Readings & Auditions

All readings and auditions are open to both members and non-members and take place at the Swan Theatre unless stated otherwise. Please note that should a non-member be offered a part he/she will be required to join the Swan and all cast and crew are expected to assist with support activities such as bar and Front-of-House for other productions.

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Arcadia by Tom Stoppard

Production Dates 13th - 18th November

Director Philip Turley

Play Reading - Wednesday 21st June at 7.30 pm (come along even if you don't want to be in it!)

Auditions - Monday 3rd July at 7.30 pm and Wednesday 5th July 7. 30 pm

ARCADIA OVERVIEW

A serious comedy about science, sex and landscape gardening.

Cited by many critics as the finest play from one of the most significant contemporary playwrights in the English language, the witty and enchanting ARCADIA is set in an English country house in two time periods, 1809 and present day.

1809: Lust, longing and literary rivalry seize the inhabitants of Sidley Park, a grand house in Derbyshire, where proposals for the remodelling of the landscape are being contemplated. In the midst of this, the teenage Thomasina Coverly is making a scientific discovery that could change the way people understand the world.

The present: Rivalry once again seizes the inhabitants of Sidley Park, as academics Bernard and Hannah compete to unpick the historic secrets of the estate and its earlier occupants. Who was the mysterious hermit? Do the scrawlings in a young lady's notebook show her to be a scientific genius? What - if anything - was Lord Byron up to?

Arcadia is an exuberantly funny, thought-provoking and touching masterpiece which has dazzled audiences from the National Theatre to Broadway.

ARCADIA Characters

CAST OF 1809

Thomasina Coverly: Playing age 13 and 16 years old. Likely 18+ due to acting requirements and kisses Septimus in final scene. Daughter of Lord and Lady Croom, Genius. She comes to understand chaos theory and the  second law of thermodynamics, before either is established in the mathematical and scientific communities.

She's a lively, witty girl with a precocious and creative skill for mathematics. During the play, we see her come up with two major ideas that had never been expressed in her time. One resembles the second law of thermodynamics, which states that systems tend to move towards entropy. Thomasina discovers this in her way just by thinking about stirring a rice pudding. Her other major idea resembles chaos theory-she's interested in trying to mathematically predict the future, and figures out a basic formula to show various future possibilities.

Septimus Hodge: Playing age 22. Thomasina's tutor, and the academic colleague and friend of Lord Byron (an unseen but important character). While teaching Thomasina, he works on his own research and has affairs with the older women of the house. When Thomasina is older, he falls in love with her; after her death, he becomes the "hermit of Sidley Park", working on her theories until his own death. Septimus has a clever, wry sense of humor only really matched by Thomasina, though she is actually smarter than he is. He studied science at Cambridge, alongside  Lord Byron. He's always looking for love, from his famous carnal embrace with  Mrs. Chater  to his crush on  Lady Croom, but ultimately, Thomasina has his heart. After her death at 16, he'll become the  Sidley hermit,  and live out the rest of his days trying, but failing, to express her mathematical theories.

Jellaby: middle aged. The Crooms' butler. His chief functions are to spread gossip and to deliver letters.

Same actor can also play Richard Noakes. Character actor required to swap identities, character, costume and appearance within 3 pages!

Ezra Chater: An unsuccessful  poetaster staying at Sidley Park. His wife's romantic affairs lead him to challenge Septimus to a duel. A bad poet and amateur botanist, and a long-term guest at Sidley Park. Chater is a blundering, foolish figure, but he has a warm heart. He's blinded by his desire to believe the best of his wife and his poetry. He meets his death from a monkey bite on an expedition to Martinique, where he discovers a new type of  dahlia.

Charity Chater: Ezra Chater's wife. Though she, like Byron, never appears onstage, she plays a vital role. She sleeps with Septimus, and her repeatedly cuckolded husband challenges him to a duel. She sleeps with Lord Byron and gets him, her husband, Captain Brice, and herself kicked out of Sidley Park.

Richard Noakes: Lady Croom's gardener. Throughout the play, he is working to transform Sidley Park's classical, Arcadia-like landscape into the popular Gothic style - which Lady Croom begrudgingly accepts. He is key in exposing Septimus' and Mrs. Chater's affair.

Lady Croom: Thomasina's mother. She rules the Coverly estate with an iron fist, but flirts with Septimus and other gentlemen throughout the play. Like Thomasina and  Septimus, she's very smart, with a cutting sense of humor and a capability to see through the silliness of the Sidley Park social scene.A second Lady Croom, the mother of Valentine, Chloe and Gus in the modern half of the play, never appears on stage.

Captain Brice: The brother of Lady Croom (of 1809). He is a sea captain who falls in love with Mrs. Chater. He takes her and her husband to the West Indies at the end of the play. After Mr. Chater's death, Captain Brice marries Mrs. Chater.

Augustus Coverly: Thomasina's trouble-making younger brother. He appears in only a few brief scenes. (Gus and Augustus are played by the same actor.)

Characters of the present

Hannah Jarvis: Hannah is researching the elusive  hermit of Sidley Park, who lived there in the early 19th century. Hannah collaborates (warily) with Bernard and also with Valentine, though she rejects the romantic advances of both. A modern-day feminist scholar, Hannah earned renown with a bestselling book rehabilitating the reputation of Caroline Lamb, a historical figure who was  Byron's lover. Hannah is hardworking, skeptical, and passionate about the value of academia and the quest for knowledge. Unlike every other character, love doesn't sway Hannah, and she rejects advances from  Bernard  and  Valentine.

Chloe Coverly: The 18-year-old daughter of the modern Lady Croom. While her mind is not as rigorous as Thomasina's, Chloe likes to propose wild ideas. She argues that the Newtonian universe has been destabilized by sex and the problems it causes. She tries to set up Hannah with Bernard, but ends up sleeping with him herself.

Bernard Nightingale: A don at a modern university in Sussex, England. Bernard comes to Sidley Park hoping to work with Hannah on his theory about Lord Byron staying at the estate.Though Bernard, like  Hannah, is a scholar interested in the Romantic era, he is her opposite. Where she is cautious and focused on figures neglected by history, Bernard is swaggering, overconfident, and obsessed with the already-renowned  Byron. He foolishly gets into trouble, publishing an ambitious theory about  Chater's death without adequate proof and Hannah prove shim wrong. Though Hannah and Bernard should be enemies, they end up with a relationship based on grudging mutual admiration. Bernard has an affair with  Chloe.

Valentine Coverly: Chloe's older brother. A graduate student of mathematics, he pores over several old documents and comes to acknowledge Thomasina's genius. A modern-day Coverly sibling, along with  Chloe  and  Gus . Valentine studies mathematics at Oxford and spends the play trying to find an algorithm that describes patterns in the Sidley Park grouse population. He is therefore uniquely suited to understand  Thomasina's attempts to represent nature through iteration, and helps Hannah work out the significance of Thomasina's explorations.

Gus Coverly:A modern-day Coverly sibling.Valentine and Chloe's younger brother, who has been mute since the age of five. Gus helps to pass several important props from past to present, and helps connect key moments in the play. (Gus and Augustus are played by the same actor.) He is very socially awkward and perhaps incapable of speech. However, he's very observant, giving  Hannah  her most important clue. He also seems to have a closer link to the past of Sidley Park than any other character………..

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