Details of the 2020/21 centenary Season appear below with information including plot synopses, character descriptions etc

LADIES IN LAVENDER by Shaun McKenna (05 – 12 Sept. 2020)

Director: Anthony Josephson

Set in Cornwall, 1937

For those of you who don’t know, Ladies in Lavender is a story about two “elderly” women who discover a young man washed up on a beach, outside their home in Cornwall, after a bad storm. It turns out this man, Andrea, is a violin maestro washed up on his way from Poland to NYC where he hopes to make a name for himself.

Janet and Ursula (the sisters)- age approximately 70
Dorcas (the help/housemaid) –  aged 50-75
Andrea (male – the violinist) – aged 20-35
Olga (a tourist artist visiting the area to paint and sketch)- aged 25-35
Dr Mead – 60-70

Below are the scenes to be considered for the audition readings.

Janet & Ursula

Act 1, Sc 1, pages 7-9

Act 2, Sc 3, pages 69-74

Act 2, Sc 1, pages 54-64


Act 1, Sc 3, pages 12-14

Act 2, Sc 1, pages 55-60

Dr Mead

Act 1, Sc 3, pages 14-17

Act 1, Sc 5, pages 32-34

Act 2, Sc 2, Pages 65-67

Act 2, Sc 7, pages 92-end


Act 1, Sc 4, pages 30-31

Act 1, Sc 7, pages 39-43

Act 1, Sc 8, pages 46-49

Act 2, Sc 4, pages 74-79

Act 2, Sc 6, pages 87-89


Act 1, Sc 5, pages 32-34

Act 2, Sc 2, Pages 65-67

Act 2, Sc 4, pages 74-79

Act 2, Sc 6, pages 87-89

The following passages will be considered in the event of auditioning multiple candidates at the same time.

Pages 38-46

Characters: Janet, Ursula, Dorcas, Andrea

Pages 46-53

Characters: Ursula, Janet, Dr Mead, Andrea, Dorcas, Olga

Pages 54-64

Characters: Andrea, Ursula, Janet, Dorcas

Pages 65-67

Characters: Olga, Dr Mead

Pages 74-79 and Pages 87-89

Characters Andrea, Olga

SHADOWLANDS by William Nicholson (17 – 24 Oct. 2020)

Director: Tracy Burns

The first point to make is that this play is largely set in Oxford in the 1950s and therefore RP, received pronunciation, will be required unless stated below.

Most of the characters are Oxford dons, bookish academics but Joy and her son Douglas are from New York, USA.


C.S. (“Jack”) Lewis – over 50, author of the Narnia books, an Oxford don and when the play starts a confirmed bachelor

Major Warnie Lewis – Jack’s brother, ex-military, drinks too much, kind, there is a sadness to him, probably over 50

Professor Christopher Riley – Oxford don, over 50, confirmed bachelor, rather waspish and patronising, highly intelligent

Reverend Harry Harrington – college chaplain, married, softer than Riley, 30-50 years old and likely to play at least one other role eg witness, waiter

Doctor Maurice Oakley – Oxford don, 30-50 years old, softer than Riley, likely to play other roles as well eg waiter, registrar’s clerk, priest

Alan Gregg – the youngest of the dons, 25-35 years old, could have a regional accent, more modern in outlook, will also play the medical doctor in the hospital scenes

Joy Gresham – an American poet, playing age 40-50 years, New York accent, intelligent, forthright

Douglas Gresham – Joy’s son, playing age 8 years, New York accent

Woman/Nurse/Registrar – possibly waitress too, 20-25 years old, RP accent

Audition Pieces

Most of the pieces will involve groups of characters.

C.S. Lewis – Jack – page 1-2 first line of speech to “He wants us to be lovable”.

Jack, Warnie, Riley, Harrington, Oakley, Gregg – page 3 “God loves us…” to page 7 “Goodnight Warnie”.

Jack, Warnie and Joy (and Douglas) – page 12 – “There’s a small boy.” to page 15 “Don’t go too far darling”.

Jack, Joy and Warnie – page 19 “It’s only a cup of tea” to page 23 last line.

Warnie, Riley, Oakley, Harrington, Jack and Joy – page 27 “Thank you Maurice” to page 30 last line.

Joy – page 32 Dear Mr Lewis to page 34 “OK then. OK”.

