Reading and auditions for Willy Russell’s One For the Road




The Chesil Theatre is seeking a talented cast of four actors for its September production of Willy Russell’s ‘One For The Road’. Willy Russell is an acclaimed playwright, best known for Educating Rita, Shirley Valentine, Our Day Out and Blood Brothers.

READING: Friday 12th June 2015 at 7.45pm

AUDITIONS: Saturday 13th June at 10am and Sunday 14th June at 7.45pm

PERFORMANCES: 19th to 26th September 2015

The play is a witty, observant comedy set in a fictional Northern housing estate in the early 1980s. It is a story of class mobility, squandered dreams and mid-life crisis.

It was first published in 1980 and later revised and updated by Russell in 1985. The Chesil production will be a combination of the two versions, predominantly the revised text but integrating some material from the original text.

There are four roles, of roughly equal size, requiring playing ages of early to mid-thirties:

Dennis – a dissatisfied, rebellious man hitting his mid-thirties and not liking what he has become.

Pauline – his wife, who strives to be socially accepted and struggles to understand Dennis’ behaviour.

Jane – a formidable woman who runs the social milieu of the housing estate.

Roger – Jane’s husband, outwardly jovial. Occasionally his middle-class pretentions slip.

Jim Glaister has directed short plays for the Chesil stage in the past, as well as several low budget short films, but this will be his first full-length production as Director for the Chesil Theatre. Being of Northern stock and having vivid memories of formative years in the early 80s, the play’s blend of social comment, farce, Northern attitudes and occasional coarse humour proved impossible to resist.

It’s going to be a blast – come along and join the fun!

Newcomers always welcome. Just turn up via the stage door.

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Reading and audition dates for Chekov’s classic ‘The Seagull’



By Anton Chekhov, in a new version by Anya Reiss

Director: Deborah Edgington

READING: Friday 1 May 2015 at 7.45pm

AUDITIONS: Saturday 2 May at 10am and  Sunday 3 May at 7.45pm

PERFORMANCES: 11 to 18 July 2015

“Love is the only thing on this earth that can make you happy …”

A new version of Chekhov’s comic masterpiece adapted by Anya Reiss (winner of the Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Most Promising Playwright Award).  It premiered at Southwark Playhouse in 2012. The Telegraph: “Fresh, colloquial, sexy and downright perceptive.”

Reignited for the 21st century, Reiss manages to remain true to Chekhov’s original theme about unrequited love – eight of the characters are unhappy in love.  It is also a beautifully crafted drama with plenty of themes to explore including the agonies of art, literature and ambition, and the comic tragedies that are borne out of this struggle.

Movement will be used in the play to express ideas and emotions, needing actors who can move with ease rather than experienced dancers.  These are the roles, with approximate playing ages:

Arkadina                   an actress 45/50s, egotistical

Konstantin                her son, early 20s, has ambitions to become an avant-garde writer, loves Nina

Sorin                         Arkadina’s older brother

Nina                          daughter of rich landowner, 18/20s, loves Trigorin

Shamrayev                manager of Sorin’s estate, cantankerous

Polina                        his wife, loves Dorn,

Masha                       his daughter, late 20s, loves Konstantin

Trigorin                     a writer, younger lover of Arkadina

Dorn                         a doctor, 50s, charming, loves Arkadina

Medvedenko              a teacher, pedantic, 20s/30s, loves Masha

The director Deborah says she is thrilled to be reunited with the same creative team as A Streetcar Named Desire: Lorraine Robinson (Producer), Duncan Wilson (Set Designer), Tony Rogers (Lighting and Sound Designer), David Small (Stage Manager), Peter Walker (ASM).  If it is anything like the experience on Streetcar, the whole cast and crew will have lots of fun withThe Seagull.  Do come along!

N.B. the auditions are on Saturday and Sunday, not the usual Sunday and Monday.

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Tickets still available for ‘Beauty Queen of Leenane’

There is some ticket availability for ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’ which opens 21 March and runs until 28 March.  Tickets are available to purchase online.

