Open Audition Notice – Our Country’s Good, 10th March

This summer the GST will be building on the success of previous years, and running two shows in Rep over the summer period in our beautiful Little Wood Open Air Theatre in Hampstead Garden Suburb. 

The shows are Our Country’s Good by Timberlake Wertenbaker and The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare. Each show will have 9 performances and the season will run between 4th and 20th July 2019.

Each will have its own independent cast and shows will be performed on an alternating timetable over 2 and a half weeks. Both auditions will be run on Sunday 10th March in the Free Church Hall, Northway, London NW11 7BN.

Google Maps location here

Please also note the Hall (where the audition is) is located on Northway. It is not in the square next to the church itself, but is only a few minutes’ walk away. Some satnavs will direct you to the church rather than the Hall.

You are encouraged to audition for both plays to avoid disappointment, and will have the opportunity to state your preference.

Start time for those auditioning for both shows or Our Country’s Good only will be 4pm.

Start time for The Merchant of Venice only will be 7pm.

Please read the full audition notices for each show you wish to audition for.

If you are unable to make the audition for any reason, please also let us know via ourcountrysgood@gardensuburbtheatre.org.uk in advance, in case we can accommodate you at another time or date.

Fancy a backstage role? – We are currently recruiting backstage crew to help with lights, sound, stage management, props and costume. If you are interested please contact us.

Please note that although the auditions are open to everyone, if cast you will be expected to join the GST and become a full paid up member prior to the first rehearsal.

Pre-audition read-through/workshop

All potential auditionees, especially those new to acting, are welcome to attend the pre-audition read-through or workshop for each production.

Although this is not compulsory, it will allow you to meet the directors and help you gain familiarity with the play and characters (and reduce the nerves a bit!), which could help your audition. Also it should be a lot of fun!

These will both be held in a venue near the Hampstead Garden suburb. Please contact us to confirm attendance, and click on the links below for more information.

The Merchant of Venice (read through of the play)- 7:30pm, Tuesday 12th February. (FULL)

Our Country’s Good (workshop/read through) – 7:30pm, Tuesday 26th February.  More information here.

Our Country’s Good

Directed by Kayne McCutcheon

Assistant Director: Michael Reffold

Email: ourcountrysgood@gardensuburbtheatre.org.uk

The dramatic true story of the first penal colony in Australia, Our Country’s Good tells of hardship and colonialism, told from the contrasting perspectives of guards and convicts far from home.

Watched over by a lone aborigine, Lieutenant Ralph Clark decides to put on a play to impress his superiors, using convicts as actors. Seemingly doomed from the beginning and with opinion divided on its potential success, it eventually develops into something much more than was expected, but still something that can’t or won’t change anything in the rigid society they have built. It’s a touching and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny story of another time and place that still resonates, telling a universal tale of how prejudice, luck and circumstance can change the course of lives, and ultimately how little control each individual has.

Timberlake Wertenbaker’s classic will be brought to life by a talented bunch of 10 actors playing 22 parts. It’s going to be a lot of fun to be part of, with almost all the cast playing at least one convict and one guard, so there will be ample opportunity for character, costume and gender swapping.

It’ll be an energetic production, with 9 shows to sink your teeth into, in a fantastic space. If you haven’t done summertime open air theatre before you are in for a treat – if you have then you know already!

Script/audition pieces

Some copies of the play are available to lend to GST members. Please contact us if you are interested in borrowing a copy.

The play is available from Amazon (click here) and other booksellers. We will be using the Bloomsbury Methuen Drama edition, published in 2015 (ISBN 978-1474274449).

It will be advantageous to have read the play prior to the audition. Page numbers for audition pieces will be available online, closer to the audition.

Please do consider attending the pre-audition workshop on Tuesday 26th February at 7:30pm. More information here

Please contact us to reserve a place on ourcountrysgood@gardensuburbtheatre.org.uk

Expected commitment if cast

We will be kicking off the rehearsal process with a read-through on the 21st March and an intense weekend of character development work on Sat 27th/Sun 28th April.

This will be followed by three rehearsals a week until the show. One of these will be on Sunday afternoon, and the others on two weeknights. Most rehearsals will take place in the Little Wood open air space (Addison Way, NW11 6QS).

However some earlier (or wetter) rehearsals will take place in the nearby Free Church Hall.

In addition to rehearsals, please ensure you are available all day for the Set-Build/Technical rehearsal weekend on Saturday 29th and Sunday 30th June. Also for every night on the opening week Monday 1st July to Friday 5th July (opening night) and for the following other shows: Sun 7th July (matinee), Tuesday 9th July, Thursday 11th July, Saturday 13th July (matinee and evening show), Wednesday 17th July, Friday 19th July and Saturday 20th July (evening show and get out).

If you have any questions at all please contact us at ourcountrysgood@gardensuburbtheatre.org.uk

Parts/Characters

We are more interested in ability, than age or, for a few of the parts, gender. So please use the bracketed information below as a guide only, and if you want to try out for a part please don’t let it stop you.

