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All Company of Ten auditions are open, which means everyone is free to turn up and be considered, irrespective of previous experience.
Bear in mind that if you are cast in a production and are not a member, you’ll have to join.
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by Alan Bennett
Directed by Chris Bramwell
Office Suite is, in fact, two one-act plays by Alan Bennett, originally written for television and broadcast in 1978. The pieces have very different dynamics, but basically deal with work – how important it is to us, how insecure we can feel when it may be taken away, and how lost we can feel when what we considered our major professional contribution to an organisation seems to be less valued than we thought.
This may all sound rather downbeat, but this is Alan Bennett which means that both plays, set in Leeds, are full of his customary warm and humorous observations of human life and behaviour. He is, I believe, one of our finest living dramatists and has a brilliant ‘Chekhovian’ approach to his characters and their situations.
Performance dates: Wednesday 18 September – Saturday 28 September 2019
Audition dates: Tuesday 14 & 21 May, Club Room, 8.00pm; Sunday 19 May Main Stage, 2pm– 5pm
Mr Dodsworth’s cosy world of retirement is upset by the appearance of a former colleague, Miss Protheroe, whose purpose seems (insidiously) to be as unsettling as she can be.
Arthur Dodsworth: 60s, mild, gentle, recently retired.
Margaret Protheroe: 50s, still working, self-important. Bennett writes ‘a middle-aged woman, who runs a critical eye over the warm, comfortable, cosy room. She is none of these things.’
Doris and Doreen are comfortable but seriously underemployed in their office environment. Insecure about the future, there seems to be changes afoot which unsettle them both.
Doreen Bidmead: mid 40s – late 50s, married, focused, dedicated, precise, slightly nervy.
Doris Rutter: 50s, unmarried, cynical, believes in doing as little as possible, taking care of her elderly Mum.
Frank Lomax: 50s, one arm (war injury), ‘jobsworth’, union man, functionary, loud, know-all.
I intend to cast the plays separately and organise rehearsals accordingly which should mean minimum time commitment for all concerned, especially considering August is holiday time for many. Both plays should run no longer than 60 minutes. Northern, (specifically Yorkshire) accents will be required but with a delicate touch!
THE PITMEN PAINTERS
Director Jenny Kilcast writes:
Audition dates: Tuesday 18 and Wednesday 19 June 8pm in the Club Room
Rehearsals begin 9 September
Performance dates: Preview 6 November, then 7–16 November
First premiered at Live Theatre, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, in 2007, and transferred to the National in 2008, The Pitman Painters is based on the true story of a group of (mainly) coal miners from Ashington, Northumberland who in 1934, as part of the Workers’ Educational Association, invited painter Robert Lyon to teach them Art Appreciation. Instead, he taught them to paint…
Written by Newcastle lad Lee Hall (best-known for smash-hit Billy Elliott), it is a funny, fascinating and moving story of a group of men whose talent and hard work lead them into a world very different from their own, whilst remaining firmly rooted in the community that made them.
Having grown up on Tyneside, in a similar community, I feel I know these men, and understand how to bring their journey to life with warmth and humor, without descending into parody.
As with Jerusalem, which I directed for CoT in 2017, I am looking for an ensemble cast prepared to work generously as a team. All of the cast, with the exception of Robert Lyon, Helen Sutherland and Ben Nicholson, will need to have a Geordie accent, and I’ll be asking everyone to attempt this at the audition – even if you are only planning to read for a non-Geordie role, I’d like to hear you give it a go! Please don’t worry about the quality of it however – at that stage all I’m looking for is a willingness to try. We will have plenty of time to work on it, and you will have the benefit of a native Geordie as a Director.
Playing ages are fluid, with the exception of the Young Lad (obviously) and Susan Parks, who need to appear late teens/early 20s.
We will be reading various excerpts of the script at audition, and copies are available in the Members’ Room for your perusal – please remember to read and return swiftly as numbers are limited.
Finally, should you wish to know more about the production, you can email me on email@example.com.