Racing Demon

by David Hare Tickets On Sale Now


This production of David Hare’s story of conscience and conflict within the politics of the Church of England was presented by CDS for the first time in a working Anglican church.

Dramer-2-14_cr-1024x778Racing Demon - What's it about?

Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield

Location – A truly special location (and a first for CDS as well as for the the play) Racing Demon was staged in Holy Trinity Church, Cuckfield.


  • “genuinely gripping ” – The Daily TelegraphRacing Demon Eyes for Halloween!
  • “An unmistakable modern classic” – The Daily Telegraph
  • “appeals to both heart and mind in the way all first-rate theatre does” – The Guardian
  • “one of the best British plays in the last 30 years” – Sunday Times


Racing Demon is a story of clerical conscience and conflict that is simultaneously gripping, moving and funny! Through the views of four clergy, their partners and two bishops the play explores the tension between pastoral care and preaching in the Church of England. Topics include female clergy, homosexuality, falling attendances and the lack of relevance of the Church to ordinary people.  Characters include a gay actor, a sleazy tabloid journalist, and a young woman in an abusive relationship. While religion and faith form the play’s foundation, it is also a story about people in their workplace, arguing with each other and their managers (the bishops) over their role and their job security. Recognised as David Hare’s masterpiece it won three best play awards in its initial run in 1990. It is a show everyone will enjoy, not just those interested in the church, but it will have added poignancy by being performed in Cuckfield’s beautiful and historically important 13th century Holy Trinity church.

Dramer-19_crSMALL Frances (Kirsty Bishopp) and Tony (Paul Ruse) argue his putting his beliefs before their relationship. Click on the photo for a full size view! More information about and rehearsal photos of Racing Demon can be found here.

See the posters

Racing Demon opened at the National Theatre, London, in 1990 to universal acclaim, and won four awards as Play of the Year.

INTERIOR 4_O51A6878_tnIn conflict with government, torn with internal dissension on matters of doctrine and practice, the Church of England finds itself enjoying unwelcome publicity. David Hare’s play, which details the struggle of four clergymen to make sense of their mission in South London, opened to universal acclaim.


Racing Demon Rehearsal at Holy Trinity ChurchIn a deprived inner-London parish a team of vicars struggle to maintain the presence and relevance of the church to the local community. What does it mean to the lay people, an abused wife, a gay actor and an atheist young woman? The priests and their bishops can’t even agree amongst themselves. TActors in Cassockshe conservative Bishop of Southwark worries about modernisation, middle manager Kingston tries to avoid rocking the boat, ageing priest Lionel is losing his confidence in God but the radical curate Tony has a new evangelical mission to save the world…


Rev Lionel Espy Laurence Leng
Rt Rev Charlie Allen (Bishop of Southwark) Philip Robinson
Rev Tony Ferris Paul Ruse
Rev Donald “Streaky” Bacon Alan Carter
Rev Harry Henderson Paul Davey
Rt Rev Gilbert Heffernan (Bishop of Kingston) Bill Colbourne
Frances Parnell Kirsty Bishop
Stella Marr Samantha Oliver
Heather Espy Chrys Tarr
Ewan Gilmour Andy Squires
Tommy Adair Peter Bowman

“Racing Demon” was presented by special arrangement with SAMUEL FRENCH, LTD