So you're interested in acting! The Spread Eagle Players produce around three shows per year of many different genres, from dark comedies to farces, pantomimes to murder mysteries and everything in between. We've been around in one form or another since the 19th century and now exist as The Spread Eagle Players or The Barclays Dramatic Society, but don't worry, you don't need to be a Barclays employee to act with us - we are open to everyone over the age of 18. We pride ourselves on not only putting on professional quality shows, but also on being a friendly, welcoming bunch of people keen on welcoming new members into the fold.
We normally hold open auditions for our shows around three months before show week. You don't need to be a paying member to audition for our shows, but if you are then you get to audition free of charge! If you're not, don't worry, we only charge a nominal £5 fee (Occasionally, we have members-only auditions for popular shows, but this is well-advertised and newcomers can always pay to become members before the audition date).
When audition registration opens, you can sign up on this very site. There will be an audition pack for you to take a look through. It will give you some information about the play, how the director intends to interpret it, a little information about the characters and most importantly, the pieces you will be asked to read at the auditions. When you register, we'll ask you for a few details about yourself, such as your name, contact details and what dates you're available as well as the characters you'd like to audition for. Once that's all done, we suggest you read through the pieces a little to prepare for the audition.
If you cannot make the audition night, you need not despair: there's always a few people in that boat - just indicate that you can't make the date during sign up and the director will do their best to arrange an alternative date.
On the audition night, you'll make your way to the venue (typically auditions are held at the Barclays building in Canary Wharf) and sign in at the guest reception. Each audition is slightly different in style, but we normally do one of two things; ask people to prepare in one room and call you through in small groups to audition for each piece; or sit in a circle and everyone auditions together, in front of one another.
Once the auditions have finished, we encourage auditionees to migrate to a local bar where they can get to know other members of the group and share their experiences. The director then gets in touch by email in the following few days to let auditionees know whether or not they were successful.
The best way to find out about the auditions is to sign up to our mailing list, so if you're thinking about acting with us, go ahead and sign up now.
Rehearsals are almost always held on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 6.30pm - 8.30pm at the Barclays building in Canary Wharf. We normally have a couple of all day Sunday rehearsals too in the lead up to show week. The rehearsal period is generally in the region of 10 - 12 weeks which gives everyone plenty of time to familiarise themselves with lines and get to know the other members of the cast and crew.
Once the rehearsals are done, there's nothing left to do but to get into the theatre and perform! For the last few years, all of our productions have been at the Bridewell Theatre in Blackfriars where our show week runs from the Saturday of one week, 'til the Sunday of the next. Whilst actors have the wonderful privilege of gracing the stage in our shows, they do have to take on the responsibility of helping with some aspects of the set construction.
Typically, the Saturday before show week sees half the cast help with loading set and props onto a van in South London. The following day, all of the cast and crew assemble at the theatre to unload the van and construct the set. Once that's up, the cast can look forward to the tech rehearsal on Monday evening when all of the cues are rehearsed. Tuesday night sees the cast's final rehearsal, the dress, before performing to real, live, paying audiences for the rest of the week. The number of performances depends on the show, but is generally 4 - 5.
Once the curtains close on the show, everyone helps load the set back on to the van before getting the party underway to celebrate a successful run. On Sunday morning, the remaining half of the cast then help to unpack the set back into storage.
Whilst we're always encouraging people to join the society to crew our shows, we still ask the cast to help out as much as possible. With most productions, the cast are asked to give a couple of days to help with set construction in South London. This is normally in the form of painting. If you've never held a paintbrush before though, don't fear, instruction is provided. Besides, sometimes there's nothing better than chilling out with other cast members on a sunny day in the garden!
Unfortunately, there are some costs associated with being an actor on the Spreadies' stage in addition to the audition fee already mentioned. First of all, we require all cast members to become members of the society for at least the duration of the production - if you're not already a paying member, you'll be asked to set up a subscription for £30 per year. Becoming a member not only allows you to star in shows, it also gets you discounts on tickets for our other shows and socials, it means you won't have to pay for auditions and it lets you stand and vote for the society's committee.
If you're a speaking role, there's also a show fee to cover scripts and various other production items. The show fee varies per show, but is usually £15-£20.
If you would like to sign up for our website, simply insert your email address below and we will create a free account for you and add you to our email lists to keep you informed about all our latest shows and auditions.