Current Auditions:

  • CHARLEY’S AUNT
  • RED VELVET

Want to be involved but don’t want to act? There’s always plenty to do backstage – see our membership page for details.

Non-members are welcome but please read the notes on this page.

Membership Commitment – as part of your membership we expect all members to support the theatre by assisting with our Front of House Operations when the theatre is open for performances by either Stewarding, working on the Bar or Coffee Bar. We term this as a “Duty” and members are expected to do eight “Duties” per membership year.

New Members will be asked to do three duties before the run of any production they are cast in. Existing members should ensure that they have fulfilled their quota of duties before auditioning or they may not be considered for a production. All members should do a minimum of three duties within a four month period.

The Crescent Theatre is committed to the promotion of equal opportunities within the theatre, and affiliated projects, through the way we manage the venue and provide services to the community. No person should experience discrimination or lack of opportunities on the grounds of gender, race, religion, age, sexual orientation or disability. In the provision of services and in regards to the membership and visiting companies, the Crescent Theatre is committed to promoting equal opportunities for everyone.  Click here for our Statement of Commitment on Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. If you need any reasonable adjustments to enable you to access an audition, you can let us know in advance by filling in an online audition form.

Please note the opportunities below are Unpaid

Please note

While auditions are intended for members, non-members are welcome to attend on the understanding that, if successful in reading for a part, you would be expected to become a member of the theatre. This entitles you to take part in all theatre activities and to concessionary ticket prices. In return you will be expected to attend all rehearsals and performances and to undertake your required allocation of front of house duties. Your membership subscription must be paid by the end of the second rehearsal. Membership fees for a year are £60 (£25 if unwaged). More details on Crescent Membership can be found in the membership pages.

Unless stated otherwise, the venue for all readings and auditions is the Crescent Theatre.

CHARLEY’S AUNT

by Brandon Thomas

AUDITIONS:

  • Tuesday April 23rd 19.00
  • Call backs – if necessary – Wednesday April 24th 19.00

Written in the 1890s, Charley’s Aunt is one of the most successful farces ever produced. Despite the fact that it’s highly improbable plot, is peopled by less than probable people, it has delighted audiences since the first performance. It relies on physicality and action rather than beautiful language and is perfect for playing outdoors on a summer evening.

To change a three act play of three hours duration to a two part play, of appropriate length for a summer evening, has required some cutting but, as a play about situations and action rather than beautiful speeches, it is none the worse for that.

Apart from Mrs Brassett everyone speaks heightened received pronunciation. If that’s not already part of your skill set, don’t worry, it will be.

Farce has a particular playing style. It requires acting of high energy – like a caffeine overdose – fluidity of movement and meticulous timing. Above all, no matter how bizarre the situation, it requires total belief and sincerity. To that end, the characters need to be as carefully developed as in Chekov. Farce only works when there is utter, utter truth in the performances.

As a group of strolling players, the company will need to help with each fit up and get out and be prepared for the vagaries of a British Summer.

Ron Barber, who directed many outdoor productions, called it, ‘shouting into the bushes.’ It’s not exactly that, but it does require vocal stamina and the ability to tone things down in the studio.

Farce is enormous fun to play; when the physical action, the word play and the pace are right, it’s a bit like flying. Being in a group and adapting to the new spaces together is also energising and a
wonderful experience for learning to think on your feet.

Sometimes, the weather is kind and the evening still and staying warm as the light fades, makes for a special kind of magic.

Please read the character descriptions and the audition extracts. Audition pieces should be prepared but, not necessarily learnt.

I haven’t put playing ages. The boys are supposed to be in their final year at Oxford but people looked older then, so don’t worry if you’re not 21 any more. The ‘grown-ups’ could be almost any age.

