Alison was invited to attend a Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace on 21st May 2024, in recognition of her contribution to the arts in Gloucestershire.  As well as touring her one-woman plays to small community venues, she is also involved in the restoration and maintenance of the historic Scarr Bandstand near Coleford in the Forest of Dean, and organises a season of free music events, and outdoor theatre each summer:

The Garden Party was memorable, although sadly extremely wet.  In typical English fashion, everyone carried on in spite of being soaked through, and the brass bands were splendid.  Alison was rather pleased to note, however, that the accoustics for music are much better at the Scarr Bandstand, with its natural amphitheatre and curved stone back wall, than in Buckingham Palace gardens!

MRS BAKER'S COMPANY is up and running


Four performances in, and the new show about the amazing Sarah Baker is going well.  We have had great audiences in Newnham, Coytrahen and Yorkley, so a big 'thank you' to all the organisers for hosting these first try-out shows.

There will be one new line added to the script, where audiences have been momentarily puzzled; something that can be sorted out very easily. Apart from that, the show seems to provide a jolly and entertaining hour - and people seem to be enjoying the account of  the extraordinary life of performing folk in the 18th century.  And most important - the magic and other complicated props are working well.  Quite a relief!

The shows have been followed by lively and interesting Q&As.  A couple of questions took me by surprise, and have made me rush back to the research material so I can be better informed in the future.

The last try-out is in Backwell Studio Theatre, and then the show begins to tour, with shows in Pitchcombe, Mathern and Usk already booked.  Hopefully the show will continue to tour round the country  - in much greater comfort than in Mrs Baker's time!


A Tale of Rogues and Vagabonds

Planning is well under way for a new show, which will open in February 2024.

"MRS BAKER'S COMPANY" will tell the enchanting story of Sarah Baker, an extraordinary woman who ran a small empire of theatres at the beginning of the 1800's.  Her life began as part of a family troupe performing at the fairs and pleasure gardens around England, at a time when performers were classed as 'rogues and vagabonds', and could be chased out of town or even put in jail.  She raised up her troupe, aiming for respectability and acceptance by society, and mixed with the highest and the lowest of the land.

Her story of struggle and friendship, slap-stick and puppets, will be told in this one-hour play, which opens at:

Newnham Club


Gloucs  GL14 1BS

on 9th and 10th February 2024 at 7.30pm

the first performances will be followed by a relaxed Q&A with Alison.

The show will then visit:

Philip Squire Community Centre, Coytrahen, near Bridgend on 16th Feb, 7.30

Yorkley Community Centre, Forest of Dean, on 17th Feb, 7.30

Market House, Minchinhampton, Glos on 24th Feb evening perf

These are all 'try-out' performances, and I am extremely grateful for these venues allowing me to use their wonderful halls and friendly audiences.

The show then goes to Mathern Village Hall on 9th March, and Usk Memorial Hall on 24th May.....

....and is available to book during 2024 and beyond.



This show has been running since 2005, and is now going to leave the repertoire.  Very sad to see it more mouse-skin eyebrows!



UncategorisedPosted by Alison Fri, March 18, 2022 19:20:04

The new show, “GLOWING BRIGHT – The Story of Marie Curie” opened at the Backwell Playhouse on 25th February, with a run of three performances. These ‘try-outs’ were very well attended, and huge thanks go to the organisers for letting me use the beautiful studio theatre, and also for publicising the performances so well.

We then did four more ‘try-outs’ in Coytrahen in South Wales, Yorkley in the Forest of Dean, and Gotherington and Frampton-on-Severn in Gloucestershire. More thanks to all the organisers for letting me ‘borrow’ these great venues to get the show into good shape before I actually start charging for a performance. Thanks also to “Air In G”, Gloucestershire’s rural touring scheme, for arranging the three shows in their area.

All these shows were followed by a Question and Answer session, with some extremely interesting questions. Some of the science queries floored me immediately, of course, but google provided the answers! I now know what colour pure radium is, among other things.

The show is now in a fit state to go on the road officially, and the first performance will be in Merthyr Tydfil’s Redhouse on 22 March.

Very pleased that “GLOWING BRIGHT” has now joined my other one-hour shows. I hope it will prove as popular as “MRS BEETON, MY SISTER” and “LARKS AND MAGIC”. I very much look forward to taking it round the country to venues in which I have performed many times, and hopefully some new ones too.