Please do email to discuss if you are unsure or have any questions,
at ourcountrysgood@gardensuburbtheatre.org.uk

Phillp/Wisehammer [Playing age: 40 -60. Playing Gender: Male]

Two clever and thoughtful men who have both had radically different experiences of life. An opportunity to explore this and come up with two contrasting characters.

Captain Arthur Phillip, RN – the appointed Governor of the colony, clever and sympathetic to the convicts, with a clear sense of authority.

John Wisehammer – Arrested for a minor crime which he protests his innocence for. Slightly pedantic and opinionated, he has a love for the written word.

Second Lieutenant Ralph Clark [Playing age: 20 -40. Playing Gender: Male]

A large part, and the only one not doubled. Ralph decides to direct the play as an attempt to impress his superiors. He starts off a nervous, troubled chap in love with Betsy Alicia who is still in England. He changes through the play and grows in confidence, eventually learning to respect the convicts and falling for Mary Brenham.

Mary Brenham/Reverend Richard Johnson. [Playing age: 20-40. Playing Gender: Female]

Two completely contrasting roles (and genders).

Mary Brenham – shy and slightly naive despite being a convict, and often overshadowed by her friend Dabby. She is cast by Ralph in the play and eventually falls for him. A larger part

Reverend Richard Johnson – Dogmatic. He has strong opinions on how others should behave, and no hesitation in sharing them. A smaller part. Will be played as a man.

Captain David Collins, RM/Robert Sideway. [Playing age: 30-50. Playing Gender: Male]

Two medium sized parts, with little in common.

Captain David Collins – The colony’s judge. Well educated and logical to fault, he thinks carefully before speaking.

Robert Sideway – Former pickpocket who fancies he can pass as a gentlemen. Also thinks himself a superior actor compared to the rest of the company. Sweet but deluded, and quick to lose his cool. Great comic potential.

Second Lieutenant William Faddy/Dabby Bryant/Meg Long [Playing age: 20-40. Playing Gender: Female or Male]

A real ensemble role. Dabby is a largish part and Meg and Faddy two important smaller parts.

Dabby Bryant – Friend of Mary. Confident, fiery and pragmatic. Constantly dreaming of home. Tends to make the best of things and really wants to be in the play.

Meg Long – Described as old and smelly. Shitty Meg, as she calls herself, is defiant and straight to the point.

Second Lieutenant William Faddy – Critical and mean-spirited. He dislikes Ralph and is negative and sarcastic about the play.

Captain Jemmy Campbell, RM/Midshipman Harry Brewer/John Arscott [Playing age: 30 -60. Playing Gender: Male]

These three roles combined form one of the largest roles in the play. Three really different and engaging characters.

Midshipman Harry Brewer –Largest of the three parts. An officer, but the lowest ranked. He is tormented by insecurities, guilt and ghosts. In an unhealthy relationship with Duckling.

John Arscott – a simple man who is the most hopeless of all the convicts.

Captain Jemmy Campbell – Almost incoherent – comic part that could be played in number of different ways.

Major Robbie Ross, RM/James “Ketch” Freeman [Playing age: 30 -60. Playing Gender: Male]

One a toady and one a bully. Luckily they never meet.

James “Ketch” Freeman – rejected by the other convicts due his past and role as hangman, he is a desperate and somewhat pathetic character.

Major Robbie Ross – Unsympathetic and unpleasant. He is more interested in his own welfare with little empathy for the convicts.

Lieutenant George Johnston, RM/Black Caesar/Aboriginal Australian [Playing age: 20 -60. Playing Gender: Male]

A part for aborigine, black or mixed race actor. Three diverse roles.

Aboriginal Australian – Poetic and enigmatic, the lone aborigine observes the colony without being part of events. Adds depth and counterpoint to the play.

Black Caesar – French speaking native of Madagascar, the most optimistic about escape. Dreams of his homeland and ancestors, but struggles with nerves performing in Ralph’s play.

Lieutenant George Johnston, RM – A smaller part. Officer who is sympathetic to the play and convicts.

Captain Watkin Tench, RM/Duckling Smith [Playing age: 20 -40. Playing Gender: Female]

Two important roles, playing two genders.

Duckling Smith – Clever and pragmatic, she uses Harry’s affection for her to improve her circumstances. Status is important to her. Plays a dangerous game with Harry that she ultimately loses control of.

Captain Watkin Tench, RM – Rigid and unsophisticated with his opinions, has little sympathy for the convicts and doesn’t believe they can be redeemed.

Lieutenant William Dawes, RM/Liz Morden [Playing age: 20 -40. Playing Gender: Female]

One smaller and one larger part of different genders

Liz Morden – Outspoken and considered a troublemaker, and has given up caring what happens to her, although being in Ralph’s play goes some way to changing that.

Lieutenant William Dawes – The Academic, couldn’t care less about anything else but astronomy, including the convicts or the play.