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The Week Ahead

BESTheatre have produced an online reading of David Hampshire’s play Funny Turns, which was first read at AWL in 2019. The two-act reading is free-to-view, with donations encouraged to benefit the Jermyn Street Theatre Reopening Fund.

The play, set in a theatrical boarding house in 1935, is introduced by Joanna Lumley.

The cast features AWL members Georgia Riley, Crissy Mullen, Lewis Rae, David Forest and David Hampshire, with Linda Thorson, Gary Wilmot, Gay Soper, Andrew Wincott and Timothy Bentinck (Adam Macy and David Archer in The Archers).

We hope the play will raise both some smiles and some spirits during this challenging time.

Click for website

Susannah Finzi writes:

Out of the Wings is a collective of Spanish and Portuguese translators, directors, actors, theatre-makers & academics who over the last five years have become among the very best of my colleagues and friends.

From 23rd February, we’re holding an online celebration Winter Warmer, showing over four evenings some of what we normally do at our monthly meetings at Kings College, London and our annual summer festival at Omnibus Theatre…bringing theatre in translation to the English speaking world.

More about Out of the Wings and details of the online event at the link below.

Do join us for one or more of the sessions. It’s free, you don’t have to speak Spanish or Portuguese, and everyone is welcome!

Click for website

AWL’s newest director, Rachael Bellis, directs an on-line presentation of Romeo and Juliet, with cast including AWLies Beatrice Mori, Edmund Dehn, Liz Felton & Simon Brandon.

The broadcast took place on Sunday 14th February. Click below to play

Click for website

Anne Rutter and Avril Gaynor have recently made audio recordings for Lost Souls Monologues, which presents fictional monologues exploring the idea that we’re all a little lost from time to time.

Click below to listen on the Lost Souls website.

Avril’s monologue is Slow Dating.

Annie’s is The right to a view.

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Rare Fortune Productions presents its second all-AWL post-lockdown production at the OSO in Barnes: Waiting in the Wings.

This collection of short plays by Sally Sheringham, Frank Mariani, Nicolas Ridley, Robin Miller, Julia Haythorn, Carolyn Pertwee and Tom Pauk, presented to a socially-distanced audience, is all about waiting in one way or another - something that seems very appropriate as we all become used to waiting for a return to normality.

The cast, comprising Carolyn Pertwee, Robin Miller, Julia Haythorn, Gregory Cox, Jeremy Drakes & Sam Alan, is directed by Maurice Thorogood.

16th & 17th April at 8pm; 17th & 18th April at 4.30pm.

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Christopher Owen’s play A Family Affair is to be adapted by Muhammad Imran Fatani in his ‘Native Desi Language Style’ and performed in his Directional Course Project at the National Academy of Performing Arts, Karachi, Pakistan1

Brian O’Connell is the percussion section in The Jabliners’ smile-inducing Thank you, NHS video: Away we go, let the vaccine flow. The video, produced by Surrey Border Movie Makers, features strong O’Connell family resemblances.

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Short Memory by Richard Roques, which was due to play at the Waterloo East Theatre in October, has now been postponed indefinitely.

Henry Dawe has had his first book published, a six-part series of extended comedy sketches called Play on Words. Some AWL members will have seen excerpts of two of these pieces at Henry’s shows at the CAA in 2018 and 2019. If anyone in the group is interested in purchasing the book for consideration for a reading or stage production, or just to read for pleasure, please click the link below. Henry hopes that the book may lift some spirits in lockdown.

Click for website

Are you lonely or bereft without AWL meetings? Then join Liz Felton’s on-line meetings, hosted by Liz Felton every Monday.

Strictly AWL members only. Contact Liz for details:

Here’s an extraordinary all-AWL lockdown project. It’s Les Amuse Bouche, “a Morsel of Molière” from The Social Climber, Paddy Gormley’s adaptation of Le Bourgeois gentilhomme.

Director Anthony Shrubsall and film editor Brian O’Connell worked together to set high technical standards for lock-down video. Brian ensured that the actors, Peter Saracen, Hélène Le Bohec, Simon Brandon & Mary Drake, understood and applied new self-filming techniques that would pave the way for a coherent edit, while using their own equipment such as mobile phones. Anthony directed the scene as if preparing for a full production, taking the actors off book in the process. And Brian pulled it all together, with further input from Anthony’s musician friend Stefan Potiuk.

The Social Climber was first read at AWL in 2011, and subsequently premiered by Logos Theatre Company in a four-week run Upstairs at the Gatehouse. The 2011 reading and production were directed by Kenneth Michaels. Then as now, the role of Jourdain, the eponymous social climber, was played by Peter Saracen.

Les Amuse Bouche includes a monologue specially written for Jourdain in the original production.

Watch the video on You have to register to see it, but registration is free.

Click for website

Brian Abbott writes:

I have been “distance working/writing/researching” on a theatre project for Newham, North East London, which had to be changed to an audio project because of the current situation.

It’s now a set of four ten minute monologues/dialogues, covering the history of the people of Newham from the 15th century, but mainly 1916 through to 2021 (post-Covid, hopefully).

The late, lamented Joan Blackham gave a fantastic performance of the opening monologue, which stands as a lasting tribute to her memory. R.I.P. Joan.

Click for website

Simon Brandon writes:

I am currently creating a short light-hearted comedy film called: Last Fish Finger In The World, which I hope will bring a few smiles and chuckles. The film is being filmed during lockdown and stars AWL members: Carolyn Pertwee, Edmund Dehn, Gregory Cox, Robin Miller, Simon Fisher-Becker, Hilary Field, Susan Casanove, Alexander Jonas and Simon Brandon. More details on a social media release date soon.

An archive recording of Carolyn Pertwee’s play The Beautiful Couple, as broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in October 2002, is now availble as a free download.

The cast is Ronald Pickup, Julia McKenzie, Claudie Blakley & Ajay Chhabra. It was Gillian ReynoldsChoice, and it was Play of the Day in The Independent, The Guardian, Sunday Times, Daily Mail and Radio Times.

Click for website


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.

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

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