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Pyramus and Thisbe
My Friend Miss Flint
Effie's Burning and Swan Song
The Business of Murder
Mr Wonderful
Salt of the Earth
One Acts
Portrait of a Nude
Black Widow
The 39 Steps
Colder than Here
The Anniversary
Under the Stars
A Christmas Carol
Crossed Lines
Conversations After a Burial
All At Sea
Ten Times Table
One Acts - <i>Midsummer Secrets</i>
Ding Dong
Speaking in Tongues
Top Girls
Families and Other Animals: An Evening of One Act Plays
Hay Fever
GHOST writer
Goody Two Shoes
Love and Marriage: An Evening of One Act Plays
The Edge of Darkness
Time of My Life
Post Horn Gallop
An evening of One Act Plays - The Droitwich Discovery / The Revival
Humble Boy
Perfect Wedding - Nov 2010
My Own Show - May 2010
Allo Allo - Feb/Mar 2010
A Letter from the General - Nov 2009

Interested in directing?

We are now accepting applications to direct a play in the 2018/19 season. Whether you are an experienced director or have never directed a play, whether you have a play you want to do or are looking for ideas, we want to hear from you. Inexperienced or first-time directors can take advantage of our mentoring scheme which may include the opportunity to take on a shorter one-act play. Please register your interest as soon as possible by contacting the head of the play reading committee or any member of the main committee. If you are not currently a member you can do this by using the Contact Us page on this website.

Below is a list of short-listed plays which you may wish to consider if you do not yet have a play in mind.

Priority plays

Breathing Corpses by Laura Wade (Cast:4M 3F)
Amy's found another body in a hotel bedroom. There's a funny smell coming from one of Jim's storage units. And Kate's losing it after spending all day with the police. There's no going back after what they've seen.
Di and Viv and Rose by Amelia Bullmore (Cast:3F)
How do you want to live here? I mean we could come and go and lead separate lives. Or we could really live together. What do you think?' Aged 18, three women join forces. Life is fun. Living is intense. Together they feel unassailable. Crackling with wisdom and wit, Di and Viv and Rose is a humorous and thoughtful exploration of friendship's impact on life and life's impact on friendship. Di and Viv and Rose charts the steady but sometimes chaotic progression of these three women's lives and their ultimately enduring bonds. The varied journeys of their lives take their toll on the characters, forcing them apart and stretching their relationships with each other to a near breaking point.
In Flame by Charlotte Jones (Cast:2M 4F)
This haunting feminist play about two eras of women, one living in 1908 and the other in the present, won the London critics's Most Promising Playwright award for the author. A romantic futility pervades the lives of a present day cartographer and waitress, their Edwardian counterparts and respective mother figures as they experience heartbreak, childbirth and aging.
The Distance by Deborah Bruce (Cast:4M 3F)
A sharply funny play about motherhood (and fatherhood), keeping control and letting go. Good friends should be there for one another - no matter what. But when Bea returns home after five years abroad having made a bold choice about her life, old friends struggle to support her. Or even to understand. Relationships are hard: long-term ones harder still. What does it take to really go the distance?

Full-length plays

1984 by George Orwell (Cast:6M 2F)
The definitive book of the 20th century is re-examined in this radical new staging by Headlong, the 'country's most exciting touring company'. April, 1984. 13:00. Comrade 6079, Winston Smith, thinks a thought, starts a diary, and falls in love. But Big Brother is watching him - and the door to Room 101 can swing open in the blink of an eye. This major new production explores the world inside Winston Smith's head, as well as the world without, and catches the euphoria and bliss buried deep underneath the cold face of Big Brother. In an age of mass surveillance, 'total' policing and GPS tracking, Nineteen Eighty-Four is as relevant now as it ever has been.
55 Days by Howard Brenton (Cast:13M 2F)
A gripping historical drama that dramatises a crucial moment of English history. December 1648. The Army has occupied London. Parliament votes not to put the imprisoned king on trial, so the Army moves against Westminster in the first and only military coup in English history. What follows over the next fifty-five days, as Cromwell seeks to compromise with a king who will do no such thing, is nothing less than the forging of a new nation, an entirely new world. Howard Brenton's play depicts the dangerous and dramatic days when, in a country exhausted by Civil War, a few great men attempt to think the unthinkable: to create a country without a king.
A Slight Hangover by Ian Ogilvy (Cast:4M 2F)
At the end of Noel Coward’s Design for Living, two men and a woman embark on a menage a trois founded on mutual attraction and a conscious flouting of societal norms This witty and warm hearted comedy continues their story. It is 1985. Orson Woodley and Sir Lewis Messenger share a house in the West Indies, their beloved Giselle having died some years before Their peaceful lives are turned upside down when Olga, Giselle’s daughter, arrives determined to find out which of them is her father Olga’s daughter, a spitting image of Giselle, stirs further memories in a funny and moving exploration of this unusual family’s history
Accidental Death of an Anarchist by Dario Fo (Cast:5M 1F)
A sharp and hilarious satire on police corruption, it concerns the case of an anarchist railway worker who, in 1969, 'fell' to his death from a police headquarters window
All Things Considered by Ben Brown (Cast:4M 3F)
David Freeman, a Professor of Philosophy about to reach fifty, is tired of life. His only desire now is to control the timing and manner of his death. His plans for 'self-deliverance', however, are disrupted by the earthly deman's of people around him. Alone at last he carries out his plan, but is saved by the college electrician. Returning from hospital, David hears news that may change his mind — yet ultimately the vagaries of chance would have it otherwise.
