Sunday, 29 September 2013

Audition notice

The new Sewell Barn newsletter, just published and sent to members, includes our audition notice. As we've said below, we reckon the auditions alone would be worth the price of a ticket. Come along and enjoy them, join in and entertain!!


Down Among the Wines & Spirits

Are you an entertainer? Can you deliver a song or monologue direct to an audience and create a whole character in three or four minutes? Can you work on your own as well as in a large company?

Can you deliver a monologue in a way that’s natural and musical (not necessarily sung)? Can you project, focus and keep a rhythm?

Do you fall into one or more of these categories?

·         Powerful, tuneful, confident singers (can deliver a good ballad)
·         Actors who can use music with confidence without being 'singers' (think Victoria Wood, Noel Coward, Dame Judi) - this is probably our most important category
·         People who can't sing at all (or don't think they can) but who can deliver that monologue with masses of character
·         A speciality act (e.g. juggling, ventriloquism, tightrope-walking, fire-eating, magic illusions, etc etc)

If so - you have the opportunity to create a unique experience for performers and audience alike. For four shows only, we’ll bring to life the characters who entertained the UK from around 1880 until World War 1, the era that became known as The Golden Age of Music Hall.  Many might still be familiar names, even to a 21st century audience (Marie Lloyd, Vesta Tilley, George Robey) and were at the top of the bill; many others you’ll never have heard of, but they were able to earn a modest living ‘down among the wines and spirits’ – at the foot of the bill, next to the list of refreshments.

So yes, we need you to help create this.  Ideally around 12 performers, but could be as few as 8 or as many as 16, playing probably two characters each in the course of the evening and covering as wide a range as possible. We’ve identified many of the artistes who played alongside Marie Lloyd herself at the Norwich Hippodrome in 1913, and it depends on YOU who will be resurrected for the delight of the Sewell Barn audience a century later.

Our script will be created after the auditions, since we won’t know till then whether we have a Dan Leno, an Albert Chevalier or a Gus Elen; a Vesta Tilley, a Nellie Wallace or a Florrie Forde. Please don’t try to second-guess what we want, because in many cases we won’t know until we see it! And you may well end up playing somebody you’ve never previously heard of.

The one fixed point in the show will be one of those representing the ‘foot of the bill’: Selwyn’s real-life grandfather, Ben Tillett, who performed on the halls for many years with his three children. Ben needs to be fairly young (early 30s), will act as observer and link-man (in the absence of a ‘chairman’, who belonged to an earlier era), and will need to perform one or two of his own songs and re-create the patter of his double-act with a suitable colleague.

If you can entertain in any of the ways above, please come along and audition. Enjoy the chance to captivate an audience and move them to tears or laughter; create a tiny and memorable vignette. Celebrate the legacy that’s seen today in more aspects of the performing arts than many probably realise – and be a part of a unique homage to our theatrical ancestors.

While the show will only include items that would have been performed during the ‘Golden Age’, audition pieces can be from any era, as long as the style’s correct. So, many of the songs of Flanders & Swann, Victoria Wood or Noel Coward would be ideal to show us your skill for entertaining; likewise, many songs-from-shows tell a story in a few minutes.  Or, of course, any genuine music hall numbers.

  • If you can entertain, please audition
  • If you have a speciality act, come and demonstrate it
  • If you want to sing or perform a monologue that’s underscored with music, bring the music with you
  • And remember, there are no obvious castings in this show – its form depends completely on the combination of characters we’re offered.

Our auditions are of course open: we need to see you ‘play an audience’. They are at 7.30 pm at the Barn on Monday 28th October. If you can’t make that date, please let us know and we’ll make another opportunity for you.

Contact us if you have any questions – and we very much hope to see you there. If all goes as we’d like it to, the auditions alone would be worth paying to see!

Cassie & Selwyn Tillett

  • Cast meet-up in early November
  • Rehearsals begin during w/c Sunday 5th January
  • Rehearsals on Thursday nights and Sunday afternoons, but you’ll probably only be called for 1 rehearsal per week until they increase in the final fortnight as usual
  • Performances Thursday 6th to Saturday 8th March 2014 (matinee on 8th March)

NB: it’s unlikely that you could take part in this show if you are in Once in a Lifetime, as our final rehearsal period clashes with the performances of that show.

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