A celebration of A E Housman

A celebration in words and music featuring Mansel David, Simon Madge and Katy Friese-Greene

Saturday 27th July 7:30

Featuring Mansel’s conception Take Desire Away, adapted from the poems and letters of A.E. Housman, complemented by two selections from Housman’s A Shropshire Lad set to music by George Butterworth and Arthur Somervel, performed by baritone Simon Madge, accompanied by pianist Katy Friese-Greene.


Born and brought up in Carmarthen, South Wales, Mansel David gained a double BA Honours Degree in Drama and English at the University of Bristol, before training as an Actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, and has worked as a professional actor in Theatre, Television and Radio since graduating in 1976.

West End Theatre work has included plays by Tom Stoppard, Michael Frayn, Angela Huth, Royce Ryton and Ray Cooney, with stars such as Felicity Kendal, Roger Rees, Paul Eddington, Leslie Phillips, Dame June Whitfield, Dame Celia Johnson and Sir Ralph Richardson.

Television work has included several situation comedies, such as Yes, Prime Minister with Sir Nigel Hawthorne, and The Magnificent Evans with Ronnie Barker.

For most of the 90s, Mansel worked as a founder-member of the Pyramid Theatre Company, specialising in issue-based Theatre and touring throughout the British Isles and Ireland; and also performed David Rowe’s A House of Leaves, a one-man show, based on the life of the great medieval Welsh poet, Dafydd Ap Gwilym, which toured throughout Wales in 1995 and later to Scotland, Ireland, California and Texas.

Crummles, a Solo Dramatic Reading adapted from Charles Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby, premiered with an American Tour in Autumn 2000, and then for over a decade toured to the States annually, with a presentation Off-Broadway in New York in December 2004. Other venues include Canada, Germany, England, Wales, Austria and Croatia. Special Presentations have included The Centenary Conference of The Dickens Fellowship at University College London, both the Rochester and Broadstairs Dickens Festivals in Kent, The Cedric Dickens Evening at Gad’s Hill Place (Dickens’s last home), and The Great Chamber of The Charterhouse.

In 2006, Mansel played ‘Niels Bohr’ in Michael Frayn’s Copenhagen in Munich, Vienna and Zagreb, a production revived in Northwestern University, Chicago, in 2008.

In 2010, Mansel created Take Desire Away, adapted from the Poems and Letters of A.E. Housman, and which in the past couple of years has enjoyed successful presentations in Dublin, Hastings, Eastbourne and London.

Reviews for Take Desire Away include
“ A crafted beautifully delivered homage to Housman…I was constantly engaged.
“ A polished, effective and very accomplished performance”.
“Mansel’s performance was outstanding. Just exquisite and an evening of wonderful heartfelt theatre.”

In 2019, Mansel created the role of ‘Victor Llewellyn’ (specially written for him) in David Hampshire’s 1930s-set comedy-drama Funny Turns, premieredat the Museum of Comedy, later presented at Jermyn Street Theatre, and revived in November 2023 at Eastbourne’s Grove Theatre.


Simon Madge (Baritone) has appeared with Brighton Consort (Bach Cantata), Regency Singers (various), New Network Singers (Clive Whitburn song cycle), Sussex Musicians’ Club (art song), East Sussex Bach Choir (St John Passion, St Matthew Passion), Laughton Choir (Puccini, Bach and Handel), Brighton Philharmonic/ Brighton Festival Chorus (St Matthew Passion) and the Baroque Collective Singers (Faure Requiem, Rossini Petite Messe Solennelle).

Simon is in demand as a guest soloist in choral workshops – Dido and Aeneas and Mozart Requiem for Christ’s Hospital Choral Society and Handel’s Messiah in Hove.

Simon’s recent performances include bass solo in Rossini Petite Messe with the Esterhazy Choir and song cycle recitals at Falmer Church (Brighton Fringe Concert), Holy Trinity at Hurstpierpoint and St Peter’s Church at West Blatchington, Hove.

Simon is coached by the bass-baritone and conductor, John Hancorn.

Katy Friese-Greene (Piano) has played piano and violin since an early age and her wide musical taste includes folk music and musical theatre as well as classical and choral music.

Katy regularly plays for the Regency Singers and accompanies concerts as part of the Sussex Musicians’ Club. She regularly accompanies Simon in song recitals, most recently in a concert at Falmer Church as part of Brighton Fringe. She also sings in various choirs both large and small, including the Brighton Festival Chorus.”

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