10th to 12th December and 16th to 18th December - including matinees
Mondays, Wednesdays and some Sundays
Our Christmas show is a new version of Hans Christian Anderson’s wonderful story – The Snow Queen. Gerda’s friend Kai disappears one day after the Snow Queen meets him. She puts a splinter of ice into his heart so that he cannot remember his home or anyone he knows. Gerda goes to find her friend and, on the way, enlists the help of all those she meets. Will she get to Kai on time or will he stay a prisoner forever in the frozen castle?
There is a long list of characters. Much of the story though can be played by an ensemble who take on the many roles. Of course we will need someone to play Gerda and Kai and the Snow Queen herself in all her chilling power! Which means there are lots of opportunities to act.
This is a funny and touching show – just like the original story. With some songs to cheer us on. It will truly be a magical evening for the audience and for everyone involved.
We are casting across the Bancroft Players, Big Spirit Youth Theatre and the Juniors so all the generations of the Society can work together.
Audition dates: Tuesday 24th and Thursday 26th August 2021
Performance dates: Tuesday 9th November to Saturday 13th November 2021
Rehearsal nights: Tuesdays and Thursdays
by Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, is a densely coiled two-hander.
Heather and Carla haven’t seen each other since school. Their lives have taken very different paths – Carla lives a hand to-mouth existence while Heather has a high-flying career, husband and a beautiful home. And yet, here they are in a café having tea and making awkward conversation. That is until Heather presents Carla with a bag containing a significant amount of cash and an unexpected proposition.
Morgan Lloyd Malcolm’s electric play asks how far beyond the playground we carry our childhood experiences and to what lengths some people are willing to go in order to come to terms with them.
Characters: Carla and Heather both in their late twenties or early thirties.
Scripts: Please contact Keith Swainston to borrow a copy of the script or to obtain further information on
Feeling trapped in a world of domesticity, Shirley, a housewife from Liverpool, needs a change in her life before she has another conversation with the walls.
When her friend Jane invites her on a trip to a Greek island, Shirley jumps at the chance.
While relaxing on holiday, she rediscovers the woman she used to be and the happiness that she has been missing. Shirley embarks on a passionate affair with Costas, a local Greek man, and realizes that there is more to life than the dull, mundane existence she leads back home.
At the airport, she has a major decision to make. Head home to her old life or go back to the hotel she has been staying at to ask for a job. Finally, she is living the life she has dreamed of and rediscovered the self-confidence she has lost.
The auditions will take place at The QMT on Monday 19th July and Wednesday 21st July 2021
Shirley – a middle-aged housewife. You all know Shirley and you also know the commitment and hard work that will be required to play this amazing role. It is not for the faint-hearted. It’s two hours of YOU, talking, remembering, cooking (chips and egg), engaging, playing, laughing, crying and being Shirley Valentine! But what a fantastic role!
Choose two of the following that you think really brings out your best.
I am really excited to be directing this strong one-woman show and looking forward to having lots of laughs with whoever becomes “Shirley”.
The Retreat is a fast moving comical play which explores a modern day search for enlightenment and the process of giving up a former life.
The main action focusses on the turbulent relationship between Luke and his brother Tony.
Luke has decided to give up his lucrative job and expensive London flat in search of peace
and happiness as a Buddhist monk. Tony who has been enjoying the life his brother has
provided for him thinks it’s a dumb idea and has tracked his brother down to a retreat in the
Scottish highlands to change his mind. There is one problem Tara. A beautiful, enigmatic and idealistic young woman who would rather see Luke’s money helping the community to build a temple.
500 years BC the Buddha renounced his princely life and left his family to experience the real world. During many years he encountered suffering and self-denial until he reached a state of enlightenment and began to teach “The Middle Way” based on key principles to live life to reach Nirvana. Today millions of people around the world follow the teachings which emphasise the ability to effect your own destiny rather than relying on divine power.
Luke: acting age 25-35; Businessman, charismatic, previously stressed now turning to
meditation and Buddhism so projects a calm image. He is clearly attracted to Tara but trying to hide it.
Tony: acting age 25-35. Outspoken, quick witted and cutting. Likes his life, uses drugs recreationally and has no desire to change.
Tara: acting age 25-35. Charismatic and determined. She is an entrepreneur and quietly seductive without trying. She is dressed as the “Green Tara” (a Buddhist deity who enables men to make change).
Chanting: There will be some Chanting and meditation come prepared!
Luke and Tony pg 5-8, Luke and Tony (40-46) & 48-53, Luke and Tony 70-71 Meditation
Luke and Tara 61-67, All 15-22.
For further Information:
Contact: for copies of the audition pieces (in pdf format) or on 07973 563511 if you would like more information about the play.
PLEASE NOTE : These auditions are being held online – please DO NOT come to the theatre. Zoom details below.