Doctor, Jack – page 66-67 when they exit

Priest, Joy, Jack – page 64-66

Registrar – page 47 paragraph

GOD OF CARNAGE by Yasmina Reza (Studio 18 – 21 Nov. 2020)

Director: Josh Holden


Before the play begins, two 11-year-old children, Ferdinand Reille and Bruno Vallon, get involved in an argument because Bruno refuses to let Ferdinand join his ‘gang’. Ferdinand knocks out two of Bruno’s teeth with a stick. That night, the parents of both children meet to discuss the matter. Ferdinand’s father, Alain, is a lawyer who is never off his mobile phone. Ferdinand’s mother, Annette is in “wealth management” (her husband’s wealth, to be precise), and consistently wears good shoes. Bruno’s father, Michel , is a self-made wholesaler with an unwell mother. Michel’s wife, Veronique is writing a book about Darfur. As the evening goes on, the meeting degenerates into the four getting into irrational arguments, and their discussion falls into the loaded topics of misogyny, racial prejudice and homophobia. One of the central dramatic moments of the play occurs when Annette vomits onstage, all over the coffee table and books.

Audition Piece

PLEASE NOTE – All 4 characters will have the same audition piece which will start on:

PAGE 10 from Veronique’s line ‘ So what does Ferdinand have to say about it’
PAGE 15 till Veronique’s line ‘ Violence is always our business’


Veronique Vallon (40’s)

At first, she seems like the most benevolent of the bunch. Instead of resorting to litigation regarding her son Bruno’s injury, she believes that they can all come to an agreement about how Ferdinand should make amends for his attack. Of the four principles, Veronique exhibits the strongest desire for harmony. She is even writing a book about the atrocities of Darfur. Her flaws lie in her overly judgmental nature. She wants to instil a sense of shame in Ferdinand’s parents hoping they will, in turn, instil a deep sense of regret in their son. About forty minutes into their encounter, Veronique decides that Alain and Annette are terrible parents and miserable people in general, yet throughout the play, she still attempts to maintain her crumbling facade of civility

 Michel Vallon (40’s)

At first, Michel seems eager to create peace between the two boys and perhaps even bond with the Reilles. He offers them food and drink. He is quick to agree with the Reilles, even making light of the violence, commenting on how he was a leader of his own gang during his childhood (as was Alain). As the conversation progresses, Michel reveals his uncouth nature. He makes racial slurs about the Sudanese people whom his wife is writing about. He denounces child-raising as a wasteful, gruelling experience. His most controversial action (which takes place before the play) has to do with his daughter’s pet hamster. Because of his fear of rodents, Michel released the hamster in the streets of Paris, even though the poor creature was terrified and clearly wanted to be kept at home. The rest of the adults are disturbed by his actions, and the play concludes with a phone call from his young daughter, crying over the loss of her pet.

 Annette Reille (40’s)

Ferdinand’s mother is constantly on the brink of a panic attack. In fact, she vomits twice during the course of the play. Like Veronique, she wants resolution and believes at first that communication can ameliorate the situation between the two boys. Unfortunately, the pressures of motherhood and household have eroded her self-confidence. Annette feels abandoned by her husband who is eternally preoccupied with work. Alain is glued to his cell phone throughout the play until Annette finally loses control and drops the phone into a vase of tulips. Annette is the most physically destructive of the four characters. In additional to ruining her husband’s new phone, she intentionally smashes the vase at the end of the play. (And her vomit incident spoils some of Veronique’s books and magazines, but that was accidental.) Also, unlike her husband, she defends her child’s violent actions by pointing out that Ferdinand was verbally provoked and out-numbered by the “gang” of boys.

Alain Reille (40’s)

Alain might be the most stereotypical character of the group in that he is modelled after other slimy lawyers from countless other stories. He is the most openly rude because he frequently interrupts their meeting by talking on his cell phone. His law firm represents a pharmaceutical company that is about to be sued because one of their new products causes dizziness and other negative symptoms. He claims that his son is a savage and doesn’t see any point in trying to change him. He seems the most sexist of the two men, often implying that women have a host of limitations. On the other hand, Alain is in some ways the most honest of the characters. When Veronique and Annette claim that people must show compassion toward their fellow man, Alain becomes philosophical, wondering if anyone can truly care for others, implying that individuals will always act out of self-interest.

THE 39 STEPS by Patrick Barlow (05 – 12 Dec. 2020)

Director: Mark Jephcott

The Play

First production of this play in 2005 – 32 scenes, 250 parts played by 4 actors!

CHADS opportunity to make its own mark on a now classic comedy.

The author tells us that the show has proved an invaluable aid to weight loss as quite a lot of this show depends on the Olympic fitness of the actors !

