Play Readings & Auditions

Auditions:-

One day in 1974, a rather smelly, reclusive lady, who called herself Mary Shepherd, drove her van into Alan Bennetts garden in Camden and there she stayed, in his driveway, until her death in 1989.

Writing about her later, he questions how she overcame his initial resistance to the idea. Perhaps, he admits wryly, it was just easier to say yes than no. Miss Shepherd was certainly a strong personality, completely convinced of her own importance in the world and, therefore, her right to be indulged and catered for, with no consideration for personal hygiene or social niceties. She was fiercely secretive about her own past, but there were hints that she might once have been a child prodigy at the piano; that she had studied in France; and that she had failed in her bid to become a nun. Moreover, she harboured a guilty secret. And Alan Bennett fell hopelessly under the sway of this remarkable, and ultimately rather admirable, cock-eyed character, eventually writing a heart-warming, and award-winning, play about their 15-year relationship. As he says in the foreword: It is mainly true. 

Auditions for The Lady in the Van will take place upstairs at The Cornerhouse, Bath Street, Frome at 7.30pm on Wednesday 29th November and Monday 4th December.

Apart from Miss S herself, there are two versions of Alan Bennett, his mother, neighbours Pauline and Rufus, a female social worker and a dilapidated figure called Underwood to be cast, as well as several smaller roles. All welcome!

For more information & to obtain preparation pieces please email the director, Philip de Glanville, at pmdeglanville@btinternet.com

 



                                                                                                                                                   

Play Readings:-

Our monthly play readings usually take place on the second Monday of the month and are held upstairs at The Cornerhouse situated at the top of Bath Street, Frome. Readings start at 7.45 p.m.  so arrive in good time, get a drink at the bar and head upstairs for a great evening. You don't have to be an FDC member to join in, and there's no pressure to read if you prefer just to listen.

 

ADVANCE NOTICE  

After the success of this year's March Monologues evening, we thought we would have another go in 2018. 

The brief is simple; choose a short dramatic piece, no more than four minutes long, which could be from the classic or contemporary repertoire, or even of your own devising. If you like a piece that is punctuated with another characters voice, and you can remove a line or two without altering the meaning of the text, thats fine.

The emphasis this time will be on performance more than text, so do your best to learn your piece, (youve got five months!), and come and try out your acting skills in a friendly and supportive group. More details in due course; in the meantime, put Monday March 12th in your diary.


13th November 2017

If you remember the classic Ealing Studios movie, or are a fan of Graham Linehan's TV work, (Father Ted, Black Books, The IT Crowd, Count Arthur Strong), you shouldn't miss this chance to read his 2011 stage adaptation of The Ladykillers.  In this delicious black comedy, a sweet little old lady, Mrs Wilberforce, is pitted against a ruthless gang of misfits, led by would-be criminal mastermind, Professor Marcus. Can she thwart their desperate plans? Only one way to find out.....

October '17

A Voyage Round My Father, John Mortimer's emotionally delicate, autobiographical play about his blind, eccentric, Shakespeare-loving, barrister father, drew a good crowd of readers, including several welcome new faces, and gave us a good evening's entertainment.

September '17

Laura Wade's Colder Than Here, examines, with great tenderness, humour and sensitivity, how a family start to come to terms with the imminent death of the wife and mother, as they tentatively find new ways to communicate with each other.

June '17

We had fun with Patrick Barlow's Olivier Award-winning adaptation of John Buchan's classic, 1915 spy novel, The 39 Steps. The women were beautiful, the villains were deadly, the upper lips were stiff, and the accents cut-glass.

May '17

In this new era of "Fake News," Howard Brenton and David Hare's, Murdoch-inspired 1985 satire, Pravda, turned out to have been prophetically accurate, as well as highly entertaining.

April '17

Calum Grant led a reading of Richard Bean's highly successful One Man, Two Guvnors, which he will direct for the club in the autumn. Adaptated from Carlo Goldoni's Commedia dell'arte original Servant of Two Masters, it relocates the action from 1743 to Brighton in the early sixties.  

 March '17

Instead of reading one play, we invited you to prepare a dramatic monologue to share, and enjoyed one of our busiest, and most exciting Monday nights. 21 pieces, all under five minutes, varying from Shakespeare to Victoria Wood, (and including several originals), all delivered with passion, humour and panache, to a very appreciative audience. Take note; we will definitely be doing this again, so why not start learning something for the next one, now

February '17

It's official; the Northumbrian accent really is the hardest to reproduce, particularly for the soft southerners amongst us. Hats off, then, to the readers who made such a good job of Lee Hall's moving, and very funny, The Pitmen Painters,  the true story of the Ashington group of coalminers who achieved artistic recognition in the 30s and 40s, and now have a permanent gallery dedicated to their work.  

January '17

We tackled Tony Harrison's The Trackers of Oxyrynchus. High and low culture, hilarity, horror, and Yorkshire accents - but we stopped short of the clog dancing and the extravagant phallii.

November '16

Our last reading of the year was Henrik Ibsen's deeply weird late masterpiece, The Master Builder. 

 October '16

By popular demand, we returned to, (and still didn't finish), Craig Taylor's One Million Tiny Plays About Britain, acting out a bewildering, and highly entertaining cast of characters and situations. 

September '16

We read two of the many radio dramas Louis MacNeice created for the  BBC, cited as "the best creative work done for the medium in its twenty year heydey, before television captured the audience."