More news about the new show

UncategorisedPosted by Alison Thu, January 27, 2022 16:57:49

The try-out dates for “GLOWING BRIGHT – The Story of Marie Curie” are now set: three performances at Backwell Playhouse (near Bristol) in February, then on to Coytrahen (S. Wales), Yorkley, Gotherington and Frampton-on-Severn (all in Gloucestershire) in March. Details are on the “Show Schedule” page.

Rehearsals start on 10th February….


UncategorisedPosted by Alison Mon, November 29, 2021 16:42:41

Really happy to report that “GLOWING BRIGHT”, the story of Marie Curie, will premiere at Backwell Theatre, near Bristol on 25th and 26th February 2022. A huge thank you to the team there for allowing me to open my show in their lovely theatre.

The show will then visit the Philip Squires Community Centre in Coytrahen, South Wales, at 7pm on 4th March 2022.

There will also be several shows in Gloucestershire during early March, (details soon) and it will then join my other shows, available for bookings anywhere in the country.

“GLOWING BRIGHT” will run for just over an hour, and will tell the extraordinary story of Marie Curie’s life; her amazing scientific discoveries with her husband Pierre, of course, but also her turbulent later years, her astonishing work during World War I, and her love/hate relationship with her adoring fans all over the world.

Very much looking forward to launching “GLOWING BRIGHT” at last!

        Alison Neil as Marie Curie in the                          Marie Curie

        forthcoming “GLOWING BRIGHT”

Back in Business

UncategorisedPosted by Alison Wed, October 20, 2021 19:37:46

Live shows began again for me in August 2021. Both myself and the audiences seem to be more than ready to enjoy live theatre once more. Between August and October I have performed eight shows for venues that had to cancel and reschedule on numerous occasions over the past 18 months. Audience members have been given plenty of space, and great care has been taken to keep the events as safe as possible. What a joy to be back, and a huge thank you to the organisers who have taken the risk of opening up their venues again, and audiences who have come to see the shows.

And…thank you to all the audience members who have put money into my charity collecting box at the shows. Pangolins have become a little bit more famous in the last two years, but they still need saving from extinction. I have just emptied the box and sent off another £100 to Save Vietnam’s Wildlife, who do amazing work rescuing and rehabilitating pangolins captured and intended for the trade across the border in China. Every pangolin saved from a hideous fate is a tiny victory.

2021 – hoping for the best!

UncategorisedPosted by Alison Fri, January 22, 2021 19:06:17

Happy New Year!

Things continue to be challenging for live theatre, along with so many other areas of life. My shows postponed from last year and pencilled for February and March have had to be postponed yet again. But we live in hope that later this year things may look up for us all. I have a new show ready to go into rehearsal, when this is possible, so there will be plenty to offer in 2022.

If you are considering booking a show, have a look at my cunning plan for “Social Distance-Busting”; the previous post to this one. And one way or another, I hope to be back in business soon…

Wishing you all the very best.

Social Distance-busting plan…

UncategorisedPosted by Alison Tue, June 02, 2020 12:40:06

Once public indoor gatherings are allowed again, there will be specific problems for village hall and small venue organisers. Will people want to be crammed into small spaces? How can you keep your audience at a reasonable distance from other people, so they can relax and be entertained safely?

So here’s my cunning plan….

You book two performances of my show on the same day. You split your audience – some will prefer an afternoon show, some will choose the evening. You make sure that you only sell tickets in advance, so you can control the numbers. This way, you can spread out the chairs.

Having two shows is only very slightly more expensive than having one – so it won’t break the bank – and all the advance organisational hassle will remain largely the same (although it will be a long day for your volunteers). There will obviously be all sorts of issues about people arriving, using the toilets, queuing for cups of tea and so on. But if you keep the numbers down so there is plenty of room, all these issues should be soluble.

My one-hour shows do not have intervals, so you will only have to get people seated at the beginning – no half-time hassles.

So it may be possible to get some live entertainment back to your village hall soon…

Contact me if you want to talk through the possibilities. We are all going to have to be flexible and inventive if we want to keep theatre alive!

See you in 2021?


UncategorisedPosted by Alison Tue, March 17, 2020 11:32:17

Well, what a surprising situation we find ourselves in. As from yesterday, 16th March, the Government’s advice is to avoid “unnecessary gatherings”, so live theatre has been shut down. I was due to travel up to North Yorkshire today, for a batch of five shows. There have been a number of phone calls and emails over the past week with the village hall organisers, and four out of the five were all set to continue with the show…until yesterday’s announcement. One village hall was already wavering. Luckily for us all, the final decision to cancel at the last minute was taken by the rural arts scheme under whose banner four out of the five shows were being performed. And they had no choice but to cancel, once the Government made its pronouncement.