Amadeus by Peter Shaffer (Cast:9M 1F+)
In the court of the Austrian Emperor Joseph II, Antonio Salieri is the established composer. Enter the greatest musical genius of all time: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Salieri has given himself to God so that he might realize his sole ambition, to be a great composer. Mozart is a foul-mouthed, graceless oaf who has that which is beyond Salieri’s envious grasp: Genius.
Amy's View by David Hare (Cast:3M 3F)
A play about the struggle between a strong mother and her loving daughter Esme is a well-known actress at a time when the West End is ceasing to offer a regular way of life The visit of her daughter with a new boyfriend sets in train a series of events which only find their shape 18 years later
An Experiment with an Airpump by Shelagh Stephenson (Cast:3M 4F)
The Scientific and Romantic attitudes of 1799 are contrasted and counterpointed by their 1999 equivalents in this elegant drama of love, mystery and betrayal
An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley (Cast:4M 3F)
Priestley's classic play of the believable middle-class Yorkshire family called to account for its moral crimes by the enigmatic Inspector Goole stands as a metaphor for our own failure to accept our responsibility to others.
Art by Yasmina Reza (Cast:3M)
A sophisticated, philosophical French comedy ... Marc cannot believe that his friend Serge has bought a hugely expensive modern painting - seemingly entirely white - and this ignites a quarrel about Life, Art, Values & Friendship The play's third character, a friend of them both, tries to mediate with hilarious consequences The question is - Are you who you think you are, or are you who your friends think you are?
Betrayal by Harold Pinter (Cast:3M 1F)
Jerry is a literary agent; Emma runs an art gallery; Robert is a publisher. Emma and Robert are married and Jerry is Robert's best friend, but Emma and Jerry have had a seven-year affair. The play opens with Emma and Jerry meeting for lunch in 1977, two years after the affair has fin'shed and by a brilliant device the relationship of the three is traced backwards nine years to the evening when it all began.
Bully Boy by Sandi Toksvig (Cast:2M)
Major Oscar Hadley is investigating allegations of gross misconduct within a self-styled 'Bully Boy' unit of the British Army. When young squaddie, Eddie Clark is interrogated, Oscar begins to discover that 'truth' in a modern insurgency can be a point of view rather than a fact. Nationally known and loved as a broadcaster, comedian and writer - Sandi Toksvig's ferociously gripping play, with great tenderness, offers a startling insight into the minds of soldiers. She tackles the challenging moral issues of contemporary military occupation, and its effect on the mental health of serving soldiers.
Calendar Girls by Tim Firth (Cast:4M 9F)
When Annie's husband John dies of leukaemia, she and best friend Chris resolve to raise money for a new settee in the local hospital waiting room. They manage to persuade four fellow WI members to pose nude with them for an "alternative" calendar, with a little help from hospital porter and amateur photographer Lawrence. The news of the women's charitable venture spreads like wildfire, and hordes of press soon descend on the small village of Knapeley in the Yorkshire Dales. The calendar is a success, but Chris and Annie's friendship is put to the test under the strain of their new-found fame.
Comic Potential by Alan Ayckbourn (Cast:10M/F)
A hilarious satire of television and a touching romantic comedy, it begins in a television studio where a hospital soap opera is being taped. One actor starts speaking gibberish; he is an "actoid" a robot and his programming is off kilter. Adam, the young nephew of the producer and an aspiring writer who worships the director (once a great movie director and now a broken down has been), is on the set. Adam starts chatting with Jacie Tripplethree, the actoid (serial number JC333) playing the nurse and finds, to his surprise, that not only can she carry on a conversation but, due to what she calls a fault in her programming, she has a creative imagination. Adam wants to build a new television series around her but the studio will not hear of it. He also finds he is falling in love with the charming robot! Will Adam get the green light on his series? Will love prevail?
Communicating Doors by Alan Ayckbourn (Cast:3M 3F)
A London sex specialist from the future stumbles into a murder plot that sends her, compliments of a unique set of hotel doors, traveling back in time She and two women who were murdered in 1998 and 1978 race back and forth in time trying to rewrite history and prevent their own violent ends The frantic race begins when Poopay is hired for an evening at the Regal Hotel by an old man who eschews a fling in favor of confessing his role in the demise of his wives Now a target, Poopay flees into the vestibule and somehow triggers the time machine
Curtains by Stephen Bill (Cast:3M 5F)
It is Ida's 86th birthday, a milestone she would rather not have reached. Her family has gathered to celebrate with a birthday tea. After tea is cleared the family disperse leaving Katherine remembering a pact she made with Ida not to let her suffer into old age. She helps her out of her misery and into the next world. Returning to find a mercy-killer in the house the family proceed to reveal a panorama of English mores at their hilarious worst.
Dead Man's Hand: A Thriller by Seymour Matthews (Cast:3M 3F)
This captivating thriller employs a play within a play theme in a singularly exciting manner. At first, it seems to be the usual "Agatha Christie" type play two couples lured to a remote Italian villa to be murdered one by one. It is only when this play is well advanced that we learn we are watching actors rehearsing their own murder mystery. It is shortly after this, when two of these actors have been murdered in the same manner as the characters in their own play, that the twists and turns begin to tease the audience. Who is the murderer and what do those about to be murdered have in common? Yet even this ploy is not what it at first seems! An intriguing final twist unravels the real reason for the whole charade.
Dead ringer by Charles Ross (Cast:6M 2F)
When the Prime Minister drops dead from an apparent heart attack on the eve of a general election, 2 members of the cabinet, fearing defeat without the charisma of the PM hire an out of work actor, a 'dead-ringer' for the deceased, to take his place until the election is won. However the actor grows to like his role until he discovers that the real PM was poisoned. Thereafter this thriller plunges us forcibly from the early amusing fantasy world into murder and dark plots.