Seventy years ago (in 1951) the Dell Theatre was opened by the then Hitchin Urban District Council (now NHDC) as part of the Festival of Britain celebrations. The Council built the theatre for what they thought may just be a one-off occasion and the show was A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed for the Bancroft Players by Maurice Keeley, a local schoolteacher. In fact, the Bancroft Players went on to use the Dell Theatre for several years into the 1960s, presenting the gamut of Shakespearean comedies. When, the QMT was built and opened in 1983, the Dell had long grown into dis-use so it was left to the wonderful Rosemary Bianchi to lead the charge to get it re-opened, especially as the QMT was bang next door to the venue. And from the 1990s until about 2011 the BPs continued to use it each year.
After years of petitioning the local council and through the sterling efforts of Keith Hoskins and Judy Billing, the council have recently agreed to re-launch the venue and they have asked the Bancroft Players to open the new Dell with – what else – A Midsummer Night’s Dream as part of this year’s Hitchin Festival.
It will be a whole-Bancroft Players production with Juniors, Big Spirit and the senior Society involved. To make the rehearsing easier we will rehearse in teams and each team will have a very experienced director leading it.
Team 1 – The Court
Theseus – King of Athens
Egeus – father of Hermia
Hippolyta – Bride to Theseus
Philostrate – master of revels
Team 2 – The Lovers
Demetrius – a young swain
Lysander – in love with Hermia
Hermia – in love with Lysander
Helena – in love with Demetrius
Team 3 – The Mechanicals
Peter Quince – the troupe’s director
Bottom – a weaver who is a bit of an ass
Snug – a joiner
Flute – a bellows-mender
Snout – a tinker
Starveling – a tailor
Team 4 – The Fairy Folk
Titania – Queen of the fairies
Oberon – their King
Puck – a mischievous sprite
Peaseblossom, Cobweb, Mustardseed and Moth – fairy folk
So there are many adult roles to be cast, guys. We are taking a gender-neutral approach so don’t be put off if you feel the wrong gender for a particular role – go for it!
The audition pieces will be put on the BP members FaceBook page by this weekend and the auditions will take place on Wednesday and Thursday at 8pm on 5th and 6th May via Zoom.
It’s going to be a big welcome back production for everyone so I want all of you to be part of it one way or another. Rehearsals start on Monday 17th May (first day back in the Theatre!). I will also send the pieces by email if you wish and you can contact me on . And I will send them out.
As we are doing the play in modules, it will be super easy to rehearse, and you will only be called to rehearsals you are involved in with your particular team.
Auditions will be by appointment ONLY – please do not turn up to the theatre without an appointment.
Directed by Maisie Brooker
This is a NT award winning, razor-sharp play about the fine line between office politics and playground bullying, Bull offers ringside seats as three employees fight to keep their jobs.
The play is all set in real time following Tony, Isobel and Thomas as they wait in a meeting room to hear from their boss (Carter) who out of the three will be made redundant. Tony and Isobel use this time to play mind games with Thomas, baiting him with every line until Thomas hits breaking point, just in time for Carter to arrive.
Maisie says she loves this play because it’s funny yet so uncomfortable, you watch it constantly hoping for the best but your hopes are shot down at every corner. Also love how it builds beautifully from using tiny bits of malice and small comments about appearance “Is that the suit you’ve chosen? Mmm” to a full blown attack on Thomas and his life. Finally, let’s get deep for a sec, as someone who has personally been bullied by an adult as an adult I feel it’s important to shine a light on situations like this and understand that playground politics carry on way into adulthood.
Running time: about 1 hour
Characters and acting ages:
Isobel (F/20s-30s) Powerhouse, stinging, bully.
Tony (M/20s-30s) Smug, athletic, bully.
Thomas (M/Late 20s-40s) Desperate, sympathetic, ambitious.
Carter (M/F/40s-60s)- The Boss, straight talking, assertive.
About auditioning and rehearsing in our Covid-secure theatre:
Auditions will be by appointment ONLY– so you will need to email Maisie to say that you are interested in this play and Maisie will confirm the time for you to arrive at the theatre. All those entering the theatre must comply with our Covid-secure requirements and a copy of these will be emailed to you before you attend the auditions.
Likewise, when rehearsing the cast and others involved must comply with our Covid-secure requirements. These will be made clear to everyone before rehearsals begin.
If you are interested in auditioning:
Please email: or phone Maisie on 07887 930726 for more information. Maisie is also on Facebook if you want to contact her there.
Extracts of the passages that will be used in auditions:
These will be available on request to those who are interested in auditioning. In the NHB published script the extracts are pages 5 to 10 for Thomas, Isobel and Toby and the for Carter pages 33 to 35.
Tuesday 22nd September to Saturday 26th September – please note these dates are provisional at this time and will be confirmed before rehearsals commence.
PLEASE SEE SPECIAL GUIDANCE NOTES ON KEEPING SAFE FROM CORONAVIRUS BELOW
In this uncertain world, who can predict what brings people together? When two strangers meet by chance amidst the bustle of a crowded London train station, their lives are changed forever. Multi-award-winning British playwright Simon Stephens’ play explores the uncertain and oDen comical sparring match that is human connection. Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle received its premiere at Wyndham’s Theatre, London, on 9th October 2017 starring Annie-Marie Duff and Kenneth Cranham as Georgie and Alex.
