Present Laughter by Noël Coward

Directed by Nicki Pope

Audition Dates March 11th and 13th at 7.45pm
Performance Dates June 10th to 15th
Rehearsals Monday and Weds with some Sunday mornings up to the run

What’s it all about?

‘I’m always acting,’ declares Garry Essendine, Noël Coward’s famous, in demand and occasionally overwrought protagonist in Present Laughter. In a blur of people, wit, booze and charm he blusters and brags his way through life, batting off adoring fans and obsessed lovers with a smidgen of Shelley.

As he prepares to embark on an overseas tour, star actor Garry Essendine’s colourful life is in danger of spiralling out of control. Engulfed by an escalating identity crisis as his many and various relationships compete for his attention, both men and women want to seduce him, he must placate his ex-wife and his long serving secretary. Garry’s few remaining days at home are a chaotic whirlwind of love, sex, panic and soul-searching.

Present Laughter is a giddy and surprisingly modern reflection on fame, desire and loneliness written by Noel Coward in 1939, Noel himself played the original Garry Essendine. Most recently the part was played by Andrew Scott, supported by Sophie Thompson and Indira Varma.

This production will be set in the Swinging Sixties – think Sandy Shaw, Twiggy, The Stones and The Kinks

Which part I can audition for?

  • Gary Essendine

Male – 30 – 50 – Needs to have star quality.

Essendine is, usually, a thoroughbred cad and a ham: a conceited old-school actor-manager lording over a small team of long-suffering assistants and associates while staving off the agonies of aging with a string of meaningless one-night stands. Protective of his bohemian crew, he is also predatory, lofty and, underneath it all, deeply alone. In this updated text, he becomes much more besides — bisexual, yes, but more than that: queer.

On stage nearly all the time – Gary needs energy and to be believable as the most famous actor of his time.

  • Liz Essendine

Female – Classy and glamorous – 30 – 50 (needs to pair with Gary age wise)

Was an actress, has now become a playwright – think upper class, witty and sharp! Almost a double act with Monica.

  • Monica Reed

A real character part – organises Gary’s life – any age over 30 (Sophie Thompson played her in the recent revival). Needs to punchy, despairing and have a great energy about her

  • Miss Erikson

Housekeeper – any age. Written as Swedish but that can change. A comic part- not huge but makes her mark. On and off throughout the play

  • Fred

Gary’s Valet. I think either older – very British – or we could go down the camp route. Great character part.

  • Daphne Stillington

Young – 20’s – A debutante, bright young thing. Has stayed overnight with Gary. Posh and pretty!

  • Roland Maule

An earnest young man. An aspiring playwright – 20’s to 30’s pompous – besotted with Gary Essendine

  • Henry Lyppiatt

Any age over 30’s – businessman and long-time friend of Gary’s – “in with the in-crowd”

  • Joanne Lyppiatt

Needs to match Henry / age wise – uses her looks and charm to get her way – sophisticated

  • Lady Saltburn

Aristocrat, wealthy and majestic – Coward’s dig at Lady Bracknell – age wise needs to play Daphne’s mum – smaller part – but fun!

  • Morris Dixon

A director and producer – older. Smart – but also a complete fool……….

Books will be available from the box office from 15th Jan. Please return as soon as you have read. Any questions, please get in touch.

It is all very exciting!

Audition Dates

Auditions Closed

  • Monday 11th Mar 2024 at  7:45pm
  • Wednesday 13th Mar 2024 at  7:45pm


Rehearsals Monday and Weds with some Sunday mornings up to the run