Hard Times

A Musical

28th December 2021

Royal Academy of Music

From an original concept by Charles Lisanby

Book by John Caird & Ranjit Bolt

Lyrics by Ranjit Bolt

Music by John Cameron

From the novel by Charles Dickens

This is a very fine musical theatre adaptation of Dickens’ novel Hard Times that has never been produced. It is crying out for some enterprising theatre Producer or Artistic Director to give it its world première performance.

The show can be played by 12 principal performers — 7 men and 5 women — with a further company of 4 doubling the minor roles. This ensemble can also play the children in Gradgrind’s school, or real children can be used if preferred.


Thomas Gradgrind — MP, Member of Parliament for Coketown
Mrs Gradgrind — his wife
Tom Gradgrind — their son
Louisa Gradgrind — their daughter, later Bounderby’s wife
Sissy Jupe — living in the Gradgrind household

Josiah Bounderby — banker and mill-owner in Coketown
Mrs Sparsit — his housekeeper
Bitzer — porter in Bounderby’s bank
Stephen Blackpool — one of Bounderby’s hands
Joseph Sleary — a circus-owner

James Harthouse — a cad

A mysterious old woman

Mr M’Choakumchild — schoolmaster
Mr Pounder — school Commissioner

Dr Outhwaite

A Waiter — at the Royal Hotel, Coketown
A Maid — in the Gradgrind household
A Maid — in the Bounderby household
Pupils — of Coketown school

Members of Sleary’s circus

Highlights CD Cast

BitzerPaul Baker
Harthouse Graham Bickley
Gradgrind, Blackpool & Sleary John Cameron
Tom Richard Henders
Louisa/Mrs Sparsit Helen Hobson
Sissy JupeRebecca Locke
Mrs Gradgrind Gay Soper
Bounderby Stephen Tate
Schoolchildren Brittany Brownlee, Amy Cameron & Sid Sagar