  • JACK CHESNEY student in his final year at Oxford. He is in love with Kitty Verdun but can’t quite find the time or the words to tell her. He plans to go into politics but will need a firm financial footing to do so. He
    has been a good, successful student and has a fund of energy for any task he undertakes. He is the prime mover in the central deception and drives the whole action forward.
  • CHARLEY WYKEHAM Jack’s best friend and inclined to follow where he leads. He is in love with Amy, and like his pal, doesn’t know how to further that relationship. It is his aunt who is expected. Although they have never met, she has paid for his education. Charley may have been a follower, but he is the first to speak out when he feels a line has been crossed, even risking his own happiness.
  • MRS BRASSETT Her husband is the college manservant, but he is indisposed so she takes over. She has more common sense than the boys and watches the goings on with wry amusement and the occasional
    pithy comment. She is in practically every scene but without an enormous amount of dialogue. I have it in mind that this character might knock out a Music Hall song to cover the two scene changes, but that is not a deal breaker if not your thing.
  • LORD FANCOURT BABBERLEY A student, it is ‘Babbs’ who substitutes for the missing aunt. This is not, however, a female impersonation role. The humour is in his inability to remember to be consistent in the physicality and voice of the mystery aunt he pretends to be. We learn that, for all his high living and love of foolery, he has the kindest of hearts. He is in love with a girl he met, and lost track of, the previous summer.
  • KITTY VERDUN (accent on the first syllable of her surname) Spettigue’s ward, an heiress but her money is controlled by her guardian. She is lively, forthright and the object of Jack’s affection. She has great humour and intelligence and knows her own mind.
  • AMY SPETTIGUE Kitty’s best friend and niece of Spettigue. She is in love with Charley. Amy tends to follow where Kitty leads but, like Charley, can dig her heels in when occasion demands. Amy tends to be less
    ‘knowing’ than Kitty but is clearly full of warmth and affection.
  • SIR FRANCIS CHESNEY, BART Jack’s father who has recently retired from his army post in India. He has also inherited the family Baronetcy along with accompanying debts (presumably death duties) and is no longer able to support Jack’s potential career. This is the role Brandon Thomas wrote for himself; it has dignity and gentle humour.
  • STEPHEN SPETTIGUE If the play has anything approaching a villain then here he is. He appears to be very controlling of his ward and niece but probably no more so than usual for this time and social class. He is, it seems , rather avaricious and pursues the mystery aunt solely for her fortune, and herein lies much of the comedy. His eventual comeuppance arouses sympathy.
  • ELA DELAHAY An orphan under the protection of Donna Lucia. Her father has ruined himself by gambling at cards and she would be destitute were in not for the kindness of a handsome stranger, whose memory she cherishes, and the support of Donna Lucia. A gentle soul with a strong sense of duty.
  • DONNA LUCIA D’ALVADOREZ (Pronounced LOOSIA – Portuguese, not Spanish [The Author])The eponymous Charley’s aunt. A woman of great skill – particularly financial – she has returned to England to meet the nephew she has supported but never seen. She left England years before, unlucky in love. She adds to the fun by concealing her real name – a wise and humorous observer.
  • INTIMACY AND PHYSICALITY INFORMATION Kitty and Jack kiss – this is a rather chaste kiss befitting the period style. Lord Fancourt Babberley uses his disguise to take the opportunity to put his arm round the girls’ shoulders and waists. Jack and Charley ‘manhandle’ Babbs on several occasions. This will be carefully choreographed and rehearsed for the safety and comfort of all.

REHEARSAL PATTERN

The first rehearsal is hoped to be:

  • Sunday April 28th 14.00

The pattern is then:

  • Monday 19.00 – 21.30
  • Friday 19.00 – 21.30
  • Sunday 14.00 – 18.00

Until Sunday June 23rd when we move into the Ron Barber Studio for technicals and dress rehearsals

  • Friday June 28th Evening performance RBS
  • Saturday June 29th Matinee and evening performance RBS
  • Sunday June 30th Castle Bromwich Gardens
  • Saturday July 6th TBC
  • Sunday July 7th TBC
  • Wednesday July 10th Selly Manor
  • Thursday 11th July Selly Manor
  • Saturday July 13th Harvington Hall
  • Sunday July 14th Harvington Hall

If any of this appeals – and I hope it will – check the dates work for you and come along. Any questions or clarifications needed please contact me – auntcharley@crescent-theatre.co.uk

The audition process will be prepare but don’t learn, the extracts for the role(s) you wish to audition for.

Please sign up for one audition slot here.