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‘Quartet’ – Reading and Auditions

'Quartet' by Ronald Harwood

‘Quartet’ by Ronald Harwood

Chesil Theatre invites you to the reading of its forthcoming May 2015 play ‘Quartet’ on Friday 6th March, and the following open auditions on Sunday 8th and Monday 9th March. All at 7.45p

‘Quartet’, by Ronald Harwood, is an engaging and entertaining play about four residents in a retirement home for opera singers as they prepare for their annual concert to raise money to support their care. Jealousy, intrigue, gossip, lust, aging libido, food, and failing vocal prowess dominate their lives, leading to a nerve-racking but ultimately rewarding “grand finale”.

It had its first performance in 1999, with Stephanie Cole, Alec McCowen, Donald Sinden and Angela Thorne. It was made into a successful film in 2012, with a cast which included Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Billy Connolly & Pauline Collins.

Director Peter Liddiard is seeking two male and two female actors to fulfil the roles of these larger than life performers who are not quite ready to take their final curtain call. No singing involved! Please read on for more character information

  • Jean Horton, Soprano. Has the manner of a Grande Dame, but is vulnerable. (Originally played by Angela Thorne / Maggie Smith)
  • Cecily (Cissie) Robson Contralto. A “large” lady, gentle, naive, likes (some) men. (Originally played by Stephanie Cole / Pauline Collins)
  • Reginald Paget, Tenor. Bookish, precise, a stickler for detail (Originally played by Alec McCowan / Tom Courtenay.)
  • Wilfred Bond, Bass. Slightly unkempt, likes to talk dirty. (Originally played by Donald Sinden / Billy Connolly.)

Play readings are a popular social event and we hope you will join us for the read through of this delightful, heart-warming play. The bar will be open, and all are welcome! We look forwards to seeing you.


For further information please contact:

Rachel Waring




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“Boys don’t make passes…” an evening in the company of Dorothy Parker

The witty and acerbic Dorothy Parker

The witty and acerbic Dorothy Parker

Often quoted but seldom attributed, the work of leading American poet, writer, critic and satirist Dorothy Parker will be celebrated at the Chesil Theatre when Playgirls and Friends present Drinking with Dorothy – a selection of her sketches, songs and poems. Performances are on Saturday 21st February at 7.45pm and Sunday 22nd February at 3pm with tickets available online at or telephone 0333 666 336

During the 1920s and 30s, Dorothy Parker was famous for her sparkling wit and acerbic criticism. She had an eye for the foibles of the twentieth century. Her poems and short stories display both her disillusion with romantic love as well as her characters’ delight in drinking – despite Prohibition in the USA.

The stories have been dramatised by Chesil Theatre member, writer and dramaturg Cecily O’Neill with the permission of the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, whose aims were supported by Dorothy Parker and who now hold the rights to her work. The Winchester play reading group Playgirls and Friends return to the Chesil Theatre following several unique entertainments including Young Jane featuring the early writings of Jane Austen.

All proceeds from the performances of Drinking with Dorothy will go towards the Chesil Theatre Development Fund which aims to enhance and extend this popular arts venue. This season continues with Martin McDonagh’s strong tragi-comedy The Beauty Queen of Leenane from 21st to 28th March.




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Chesil Youth Theatre enters the fantasy world of Terry Pratchett

Chesil Youth  Theatre Seniors

Chesil Youth Theatre Seniors

Chesil Youth Theatre Juniors

Chesil Youth Theatre Juniors

The junior and senior sections of Winchester’s Chesil Youth Theatre will be combining to present Johnny and the Dead, based on the children’s book by popular novelist Terry Pratchett. Performances are on two nights only at 7.30pm on Thursday 12th and Friday 13th February 2015. Tickets at £10 (adults) and £8 (under 18s) are now available via the Chesil Theatre website or by calling TicketSource 0333 666 3366.

The play, adapted for the stage by Stephen Briggs, involves the adventures of 12-year-old Johnny Maxwell and his friends. If you start seeing dead people, you may have a problem! Johnny certainly has – especially when the dead hear their cemetery is going to be sold as a building site and want him to put a stop to the plans! They get restless and are not going to take this lying down particularly since Halloween is approaching. Will Johnny be able to put a stop to the juggernaut of officialdom and commerce (and be in bed by ten?)