So…huge apologies to everyone who was going to come and see the shows in Yorkshire, and also the cancelled shows in Denbigh and Grassington. And huge commiserations to the organisers who have now got to try to contact audience members, return tickets, and sort everything out. I do hope we can all have another go when everything has calmed down.

These are strange times for performers….as well as many, many other people whose jobs have suddenly disappeared for an unknown length of time. I am lucky, as I am not the only bread-winner in my household. My heart goes out to all those people who are wondering how on earth they are going to pay the bills over the next few weeks.

I now have an unexpected block of time on my hands….and can get the final (I hope) draft of my new play sorted out. No “I don’t have time” excuses left!

See you all on the other side of this virus……best of luck to us all!


UncategorisedPosted by Alison Sat, November 02, 2019 14:09:22

Preparations for a new show are underway…research is more or less completed, and a first draft will be written during November. With the working title “GLOWING BRIGHT”, it will tell the extraordinary story of Marie Curie. There are two problems to overcome; the first is how to cram such an eventful life into an hour-and-a-bit show. And the second is how to get across exactly what she and Pierre Curie did. It’s physics! And chemistry! It’s hard stuff! I have had a crash-course in the basics from a proper physicist, who very kindly used simple words and lots of drawings. Now all I have to do is write an entertaining and intelligible play….


2019Posted by Alison Fri, October 04, 2019 16:14:00

Phew – the performance of LARKS AND MAGIC at Kingsclere Village Club on 28th September was incident-free. The last visit to this wonderful venue was somewhat fraught, after Alison discovered on arrival that half the stuff for the show had been stolen from her van somewhere en route….including all the props and the wig; every performer’s worst nightmare! Everyone had their fingers firmly crossed that this time the van would arrive with everything on board, and indeed this was the case. Wig, props, scenery etc etc all ready to go.

It was a huge pleasure to perform once again at this lovely venue, where Alison is always given such a warm welcome. The upgraded hall in this beautiful old building is excellent, and very easy to work in. Although Alison did overhear locals discussing the ghosts who still live upstairs….


2019Posted by Alison Mon, August 26, 2019 16:01:18

All going well so far this year – no weather cancellations, we are glad to report!

LARKS AND MAGIC is getting a lot of bookings, being the newest show. It has been performed in Bledington, Minchinhampton and Coalway in Gloucestershire and Cabrook, Carmarthen, the Dolman Theatre in Newport and theatr ffwrnes in Llanelli in Wales. It has been a pleasure to work with the Air in G Rural Touring Scheme, as well as having private bookings from Clubs and the WI.

MRS BEETON, MY SISTER has been to Dymock, Gloucestershire, and THE FOSSIL LADY OF LYME has travelled all the way to North Yorkshire for a performance in Terrington, and to the Llandrindod Wells Victorian Festival in mid Wales.

Many more performances coming up, including a rare performance of LIVING IN THE LIGHT at the Tenby Arts Festival. Very much looking forward to them all…

Bye-bye Charlotte

2018Posted by Alison Thu, October 25, 2018 12:30:03

It was with great pleasure, but also with mixed emotions, that the very last performance of TRULY YOURS, C.B. took place at the Wellington Arts Festival last week. It is always sad to say goodbye to a show, but especially one that has been around for so long…the first performance was in 2002!

The show has had a very good run, and been all around the country. I am sorry that it did not have more performances in Yorkshire, where the Brontes lived most of their lives.

However, Wellington (near Telford) turned out to be a suitable place for the show, as Patrick Bronte, Charlotte’s father, spent time there as a curate early in his professional life. Apparently he had his poetry published there, too. My performance was part of a season of events to mark the Bronte connection with the town.

Writing and performing a show about such a British icon has been a pleasure, although always nerve-wracking, as some people feel very strongly about the Brontes and their works. No-one has ever criticised the play, but I was always waiting for an angry fan to turn up! Since the show was based on Charlotte’s own words, I hope it was a fair and balanced portrayal. Anyway, it was my best shot!

Time to pack away the costume, ditch the set, and move on to the next…..

Bye-bye Charlotte. You will be missed.


2018Posted by Alison Mon, October 01, 2018 18:59:37

….and just to confirm: the several-times postponed show at Chelmarsh finally went ahead without further mishap, and a good time was had by all!