We take the audience on a magical mystery tour by steam train from London to the Highlands and back via the Forth Railway Bridge.

Richard Hannay.
37/40 years old. Posh, upper class, educated accent throughout.

‘enough money to have a good life’: Wears the latest Harris Tweed Jacket. Lives in expensive Portland Mansions, Portland Place, London. He was born in Scotland and taken to South Africa by his parents aged six. He has just returned to England aged 37 years so he has no real friends here and he’s bored. This gives him a remote detached quality. Described as: dark wavey hair, attractive, pencil thin moustache, piercing blue eyes.

35 years old, plays 3 roles:
Annabella Schmidt: Eastern European (accent required), beautiful but nervous
Pamela Edwards: English, well dressed

Margaret: Scottish (accent required), Crofters wife, incredibly pretty Scottish girl

Clown 1 and Clown 2:
As with any great comedy double act we need a variance in height between them:

Clown 1:
multi-talented comedic actor

Clown 2:
multi-talented comedic actor

Audition Pieces (parts in brackets only a line and read by Director)

Pages Richard Hannay Female Clown 1 Clown 2
2 and 3 Hannay      
4 and 5 (Hannay) (Annabella) Compere Mr Memory
9 and 10 Hannay Annabella    
22, 23, 24     Salesman 1 Salesman 2
38 Hannay   Crofter  
39 Hannay     Crofter
41, 42 Hannay Margaret    
Bottom 55,56 Hannay   Professor  
57, 58 Hannay   (Mrs Jordon) Professor,
69 (half way down) Hannay      
73,74,75 Hannay Pamela Heavy 1 Heavy 2
85, 86, 87 Hannay Pamela Mrs McGarrigle Mr McGarrigle
99,100,101 Hannay Pamela    
111, 112 Hannay   Mr Memory Compere
113, 114 Hannay Pamela    

LIVING TOGETHER by Alan Ayckbourn (23-30 Jan. 2021)

Director: Mark Edgar-Clarkson


The Norman Conquests is a trilogy of plays written by Ayckbourne in 1973.The three plays all take place in a large shabby Victorian house over the course of a weekend in July. Each play is set in a different area. ‘Living Together’, the second play in the trilogy, takes place in the living room. Each play deals with the same six characters. Annie, who lives in the house and takes care of her mother (who we do not see). Tom, who lives nearby and may or may not be in love with Annie. Annie’s two older siblings are Reg and Ruth. Annie has asked Reg and his wife Sarah to come and take care of their mother for the weekend so that she can go on holiday. It transpires however that this so called ‘holiday’ is to be secretly shared with Norman a gigolo and assistant librarian who is married to her sister Ruth. The play wittily examines the complex relationships of these six people with their inner anxieties and their search for happiness.

Characters – in order of their appearance

Reg – Age 30-40  –  Reg is Ruth and Annie’s brother and is in great danger of becoming dull. He is an Estate Agent who takes his career quite lightly. He loves to joke, though his jokes are frequently amusing to himself alone. He has designed an overly complicated board game that he wishes to inflict on the others during the weekend. He is harmless and content however, happy in his own little world until he suspects that his wife Sarah may soon become Normans next conquest.

Sarah – 30-40  –  Sarah is Reg’s wife. Her desire to control every situation results from her attempt to mask a highly nervous disposition. Lack of harmony upsets Sarah and she becomes distraught when things do not go to plan. She is hoping to spend a quiet weekend with her mother and her husband without their two children aged five and seven. When things start to unravel, she becomes agitated and overbearing. Proud of her role as a parent however, she is disturbed by Ruth’s rejection of motherhood and focus on her career. Sarah’s sense that all her efforts are not appreciated leaves her vulnerable to Normans flattery.

Norman – Age 30-40)  –  Norman is an Assistant Librarian with a scruffy beard. He is always rather unkempt. He is married to Ruth. He is unconventional with a wry sense of humour and a benign indifference to the restrictions of work and marriage. He has a reputation for causing trouble but never maliciously. He believes that he is only trying to make people happy. He can be very witty, charming and attentive, particularly to the women who he sees as potential conquests. Unfortunately for him, he must deal with the others who possess more conventional attitudes about faithfulness and happiness. This is possibly why he drowns his sorrows in so much alcohol throughout the play.

