Skip to main content

Audition Announcement

Video Submissions due Thursday, October 8, 2020 by 12:00 pm

Nell Gwynn

by Jessica Swale
Directed by William Woodall Lewis
Rehearsals begin, planned online: November 9 - 22, 2020*
Rehearsals are currently planned to be in person starting January 19, 2021*
Performances: February 11-14, 2021*
*note that rehearsal, performance dates, and modalities are subject to change



We will be conducting auditions for this production via video submission. This will allow actors to practice skills in this area, especially useful in this time of social distancing. For tips on creating a video submission, see here.

Generals: By video submissions due by Thursday, October 8, 2020 at 12:00pm. The link to submit your audition is HERE.

Callbacks: In person on Saturday and Sunday October 10 & 11, 2020 1 – 5pm in the Hansen Theatre. Actors will be notified via email no later than Friday evening October 9.  Tentative schedule for callbacks:
           Saturday, October 10
                        1:00 – 2:15 Ensemble call
                        2:30 – 3:30 Movement and choreography call
                        3:45 – 5:00 Additional solo readings

            Sunday, October 11
                        1:00 – 3:00 Group scene readings
                        3:15 – 5:30 pairings


Please note: The actor should set the frame so the entire body is visible in front of a neutral background. Please be aware of forward or backward movement that may take an actor out of the frame.

Purdue Department of Theatre Acting Majors and Acting Certificate Students: Please prepare two contrasting monologues (comedic/dramatic) and 30 seconds of acapella singing. Total length: 4 minutes

Purdue Department of Theatre Majors, Theatre Minors, Theatre Design and Production Majors and Non-Theatre Majors: Please prepare two contrasting monologues (comedic/dramatic) and 30 seconds of acapella singing. If you do not have material prepared, you may choose to prepare provided monologues (available in PAO 2165) in addition to 30 seconds of acapella singing. The monologues do not need to be memorized. Total length: 4 minutes

Purdue Department of Theatre Acting Graduate Students: Please prepare two contrasting monologues (comedic/dramatic) and 30 seconds of acapella singing. Please note that one of these two monologues should be classical verse, Shakespeare recommended. Total length: 4 minutes

Scripts: For a perusal copy, limited scripts are available for check out in the Theatre Office (72 hour quarantine) or electronically through Purdue Libraries here. 


A Note on Staged Intimacy: All staged contact will be led in rehearsals by a consultant trained in staging intimacy. All instances of staged intimacy for the characters required of the script are noted in parentheses in the character description below. If actors prefer not to be considered for characters because of staged intimacy or have questions they will be given an option to indicate this on the online audition form.

A Note on Staged Violence: All staged contact will be led in rehearsals by a consultant trained in staging violence.

** Important Note on COVID-19: Please note that with social distancing and safety considerations related to COVID-19, staging, including intimacy and violence may be curtailed, abstracted, or cut.

Enrollment Requirement: Student actors cast in this production must register for 2-3 credits of THTR 536 Rehearsal and Performance.


All characters have historical gender specific identities designated by the author. Casting is open to all races and ethnicities.

The Ladies

^ Nell Gwynn– Our Heroine - Quick Wit, Sharp Tongue, Huge Heart, Energetic Physicality 
(Requires the ability to lead Accompanied and Unaccompanied Musical Numbers) 
(Kisses Hart Passionately, Hart places hands on her diaphragm while holding her from behind [sexual innuendo], Kisses King Charles three times, Shares a close embrace with King Charles [possibly more than once], Has her hair caressed by King Charles)

^ Rose Gwynn– Nell’s Sister - Sweet, Been Around the Block but Remains a Bit Innocent, Often Operates as Nell’s Moral Compass

^ Nancy– Nell’s Dresser and Confidante - Bawdy Sidekick, Knows More Than Expected

Lady Castlemaine / Louise De Keroualle, Extra 1 – Charles’s most ambitious mistress / Charles’s French Mistress – Cold Opportunist / Arrogant and Vain
(Louise’s lines are in French)
(Is kissed on the neck and collarbone by King Charles)

Queen Catherine / Old Ma Gwynn, Extra 2 – Charles’s Portuguese Wife / Nell’s Mother, a Brothel Madam – Fiery Temper / Down and Dirty Realist
(Catherine’s lines are in Portuguese)


The Gents

King Charles – The King, obviously - Consummate Philanderer by Royal Right, Deep Down Needs Someone to Love
(Kisses Nell three times, Shares close embrace with Nell [possibly more than once], Runs fingers through Nell’s hair fondly, Kisses Lady Castlemaine on Collarbone and Neck)

^ Charles Hart – Leading Actor in the King’s Company – Charismatic Rock Star of His Day, Has a Soft Heart
(Kisses Nell Passionately, Places Hands on Nell’s diaphragm/stomach from behind [sexual innuendo])

^ Thomas Killigrew, Parliamentarian – Actor-Manager of the King’s Company – Will do Whatever it Takes to Keep the Company Alive, Defers to both Hart and Nell

^ John Dryden, Parliamentarian – Playwright – Severe Lack of Confidence, A Bit of an Artistic Hack

^ Edward Kynaston, Queen’s Servant, Parliamentarian – Actor in the King’s Company, plays the women’s parts – Over-the-Top, Needs to be the Star, Jealous of Nell

Lord Arlington – Charles’s II Advisor – Scheming and Conniving, Willing to Break a Few Bones if Necessary

^ Ned Spiggett, William, Parliamentarian – Actor in Training in the Kings’ Company – Not the Best Actor, Lacks Confidence but Always Willing to Try 


^ Ensemble / Musician (String) – Heckler 1, Servant, Royal Attendant, Parliamentarian

^ Ensemble / Musician (Violin) – Heckler 2, Servant, Royal Attendant, Parliamentarian

^ Ensemble / Musician (Percussion/Tambourine) – Heckler 3, Servant, Royal Attendant, Parliamentarian


^ Requires Singing and Dancing


Please send any questions to Will Lewis at, Ann Shanahan at, and Fritz Bennett at