Thank you to the Chelmarsh organisers for persevering, in spite of everything the Snow-Gods threw at us. It was a pleasure to perform the show at last!


2018Posted by Alison Fri, June 29, 2018 12:49:03

2018 will see the final performances of “TRULY YOURS, C.B.”, which tells the extraordinary story of the Brontes.

This show has been seen in countless venues, and has run for many years. Charlotte Bronte was only 39 when she died, and Alison Neil is sadly now getting a bit too old to continue convincingly portraying this icon of English literature.

However, Alison continues to champion great English women writers, with her new show about E. Nesbit: “LARKS AND MAGIC”, and “THE JUST-WILLIAM LADY” about Richmal Crompton.

“TRULY YOURS” has its final three performances coming up:

August 8th
Church Stretton Arts Festival

August 23rd
Llandrindod Wells Victorian Festival


October 20th
Wellington Arts Festival

Details are on the ‘Show Schedule” page.

A lovely ‘thank you’

2018Posted by Alison Wed, April 25, 2018 11:05:33


One of my ‘try-out’ performances of the new show, LARKS AND MAGIC, was at
Cadbury Hall, Frampton on Severn. I did not charge for the performance – more than grateful to have an audience and a lovely Hall in which to perform an untried show, and very grateful to the organisers for all their time and effort to make the event happen.

The organisers cleverly managed to make a profit, and very generously donated the proceeds to the Bristol Children’s Hospital Charity Grant Appeal. Who then provided me with this rather splendid certificate!

16th February evening performance – time to be confirmed

Phil Squires Community Hall
nr. Bridgend


17th February at 8pm

Mackenzie Hall
NP16 7NW

followed by Question and Answer session

for information or tickets for any of these shows, contact Alison


2018Posted by Alison Tue, January 23, 2018 17:28:11

CHELMARSH – second attempt!

We are deilghted to have another opportunity to perform “MRS BEETON, MY SISTER” at

WV16 6BA

on Sunday 4th March 2018

at 6.30pm.

The show will be preceded by a Victorian Tea, starting at 5pm.

Fingers crossed that this time, the snow will keep away, and audience, organisers and performer can all make it to the Hall!

Mrs Beeton – Beaten by Snow!

2017Posted by Alison Mon, December 11, 2017 19:12:45

Terribly disappointed that the show at Chelmarsh Parish Hall on 10th December had to be cancelled on the day. We were beaten by the appalling weather; a foot or more of snow across the whole area. Getting in and out of the village would have been pretty difficult, and getting to the Hall itself almost impossible – for the audience, the organisers, and me. What a shame!

Apologies to all who were looking forward to the event. I know I was.

We hope very much to be able to re-schedule the performance…and the Victorian Tea that was planned to precede it!

More news about this as soon as a date has been arranged….


2017Posted by Alison Mon, October 02, 2017 16:25:19


We are delighted to confirm…the new show joining Alison’s repertoire for 2018 will be LARKS AND MAGIC, the story of E. Nesbit.

The show will be around one hour long, without an interval. This format is proving popular, and the price can be kept remarkably low.

The show will fit into small spaces such as museums, libraries and galleries, as well as being suitable for village halls, and small theatres.

For organisers who would like a longer event, Alison is happy to do a “Question and Answer” session after an interval. These relaxed Q & As have proved very successful after performances of “MRS BEETON, MY SISTER”.

LARKS AND MAGIC will be a lively and fast-moving account of the life and times of E. Nesbit, who is credited as the first modern writer for children. “THE RAILWAY CHILDREN”, “THE WOULDBEGOODS”, “FIVE CHILDREN AND IT”, “THE AMULET”, “THE STORY OF THE TREASURE SEEKERS”…children have been entranced by her books for a hundred years.

Edith Nesbit’s life was more extraordinary then any of her magical stories. Charming, badly behaved and always up for a lark, she also worked immensely hard to keep her unconventional family afloat. Buffeted by unexpected twists and turns throughout her life, her domestic arrangements still seem jaw-dropping, even today. As part of the Bohemian set in London around the end of the 19th century, she was a founder of the Fabian Society, and friend of famous literary figures such George Bernard Shaw to Noel Coward. And more than a friend so some…

Once read, her children’s stories are never forgotten. E Nesbit herself was unforgettable too…come and meet her in Alison’s new show about her life, larks, and enduring magic.