Georgie Burns is forty-two years old. She is from New Jersey.
Alex Priest is seventy-five years old. He is a London Butcher.
The play is set in present–day London. The age of the characters is a guide only, but the age-gap is crucial to the play. Casting will depend on how well the actors audition and look together. The rehearsal process for this play will involve a considerable amount of character development workshopping as well as the traditional blocking and line-running procedure.
Scripts can be borrowed and returned to The Queen Mother Theatre by arrangement – register your interest with Keith and a script will be made available to you.
The Bancroft Players will at all ;mes be following Government Guidelines for social distancing. The Rehearsals following the auditions may commence online initially and then move to The Queen Mother Theatre. There will be a published risk assessment for the theatre. Deep cleaning of the areas of the theatre used will be carried out before and after rehearsals. Performances in The Studio will be live and social distancing of the audience will be observed. This will involve special seating arrangements which comply with Government Guidelines in force at the time.
Charlotte Jones is a highly successful British playwright whose six stage plays have been performed at the National Theatre, the Donmar, the Almeida, in the West End and all over the world. She has also written extensively for TV, radio and film.
ABOUT THE PLAY
Set in 1920’s England, Airswimming is based on the true story of two women (Miss Kitson and Miss Baker), who have been incarcerated in a hospital for the “criminally insane” for having borne illegitimate children. Forgotten by their families and not released until the 1970’s, DORA and PERSEPHONE adopt alter-egos, DORPH and PORPH, to enact their fantasies and survive the silence of incarceration. By turns very funny and moving, Airswimming reminds us of the forgotten women of these generations in both Britain and Ireland.
Neither is sure why they are there, but as the years and the decades roll by and they become institutionalised you begin to realise that if they weren’t mad when they went in, they certainly are when they get out.
We know these two women were locked away in the early 1920s but Airswimming plays with linear narrative as the story of DORA and PERSEPHONE is told both forwards and backwards. It difficult to get a grasp on time as, like the characters themselves, you struggle to decipher what the year is and how long these poor women have been incarcerated. Initially polar opposites of one another, they grow fiercely dependant on each other and develop an unhealthy relationship as they disappear into their imaginations to escape the horrifying facts of their reality.
Spanning approximately six decades, Jones’s depiction of these two characters’ descent into madness is as funny as it is chilling.
‘The structure and writing – admirably clear and unsentimental – both trip the light fantastic too, effortlessly gliding from the desperately funny to the desperately sad.’ – The Guardian.
NOTES FROM CHARLOTTE JONES
“Airswimming is a comedy about despair. It was inspired by the various true stories of women who were placed in the mental institutions in the 1920s because they had given birth to illegitimate children, or for other spurious reasons such as they were deaf, lesbian or merely “atypical”. Some of these women were not released until the 1970s when a lot of the Victorian mental institutions closed down as the great age of pharmacology had dawned. It is a meditation on stasis, on being stuck in a hopeless situation and the salvation that is to be found only in friendship.
The dance and song elements are crucial to the sense of joy that the play can bring in performance. DORA and PERSEPHONE find each other and remain essentially free even though they are incarcerated because of the pleasure and solace they find in each other’s company. DORA and PERSEPHONE manage to save each other and transform into their alter egos DORPH and PORPH in order to survive”
This will be a dark, bleak production with a minimalist set consisting mainly of a tin bath filled with water, a rusty staircase, and a box full of props and wigs. My aim is to make the studio feel like it is the inside of an asylum, as if the audience are visitors who have been allowed exclusive access – this will hopefully make them uncomfortable as they are forced to witness DORA and PERSEPHONE’s descent into madness up-close-and-personal.
2f or 4f
PERSEPHONE / PORPH – female, lighter in tone, comical.
DORA / DORPH – female, darker in tone, comical.
A challenging but rewarding project for accomplished female actors. There are options in the playing of the two characters. Both women age by fifty years and are traditionally played by female actors in their 20’s – their age at the beginning of the play as DORA and PERSEPHONE.
However, they could equally be played by female actors in their 60’s/70’s – the age they are as DORPH and PORPH. In fact, I see no reason why they couldn’t be played by female actors of any age, as long as they are the same age.
There is also the option that the cast could expand to four actors; two young and two older, so that there is no doubling/ageing up.
Due to a change in our current season, we are pleased to announce a production of The 39 Steps by Patrick Barlow. This Olivier Award winning stage adaptation, based on John Buchan’s gripping whodunit—notably filmed by Alfred Hitchcock in 1935— enjoyed a 5 year run in London.
Nothing is cut from this hilarious and spectacular version of Britain’s most spellbinding thriller. Legendary scenes include the chase on the Flying Scotsman, the escape onto the Forth Bridge, the most theatrical bi-plane crash ever staged and the death-defying (well nearly!) finale at the London Palladium.
With just 4 actors sharing around one hundred and thirty nine roles, it promises to be the a comedic tour de force!!
• Richard Hanney – sophisticated, a man-about-town sort of fellah
• Annabella Schmit/Pamela/Margaret
• Two actors who play all the other parts!