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The Week Ahead

Noelle Rimmington and Colin Pinney present the life of the author of Travels with a Donkey, Treasure Island and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde.

Willesden Green Library, Wednesday 25 April 6.30 pm (Any bus opposite Willesden Green Station - 2 stops).

The presentation follows Robert and his life-long American love from their honeymoon in a silver mine to his virtual coronation in the South Sea islands.

“I have had a splendid life... grudge nothing and regret little.”

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Martin Wimbush has been invited to present his play, Miss Wilson’s Waterloo, for a special one-off performance on Saturday 21st April, at the Theatre Le Colombier, Codes-sur-Ciel, near Toulouse in France. The play, written and directed by Ellis Jones and based on Martin’s original one man play Wellington, will feature Karen Archer as Harriette Wilson and various other women in Wellington’s life.

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Baring All by Susannah Finzi is directed by Claire Morrissey at the CornerHOUSE Theatre, Surbiton as part of their annual One Acts Festival on 23rd, 25th and 27th April.

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Tom Jensen’s 10-minute play Elevator Pitch, first read at AWL, will be performed by Bloom Theatre and Film in a new writing showcase at the Hen & Chickens Theatre at 7pm on 21st April. The 21st April performance has now sold out, but there will be four more performances at the same venue between 17th and 20th May: see website for full details.

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Simon Brandon writes:

A series inspired by William Shakespeare will be broadcast on social media starting on 23rd April. The first part to be transmitted on Shakespeare’s birthday will reference Richard II. Please show your support by visiting and liking our Facebook page (link below) and subscribing to our YouTube channel (found by typing “A Throne Of Shadows” in the search field in YouTube).

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Richard White’s “new thriller for 2018”, The Line Up, co-written with Ros Cornford, John Thane, Richard White & Tom MacAskill, plays at The Lion & Unicorn Theatre from 15th - 23rd April.

Four women, one detective and a body impaled on the railings of a seaside hotel. Is it murder, manslaughter or an accident?

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Peter Saracen plays Burrhus (tutor to Nero) and Victoria Kempton plays Albina (lady-in-waiting to Agrippina) in Racine’s Britannicus at Pentameters Theatre from 4th to 22nd April.

Racine’s political thriller, set in Rome at the beginning of a tyranny, lays bare the relationships at the heart of power, as a world slips into moral chaos.

£13 (concs £10)

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Paddy Glynn appears in Reared, a new play by John Fitzpatrick, at Theatre503 from 4th to 28th April.

Three generations of women under one roof and a baby on the way. There’s isn’t enough room for everybody but no one is leaving without a struggle. Reared is a dark comedy about overcoming family history and fighting for a seat at the table.

4 April to 28 April

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Catherine Harvey interviewed Richard Foran, the last lighthouse keeper on Skellig Michael, off the south west coast of Ireland, for BBC World Service’s Witness series. The programme, The Last Keeper of the Light, is available as a podcast on the BBC iPlayer.

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The second series of Paul Antony-Barber’s legal drama Striking Out is currently screening on Channel 5. He co-stars opposite Neil Morrisey as evil lawyer Richard Dunbar. A third series begins filming in Dublin this summer.

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Further Events in the Month Ahead

An extract of The Sound of Breaking Glass, Sally Sheringham’s play about suffragettes (first read at AWL) will be performed at The Space theatre, Isle of Dogs, on Sunday 29 April at 7.30pm as part of Wonderbox’s (Trying out new) Material Girl night, celebrating the centenary of women’s suffrage.

Pay as you feel

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Leonora Fyfe leads an all-AWL cast in Robin Marchal’s Stunning Meara, directed by Maurice Thorogood as part of the Wandsworth Festival: 4th to 6th May, 7.30 pm at St Mary’s Church, Putney. The cast also includes Olivia Busby, Laura Fitzpatrick and Patrick Lynch.

Meara is a mixed race woman with selective mutism, who lives alone. A beautifully bizarre relationship unfolds when Steve crashes into her world.

The play received its first reading at AWL in 2015.