The play will be directed by David Collison, and will premiere at Backwell Studio Theatre, near Bristol, in February 2018. The Welsh premiere will be in Coytrahen. LARKS AND MAGIC will be available for a single performance, or two performances in one day, from May 2018.


2017Posted by Alison Mon, October 02, 2017 16:06:15

Most performers have a recurring nightmare in which they turn up to do a show…without their costume. Or the scenery. Or they have a costume, but it is for the wrong play. Or everything for the play is missing… Well, after nearly forty years in the business, I finally experienced the nightmare for real.

Arriving to set up for a performance of “MRS BEETON, MY SISTER” at Kingsclere Village Cub, I discovered that a large suitcase was missing from the back of my van. Having made a phone call to check that I had not forgotten to pack it, I had to conclude that I must have left the van unlocked at some point on the journey, and the case must have been taken from the van. It turned out that my make-up case had gone, too. These were the only two smart items of luggage among all the bags and boxes in the van, so someone must have thought they contained something worth stealing. They didn’t – except that everything in the bags was invaluable to me.

So. No props for the show. No pictures for the set. No velvet tablecloth. No mirror, hairpins, makeup. No Victorian lorgnettes (specs). No jewellery. And – no wig. And two and a half hours to go before the show…

In a state of shock, I threw myself on the mercy of the organisers at Kingsclere. And they were magnificent. Incredibly sympathetic, but also practical. Whilst trying to set up for the meal that was to follow my show, calls were made to try to locate a Victorian wig. A tablecloth was found, and a huge book to represent the lost “Household Management”. I found some Parish magazines which would stand in for the Victorian magazines in the play, and some other books from around the venue. I cut up sections of my script and stuck them into the new ‘prop’ books and magazines, using the tape provided by the brilliant organisers (no books were hurt during the making of these ‘props’!). Luckily, the script has print large enough for me to read without the missing lorgnettes. We found images for the missing pictures on the organiser’s phone, and she kindly and quickly printed them off, and mounted them on card. Fantastic.

I had a bit of makeup in my handbag, so that would do…So that left the little matter of a wig. My own hair is short, and definitely not Victorian. Attempts to find a wig from the local amateur dramatic group proved fruitless. The organiser said, “Well, would any old long wig be better than nothing? I have a couple of really terrible wigs…” Absolutely, yes, definitely, anything would be better than nothing. Two other organisers provided hair clips and hair pins, so I could do something with the wigs when they arrived…

And so it was that Mrs Beeton’s sister appeared in Kingsclere in a black, shiny halloween witch’s wig, dressed at high speed into an approximation of a mid-Victorian style by me, kneeling in a disabled toilet in order to see into a very small mirror. 

The audience were warned that this would be a unique performance, with rather strange props, but the show went remarkably smoothly. The wig stayed on my head, which was the main thing, and the new ‘props’ were all in the right places. Of course the adrenalin got me through, along with the very kind and supportive audience. Not to mention the organisers who were definitely the starts of the evening.

So a HUGE thank you to the organisers at Kingsclere, who saved the day.

Then I had two and a half days to completely recreate everything for the show, before my next performance….whilst in mourning for all my beautiful hand-made props, and the stunning wig, now presumably in a ditch somewhere. Everything has been remade or replaced at top speed, and another of my wigs is standing in until Derek Easton can make a replacement.

A nightmare survived! It will be interesting to see whether I still have the recurring dream…or whether this performer is cured for good!


Village hall schemes

2017Posted by Alison Sun, June 18, 2017 12:46:00


Incredibly sorry to learn that Villages In Action has ceased to operate. This Devon rural touring scheme has been running for many, many years, providing an excellent menu of live events for village halls, along with funding, support and advice.

Villages In Action is the latest casualty of the cuts in arts funding, which are really affecting events at the grass-roots level. I wish Roger Werner and all the VIA team all the very best for their next ventures.

Theatre In the Villages, Buckinghamshire’s rural touring scheme also recently shut up shop. Another very sad loss to the community.


Some villages in areas where the rural touring scheme has closed continue to have live events for their community to enjoy. Villages are talking to each other to find out which events will meet their needs.

My shows can be booked directly, of course. And if finances are stretched, or promoters are worried about the risk of booking a show without financial support, my CHEAP shows are the answer. A great evening or afternoon’s entertainment, without risking too much of the village hall’s budget.