Annie – (25-35)  –  Annie is the younger sibling to Reg and Ruth. She lives in the house ‘alone’ with her bed ridden mother who we understand can be rather cantankerous. Annie has forgotten how to take care of herself and appears not to have brushed her hair in weeks. She has fallen into a friendship with Tom her neighbour who she has known for a number of years but neither of them has ‘acted’ on this. She is looking for change, or for something to happen in her life which why she has (against her better judgement) allowed herself to be persuaded into going away overnight with her sister’s husband.

Tom – (30-40). –  Tom, Annie’s neighbor, is a rather dim vet who seems more concerned with Annie’s cat rather than with Annie herself. He spends much time doing little odd jobs for Annie as he is extremely fond of her. He has, however, not taken enough interest in her and is prone to procrastination which is why Annie ends up agreeing to go away with Norman for the weekend. He looks up to Norman even though it is not in his best interests. Ruth best describes Tom in the first play ‘Table Manners’ by depicting him as ‘deep’ and then adding “if you say someone is deep, it more or less implies there’s something at the bottom. I’m not so sure with Tom”.

Ruth – (30-40)  –  Ruth is Normans long suffering wife (and sister to Annie and Reg). She is called upon to travel down to the house to intervene between Annie and Norman when the purpose of ‘the holiday’ is revealed. She is a high powered but extremely short-sighted executive who prioritises her career over family life (including Norman) but she ends up with him on the same brown nylon fur rug that he christened the previous Christmas with her sister Annie. She has a caustic wit and is too vain to wear her glasses, much to the annoyance of others.

Audition Pieces

Reg and Sarah – from page one to Reg’s exit on page 3

Sarah and Norman – page 3 from “Its no good sitting there and feeling sorry for yourself” to page 5 “I’ve told you why.

Norman and Annie – page five from Annie’s entrance “Norman” to Reg’s entrance on bottom of page 6.

Norman and Tom – from Annie’s exit on page 8 “Annie’s a bit angry with me” to Annie’s entrance on page 9

Reg and Tom – page 14 Scene 2 from start to half way down page 16 “she’d probably feel she’d made the right decision”.

Ruth and Reg – page 28 Act 2 scene 1 from start to Annie’s entrance.

Ruth and Annie – page 31 act 2 scene1 to Sarah’s entrance.

Annie and Norman – page 35 to the kiss.

Ruth and Norman – bottom of page 37 “Do you ever realise” to end of scene.

THE WEIR by Conor McPherson (Studio 17-20 Feb. 2021)

Director: Mike Rogerson

Two regulars, both confirmed bachelors, meet up most nights in a bar in rural Ireland. This night they are joined by the local “king of business” and a newcomer, a Dublin girl just moving in to the area. As the warmth and the whisky loosens their tongues the “lads” launch into strange and ghostly stories to impress their guest, but maybe her story will cap all theirs!

It will be a wild and windy night in the Studio.

Jack (50’s) the owner of the local garage which has seen far better days

His tale starts on page 20

Brendan ( 40’s) The bar owner

Read from page 49

Jim (40’s) Part time mechanic and odd job man. A student of racing form.

His story starts on page 31

Finbar (40’s) Self styled “Successful business man”. Married but with a wandering eye.

His story starts on page 24.

Valerie (30’s) The mystery arrival. She has left Dublin (and her husband) for a reason. Well educated and articulate she can more than hold her own in the bar.

Her tale begins on page 37.

THE REAL THING by Tom Stoppard (06 – 13 Mar. 2021)

Director: Nigel Westbrook

Tom Stoppard wrote the play in 1982, so we will be playing it in that period. The central character is Henry, a successful playwright whose new play, called House of Cards, we see being performed in the first scene by actors Max and Charlotte, who is Henry’s real wife. But Henry has fallen in love with Max’s younger wife, Annie, herself an actress. Charlotte leaves him and Henry and Annie begin to live together, but his jealousy is aroused when she starts rehearsing a Jacobean tragedy with Billy, a younger actor. Annie has also adopted the cause of a young Scottish soldier, Brodie, who she thinks has been unfairly punished for making a political protest. Brodie has written a raw autobiographical play about his experiences and Annie wants Henry to use his professional skills to make it performable as a TV drama. We also meet Debbie, Henry and Charlotte’s rebellious teenage daughter, who wants to go off with a travelling fairground musician.

The play is a brilliant mixture of witty exchanges, clever theatrical tricks and powerful human drama, definitely one of Stoppard’s greatest.