June '16

We enjoyed Tartuffe, in Roger McGough's jolly verse adaptation, which finds every drop of humour in Moličre's tale of a family divided by the devious, titular interloper.

May '16

"Unarguably one of the best dramas of the twenty-first century," said the Guardian, and Jez Butterworth's Jerusalem didn't disappoint an enthusiastic crowd of readers, who relished the strong characters, (and the Wiltshire vernacular).

April '16

Half a dozen of us gathered to read Caryl Churchill's Cloud Nine; a surreal, frequently very funny and forthright exploration of colonialism, sexual repression and conditioning, in which wives are played by men, and sons by women.

March '16

Alan Bennett's adaption of Kenneth Grahame's classic, The Wind in the Willows, gave us a great evening's entertainment, and many thought it a candidate for a future production. Particularly memorable was the whole cast's redition of "In the Bleak Midwinter" - as fieldmice... 

February '16

With David Riley planning to direct Peter Shaffer's The Private Ear as our summer festival production, we read it with its usual companion piece, The Public Eye. They're bittersweet comedies, exploring the tension between order and passion. 

January '16

A Month in the Country by Ivan Turgenev. We read the Emlyn Williams version. This 'passionate, moving comedy', which is on our list of possible future productions, contrasts the genteel languor of country life with the desperate passions beneath the surface. 

November '15

We enjoyed Craig Taylor's One Million Tiny Plays About Britain, a collection of vignettes, each no more than a page or so long, funny, poignant and thought-provoking in turn. As we only got about half way through, there was a general feeling that we would return to these in 2016.

October '15

Harold Pinter's once reviled, now revered, The Birthday Party was led by Cheryl St George, and prompted some interesting discussion

September '15

Steve Scammell led us through The Tempest, which he will direct for the club in Autumn 2016. Shakespeare's late masterpiece offered plenty of magic, humour and some imaginitive characterisation. 

July '15 

Constellations, Nick Payne's award-winning two-hander about free will and friendship, quantum multiverse theory, love, death and honey, impressed us all. It's a short piece, packed with ideas, full of humour, and with a real heart to it. We introduced a suitably random structure to the reading...

 

June '15

A noble attempt to get to grips with J.M. Synge's interpretation of rural Irish vernacular, as we read The Playboy of the Western World, enjoying its rich mix of tragedy and comedy, and wonderful language.

 May '15

 A couple of dozen of us read Keith Dewhurst's adaption of Lark Rise in a variety of Oxfordshire-ish accents, enjoyed the music, sang lustily, and wondered how this would play in Frome as a promenade-style production.                           

April '15

 After a few hefty dramas, we lightened the mood somewhat.....with a tale of death and the supernatural! Noel Coward's 1941 perennial farce Blithe Spirit is currently on our list of possible productions so we took the opportuntiy to unleash a few hidden Madame Arcartis. It was a great read - who would've foreseen that!

March '15

 Keely Beresford led a reading of Thornton Wilder's American classic, Our Town. It was extremely well attended and very much enjoyed. One to watch perhaps in respect of future FDC productions.........

 

February '15

  Tina Waller led a reading of The House of Bernada Alba, the final, and aguably the finest of Federico Garcia Lorca's plays.

January '15

Laurie Parnell led a fast-moving, wildly funny and bitingly satirical reading of Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo.

 November '14

Calum Grant led a reading of Say Goodnight to Grandma by Colin Welland, a wry modern comedy set in't North

October '14

We read Mrs Warren's Profession, by George Bernard Shaw, and thoroughly enjoyed this superb piece of writing and the sexual politics which inspired it.

September '14

We had an enormous turn-out for Henry Fielding's Tom Jones - almost ran out of chairs! A great read, obviously very popular, and bodes well for the Club's Spring Production next year.

 June  '14

There were 10 of us to read Amadeus by Peter Shaffer; an ideal number, which gave everyone a chance at the very demanding role of Salieri.  A thrilling evening.

May  '14

Another great turnout for Arcadia by Tom Stoppard, led by Laurie Parnell. 

April  '14

The Visit by Friedrich Durrenmatt, led by Mike Walker - an unusual and thought-provoking play; not to everyone's taste but we certainly appreciated the quality of the writing.

March  '14

Ring around the Moon by Jean Anouilh in the translation by Christopher Fry - very well attended and much enjoyed.

February  '14

Jump to Cow Heaven by Gill Adams. This reading of our 2014 Frome Festival production to be directed by Tina Waller gave us a foretaste of a great production later in the year.

January  '14

The Ruling Class by Peter Barnes occupied a record turnout of readers in the New Year.

November  '13

Comfort & Joy by Mike Harding got us well and truly in the mood for our own Christmas celebrations!

October  '13

We read and enjoyed Two Planks & A Passion, by Anthony Minghella.

September  '13

After our summer break we read Abigail's Party by Mike Leigh which will be our Spring 2014 production.

July  '13

 To bring our play reading season up to the summer recess we read The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh.   

June  '13

Ahead of our autumn production we read A Chorus of Disapproval by Alan Ayckbourn .

May  '13

Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution attracted a good crowd who provided a suitably dramatic gasp as the denouement was played out!

April  '13

 Anton Chekhov never goes out of fashion and this month we enjoyed two of his finest one act comedies or vaudevilles,  The Proposal and The Bear.