You have got to see this

2016Posted by Alison Tue, December 06, 2016 18:22:13

On 3rd December, we had the huge pleasure of performing THE FOSSIL LADY OF LYME at the Etches Collection in Kimmeridge, Dorset.

This was the first ever performance in the Clore Room, part of a brand new museum built to house a small selection of Steve Etches’ amazing collection of world-class fossils, found locally over a period of some 35 years.

The way the fossils are now displayed is great, and the fossils themselves are, of course, fantastic. This museum is highly recommended; well worth a visit.

The scenery around Kimmeridge is amazing, and even in early December there were a number of people passing the museum with very serious walking boots and rucksacks.

And the cafe over the road from the new Etches Collection is also very, very good!


2016Posted by Alison Thu, December 01, 2016 13:44:23

Two more chances to see THE FOSSIL LADY OF LYME close to Mary Anning’s own town…

Chaffcombe on 2nd December,


Kimmeridge on 3rd December.

The performance in Kimmeridge is particularly apt, as it will be in the brand new Clore Room, which is part of the extraordinary new museum of….FOSSILS. This private collection of fossils collected from the Jurassic coast of Dorset is now open to the public.

Well worth a visit!


2016Posted by Alison Mon, August 15, 2016 11:28:06

THE FOSSIL LADY OF LYME is set in….Lyme Regis!
Mary Anning spent her extraordinary life in the town, finding fossils on the coast and running her shop.

Now, Alison is delighted that the show is coming to LYME REGIS, as part of Lyme Regis Development Trust’s Earth Science Week:

15 October 2016

The Hub
Church Street
Lyme Regis


The perfect venue for this show!

THE SIXTH WIFE – last ever performance!

2016Posted by Alison Sat, July 23, 2016 15:37:54

The last performance of THE SIXTH WIFE was at the Allendale Centre, Wimborne, Dorset on 15 July 2016. This performance was part of the Wimborne History Festival.

It is very sad to say goodbye to this show, which has been touring since 1992. However, Alison is now getting a bit old to play Katherine Parr, who died at the age of 36.

The show has had hundreds of performances, at all the usual types of venue, and also a few more surprising ones; Gloucester Cathedral, Berkeley Castle, and Bodellwyddan Castle (Welsh home of the National Portrait Gallery) to name a few.

The fabulous paintings on the set were done by Elizabeth Waghorn, and looked as good in 2016 as they did when they were first painted. The “stained-glass” window is a photo-blowup of a window in Westminster Abbey, and contains a depiction of Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon. The photo-blowup came from an exhibition at Greenwich Maritime Museum, and was cut down to fit Alison’s set. The Tudor music used in the show was from a recording by the City Waites.


Alison was asked to portray Katherine Parr at a three-day event at Soudley Castle, Gloucestershire, back in the ’90s, for Past Pleasures Ltd. Worried that the costume might be damaged by wet grass, she encased the hem of the velvet gown in plastic bags, covered over with a layer of fur. So successful was this, that she never removed the fur, enjoying the discrete rustling of invisible Sainsbury bags every time she knelt down during a show!


When she was originally writing the script, there was some problem in the news between the UK and the European Union. Henry VIII had his problems with France and Spain, and thinking that it might get a small chuckle from the audience, Alison included the phrase:

“It is folly for the English every to trust the people of Europe. For envy of our fair isle they will conspire against us, and behave without honour at the last.”

The line has got a laugh during every single performance of the show between 1992 and 2016, because there has ALWAYS been some problem going on between the UK and the EU…..!

The script of THE SIXTH WIFE is now available to hire. For details, go to the ABOUT ALISON page, or contact Alison.


2016Posted by Alison Tue, June 28, 2016 12:40:32

Another chance to see my show about the life and times of Charlotte Brontë, in this 200th anniversary year of her birth.

I am delighted and flattered to be asked back to this venue, in which I played “THE FOSSIL LADY OF LYME” in 2015.

8pm 8th September 2016
East and Botolph Claydon Village Hall
MK18 2LR

This show is part of Theatre In The Villages rural touring scheme. For more information, contact:

and…some kind comments from an audience member following the recent performance and Theatr ffwrnes, Llanelli:

“Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your Charlotte Bronte performance recently at Ffwrnes Llanelli. It was a beautiful, clever production and had the audience in thrall the whole time. It was both informative and entertaining in full measure – many of us remember little bits about the Bronte story, and the books read so long ago, so it was wonderful to have all of these memories brought to life, and perfectly staged. Many thanks for a lovely evening.“


2016Posted by Alison Mon, May 23, 2016 16:51:24


Horrible problems with emails at this end – I DO apologise to anyone who has contacted me and not received a reply. So sorry – but I never got your email!

