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Event Details

Audition: Nell Gwynn by Jessica Swale

  • 04/01/2022
  • 05/01/2022
  • 2 sessions
  • 04/01/2022, 19:00 22:00 (GST)
  • 05/01/2022, 19:00 22:00 (GST)
  • Putney Arts Theatre

 Audition details

Please find below the details of the auditions and backstage help required for Putney Theatre Company's production of Nell Gwynn, by Jessica Swale. This amateur play is presented by special arrangement with NICK HERN BOOKS.

Please do get in touch with the Director, Carrie Cable, with any questions you may have by emailing Carrie at putneynell@gmail.com

Auditions will take place at Putney Arts Theatre, Ravenna Rd, London SW15 6AW

Audition dates

  • Tuesday 4 January 2022, 7pm
  • Wednesday 5 January 2022, 7pm


  • Sunday 9 January, 6.30pm

Production details

The play will be performed on the main stage at Putney Arts Theatre.

Performance dates

  • 31 March to 2 April & 5 to 9 April 2022

Rehearsal period

Rehearsals will take place from January for 2-3 evenings a week, as well as around 3 hours rehearsal on a Sunday. Sometimes there may be a need to rehearse on Saturdays and to rehearse on different days and times. Most actors will only be called for 2 rehearsals a week until the final few weeks, when actors must be prepared to rehearse on up to 4 days a week.


We are committed to improving diversity in our casting and, unless stated for artistic reasons, we aim to actively adopt an inclusive casting policy.

This is an amateur production. You do not need to be a member of PTC to audition, but actors and crew will need to become members for £25 a year by direct debit, or £30 otherwise. A £25 show fee will also need to be paid by all actors in the production. We encourage you to become a member of PTC, even if not cast.

Our company is run by volunteers and we expect all actors cast in a play to volunteer for Front of House duties at least once a year. Our shows could not go up without our Front of House volunteers.


This is an exhilarating modern take on the world of Restoration comedy and an exploration of the life and loves of Nell Gwynn, a woman who sold oranges for a living in the playhouses of the time. She became an actor at a time when women’s parts were usually played by men, and the play explores the cultural and social context she had to overcome. And she also became King Charles II’s mistress! How did she do it?

In this play, Jessica Swale lets her imagination take over and brings this period to life. Most of the characters are real people who Nell knew and acted with or met during her relationship with the King. But, of course, there is also a big element of make believe.

It premiered at London’s Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in 2015, transferred to the West End in 2016 and won the Olivier Award for Best New Comedy.

Time Out said:

Superbly funny… a juicy, well-wrought thing of great fun, a wonderfully layered celebration of theatre, but most of all an apt homage to a woman incredibly ahead of her time

This is a joyous play with music, singing and dancing (but it isn’t a musical). Parts for people of all ages and lots of opportunities for crew, including creative and imaginative set design and lighting.

Audition preparation

Please try to read the play and do a bit of research about who Nell Gwynn was if you haven’t heard of her. We will be looking for actors who have a sense of fun and enjoy singing and dancing – enjoy is the key word here you don’t have to be a great singer or dancer. Auditions will include some movement exercises and some singing. Pieces to read will be provided at the auditions. You must complete an audition form and submit it and book an audition day so please contact Carrie at putneynell@gmail.com to obtain a form and audition date.


Playing ages are a guide only.

Nell Gwynn (20s) A feisty young woman from the east end of London who is up for any challenge – learning to act, falling in love with a King and contending with rivals, and the norms and prejudices of her day.

Rose (20s) Nell’s sister, who finds it harder to fight against the life and family she was born into, but is well able to confront her sister when she feels she has overstepped the mark.

Ma Gwynn (50s+) Nell and Rose’s mother – a widow who runs a brothel in the east end and expects her daughters to contribute to the family business.

And then there is the theatre company where much of the action takes place – The King’s Company under the sponsorship of the King himself.

Thomas Killigrew (30s – 60s) the actor/manager of the newly established King’s Company, who built the original Drury Lane Theatre.

Charles Hart (30s – 40s) the leading actor in the King’s Company. He teaches Nell to act and falls in love with her.

Edward Kynaston (30s – 40s) a successful actor with the King’s Company who often played the female roles in plays – until women were allowed to start playing women, which he isn’t at all happy about.

Ned Spiggett (20s) a young actor in the company and one of Nell’s many admirers. A bit in awe of everyone.

Nancy (30s – 60s) the company dresser, although she gets coerced into doing some acting too. Nell’s friend and confidante.

John Dryden (30s – 60s) a playwright – like many at the time required to produce plays at amazing speed. (He was also a poet and Poet laureate).

And then there is the court

Charles II (40s – 60s) He reopened the theatres when he was restored to the throne and loved going to the theatre and avoiding anything that his advisors wanted him to do. He had a lot of mistresses, but some favourites, including Nell Gwynn.

Catherine of Braganza (20s – 50s) the wife of Charles II from Portugal, so Portuguese speaking, and in this play that is the language she mostly speaks. For fairly obvious reasons she was often angry with her husband.

Barbara Palmer – Countess Castlemaine (20s – 50s) One of Charles’ mistresses and a very powerful woman. In the play, Nell displaces her in the King’s affections, so she is quite angry and resentful too.

Louise de Kéroualle (20s-50s) Another of Charles’ mistresses, this time from France, so she speaks both French and English in the play. She and Nell were big rivals.

Arlington (20s-60s) the King’s advisor, who is constantly trying (in vain) to get the King to attend to matters of state.

Members of the company and members of court. Some of these parts may be doubled up.

Musicians – woodwind and string players, including recorder, violin, guitar.

The original production included musicians who could play a range of single and double-reed woodwind instruments including the shawm, the chalumeau, the curtal and the serpent. We’d like to hear from anyone who owns and can play these instruments.

The musicians are members of the company and members of the court and will be on stage. They should also be able to sing. Some parts may be doubled up.

Lots of flexibility in casting, although members of the King’s Company will all need to be able/willing to sing and dance, and Nell and Charles will need to be able to sing on their own – there are quite a few lively and bawdy songs!


    Opportunities available include:

    • Stage Management
    • Lighting design
    • Sound design
    • Lighting and sound operators
      Please get in touch with Carrie at putneynell@gmail.com or info@putneyartstheatre.co.uk if you are interested in getting involved.

      Photography on this website is provided by numerous members over the years. In particular we would like to thank: Ben Copping, Martin Jessop, Rich Evans and Steve Lippett who have contributed so much to capturing our productions in such amazing quality.

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