Departures by John Godber (Cast:3M 6F)
The departure lounges of ten airports across Europe and America provide a backdrop of delays, dangers and frustration as two business executives, Jim and Steve, embark on a journey of self-discovery. While the easygoing Steve spends time on the mobile running a number of love interests, with the morals of a cat, Jim is determined to remain faithful to his wife Claire. The arrival of young Zoe changes all that.. The anxiety of the departure lounge becomes all too personal for all involved, leading to a sad yet hopeful ending.
Disposing of the Body by Hugh Whitemore (Cast:5M 3F)
All my life I've either been looking back at happy times that have gone or looking forward to the happiness to come.' Thus speaks Henry Preece, embarking on early retirement. In Hugh Whitemore's elegant and tantalizing play, the mystery and excitement of an unexpected passion is given full rein, until Henry realizes that a door he's just flung open should have remained tightly shut.
Elton John's Glasses by David Farr (Cast:4M 2F)
Bill is a fanatical supporter of Watford F.C. Day after day he sits in his unfurnished flat, watching the 1984 FA Cup Final with an obsession verging on madness The video replays the fatal moment when the Watford goalkeeper fumbles the ball and Everton take a two-nil lead. Bill blames the goalkeeper's mishap on the glare from Elton John's sunglasses Reconciled to an agoraphobic existence, Bill laments the decline of his beloved team -'It was there the dream died' A comedy about ageing, failure and football, Elton John's Glasses is the work of a prodigiously talented dramatist with a rare sympathy for character and relationships
Forget-Me-Not Lane by Peter Nichols (Cast:5M 4F)
A bittersweet play about fathers, families and nostalgia. Middle-aged Frank is packing his suitcase, and starts to tell the audience about his life. He summons up memories of his childhood and adolescence during the Second World War, watching the experiences of his younger self with a mixture of amiable amusement, mortification and nostalgia. Frank relives the grammatical pedantry of his father Charles, the bickering between his parents, his adventures in transvestism with his best friend Ivor, a juvenile attraction to the vivacious star of the local stage, and his awkward flirtations with Ursula, later to be his wife. Frank is gloomily disappointed by the contrast between his teenage sweetheart and the tired mother Ursula has become, his reminiscences gradually exposing his dissatisfaction with familial life.
Haunting Julia by Alan Ayckbourn (Cast:3M)
Julia Lukin was a musical prodigy who committed suicide 12 years ago. Her father Joe has never come to terms with her death, and in the Julia Larkin Centre For Performing Studies, he hopes to discover what happened by meeting with a psychic, Ken, and Julia's boyfriend, Andy, who was the last person to see her alive. The men meet in Julia's preserved bedroom and Joe reveals that he believes Julia is trying to contact him, haunting him in order to explain what happened. Between the three men, the story of Julia's life and death is gradually revealed - often at odds with what each man believes he knew. Julia had ultimately been unable to cope with the pressures of both her father and her overwhelming musical gift. Joe, of course, is unwilling to accept his love could ever have led to Julia's suicide, while Andy is still guilt-ridden about whether he could have prevented the tragedy had he not broken up with her that night. Ken attempts to contact Julia, but is revealed to be a hoax when he picks up Julia's teddy-bear to receive a message. The bear is a plant, the original long since lost. Ken reveals that he has waited many years to meet Joe and explain that he knew Julia; that she would come and find refuge in his and his wife's normal life and that, contrary to what may have been said, Julia told him at the end she loved her father. Ken is actually more aware of what is happening than the others credit him for though and as each of the men's feelings and recollections come to light, Ken believes Julia is poised to appear. A door onto what should be a brick wall blows open; impossibly the original corridor is present. Julia manifests herself, visible only to Joe, although the room is wrecked by an eerie wind and the bed begins to bleed. Joe understands what Julia has endured and that she is not at peace; he is haunting her. In a final moment of understanding, Joe lets his daughter go.
Henceforward by Alan Ayckbourn (Cast:3M 4F)
It is sometime quite soon in a steel shuttered, slovenly flat in a no go area of North London where punks rule deserted streets. Here, a lonely composer sits surrounded by high tech equipment His only company is a robot nanny and she’s on the blink. He desperately wants to reclaim his teenage daughter and enlists an out of work actress to implement a cunning plan he’s evolved to impress his estranged wife and a wired for sound child welfare officer When things don’t work out, Jerome has to improvise…. It’s amazing what can be done with new micro chips and a screwdriver!
Home by David Storey (Cast:3M 2F)
Two elderly gentlemen stroll on to an almost bare terrace. They discuss various subjects — the past, schooldays, climate, the sea, moustaches, the war, families, etc., etc. It is not until the following scene when we meet two women that we realize we are actually in the grounds of a mental hospital, and that these people are patients. Although with no plot at all in the conventional sense and sparse dialogue, by the end of the afternoon we have been moved to compassion and respect.