£8 (concs £5)

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Keith Merrill appears in a new production of Stephen Sondheim’s Marry Me a Little (1980) in an all-American cast at Drayton Arms Theatre from 8th to 26th May.

Two single strangers, left alone in their studio apartments on a Saturday night, pass their time with sweetly secret, unshared fantasies, never knowing that they’re just a floor away from each other and the end of their lonely dreams. Together they breathe new theatrical life and meaning into a collection of trunk songs that were culled from the final productions of Anyone Can Whistle, Follies, Company, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and A Little Night Music.

£16 (concs £12)

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As part of Wandsworth Arts Fringe Festival, four of Sally Sheringham’s short plays will be performed, script-in-hand, at an evening of Tooting Shorts at The Antelope, Tooting Broadway, on Sunday May 20 at 7pm.

£7.50 (concs £7)

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Future Plans

Kate Glover’s new docudrama, Little Chocolate Soldier, based on the letters (1916-1918) of Bombardier Edwin Hassall, receives its premiere performance at the Foxlowe Arts Centre, Leek, Staffordshire (Hassall’s home town), on 31st May. The production is directed by Kenneth Michaels.

The first London performances will be at the CAA on 1st June, and at All Hallows by the Tower on 2nd June. Further performances will follow later in the year, including a one-week run at the OSO Arts Centre from 6th to 10th November. See the Historia Theatre Company website (link below) for full details and booking links.

It is June 1916. A six-year-old girl, Joan Burbridge, watches as her father wraps up a packet of chocolate for the brave soldiers at the front. A thought strikes her: ‘How will the soldier know the chocolate is from me?’ Her father obligingly writes on the packet: ‘From Little Joan, Whiterock, Wadebridge, Cornwall’. Six weeks letter, a green field envelope arrives, addressed to Little Joan. Inside is a letter, the first of many, from Bombardier Edwin Hassall, Royal Artillery, still in the midst of the fighting at the Battle of the Somme.

The story of the letters from The Chocolate Soldier to Little Joan and her father, from the Somme until the Armistice, is told movingly and amusingly, by three actors, in a cabaret style performance with poetry and popular songs from the period.

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Nadia Ostacchini’s Tricolore Theatre Company presents the premiere production of Penny Culliford’s play for children and families: A Boy Named Porro (Un Bambino di Nome Porro). The bilingual (English-Italian) production is directed by Liz Felton. Cast includes Nadia Ostacchini and Sara Laratro.

Kids’ Club, Casa Italiana San Vincenzo Pallotti, London EC1R 5EN:

Saturdays 16th, 23rd & 30th June at 5 pm;

Sundays 17th & 24th June and 1st July at 5 pm.

£5 - £7

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Living the Drama (Carolyn Lloyd-Davies and Stephanie Connell) are producing Beneath the Blue Rinse by Tom Glover. It has been accepted into Oxford’s Offbeat Festival in June and will be doing a short tour around Oxfordshire:

29 June at 8pm, Abingdon Unicorn Theatre

30 June at 3pm, Oxford Fringe Festival Offbeat, Old Fire Station

30 June at 8.00pm, Eynsham Village Hall

5 July at 8pm, Old Fire Station, Oxford

6-7 July at- 8pm, Cheltenham Everyman Studio

Beneath the Blue Rinse, a comedy, exposes how society views and treats the elderly, showing that old age is no barrier to living life fast and very furiously. Think Tarantino meets Last of the Summer Wine!

We are also doing our care home tour in September with Go For It, Girl by Pauline Massey, with Stephanie Connell in the cast.

Sally Sheringham’s play about suffragettes, The Sound of Breaking Glass, which was first read at AWL, and then toured schools with an AWL cast and Kate Glover as director, will be performed by Harrogate Dramatic Society at Harrogate Theatre (Studio) in N. Yorks from Tuesday October 23 to Saturday October 27; includes a matinee on Saturday.

