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Event Details


  • 04/08/2024
  • 13/08/2024
  • 3 sessions
  • 04/08/2024, 18:30 21:30 (BST)
  • 06/08/2024, 19:00 22:00 (BST)
  • 13/08/2024, 19:00 22:00 (BST)
  • Putney Arts Theatre


By Lee Hall
Directed by Jodi Rilot
& Barney Hart Dyke 

12-16 November, 7.45pm , Main Stage
Matinee 16 November, 3pm

4 August, 6.30pm
6 August, 7pm
Recalls on the 13 August, 7pm 

Young Will Shakespeare has writer's block... the deadline for his new play is fast approaching but he's in desperate need of inspiration. That is, until he finds his muse – the courtly Viola de Lesseps. This beautiful young woman is Will’s greatest admirer and will stop at nothing (including breaking the law) to appear in his next play, disguising herself as boy-player Thomas Kemp. Against a bustling background of mistaken identity, ruthless scheming and backstage theatrics, Will’s love for Viola quickly blossoms and inspires him to write his greatest masterpiece.

The story is, at heart, a romantic comedy but it is also about the glorious world of show-business - nothing much changes in theatre and that London's Bankside in 1593 was much like commercial theatre today. Money men assert their power, scripts get rewritten, egos have to be massaged, rivalries develop and last-minute crises intervene. Yet, by the magic that is theatre - somehow Shakespeare manages to turn the distinctly unpromising Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s Daughter into the masterpiece that is Romeo and Juliet.

To register your interest in auditioning, please email the directors at ptc.shakesinlove@gmail.com

CAST BREAKDOWN  - A company of 20-25 actors


Will Shakespeare (m): 20s-ish
The young poet and playwright.

Viola de Lesseps/Thomas Kent (f): 20s-ish
Lover of poetry and theatre, disguises herself as actor Thomas Kent). Daughter of the wealthy de Lessops family.


The ensemble includes other great roles (many of which will be doubled with smaller parts and all of which can be played any gender and a wide range of ages) such as:


Philip Henslowe (m/f - 40’s?):
The Rose owner and manager.
Theatrical entrepreneur – like all theatre producers, constantly in debt at the mercy of his creditors, teetering on the brink of ruin, but believing forever in the magic of theatre.

Fennyman (f/m 40’s):
The money! Henslowe is in debt to him. Romeo and Ethel the Pirate’s daughter is a joint venture with Henslowe in a hope to clear this debt.

Ned Alleyn (m/f 30’s) :
Lead player of The Admiral’s Men - very theatrical leading actor of his day, plays Mercutio

The Admiral’s Men (m): 
The acting corps of The Rose – Young Sam who plays all the romantic leading lady parts (Juliet), Peter (plays Tybalt)

Novice actors (m):
Ralph (plays Nurse and Petruchio), Nol (Benvolio/Samson), Robin (Lady Capulet), Adam (Gregory, Benvolio), Wabash (Henslowe’s stammering tailor)

THE CHAMBERLAIN'S MEN - rivals to The Admiral's Men

Richard Burbage (m/f – 40s?):
Lead actor, businessman, theatre-owner

Mistress Quickly (f -30s):
Wardrobe mistress  

Other Ensemble Roles 

“Kit” Christopher Marlowe: (m/f - 30’s):
Shakespeare’s more-successful playwright friend, and inspiration/mentor

Queen Elizabeth I: (f 50’s/60’s)

Edmond Tilney (m – 60’s):
The Lord Chamberlain

Viola’s Nurse (f 30/40/50/60s):
In control of the fates of the lovers - as in Romeo and Juliet

Sir Robert de Lessops (50’s):
Viola’s father, eager to ennoble the family by marrying their money into a title with Lord Wessex

Lord Wessex (m 30’s):
Viola’s betrothed and a fairly vile human being – needs to marry Viola for money and keen to head to his plantations in Virginia (Paris)

John Webster (f/m to play a boy - young):
A bloody-thirsty wannabe who grows up to write some spectacularly gory plays

Additional Ensemble/Double Roles

Lambert and Frees, Fennyman’s Henchmen
Heavies (Burbage’s heavies and
The Chamberlain’s men (actors),
Guards (Catling at De Lessops Hall), other guards
Actors playing Valentine & Proteus
Tavern sex-workers (Molly & Kate)
Entourage of the Queen/court theatre audience
Bit with a dog – puppetry


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 Putney Theatre Company to audition, but actors and crew will need to become a member of Putney Theatre Company to take part in the show for £30 a year. A  £30 show fee will also need to be paid by all actors in the production. We encourage you to become a member of PTC anyway, 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. 

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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Tel: 020 8788 6943

Putney Arts Theatre, Ravenna Road, Putney, SW15 6AW

Charity No. 1157481

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