Home Truths by David Lodge (Cast:2M 2F)
Adrian, a novelist with a distinguished reputation and a book on the A level syllabus, is now seeking obscurity in a cottage beneath the Gatwick flight path with his wife Eleanor. Their old university friend Sam, himself a successful screenwriter, drops in on the way to LA, fuming over a vicious profile of himself written by rottweiler interviewer Fanny in a Sunday newspaper. Together the 2 men decide to take revenge on the journalist, although Adrian is risking what he values most his privacy. Examines the solitary act of writing and the demands of the media circus. Significantly takes place in the summer of 1997
Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense by Wodehouse/Goodale Bros (Cast:3M)
An inventive, fast-paced comedy featuring P.G. Wodehouse's iconic double act. When a perfectly delightful trip to the countryside takes a turn for the worse, Bertie Wooster is unwittingly called on to play matchmaker - reconciling the affections of his host's drippy daughter Madeline Bassett with his newt-fancying acquaintance Gussie Fink-Nottle. If Bertie, ably assisted by the ever-dependable Jeeves, can't pull off the wedding of the season he'll be forced to abandon his cherished bachelor status and marry the ghastly girl himself!
Ladies' Day by Amanda Whittington (Cast:1M 4F)
Work, love and life are just one long hard slog for the fish filleting foursome Pearl, Jan, Shelley and Linda. But their fortunes are set to change when Linda finds tickets to Ladies' Day at Royal Ascot the year it relocated to York. Out go the hairnets, overalls and wellies as the four ditch work, do themselves up to the nines and head off for a drink, a flirt and a flutter. If their luck holds, they could hit the jackpot - and more besides!
Late of this Address by Ian Hornby (Cast:2M 3F)
Newly-weds Rick & Vicky have bought a run down house for a song. It needs work doing but what they don't expect is that the house is already occupied by Jessica. Even worse only Rick can see her, it seems she had died mysteriously 20yrs previously. In trying to exorcise her they only manage to rematerialise Jessica's ghostly husband, whom only Vicky can see. After the four have sorted out their relationships with each other with all the ensuing jealousies and rivalries they then set about trying to solve the murders
Lathered Up by Lynn Brittney (Cast:4M 10F)
A failing soap calls in the lead actress of a very successful soap to give them a masterclass on how to achieve better ratings. This results in the employment of a creative consultant who wreaks havoc with the cast and plot lines, with hilarious and manic effect.
Lettice and Lovage by Peter Shaffer (Cast:2M 3F)
Lettice Duffet, an expert on Elizabethan cuisine and medieval weaponry, is an indefatigable but daffy enthusiast of history and the theatre. As a tour guide at Fustian House, one of the least stately of London's stately homes, she theatrically embellishes its historical past, ultimately coming up on the radar of Lotte Schon, an inspector from the Preservation Trust. Neither impressed or entertained by Lettice's freewheeling history lessons, Schon fires her. Not one however, to go without a fight, Lettice engages the stoic, conventional Lotte in battle to the death of all that is sacred to the Empire and the crown.
Liaisons Dangereuses by Christopher Hampton (Cast:3M 6F)
A tale of seduction set in France among aristocrats before the revolution, this is a classic drama for exploring decadent sexuality, morals, and manipulation played as the ultimate game, with tragic results. 
Lightning Play by Charlotte Jones (Cast:4M 4F)
Celebrity ghost-writer Max Villiers and his shop-a-holic wife Harriet, are hosting a party at Hallow'een. Their guests include a failed monk; his date, who dabbles in New Age ideas; the heavily-pregnant Imogen, a friend of the Villiers' daughter and her strait-laced husband. Max's new plasma screen TV dominates the'set but only he can'see the images from the past that appear on it, revealing the tragedy that the Villiers have long tried to bury but must now face.
Lovesong by Abi Morgan (Cast:2M 2F)
"Lovesong" intertwines a couple in their 20s with the same man and woman a lifetime later. Their past and present selves collide in this haunting and beautiful tale of togetherness. All relationships have their ups and downs; the optimism of youth becomes the wisdom of experience. Love is a leap of faith.
My Romantic History by DC Jackson (Cast:1M 2F)
One moment you're colleagues, and then Friday-night drinks, a quick grope, and you're an item. When Tom and Amy get together, they find themselves living in each other's pockets. But all too soon the ghosts of relationships past begin to interfere with the here and now. A comedy about love, loss and laminating machines.
Nasty Neighbours by Debbie Isitt (Cast:3M 3F)
A terrifically thrilling black comedy examining the strains and stresses of life in the 90s. Following the emigration of Mr and Mrs Peach's neighbours the Hodges to Australia, the grieving Peaches anxiously wonder who will arrive next door. But rude and aggressive Mr and Mrs Chapman prove to be far from the ideal couple they had dreamed of and Mr Peach embarks on a massive feud with them. The problems escalate out of all proportion, including harassing the Hodges in Australia. It is not long before all 3 couples are tearing each other apart and in a terrifying climax, Mr Peach sets out to show the Chapmans just how nasty a neighbour can be...
Nightmare: The fright of your life by Roger S. Moss (Cast:2M 2F)
A truly black horror thriller about Frank and Jenny Gilman who think they have found their dream home - a converted chapel in a quiet country village. Everything seems perfect until they are attacked by intruders who seem, for some reason, to only be interested in the contents of their deep freeze. Frank and Jenny investigate and the true horror of their situation soon emerges in this taut and exciting, yet often blackly hilarious, horror thriller.
Pack of Lies by Hugh Whitemore (Cast:3M 5F)
The Jackson are a nice middle aged English couple. Their best friends are their Canadian neighbors, the Krogers. All is blissful in their world until a detective from Scotland Yard asks to use their house as an observation station to try and foil a Soviet spy ring operating in the area. The Jacksons become more and more put out as Scotland Yard's demands on them increase. They are really put to the test when the detective reveals that the spies are the Krogers and he asks them to help set a trap. Should they betray their friends?