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Julia Haythorn writes:

I am doing a qualification to become an executive coach certified by the International Coaching Federation (ICF). As part of the training, I have to do a certain number of coaching hours and so I am looking for people to coach. As I’m keen to build up my hours, I am offering this to AWL members for free for a limited time. Coaching is for everyone (not just executives!) Coaching would certainly be useful for people who want to develop their careers, or are feeling there are areas of their professional or personal life that would benefit from change. The great thing about coaching, is that it can be done face to face, or over the phone or via Skype - so people don’t even have to be London based to take up the offer. It is also completely confidential.

In each meeting you choose the focus of conversation while I listen and contribute observations and questions. Coaching accelerates your progress by providing greater focus and awareness of choice. Coaching concentrates on where you are today and what you are willing to do to get to where you want to be tomorrow and what is holding you back from getting more of what you truly want.

Please get in touch if you would like some more information about what coaching involves or if you want to take up this offer which expires at the end of April 2018. I’d love to hear from you.

07710 124670

Keith Merrill has launched a new singing practice: Singing Lessons | UK | The Vocal GP. Keith studied at Guildhall School of Music and Drama and went on to complete the prestigious postgraduate Music Theatre course at The Royal Academy of Music in London.

“I will demonstrate everything for you, by example - proving the technique with real & tangible results. Total transparency; fully explained. I am dedicated to a school of singing that has been empowering singers for over a century. (The main influence for Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Rihanna’s teacher, Seth Riggs) Championed and perfected by the great singing teacher, E. Herbert-Caesari and his colleague, the legendary tenor Beniamino Gigli, this approach provides us a totally natural, healthy, vibrant, beautiful, flexible and utterly sustainable technique that will allow for many years of great singing and pure enjoyment.”

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Bronwyn Baud is a qualified teacher of the Alexander Technique and has been for almost 20 years.

Sessions are normally £35. Bronwyn is offering a 20% discount to AWL Members for 5 sessions, thereafter 10%.

People use the Technique for a wide range of reasons, including preventing injury in music, drama and sport, enhancing business and presentation skills, developing ease and elegance in movement, and supporting pregnancy and childbirth.

To book a lesson or just to find out more about the Technique, call Bronwyn Baud on 07531 447 887 or email her via her AWL page.

07531 447 887

Viv Lake has done quite a bit of research into theatrical and family history and accumulated a lot of information which might prove useful to other AWL members who have been looking into family or theatrical history.

She has lists of information such as stage names and aliases, biogs, obituaries, where they are buried, census returns which mention performers, old theatrical companies and theatres, actor-managers, and photocopies or pdfs of very old playbills, as well as text from theatrical journals and newspapers, most of which are from the Georgian and Victorian eras, and earlier, in Great Britain and America.

If you’re interested in Viv doing just a basic search for free through her files, please speak to her at an AWL meeting, or email her via her AWL page.

Hedley England a director/editor, is offering his services to provide a professional Showreel for AWL members for a reasonable price.

The AWL deal is that actors only pay for the hire of the camera, the price obviously to be agreed upon, and Hedley would give his time free to direct and edit the showreel professionally. He can provide a DVD with a menu, and also work with existing footage.

Click for examples of his work.

Contact Hedley on 07984 616 711

John Melainey has coached audition technique for the last 20 years. It is one of the areas that many actors push to one side and yet it is a vital skill. A good audition technique is the secret to many a successfull acting career. If you feel like you go into an audition and it never seems to go the way you planned or if you leave feeling like you just didn’t do enough, or didn’t have long enough to work on the script, then the chances are that it is your audition process, that is letting you down.

Click for further information.

Stephanie Connell is an award winning web designer who has been creating websites for the past seven years. Each website is handmade and specific to the client’s requirements and is therefore unique. She will guide you through the process and provide design and practical suggestions where necessary. She offers aftercare service which she feels is just as important as the creative process. A discount to AWL Members only.

AWL Members who have had their websites created recently: Carolyn Pertwee, David Hampshire, Julia Haythorn and Hedley England


Masterclass aims to offer young people between 17-30, exceptional creative opportunities and experiences with leaders of the theatre industry. A year-round programme of talks, workshops, special projects and career advice is intended to give people insight into all aspects of theatre from writing and directing to acting and producing. Masterclass strives to provide all the events for free, so that people of all abilities, status and background can be inspired by and learn from masters of the craft.

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