La Bête: 25th-27th May 2023

‘We all enjoyed the performance very much and are in awe of the whole company’s acting skills and immense wit. I felt like I was watching the play, but was also partaking in something with the rest of the audience.’

Audience feedback

‘I preferred your Valere to Mark Rylance’s by far. Much more depth of character. We loathed him. We loved him. We pitied him. We envied him. Again – such talent in the TADS company. You got pace, energy, the physical humour (very hard!), emotion, light and shade….. superb.’

Audience feedback

“It’s a humorous, fast paced and sometimes anarchic play. I have found the challenge of getting to know my character Bejart very rewarding, especially considering as he is a hunchback actor from 17th century France. I’ve already had a lot of fun and I am expecting more when we bring our production of La Bête to the good people of Tewkesbury in May.”

Dan Walker as Bejart

“The rhythmical rhyming dialogue makes rehearsing great fun and learning lines easier than usual. I think this play’s going to be very entertaining.”

Oonagh Hughes as the Princess

‘A splendid effort. Can’t imagine it being done better anywhere, even by professionals. Heartiest congratulations.’

John Elliott. ex-acting member

Rehearsals were great fun, especially when we were able to rehearse in the Old Baptist Chapel.

The Beast at The Old Baptist Chapel Tewkesbury Direct Article, May 2023

The Old Baptist Chapel will host Tewkesbury Arts and Drama Society’s comic production of ‘La Bête’ by David Hirson at the end of May. The chapel, hidden down an alley off Church Street, and used in secret by Baptists in the 1600s, makes an ideal setting for this modern verse-comedy about rival playwrights in seventeenth century France. The production makes playful use of a unique space, featuring a pulpit, a mezzanine level, and a resounding barrel-vaulted ceiling that helps to carry the play’s quick-fire witty dialogue, and intricate choral speech.

Elomire (an anagram of Molière) a court playwright, is falling out of favour with his patron the Princess. She wants Valere, a street-entertainer, to join Elomire’s company. Opinionated, verbose, arrogant, and offensive, Valere is the last person on earth Elomire would ever work with. He tells him:

“I find your views on life and art absurd, 

And yet one hardly notices above

The mountain of your towering self-love! 

Your ignorance is even more colossal 

– Your brain is like some prehistoric fossil!

It must have died ten thousand years ago!

But on and on and on you go…”

What ensues is a bitter but boisterous comedy as Valere reveals himself to be ever more appalling, while Elomire hatches a plan to unmask his rival as the talentless charlatan he is.

Tewkesbury Arts and Drama Society (TADS) has been regularly entertaining and involving the local community with high quality theatre for over 50 years. They have recently won a string of awards at the Worcestershire Theatre Festival 2023, including the awards for Best Play, Best Director, Best Original Play, Best Actress, Best Actor, and Overall Festival Winner. On top of that they regularly deliver sell-out productions to The Roses Theatre.

Peter Asphar, who co-directs along with Rose and William Tombs, has dreamt about staging this show for over 20 years. He says, “The play is an enjoyable comedy about being straight-jacketed by your principles.”

Rose Tombs says “From the dedicated prop and costume creators, to the talented hard-working actors and the creative marketing team, not to mention the many other industrious members of TADS; making La Bête happen has been a great communal effort. We are hugely excited to be sharing this play. It will add to TADS’ long-list of successes.”

La Bête is being performed by Tewkesbury Arts and Drama Society (TADS) at The Old Baptist Chapel on 25-26th May at 7.30pm, and 27th May at 2pm and 7:30pm. Tickets are available from

This was TADS’ La Bête entry into Tewkesbury’s Big Weekend boat parade.

Watch the full production video here!