Passion Play by Peter Nichols (Cast:2M 4F)
This seems to be an old story, the happy marriage of James & Eleanor blown apart by the infidelity of the husband. But this production has a twist with 2 Jameses and 2 Eleanors on stage, one couple talking as might be expected and the other speaking from the mind. A piece which starts off funny and racy but develops into something darker and more profound.
Perfectionist by David Williamson (Cast:3M 2F)
Williamson's continuing examination of modern marriage follows a pair of academics from Denmark to Sydney as they blunder along the rival paths of career and parenthood.
Prin by Andrew Davies (Cast:3M 3F)
The egocentric and eccentric heroine of this play by the author of Rose is principal of a teachers’ college in England. She fights with every fiber of her being against mediocrity in public education and in the world in general Her world is falling apart: the Directors plan to merge the school with the local Polytechnic, giving her a faculty chair but no authority. Prin is also on shaky grounds with her lover, a shy, quiet woman who wants to marry the science teacher While Prin lords it over one and all, one and all are making plans to be free from her. Prin emerges as a character whose noble ideals are doomed by her arrogant insensitivity.
Private Fears in Public Places by Alan Ayckbourn (Cast:3M 3F)
Six people with six very separate lives are strangely linked by circumstance. Does Nicola still love Dan? Can Stewart be on the verge of an office romance? Will Imogen ever find true love? Does Ambrose have a secret life? And what on earth is Charlotte up to? "Sir Alan's play is a tale of the misheard, the unspoken and the sadly misunderstood. absolute perfection, bringing warmth, humor, and sadness to Ayckbourn's exquisite dark comedy." - thetheatremania.com
Relatively Speaking by Alan Ayckbourn (Cast:2M 2F)
Greg and Ginny are living together, but Greg is becoming somewhat suspicious that he is not the only man in her life. He wonders about Ginny's plan 'to visit her parents' and decides to follow her. Ginny is really going to see a considerably older lover, but only in order to break with him. Greg mistakes the ex-lover and his wife for Ginny's parents. Ginny's arrival further compounds an already wildly hilarious situation.
Rope by Patrick Hamilton (Cast:6M 2F)
For the mere sake of adventure, danger, and the "fun of the thing," Wyndham Brandon persuades his weak minded friend, Charles Granillo, to assist him in the murder of a fellow undergraduate, a perfectly harmless man named Ronald Raglan.
Rubenstein Kiss by James Phillips (Cast:4M 3F)
In 1953 Jakob and Esther are betrayed and punished for an act of industrial espionage. In 1975 Matthew and Anna meet in front of an art gallery photogragh of Jakob and Esther sharing one final kiss before they part. Young, radical and falling in love, together they seek justice for the past
Rumours by Neil Simon (Cast:5M 5F)
Ken and Chris have found their host Charly in his bedroom, too dazed to speak, with a bullet wound in his earlobe! Len and Carrie arrive, both injured in a car crash and are joined by Glenn and Cassie and Ernest and Cookie, each with their own bizarre problems. A second accidental gunshot leaves Ken temporarily deaf and when the police arrive it is up to Len to pretend to be Charly and try to fashion an explanation...
Rutherford & Son by Githa Sowerby (Cast:3M 4F)
A strong father is a successful business man, but he is headstrong and domineering and seems to despise the weakness he sees in his sons. One son has had to return home with his wife due to money worries. The other son is a local priest. One of the sons has been working with his father's factory assistant on a new process that he hopes will make his fortune But Mr Rutherford has other ideas.
Silas Marner by George Eliot/Geoffrey Beevers (Cast:15M 8F)
Eliot's story of the reclusive miser who is transformed by a young girl is one of the most moving and memorable in Victorian literature. This adaptation captures the novel's thirty year sweep in a series of telling scenes, each displaying Eliot's gifts for humor, insight and simple beauty. The large cast can be trimmed to seven multiple roles and it is possible to keep costumes and props to a minimum.
Silhouette by Simon Brett (Cast:5M 3F)
An ingenious thriller where Detective Inspector Bruton questions actress Celia Wallis about the murder of her husband Martin. Celia is obviously in the clear, but the finger of suspiscion points to Neville, the drunken journalist asleep in her bed who has argued with Martin shortly before he was killed. It all seems very simple until the second act which takes place before the murder and turns all our expectations on their heads…
Siren by David Williamson (Cast:5M 2F)
A situation comedy for the 1990s. Holed up in a Central Coast motel room with three undercover detectives, Liz has been employed to use her sex appeal on Billy Nottle, a local councillor suspected of accepting bribes from developers. David Williamson examines power games and sexual politics.
Sitting Pretty by Amy Rosenthal (Cast:4M 6F)
Unmarried sisters in their fifties share a London flat. Nina is brisk, dynamic and gainfully employed Nancy is plump, self conscious and suddenly redundant. Urged to find a hobby, she unwittingly stumbles into a job modeling for eccentric drawing students and their philandering teacher Initially horrified to discover that life models pose naked, Nancy is unexpectedly liberated by the experience. Though she keeps this activity a secret, her newfound confidence unsettles Nina The sisters move toward an inevitable confrontation as Nina faces her unhappy past and Nancy glimpses a possible future. This bittersweet play unfolds with humorous twists and turns
So Long Life by Peter Nichols (Cast:2M 4F)
Bristol, 1995. It is Alice's 85th birthday - an occasion for celebration. But like many family gatherings, it is also an occasion for parading long-held resentments, as her children attempt to persuade her to relinquish her independence and move to a home. But Alice has other plans ... As the battles rage over her head, Alice's consciousness drifts, time shifts, and the past and present merge. The result is a skilful distillation of a family Sunday, comic and ghastly, strange and yet familiar.
