|Audition Notice||The Winter's Tale||
by William Shakespeare
Emmeline Winterbotham is delighted to be returning to the Tower Theatre amid nostalgic memories of playing
Hermione at the Jardin Shakespeare, with her 11 year old twins, 16 years ago. Past directing roles for the Company include My Mother Said I Never Should and
The Misanthrope. More recently her play Baba Shakespeare ran at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston prior to being selected by the
RSC to represent London in the 2012 World Shakespeare Festival at Stratford-on-Avon.
The director writes :
"A sad tale's best for winter" observes young Prince Mamillius prophetically. And within the blink of an eye, he, his family and all those closest to him are dragged along in a great Tsunami of death and destruction which shakes this erstwhile happy kingdom to its foundations.
At the heart of the storm lies the jealous madness of his father Leontes : like April weather - seemingly roused from nowhere, which propels the first three acts of the play to a pitch of sadness from which there appears no return.
And indeed Shakespeare could have continued from there in pure tragic vein. The writing bears many hallmarks of the tragedies (notably Othello) which preceded it. But as in The Tempest, that other late, great play, Shakespeare seems to be offering us something beyond easy classification - humanity in the round.
The storm clears and Time moves us swiftly on to pastoral themes, comedy, dance and a celebration of Life's force before Destiny sweeps up all hopes and pains and carries them to the foot of a royal statue. The final scene is one of the most daring and moving moments in all theatre. It is only required "that you awake your faith".
The Winter's Tale shows Shakespeare at the absolute summit of his powers. All of him is here. The trauma of the tragedies, the light and sparkle of the comedies, songs, poetry, humour and the passion of romance. I am looking for a fabulous, versatile and committed ensemble to share in the sheer joy and challenge of it. And in Paris no less!
The ensemble will include the following roles :
Please note that the ages suggested below are provided as a general guide to playing age and, where appropriate, reflect the 16 year passage of time which occurs between Acts 3 and 4.
It will be assumed that anyone coming forward for audition will have read the play.
Leontes, King of Sicilia : His descent into jealous madness has been likened to "Othello on speed". Undergoes a profound transformational journey. 30s and 50s.
Hermione, deeply maligned Queen of Sicilia, daughter of the Emperor of Russia : Behaves with great dignity, spirit and fortitude. Statue scene possibly the most magical theatrical coup in the whole of Shakespeare. Late 20s and 40s.
Prince Mamillius, their young son and bright hope of Sicilia : Playing age 7 yrs - young actors (male or female) sixteen and over welcome!
Paulina, devoted friend to Hermione : A woman of huge character and eloquence. Dares to speak truth to power. 30s and 50s.
Antigonus, husband to Paulina : Loyal and wise counsellor - a man of visions - who "exits pursued by a bear". 40s.
Camillo : Raised from a lower rank to become Leontes' key advisor and strategist. Emigrates rather than be party to regicide. Subsequently right hand man to Polixenes. 40s and late 50s.
Emilia : Loyal Lady in waiting to Hermione. Accompanies her to prison. (Lots of opportunity for doubling) 30s/60s.
Cleomenes : A Lord sent to enquire of Apollo's Oracle (Lots of opportunity for doubling) 30s and 50s.
Dion : A Lord who accompanies Cleomenes to the Oracle. (Lots of opportunity for doubling) 20s/30s and 40/50s.
Archidamus : A silver-tongued Lord of Bohemia. Opens the play (Lots of opportunity for doubling) 30s/60s.
Polixenes, King of Bohemia : Inseparable childhood friend to Leontes and the target of his new found jealousy. Shares many traits in common with him. 30s and 50s.
Prince Florizel, his son : Disguises as Doricles. Ready to risk all for love of Perdita and his personal code of honour. Early 20s.
Perdita, lost Princess of Sicilia : In love with Florizel. Although raised by a shepherd from birth, her moral intellect and royal blood shine through. 16 yrs.
Old Shepherd : Rescues Perdita as a baby and raises her as his own. Comic and warm hearted. 60s and 83 (four score and three!)
Clown, his son : The name says it all. Easily duped, but a generous soul who is ultimately rewarded. In love with Mopsa. Teens and late 20s.
Autolycus : Ballad singer, confidence trickster and dealer in fake merchandise. Lives by his own (im)moral code. Ex-servant to Florizel. Looking for any opportunity to make a turn. Confident singing voice. Rock guitar /acrobatic or sleight of hand tricks an advantage late 20s/40s.
Mopsa : An attractive shepherdess. An item with Clown. 20s.
Dorcas : A frustrated shepherdess. Jealous of Mopsa. (Doubles with 1st Lady, Act 2 scene 1) late 20s.
Other speaking roles to be cast from the ensemble :
2nd Lady (Act 2 scene 1) : A favourite of the young Prince.
Gaoler (Act 2 scene 2) : A man of good conscience prepared to take a risk.
Officer (Act 3 scene 2) : Presides over Hermione's hastily got-up trial.
Mariner (Act 3 scene 3) : Delivers Antigonus to the deserts of Bohemia.
Time (Opens Act 4) : Daring the audience to "slide o'er sixteen years".
Chorus of Lords (Act 5 scene 3) : Fine narrative roles which set up the play's climax
Various Attendants and Lords
Non-speaking ensemble roles which include Storm Chorus, Shepherds and Shepherdesses.
The play will be cut significantly to give a running time of about two hours twenty minutes. However, for the auditions, please use any published version of the script - if you don't have a copy, you can view/download it online here.
We are looking for people to fill the following roles :
Assistant Stage Manager
If you are interested in any of these roles or in being involved in the show in any other capacity please contact the Director, Emmeline Winterbotham.