Meet the Oxford Playhouse Twelve

Meet the Oxford Playhouse Twelve

16 September 2016

Who's who in the community cast for A Tale of Two Cities at Oxford Playhouse?

Two Cities TwelveA Tale of Two Cities arrives at its first stop on tour next week - the Oxford Playhouse! We'll be there from Tuesday 20 - Saturday 24 September and will play seven performances. The Playhouse opened in 1938 and has a capacity of over 600! Its stage has seen the likes of Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Maggi Smith and Susannah York.

Two Cities Twelves

A Tale of Two Cities is currently touring the UK from 20 September until 26 November 2016. Each week we arrive in a new city or town, we'll be working with a new cast of people from the local community. We're calling them the Twelves! Why? Well, they'll be joining our professional cast on stage as citizens of this Dickensian world, either as unruly mobs or jury members. Twelve is, of course, the size of a jury!

So who's who in the Oxford Twelve?

Wayne Brown

Wayne Brown

Why did you want to appear in this production?
I have appeared as ensemble in the recent Evita tour and found it hugely exciting and interesting. So when this opportunity came along I didn't hesitate to apply. I have also performed on the Playhouse stage several times, most notably as Ko-Ko in a production of The Mikado, so I feel quite at home in this beautiful theatre.

What are you most looking forward to in taking part?
I am currently in my second year of study for a Foundation Degree in Writing For Performance at Ruskin College, so to be involved in professional theatre is a wonderful opportunity to see how characters are transposed from page to stage. I am always in awe of the dedicated and talented teams of people who put together productions, from wardrobe, make-up and hair, to set and music design, all the way through to direction and performance, so I am very honoured to be one of the cogs in the machinery.

What has been your experience of theatre so far?
As a teenager, I was involved in local youth theatre and was a member of several companies, including a wonderful three months with Cumbria Youth Theatre as Tweedle Dee in an adaptation of The Alice Stories. I have performed in many musicals and plays in principle roles and as dancer/chorus, then later in concerts as choir member and soloist. 

Interesting fact?
I am a serial TV quiz show contestant and have faced the wrath of Anne Robinson in Weakest Link and survived. I have also appeared on Pointless with my husband Michael, The Chase and, most recently Fifteen to One, hosted by the glorious Sandi Toksvig. I've yet to win any money, but one can try!


Caitlin Carrick-VarityCaitlin Carrick-Varty

Why did you want to appear in this production?
Being part of a chorus and working alongside a professional company.  

What are you most looking forward to in taking part?
Getting stuck into the world that I know the cast has already created and hopefully bringing to life some characters that add to that!

What has been your experience of theatre so far?
Romeo and Juliet (BT studios), Pink Mist (Ruskin Theatre Platforms), The Odyssey (17|25, Oxford Playhouse), Rosencrantz and Guildenstern (17|25, Oxford Playhouse). I have recently just completed my first film role, I loved it and learnt a lot, I'm excited to see the final product. 

Interesting fact?
My favourite kind of socks to wear are sparkly ones.

 

 

 


Louise EganLouise Egan

Why did you want to appear in this production?
I've always loved theatre and acting and this was a fun opportunity to take part

What are you most looking forward to in taking part?
Meeting new people

What has been your experience of theatre so far?
I work in the ticket office at Oxford Playhouse and have always loved watching and participating in theatre

Interesting fact?
I used to work in a wildlife park! 

 

 

 

 

 


Lauren MeehanLauren Meehan

Why did you want to be a part of this production?
I thought it would be a really exciting opportunity to be part of a big sumptuous production from a fantastic company - it's a chance to meet some wonderful people and to be involved in a project at my local theatre (and my workplace! It means I can see how it all works behind stage with the OP crew as well as in front). I also desperately wanted to wear one of those big period dresses too!
 

What are you looking forward to from taking part?
Getting to work with some really great people
 

What has been your experience of theatre so far?
I currently work at Oxford Playhouse as their Press & Marketing Officer, so I get to see all the work that comes here...but have never seen how it works behind. So it will be nice to work with my colleagues in a different way to normal - I get to see how they do their jobs, so it will give me a bit more insight into their day to day. I also have been performing at festivals and cabaret nights over the past six years, most recently as Shesus & the Sistas, as well as running my own theatre company specialising in interactive/site-specific theatre called The Galloping Cuckoos. So this show will be a completely different experience for me, and on a much larger scale. I've never actually performed any theatre adaptations of classics outside of school or university.
 

Interesting fact?
Erm...I'm a twin!? Although we are polar opposites in the way we look - she is blonde, blue-eyed, pale skin, tall and willowy. I have brown hair and eyes, am quite short and have slightly olive skin. We don't even look like family, and used to joke that one of us was the milkman's... 