Please use:

and I will actually receive your email. I promise to respond!


Chelmarsh – Third Attempt!

2018Posted by Alison Thu, March 29, 2018 15:34:18

Following the unprecedented cancellation of both previous bookings for “MRS BEETON, MY SISTER” at Chelmarsh due to snow, even though the bookings were several months apart, a third date has now been arranged…..

2nd September 2018


with a Victorian Tea at 5pm

Whether this means that there will definitely be a huge snowfall the day before, or whether it means that there cannot possibly be snow for the third time, we will wait and see….but fingers a very firmly crossed that this time, the Show Will Go On!

Mrs Beeton – Beaten by the snow… AGAIN

2018Posted by Alison Sat, March 03, 2018 12:36:57

MRS BEETON, MY SISTER fails to get to Chelmarsh… for the second time!

What are the odds of two performances of the same show, in the same place, four months apart, being cancelled because of snow?

Huge apologies to the organisers and audience for the performance of MRS BEETON, MY SISTER at Chelmarsh Parish Hall on Sunday 4th March, which is now officially CANCELLED. Due to snow. For the second time.

Last time, back in December 2017, Chelmarsh was under seige by thick snow. This time, Alison Neil and her van are unable to get out of the Forest of Dean, where the snow is currently piled high in spectacular (and impassable) snow drifts. Alison lives up a small lane, which has completely disappeared beneath the snow. It would take a snowplough to get to the nearest road.

We very much hope that Chelmarsh and Arts Alive Rural Touring Scheme will take a chance on booking MRS BEETON, MY SISTER for a third time……it will certainly be a red-letter day when the show finally makes it to the Parish Hall!


2018Posted by Alison Mon, February 26, 2018 12:44:24

LARKS AND MAGIC, the new show about E Nesbit, opened at the Backwell Studio Theatre on 8th February.

HUGE thanks for the Backwell Drama Group for hosting the show for its first three performances at the lovely studio theatre, and for finding large and enthusiastic audiences – very much appreciated!

The show then had four more ‘try-out’ performances at:

The Pludds Village Hall, Forest of Dean
Cadbury Hall in Frampton-on-Severn,
Coytrahen Community Hall
Mackenzie Hall, Brockweir

HUGE thanks to the four organisers of these halls for their hospitality and help with launching the show. Thanks also to Lynn at Air In G, Gloucestershire’s Rural Touring Scheme, for finding halls that were willing to participate in this venture.

I had a great time performing the shows, and I hope the audiences enjoyed seeing this brand new play.

The Questions and Answer sessions after the performances were lively and varied, and there certainly seemed to be plenty of interest in E Nesbit and her extraordinary life.

Performing in a selection of varied halls helped us prove that the show is fit for touring to tiny libraries and museums, village halls with and without a stage, as well as purpose-built theatre spaces.

LARKS AND MAGIC is now ready for bookings all over the country…..


2018Posted by Alison Tue, January 23, 2018 17:44:50

THE MAGIC begins…..

We are now in rehearsal for the new one-hour show: “LARKS AND MAGIC”, about E. Nesbit, writer of many famous children’s stories. Or as she herself might prefer; poet.

We are delighted that the play will premier at the lovely
Studio Theatre Backwell near Bristol

on 8th, 9th and 10th February at 8pm

These performances will be followed by a Question and Answer session.

Alison is performing as the guest of Backwell Drama Club, and is very grateful for their support and enthusiasm for her shows.

Contact Alison for details, or information on how to obtain tickets.


LARKS AND MAGIC continues its tour with several more performances the following week, and Alison is extremely grateful for the chance to try out her new show in such wonderful venues:

13th February at 2pm

The Pludds Village Hall
Forest of Dean
GL17 9UQ

followed by refreshments and a Question and Answer session

15th February at 2pm

Cadbury Hall

followed by refreshments and a Question and Answer session


2016Posted by Alison Mon, February 22, 2016 12:36:45

2016 is bursting with bookings, up and down the country, from the north of North Yorkshire, to the western corner of Devon….

Alison is delighted that “MRS BEETON, MY SISTER” is proving popular with Women’s Institutes. This show is only one hour long, and therefore suits clubs, societies and events requiring a shorter show.The show can also fit into tiny spaces, so it is suitable for libraries and museums too.