Someone Who'll Watch Over Me by Frank McGuinness (Cast:3M)
An American doctor and an Irish journalist are being held captive by terrorists in Beirut. They exercise and they argue, supportive in their mutual determination to survive. They are joined by an English academic. The three display their national biases and prejudices, which are intensified in the cramped confines of their cell. As time passes, resentments and recriminations give way to an acknowledgment of their characters, strengths and weaknesses. They learn that humor is their surest weapon against their captors and the safest armor to protect themselves. They shoot imaginary films, they throw a big party for each other, they play a fantastical game of tennis, they laugh at and with each other, and they learn to lament what was lost in their lives before captivity. Each comes to know himself through listening to the stories, sorrows and joys of the others. At the end of the play, they are capable of standing together and alone.
Taken At Midnight by Mark Hayhurst (Cast:10M 1F)
1931. Hans Litten is one of the most celebrated lawyers in Berlin, famed for his brilliant mind and the rhetorical flair with which he defends those fighting back against the rapidly growing Nazi movement. So, when he calls Herr Hitler as star witness in the trial of a band of murderous SA men, the politician feels the full force of Litten's intellect, wit and courage. It arouses in Hitler a feeling he can't abide or forget. Two years later, on the night of the Reichstag fire, Litten is arrested. He is held without trial, beaten, tortured, and threatened as 'an enemy of human society'. As Litten disappears into the Nazi system, his indomitable mother, Irmgard, confronts his captors and, at enormous personal risk, fights to secure his release.
That Good Night by N J Crisp (Cast:3M 2F)
Selfish, womaniser, screenwriter Ralph is terminally ill and longs to be reconciled with his long-abandoned son Michael.  He blows this when he insults Michael’s girlfriend, but when his mysterious Visitor arrivesostensibly to hasten his end, he’s the subject of a devastating trick.A poignant, humorous and profound play from a celebrated writer of unusual imagination
The Beauty Queen of Leenane by Martin McDonagh (Cast:2M 2F)
In a dingy cottage in Leenane, a remote part of Galway, spinster Maureen lives with her self-pitying, ruthless, hateful mother, Mag. Constantly at her beck and call, Maureen takes revenge by feeding her lumpy Complan and hurling the occasional insult. Escape comes in the form of Pato Dooley, who is about to go to Boston. When Mag interferes once too often Maureen decides the time has come to break free — in a very violent way.
The Birthday Party by Harold Pinter (Cast:4M 2F)
Goldberg and McCann arrive at a seaside boarding house where Meg and Petey live with their guest Stanley. They inquire about Stanley: we soon find out that McCann and Goldberg have a job to do. Learning it is his birthday they give Stanley a party at which Stanley is verbally bludgeoned into submission. The next day Stanley is removed. It is the collective impact of the dialogue which welds the seemingly inexplicable actions of Goldberg and McCann into a menacing whole.
The Elephant Man by Bernard Pomerance (Cast:6M 2F)
The Elephant Man is based on the life of John Merrick, who lived in London during the latter part of the nineteenth century. A horribly deformed young man – victim of rare skin and bone diseases – he becomes the star freak attraction in traveling sideshows. Found abandoned and helpless, he is admitted to London’s prestigious Whitechapel Hospital. Under the care of celebrated young physician Frederick Treves, Merrick is introduced to London society and slowly evolves from an object of pity to an urbane and witty favorite of the aristocracy and literati, only to be denied his ultimate dream – to become a man like any other.
The Herbal Bed by Peter Whelan (Cast:5M 3F)
The Herbal Bed is based on actual events that occurred in Stratford-upon-Avon in the summer of 1613 William Shakespeare’s elder daughter Susanna Hall was publicly accused of having a sexual liaison with Rafe Smith, a married neighbor and family friend Susanna sues her accuser, young Jack Lane, for slander in the court of Worcester Cathedral. Susanna’s husband, the respected physician of Stratford, John Hall, is desperate for her to clear her name in order to save his practice, and he gives her his complete support But how can he avoid the fact that one summer’s night, while he was away from Stratford, Rafe Smith was seen secretly leaving their herbal garden? Faced with political divisions within the church, the hearing in the bishop’s court becomes a risky gamble as three people’s private lives are held up to the glare of intense public scrutiny in this emotional thriller whose outcome is anything but certain
The Importance Of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde (Cast:5M 4F)
Wilde's "trivial play for serious people" is a sparkling comedy of manners. This hilariously absurd satire pits sincerity against style, barbed witticisms against ostentatious elegance. Wilde's brilliantly constructed plot and famous dialogue enrich the appeal of his celebrated characters, as he turns accepted ideas inside out and situations upside down in this, his masterpiece.
The Lodger by Simon Burke (Cast:4M 2F)
Somewhere in the bleak anonymity of suburbia, Andrew Wise has a room to let. When the enigmatic Lois turns up an awkward bargain is struck which leads them into a brutal, tender and darkly comic relationship. Not for the faint- hearted
The Maltese Bodkin by David Belke (Cast:4M 2F)
A comedy mystery with a Shakespearean twist. Times were tough for hard boiled detective Birnam Wood. He never asked to be in London. Especially in 1605. When his partner is murdered, Wood has to find the killer amid a vast cast of suspects that includes (among others) Viola, Richard III, Falstaff, Iago, Mercutio and a merchant from Venice. But the real solution to the mystery seems to be in discovering the secret behind a mysterious dagger known as the Maltese Bodkin. The worlds of detective fiction and Shakespeare collide in this "who hath done it".
