Win! Tickets to see Hobson’s Choice play

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A CLASSic northern comedy is coming to Sheffield’ Crucible Theatre this month and you could be in with the chance to see the show.

We have teamed up with the Crucible to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a family ticket to see Hobsons’ Choice on Friday 27th May.

One of the most popular plays of the last century, Harold Brighouse’s brilliantly observed northern comedy is about growing up, moving on and getting out.

Widower Henry Horatio Hobson lives above his boot shop with his three independent daughters.

When his eldest girl Maggie decides to set up a business to rival his own, stealing his best bootmaker in the process, Hobson’s life is set to change forever.

Barrie Rutter, artistic director of Halifax-based Northern Broadsides, takes the lead role as Henry Horatio Hobson.

Barrie will be joined by Rod Arthur (Tubby Wadlow), Emily Aston (Ada Figgins), Cassie Atkinson (Alice Hobson), George Banks (Fred Beenstock), Robin Cameron (Dr MacFarlane), Lennox Greaves (Jim Heeler), Sally Hodgkiss (Vickey Hobson), Philip McGinley (William Mossop), Sue Wallace (Mrs Hepworth), Zoe Waites (Maggie Hobson) and Harry Waller (Albert Prosser).

Hobsons’ Choice refers to a colloquial English phrase for a choice that is not a choice - either there is only one option, or two options that are equally undesirable or virtually identical.

The origin of the phrase can be traced to a Tobias Hobson (c. 1544-1631) who was a Cambridge stable manager who let horses.

He insisted customers take the horse in the stall closest to the door (the next one up) or take none at all, therefore leading to a choice that isn’t a choice at all.

Harold Brighouse’s play of the same name was written in 1914 and has proved very popular over the years, with performances staged all over the world.

Although a prolific and popular playwright and novelist during his lifetime, the reputation of Harold Brighouse today rests almost entirely on his play Hobson’s Choice.

Born in Eccles near Salford on 26th July 1882, his mother was a teacher and his father was in the cotton business.

Despite gaining a scholarship to Manchester Grammar School, Harold was not a keen student and left school at the age of 17 to start work in the textile industry.

In 1913, Brighouse’s friend and fellow playwright, Stanley Houghton, fell ill in Venice and died on his return to Manchester.

Brighouse put together a memorial edition of Houghton’s plays and, while compiling the book, had discovered a notebook in which Houghton had listed the titles of projected plays. One of these was Hobson’s Choice.

His other plays include Lonesome-Like, Graft, The Game, The Northerners, Zack and Once a Hero.  

The production will be directed by Christopher Luscombe, making his directorial debut at Sheffield Theatres.

His recent credits include the UK tour of Spamalot, The History Boys (West Yorkshire Playhouse and UK tour) and The Rocky Horror Show (West End and UK tour).

Hobsons’ Choice opens on Wednesday 1st June and runs until Saturday 25th June, with previews from Thursday 26th May.

Tickets are priced £19 for performances from Tuesday to Friday evening and £23 for performances on Saturday.

They can be booked by visiting or by calling the box office on 0114 249 6000.

To be in with the chance of winning a family ticket to the show on Friday 27th May, simply answer the following question.

Q) When did Harold Brighouse write his play Hobsons Choice?

A) 1940

B) 1904

C) 1914

Mark your answer ‘Hobson’s Choice competition’ and send it via email to or by post to: The Worksop Guardian, 21-27 Ryton Street, Worksop, Notts S80 2AY.

The closing date for entries is Wednesday 25th May.

The lucky winner will be contacted by telephone so do not forget to include a daytime contact number, as well as your address.

Normal Guardian competition rules apply.