Michael Barry

AUDITION PIECES

RED VELVET

by Lolita Chakrabarti

On 15th March 1833 at the words “Villain, be sure,” Act 3, Scene 3 of Othello, Edmund Kean, regarded by many to be the greatest actor of the day, collapsed on the stage of the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. Catastrophe! The management could not afford the theatre going dark. It was vital that a replacement should be found. Lolita Chakrabarti deals with the aftermath in her play Red Velvet. At times humorous, shocking, provocative and moving, it paints a vivid picture of life in mid-nineteenth century theatre, its attitudes, practices and racial intolerance, asking many disturbing questions relevant to what is happening now.

It is a memory play beginning in 1867 and looking back to 1833 when the startling solution was arrived at to find a replacement Othello. It then returns to a cleverly and quietly devastating conclusion in 1867.

The cast is for 8 actors, 3f 5m, who take on 12 roles. This is a wonderful ensemble piece, a real company in which no one character is any less important. It offers exciting opportunities throughout.

 

Characters

  • Casimir: white male, 20s, German-speaking Polish stagehand (This role involves kissing and a physical struggle with the actress playing Halina) doubling as
  • Henry Forester: white male, 20s, English actor. Political, self-interested, ambitious and earnest.
  • Halina Wozniak: white female, 20s, Polish journalist. Bright, ambitious, frustrated with her life (This role involves kissing and a physical struggle with the actor playing Casimir) doubling as
  • Betty Lovell: white female, 20s, English actress. Self-concerned, not clever but pleasant also doubling as
  • Margaret Aldridge: white female, 30s, English, wife of Ira Aldridge. Solid, trustworthy, Ira’s rock.
  • Terence: white male, 50s, English, Ira Aldridge’s valeting dresser. Loyal, hardworking doubling as
  • Bernard Warde: white male, 50s, English actor. Old school, a bit lazy, opinionated and insecure.
  • *Ira Aldridge: black male, 26, American actor. Ambitious, keen, passionate and optimistic. (This role involves physical contact and stage violence (choking) with the actress playing Ellen and with the actor playing Pierre.)
  • *Ira Aldridge: black male, 60, American leading actor. Grand, impatient, ferocious and unwell.
  • Connie: black Jamaican female, any age. Experienced servant. Older than her years and the voice of truth.
  • Charles Kean: white male, 30s, English actor. Son of Edmund Kean. Grand but without the talent to support it. Suffers from being Edmund’s son.
  • Ellen Tree: white female, late 20s, English leading actress. Talented, motivated, classical but progressive. (This role involves physical contact and stage violence (being choked) with the actor playing Ira.)
  • Pierre Laporte: white, male, mid-30s French manager of the theatre. Gay, revolutionary, entrepreneurial. (This role involves physical contact and stage violence with the actor playing Ira.)

(*Adrian Lester took both roles in the original production)

Ellen’s hand is kissed by Aldridge on their first meeting and he is accused of “pawing” her during an overheated rehearsal.

The argument between Aldridge and Laporte descends into grappling.

In addition to the intimacy and stage violence indicated above, there are several instances where characters touch one another on the arm and help one another on and off with costumes. The theatre’s intimacy guidelines will be followed at all times.

Language, accent and period acting style will be built into the rehearsal process.

 

Auditions

  • Tuesday 16th April at 19.00 in the Cumberland Room

Possible callbacks on Thursday 18th April at 19.00 in the Cumberland Room

Audition pieces will be made available on the day with an opportunity to rehearse before the auditions take place

Please sign up for one audition by completing the form here: https://forms.gle/C2xkJKUJPcDnCKS88

 

Rehearsals

Tuesdays (7.00pm-10.00pm). Thursdays (7.00pm-10.00pm).  Saturday 2.00pm-6.00pm)

Starting Thursday 9th May

 

Performances (in the Ron Barber Studio)  From 13th July to 20th July 2 performances Saturday 20th July (matinee and evening)

Matinees, Sunday 14th July (2.45pm) and Saturday 20th July (2.45pm)

No performance Monday 15th July.

This is a wonderful acting team piece, a real company event in which no one character is any less important.  It offers exciting opportunities throughout.

I look forward to seeing you at the auditions.

Alan K. Marshall

Director

redvelvet@crescent-theatre.co.uk