The Real Thing by Tom Stoppard (Cast:4M 3F)
Tom Stoppard's brilliant, award-winning play of surprise and deftly witty comparison. Henry is a successful playwright married to Charlotte who has the lead role in his latest play about adultery. Her co-star, Max, is married to another actress, Annie, and Annie and Henry are madly in love but is it any more real than the'subjects of Henry's play?
The Safari Party* by Tim Firth (Cast:3M 3F)
Three households have agreed to hold a 'safari party' - a dinner party, with each course served in a different house. The hors d'oeuvres are served by Daniel and Adam, young brothers whose abusive father was recently shot dead, the entrées by Lol and Esther, upwardly-mobile and vulgar, and the desserts by Inga, a seemingly benign antiques dealer. However: there's the question of the table ...
Veronica's Room by Ira Levin (Cast:2M 2F)
This chilling mystery thriller by the author of Rosemary's Baby explores the thin line between fantasy and reality, madness and murder. Students Susan and Larry find themselves as guests enticed to the Brabissant mansion by it's dissolute caretakers the lonely Mackeys.Struck by Susan's strong resemblance to Veronica Brabissant, long- dead daughter of the family for whom they work, the older couple gradually induce her to impersonate Veronica briefly to solace the only living Brabissant, her addled sister who believes Veronica alive. Once dressed in Veronica's clothes, Susan finds herself locked in the role and locked in Veronica's room. Or is she Veronica, in 1935, pretending to be an imaginary Susan?
When did you last see your Trousers by Galton & Antrobus (Cast:6M 3F)
This hilarious farce begins quietly enough with Howard and Penny asleep. A burglar climbs through the window and steals various items, including Howard's suit Awakening, Howard announces his intention to get back to the wife! But how can he in only vest and underpants? Before you can say "jockey shorts" he is being chased around the flat by his Danish au pair, the Home Secretary and a randy constable who doubles as a flasher Add to this a punk with rainbow colored hair, a gravelly voice Captain and a singing telegram Gorilla and you have the ingredients for a night of outrageous fun!
Wildest Dreams by Alan Ayckbourn (Cast:4M 4F)
Four typical Ayckbourn misfits are playing a Dungeons and Dragons type game in a suburban living room. Frustrated and repressed Hazel and her meek,sex starved husband Stanley are joined by an emotionally retarded computer freak named Warren and by Rick, a taciturn lesbian The game is more than a game. It is a chance for them to be beautiful, wise and heroic qualities they will never possess in real life. Marcie, who is escaping from her violent husband, blows the foursome apart Confusion ensues, secrets spill and, by the end of the play, all of the characters are irrevocably transformed
Wish List by Katherine Soper (Cast:3M 1F)
"I dreamt about this last night. I dreamt that I was packing boxes in boxes in boxes.” Tamsin packs boxes in a warehouse, on the clock, to a target, with a zero-hour contract. Her brother Dean is housebound. Working to obsessive-compulsive rituals of his own. When Dean is declared fit for work, their benefits are cut. There are phone calls to make, appeals to lodge and endless forms to fill in. Tamsin must pack faster, work harder, and fight to get the support she and her brother so desperately need. This sensitive and delicately powerful play asks what our labour is worth and how life can be lived when the system is stacked against you.
Woman in Mind by Alan Ayckbourn (Cast:5M 3F)
The comic poet of middle class life, always so very funny, goes deeper and darker in this triumphant play about a housewife named Susan who is married to a boring cleric named George After getting knocked out by stepping on the tooth end of a garden rake, Susan experiences hilarious hallucinations in which her oppressive and boring everyday life is replaced by a fantasy in which she is an ideal wife and mother with an ideal family While her real family treats her with condescension and apathy, her fantasy family dresses in lovely white, always drinks champagne, lives in a stately home and tells her that she is wonderful. Eventually, the fantasy family becomes nightmarish and Susan begins to realize that she is going mad

One act plays

An Ordinary Day by Dario Fo & Franca Rome (Cast: 2M 1F)
The play opens with Julia making a video of herself for her husband to watch after she has killed herself. Her film-making attempts are foiled, however, by a series of phone calls from women mistaking her for an analyst. Despite the serious theme, this thought-provoking play has comic men's roles and a strong female central role.
Dumb Waiter by Harold Pinter (Cast: 2M/F)
In all of Pinter's plays, seemingly ordinary events become charged with profound, if elusive, meaning, haunting pathos, and wild comedy. In The Dumbwaiter, a pair of gunmen wait for the kill in a decayed lodging house. Harold Pinter gradually exposes the inner strains and fear of his characters, alternating hilarity and character to create and almost unbearable edge of tension.
Eight by Ella Hickson (Cast: 5M 4F)
Eight compelling monologues offering a state-of-the-nation group portrait for the stage. From Millie, the jolly-hockey-sticks prostitute who mourns the loss of the good old British class system, to Miles, a 7/7 survivor, and Danny, an ex-squaddie who makes friends in morgues, Eight looks at what has happened to a generation that has grown up in a world where everything has become acceptable. In its original performances, each audience voted for four of the eight monologues that they wished to see, resulting in a different line-up at every performance. A ninth unperformed monologue is included in this edition.
Five Kinds of Silence by Shelagh Stephenson (Cast: 2M 4F)
This highly-acclaimed stage version of the 1996 radio play is the'story of a family in which control has become the driving force. Billy, himself abused as a child, has sexually abused his two daughters since their early teens. Now the adult daughters, with the connivance of their mother, attempt to free the'selves, and kill him.