Village Halls are booking “MRS BEETON, MY SISTER” to go with a supper or afternoon tea, to make a full-length event.

Alison is also happy to do a “Question and Answer” session after an interval – and this has proved very successful in village halls in Dorset, and a variety of other venues.

As well as plenty of bookings for “MRS BEETON, MY SISTER“, 2016 will see performances of:


See the SHOW SCHEDULE page for details….


2016Posted byAlisonWed, September 02, 2015 12:47:26

MRS BEETON, MY SISTER – going well!

Launched in September 2015, to mark the 150th anniversary of Mrs Beeton’s death,
MRS BEETON, MY SISTER has now been performed in theatres, schools, heritage centres, village halls, and for WI events.

The first performance as part of a Food Festival will take place at Merthyr Tydfil in July 2016.

This show was specially created for people who need a SHORTER, CHEAPER show.

This show can be performed in TINY spaces, without black-out. The lights and sound can be operated by the performer. Theatrical magic!

The running time is one hour and one minute.

For organisers who fancy this show, but would like a longer event, Alison is happy to do a “Question and Answer” session with the audience, after an interval. These have proved popular, and the questions posed by audience members have certainly been extremely varied and thought-provoking.

Come on libraries…..this show is for you!


From Pewsey:son Neil’s one woman performance as Mrs Beeton’s sister was lively, humorous and engaging. She managed to convey not only the trials and tribulations of 19th centuray England but also gave us a good sense of Isabella Beeton’s character and the nature of her large colourful family…not to be missed!

…a perfect Sunday afternoon!”

From Backwell:
“We all enjoyed your show very much. I sat there watching very jealously just wishing that I had some of your expertise! Of course, without the years of training, the dedication and experience that you have, such thoughts should not enter my mind!

Thank you for coming to Backwell – you have a captive audience here wanting more!“

“Just to say how I enjoyed the evening at Backwell. I learnt so much about the Beetons and life then. “

“Just a quick note to say again how much we enjoyed Mrs Beeton’s Sister last week. Many congratulations to Alison for bringing her to life!”

My original show, BELLA – THE STORY OF MRS BEETON was very successful, having hundreds of performances. The show closed in 2002, because I was getting too old to play Mrs Beeton convincingly. However, people still asked for the show…..

So when I decided to do a short, simple show athalf the price of my others, to fit into tiny venues, and for smaller audiences, it seemed a good idea to tell the story of Mrs Beeton in a new way. But how? I re-read Kathryn Hughes’ definitive biography of Mrs Beeton, and the answer became clear. It had to be Isabella’s sister, the remarkable Bessie. By telling the story through her eyes, the same events appear quite different….



2016Posted by Alison Thu, May 07, 2015 15:48:28


A special year for Bronte fans. The perfect time to book “TRULY YOURS, C.B.”, the story of Charlotte Bronte.

Alison currently has two bookings for this show during this special year:

2 June 2016

Theatr Ffwrnes
Park Street
Dyfed SA15 3YE


This event is a jointly hosted by Llanelli Distric Music and Drama Club and
Theatr Ffwrnes

1 October 2016
evening show – time tbc

Odell Village Hall
High Street, Odell

TICKETS: contact Alison Neil


Alison is considering bringing the final curtain down on two of her oldest shows. So if you are interested in having a performance of either  TRULY YOURS, C.B. or THE SIXTH WIFE

They are not going to be around for much longer!   PANGOLINS!!

…and on another subject entirely, pangolins are one of the most endangered species on the planet. The only mammal with scales, they eat ants, carry their young on their backs, and unfortunately roll into balls when attacked. This means that poachers simply pick them up and ship them off to be eaten in China and Africa. Their scales are also prized as medicine (it does not work), and their habitats are threatened.

Sir David Attenborough named the pangolin as one of the ten endangered creatures he would most like to save from extinction. “It is one of the most endearing animals I have ever met” he said.

You can help save the pangolin. You can send a donation to:


you can buy delightful greetings cards directly from me. The entire cost of the card goes to SAVE VIETNAM’S WILDLIFE to help with their work with pangolins.

The cards are A6 size, glossy, individually wrapped, with envelope, blank inside.
There is information about pangolins on the back.

This is the front of the card, showing a baby pangolin being carried on its mother’s tail:

CARDS: £1.20 each, plus postage and packing
(1 to 5 cards: add 99p postage and packing)

contact me: for more details.

These cards are available to buy when you come to one of Alison’s shows.