Chesil Youth Theatre aims to develop presentation and acting skills whilst working as a team and fostering a life-long interest in theatre. Some former students have put their CYT experience to good use working as arts administrators and journalists. Others have entered the acting profession including Holby City star David Ames and Joe Allan who runs his own theatre company Closing the Gap. Current CYT members recently recorded Winchester’s “Talking Newspaper”.

Johnny and the Dead, is a popular Terry Pratchett story and was also made into a TV series for Children’s ITV featuring Brian Blessed.

For further information please contact:
Rachel Waring

Editor’s Note:
The attached images are supplied repro free for editorial use. Hi-res versions available. Please credit Stephanie Danby.

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Would you walk….Barefoot in the Park?



 Barefoot 3

Banish the January blues with this sparkling romantic comedy by Neil Simon, Directed by Alec Walters.

When newly-weds Corrie and Paul Bratter move into their freezing apartment in New York, free-spirited Corrie is effervescent at the thought of home-making. Paul however, is a straight-laced lawyer more interested in his burgeoning career. When their bohemian new neighbour drops in, Corrie tries to pair him off with her lonely mother, which ironically exposes cracks in the Bratter’s own marriage.

Barefoot in the Park is one of over thirty plays written by Neil Simon and it exploded on to Broadway in 1963, running for over 1500 performances. It was subsequently made into the highly successful 1967 film starring Jane Fonda and Robert Redford, making it an interesting choice for the small Chesil stage.

Director Alec Walters commented on the production, “This has been great fun to work on, and will be a special treat for our audiences if they might be suffering from the January blues, because very simply, this play will make you laugh! On a deeper level it deals with stress and strain in relationships, yet its greatest gift is to allow the audience to study this with great humour. “

There are of course lessons to be learned, and as the play unravels, our characters reveal that the secret of a successful relationship lies in compromise and being open to change. If only all conflicts could be resolved by walking ‘barefoot in the park’…?

Performance dates: 24-31 January 2015 (not Sunday) at 7.45pm and 31 January at 2.30pm.

Tickets £10 & £12 | Book now: | 0333 666 3366 (booking fee applies)

__________ends ________

Note to editors: For further information please contact:
Rachel Waring tel. 07956 047859 email:

Publicity image attached. Photo credit: Tony Rogers. Higher resolution imagery available on request.

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Tickets on sale for bubbling New York comedy, ‘Barefoot in the Park’


Barefoot website

Director: Alex Walters. Performance dates: 24 – 31 January 2015.  Book tickets for this show.

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Audtion dates for ‘The Beauty Queen of Leenane’ by Martin McDonagh

The Beauty Queen of Leenane is a 1996 black comedy by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh which was premiered by the Druid Theatre Company in Galway, Ireland. It also enjoyed successful runs at London’s West End, Broadway and Off-Broadway.

It was nominated for an Olivier Award as Best Play for the London production, and the 1998 Broadway production was nominated for six Tony Awards, winning four, for Best Leading Actress in a Play, Best Featured Actor in a Play, Best Featured Actress in a Play and Best Direction

Set in the Irish village of Leenane, Connemara in the early 1990s, the play is full of deceptions, secrets and betrayals, interspersed with turnabouts. It tells the darkly comic tale of Maureen, a plain lonely woman and Mag, her manipulative ageing mother, whose interference in Maureen’s first and possibly last chance of a loving relationship sets in motion a train of events that lead to a frightening conclusion to the show. The roles are:

Auditions  will take place on Sunday 11 January and Monday 12 January at the Chesil at 7:45pm.  There will also we be an informal read-through in Friday 9 January at the Chesil at 7:45pm.  Non-members welcome.

The roles are:

  • Mag – the elderly mother, around 60-70 playing age
  • Maureen – her daughter, 40s
  • Pato – the suitor, 40s
  • Ray – Pato’s younger brother late teens/early

For more information, please contact the director, Norma York, 023 8026 5821






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‘Little Women’ trailer

Check out the trailer for ‘Little Women’.

Tickets still available for this fabulous Christmas show.


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