Characters and audition pieces:

Henry (40s) p52 (from “You’re not going to do this, are you?”) to p57 (to “human panacea”)

Annie (late 20s- 30s) p52 (from “Why not?”) to p55 (to “Don’t you bloody dare”)

Charlotte (30s-40s) p15 (from “Hard luck, Max”) to p17 (bottom)

Max (30s-40s) p2 (top) to p5 (bottom)

Billy (20s) p60 (top) to p63 (bottom)

Debbie (late teens) p68 (top) to p70 (to “free of – propaganda”)

Brodie (20s) p91 (from “Annie looked nice”) to p93 (to “you’re that different either”)

COPENHAGEN by Michael Frayn (Studio 21 – 24 Apr. 2021)

Director: Victor Hassan

Powerfully and lyrically describes an actual meeting in 1941, when Werner Heisenberg (a leading German physicist) visited his old friend and mentor Niels Bohr (also a world renowned physicist) and his wife, Margrethe, in Copenhagen, which was under Nazi rule. It has never been fully explained what the purpose of this meeting was, let alone by the participants themselves. Was Heisenberg seeking to find out how to complete the creation of an atomic bomb, on which he was working for the Germans, or to explore the moral implications of doing so, particularly knowing the utter devastation it would cause? Or was there some other reason…..?

Heisenberg – Aged 39 /40. A leading physicist, at the age of 24/25 he had become Germany’s youngest professor at a lesser university (but not yet fully personally secure), working for the Nazis to develop atomic technology. Anxious to discuss his work with his old friend Bohr, for whom he had previously worked as an assistant. Uncertain about his course of action but a disciplined intellectual.

Bohr – Aged about 56. Another world famous physicist. Fatherly / avuncular. Protective of his relationship with Heisenberg but impatient with many of his positions. As a part Jewish man living under German occupation, very aware of the dangers / non desirability of his current relationship with Heisenberg and his German superiors.

Margrethe – The wife of Bohr and slightly younger than him. Warily sceptic, seeing the personal motivations underlying scientific abstractions. As a lay person, she provides the reason for the other two characters to explain themselves in plain language, though anyway closely involved in her husband’s work in typing his papers. A centre and focus for her husband.

Audition Pieces

Bohr / Heisenberg: Page 40 from Bohr (4th speech down) “So you don’t want me to say yes and you don’t want me to say no” to page 42 end of Heisenberg’s long speech “because he’s going to be executed in the morning”.

Bohr (additional): Page 71 the speech beginning “It works, yes.”


  • Page 3 (beginning of the play) to page 4 end of Margarethe’s speech beginning “And he wasn’t a friend; and
  • Page 31 – Margrethe’s first speech beginning “So, they’re walking again..”

HAY FEVER by Noel Coward (22 – 29 May 2021)

Director: Simon Darlington

Judith Bliss (f – Mid 40’s – 60)

A recently retired actress contemplating a swift return to the stage. Matriarch of the Bliss family. Basically looking for someone to tell her she is still beautiful and desirable.

David Bliss (m – Mid 40’s -60)

Judith’s husband. He is a novelist on the look out for his next muse, self absorbed and like his wife seems to be caught in a mid life crisis.

Sorel Bliss (f – 18 – 29)

Judith & David’s daughter and as such have been brought up in money with the finer things in life. Although she likes to see herself a little different to the rest of the family. Her relationship with her brother Simon switches from bohemian conversation one minute, to fighting the next. She is a very spirited character

Simon Bliss (m – 18 – 29)

Judith & David’s son, a budding artist, loves to provoke and wind up his sister Sorel.

Myra Arundel (f – Mid 30’s)

Simon’s weekend guest although she really has no interest in him. She is very experienced and sees the family for what they are. Fashionable and sophisticated.

Richard Greatham (m – Mid 30’s)

A diplomat and Sorel’s guest. A likeable man quite prim and proper.

Jackie Coryton (f – Mid 20’s)

David’s guest, a “flapper”. Good hearted but quite shy. She is definitely out of her depth with the family.

Sandy Tyrell (m – Mid 20’s)

Judith’s guest. A young fit and athletic man. He is infatuated with Judith.

Clara (f – 30 – 60)

The housekeeper, down to earth woman possibly with a northern accent.


Sorel & Simon – Pages 1 – 4 (bottom of page)

Judith & Sandy – Pages 20 (Are you Aone?) – 24 (bottom of page)

Richard & Jackie – Pages 31 (A strange young man) – 34 (bottom of page)

David & Myra – Pages 61 (top of page) – 66 (You will)

Clara – Pages 5, Page 80 (What’s the matter) – 82 (Well thank ‘eaven…)

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