the candlesticks and a price. It said 229,600GBP. They looked at each other, eyes wide. “Does that mean,” Hannah almost whispered, “that those candlesticks sold for two hundred and twenty nine thousand pounds?” Lottie was frowning at the screen. “It’s a set of six, and it says they’re royal. So—” Hannah was wriggling with excitement. “But even if ours sold for a third of that – and OK, they’re not royal, so take a bit off – that’s still, say, I don’t know, maybe … Lottie, they
the distant crunch, clomp, crunch of boots on tarmac. Hannah dropped her shoulders and breathed again. “Oh, my goodness, that was so close,” said Lottie. “I’ve never been so scared in my whole life.” “Hannah, Daddy won’t really sell the cows, will he?” asked Sam. “Of course not,” said Hannah. But she felt sick inside. Bad enough Dad selling machinery, but selling his animals! And when there was nothing left to sell, then what? “He can’t sell the cows,” said Jo. “It won’t be a farm without
into the wings, Martha paused in the act of fastening her dress to give her a nasty twisting pinch on the arm. Lottie’s face contracted in shock and pain. She shot a murderous glance at Martha, but Martha had already glided onstage, her face serenely innocent. “Come in, Esmeralda, my dear,” gushed Hannah. Martha bobbed a pretty curtsy and said sweetly, her eyes demurely lowered, “You wanted to see me, Mama?” The play went beautifully after that. Hannah was so caught up in the action that she
have just about had it up to here with you, Daniel Carr. You’re grounded for a month.” She stormed out of the room and started down the stairs. Lottie, nearly at the bottom, sped up, but Hannah, three steps above her, caught Mrs Carr’s eye and froze. Lottie tugged at the picture. “Come on,” she hissed. Mrs Carr gaped. One pink-slippered foot dangled above the top step. She stood there, gawping at Hannah, Lottie and the large gilt-framed oil painting. Danny, an air rifle tucked under his arm,