Flood Warning by Fay Weldon (Cast: 2M 3F)
A finely-observed study of family life from the novelist and playwright Fay Weldon which offers a superb range of acting roles for three women and two men. The local river has burst its banks, causing flooding in Cynthia's and Step's antiques business. Cynthia, immobile with her leg in plaster, can only comment on the rising tide to her husband and daughter Angela as they endeavour to save the stock by carrying it upstairs. Their elder daughter, high-flying city exec Jane, and her partner, Trevor, arrive to help, with Jane intent on organizing everyone. But the animosity between the sisters is apparent and a startling announcement by Angela opens up another flood - this time of family secrets!
Grandma's Photograph by Alan Marshall (Cast: 3M 3F)
Every year, the Pye family, like many other families, has a photograph taken in a studio and sends copies to relatives. In 1914, this is a very special photograph, because John Pye, the son of the family, has volunteered to fight in France and he has just been issued with his uniform. Mr Stott, the photographer, is impressed but his long-suffering wife, has no illusions about the imminent war. During the following two years, the Pyes turn up for the annual photograph until, eventually, in 1916, there is just a gathering of women. What is discovered is that the war has imprisoned some women and liberated others. Nothing will ever be the same again...
Housewarming by Arthur Aldrich (Cast: 1M 3F)
Beattie Gladwin, too old to look after herself any longer, is forced to sell the house, which she’s lived in throughout her marriage. But she doesn’t want to let go of the house or the memories; so when the young couple, Michelle and Brian move in, she visits them and they become embroiled in to the events, which took place in the past. Beattie’s sister, Polly, is also present. Strange things have happened and continue to happen and Michelle and Brian are not certain whether their visitors are real or ghosts. Can you decide?
Man of Letters by Tim Firth (Cast: 2M)
Frank has erected signs for a commercial letterer for twenty-five years. With trainee Alan, he attempts to spell 'Forshaw's' - the letters collectively forming the play's third 'character'. He is nonplussed when the right letters do not appear and then realization dawns. A truly outstanding, genuinely funny play, with a wry twist at the end.
Music for Amelia by Derek Rhodes (Cast: 2M +1)
Max, an MP, comes to discuss a radio programme which will trace his life through his favourite music. The show's presenter, Amelia Cruikshank, is unavailable so Hector deputizes - but he is not what he purports to be. His questioning reveals shocking details of a story from the past and their repercussions in the present day, leading to the final shattering moments of this intriguing play.
Office Song by Nick Warburton (Cast: 1M 2F)
Brian is attempting to escape his firm's Christmas party when he is waylaid in the cloakroom by Claire, who soon discovers a secret about her unassuming colleague: at home, he likes to sing Doris Day songs. Claire tries to persuade Brian to take part in a talent contest; with her friend Wendy she sets about training Brian to sing in public.
Open Couple by Dario Fo & Franca Rome (Cast: 1M 1F)
At the beginning of this hilarious farce about sexual mores, a wife is threatening suicide because of her husband's infidelity. He can't understand why he can't have both wife and mistress. He gets an inkling when his wife takes a lover. When the couple is open on both sides, craftily notes the wife, "It becomes very drafty." "A breezy delight, an entertainment with too much on its mind to be considered lightweight and too much wit to be mistaken for a polemic. It's brazen, outlandish and pointed comedy."-- Marin Independent Journal.
Permission to Cry by David Campton (Cast: 1M 3F +3)
Julia Gibbon, a junior minister, is thrown into turmoil by the conflict between private and public morality. Her affair with Penelope Wright, a frank and forthright journalist, very much a thorn-in-the-side of the Establishment, forces Julia to confront insecurities and doubts she never knew she had. This is a compassionate play about love and politics in our hypocritical age.
Reflections by Colin & Mary Crowther (Cast: 2M 2F)
A couple are nervously dressing for a party in the hotel downstairs. Each glumly despairs of being able to live up to their partner's expectations. The person they see in the mirror is very different from the person their partner sees but gradually each come to recognize and accept how different they can be.
The Cafe by Neville Watchurst (Cast: 2M 2F)
In July 1990, the Cafe de Paris - a ballroom off Leicester Square, London - opened its doors for the last time in its 66 year history. In its heyday, the Cafe was the haunt of royals and society figures. As its glitter faded and the popularity of 'correct' dancing diminished, the Cafe became the preserve of a dwindling band of individuals who came in search of the gentle pleasures of a bygone era. The play is set during the final tea dance and centres on 4 characters who have come to pay their respects at the passing into history of the place they have all loved. The mood of the piece, however, is far from sombre. Bittersweet, sad and romantic, this is a charming and moving play for older actors.
The Proposal by Chekhov (Cast: 2M 1F)
Lomov comes to seek the hand of neighbouring landowner Tchbukov's daughter, Natalya. But he is so nervous he gets sidetracked into a dispute over land. Natalya banishes him, but when she learns the reason he visited she calls him back. The two are soon engaged in battle with a desperate father screaming a toast to the happy couple.
Tunnel Vision by Sheila Hodgson (Cast: 2M 3F)
Susan and Brian are returning home late with Susan's parents, Angie and Peter. Unable to catch a taxi, they descend onto the platform of an Underground station, deserted but for Liz, a teenage runaway. As they await a delayed train, their bickering and idle chat begins to reveal family secrets, and strange and unsettling things happen. Sounds of drums rumble from the tunnel, footsteps echo in the passageways, shadows alive with malice appear. To top it all, Liz has designs of her own... Soon, a connection between the ghostly phenomena of the present and the poignant events of the past becomes obvious. A tense, dramatic play, ideal for festival work.

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