Merrie England is an Edwardian romp through whatever was considered ultimately English at the time. Set in Elizabethan times, it is probably most similar to Gilbert and Sullivan’s Yeomen of the guard than anything else. It contains some glorious music and a libretto that is somewhat bewildering and full of olde worlde puns! We are hoping to find performers who enjoy bringing dialogue to life, but I am currently pruning and jiggling the dialogue, and can assure auditionees that we will spend time working on it to make it comprehensible, believable and fun. It’s a great chorus show too, with plenty for everyone to do and lots of small roles, so everyone will be busy.
Please familiarise yourself with the dialogue but do not attempt to learn it off by heart. I may alter or cut chunks, and would rather hear an intelligent reading than make learn it for nothing!
The plot deals with the goings on of the townspeople of Windsor. They are preparing a great celebration of May, and have chosen a May Queen who, though popular, is something of a stirrer. She tries to stir up trouble by accusing a local girl, Jill, who is a bit of an outsider, of being a witch. The May Queen falls for the dubious charms of Wilkins, a player in Shakespeare’s company (or so he says) and his sidekick, Simkins, who have arrived to make the festivities and the local’s theatrical celebrations that bit more professional.
Bessie Throckmorton, one of Queen Elizabeth’s Ladies in Waiting, has fallen in love with Sir Walter Raleigh. He returns her love, much to the consternation of the Queen, who is furious, and threatens imprisonment and executions for the lovers and Jill (the girl who can’t decide whether she is a witch or not). Luckily, Lord Essex is himself enamoured of the queen, and sets out to sort this tangle with the help of Raleigh, Wilkins, Jill and her lover, Long Tom, leading to the ubiquitous happy end we expect from our operetta.
We have audition songs and dialogue for the following characters. (If you would like to be considered for a smaller part, of which there are many, please contact us directly to discuss.)
Links to audition pieces are below:
– Raleigh (Tenor)
– Essex (Baritone)
– Wilkins (Comic Baritone)
– Long Tom (Bass-Baritone)
– Big Ben (Bass-Baritone)
– Simkins (Comic Baritone)
– Bessie (Soprano)
– Jill (Mezzo-Soprano)
– Elizabeth (Contralto)
– May Queen (Soprano)
Exact dates to be confirmed, as we are monitoring government guidelines, but auditions will take place in March/April.
Audition dates will be posted here, and on our social media, so please keep an eye out for exact dates.
Time: Please contact Sara at firstname.lastname@example.org with any queries.
St Andrew's United Reformed Church
Corner of Frognal Lane
St Andrew's Church is fully Covid-19 secure, however due to restructions there is no waiting area for auditionees. Please arrive at your allocated audition time.
The show will run for four nights
(Wednesday 24th November - Saturday 27th November) and will be double cast.
All Principal roles will be expected to also sing chorus on all four nights of the production.
Rehearsals will take place weekly on Mondays (Principals only) and Wednesdays (Principals and chorus)
The cost for performing with Brent Opera for a season are as follows:
Principals: Up to £150