Also, I have a party trick which involves doing a yoga cobra - where I can let my arms go above my head with my legs on the ground but weirdly stay in the same position. 


Sue NorthSue North

Why did you want to appear in this production?
I love being the centre of attention and am possibly a bit of a poser! When I was younger there were never any opportunities to appear on a 'proper' stage!  Three of my four children have all performed at the Oxford Playhouse in various productions, so when someone suggested that I audition for the Twelves, I thought "Yeah, why not? I'll give it a go!" I was absolutely delighted when I heard I was successful! Oh and I love the storyline of A Tale of Two Cities!

What are you most looking forward to in taking part?
I'm looking forward to meeting new people, the challenge of remembering where I should be and when, performing at the Playhouse, wearing costumes (I love dressing up!) and, of course, having an audience!

What has been your experience of theatre so far?
I haven't had much experience on stage although I have worked extensively backstage in a variety of roles including costuming whole shows! I have sung various church solos and last year I managed to direct and act in our school staff panto which was fabulous fun!

Funny story?
During the dress rehearsal of one show, we were executing an extremely quick change in the wings and the leading lady's dress hook got caught in her wig! Ten seconds of professional panic ensued, however, she did make it on in time for her bows with wig and dress intact! 


Tristan Robinson Tristan Robinson

Why did you want to appear in this production?
The first reason for being a part of this production is I read the novel as part of my school's GCSE English and the plot of the novel remains as compelling since I left school in 2009. The second reason is that I would be performing once more at the Oxford Playhouse for a second time. I enjoyed my previous experience last year in March, during a production of Fredrick Schiller's Mary Stuart and I'm excited at the prospect of returning to the same venue.

What are you most looking forward to in taking part?
The atmosphere of stage performances and the sense of professionalism from both the cast and crew, as well as the chance of acting in multiple roles again.

What has been your experience of theatre so far?
I studied Performing Arts at college and acted in Blue Remembered Hills (as Peter or Raymond), Who's Afraid of the Big Bad Book? (as Ensemble) and Teechers (as Mr. Nixon). My second experience in ensemble work was in Guys & Dolls as Angie the Ox, Society Max, a Woman, Cuban Waiter and Russian drunk. I later performed in Woyzeck as Franz Woyzeck at a production at Oxford Brookes University. Then in 2015 as Captain of the Guard in Mary Stuart in by the Oxford Theatre Guild (OTG).

Interesting fact?
I consider myself British, though I was born in Paris to British parents who moved me to the UK at the age of 12 months, technically making me a Parisian by birthright. Elsewhere prior to my birth, my maternal aunt moved to France and met a Frenchman. As per result, I have four French cousins and two French step-cousins. If that wasn't complex enough my mother's paternal lineage is of Huguenot ancestry deriving from her French surname Gascoigne. 


Joy Shorten Joy Shorten

Why did you want to appear in this production?
To be a part of telling a great and important story about the consequences of inequality. 

What are you most looking forward to in taking part?
Learning from the professionals, wearing the costumes and having my hair done hopefully.

What has been your experience of theatre so far?
Student productions a lifetime ago, but now my daughter mucks about on stage and she's got me interested again.

Funny story?
Once upon a time I was arrested by the police stark naked. I was skinny dipping in Oxford (Hinksey) open air pool after breaking in at midnight. A bit drunk.  Released without charge!

 

 

 

 


Heward SimpsonHeward Simpson

Why did you want to be a part of this production?
I wanted to face an audition by a professional, and to join a professional production to see what is was like from the inside. 

What are you looking forward to from taking part?
Looking forward to enjoying the process from rehearsal to performance, to meeting like-minded people and to assisting in some small way in telling the story of the play.

What has been your experience of theatre so far?
Quite extensive, always as an amateur. Experience spans 57 years, including all sorts of productions and audiences, from Merseyside Unity Theatre's The Jew of Malta in the 1960s via children's plays, musical plays etc. to the four-hander Proof for Oxford Theatre Guild last year.

Interesting fact?
I took an acting part in La Fete Populaire, the ONLY UK show to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the French Revolution, with the French Ambassador in the audience! The production interleaved scenes of the story of the Revolution with pieces of little-performed music by French composers. Good prep. for this current show!


Kristian Tyler

Interesting fact?
I have recently been an extra in an upcoming Zombie apocalypse movie.

 


A Tale of Two Cities opens at Royal & Derngate, Northampton, where it plays from 10 to 17 September 2016. It then tours to Oxford Playhouse, Richmond Theatre, Bradford Alhambra, Blackpool Grand, Wolverhampton Grand, Brighton Theatre Royal, Edinburgh King's, Cheltenham Everyman and Nottingham Theatre Royal. 

Get tickets for this show by visiting our tour page.