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Chance for locals to take centre stage at the Lichfield Garrick

Local actors have the opportunity to be involved in a masterpiece of theatrical timing as two Lichfield theatre companies hold open auditions for Alan Ayckbourn’s critically acclaimed House and Garden later this month.

Different Animal Theatre Group and The Lichfield Players are collaborating to produce and perform the two plays at the Lichfield Garrick this Autumn.

This will be the first time the theatre has hosted the linked productions, where one cast performs two plays in two different auditoria at the same time.

Both amateur dramatics companies are no strangers to Lichfield Garrick audiences: fledgling company Different Animal perform at the Garrick twice yearly and past productions include a musical adaptation of Amanda Whittington’s Be My Baby, as well as award winning plays The Elephant Man and most recently God of Carnage. The Lichfield Players are about to open with the last of five plays at the Garrick in their 70th anniversary season – Neil Simon’s hit comedy Barefoot in the Park.

As well as their own productions, the Players have also worked in collaboration with the Garrick Rep Company, most notably in their sell-out production of Brassed Off in 2010 along with 2008 National Brass Band Finalists Amington Band.

“Performing House and Garden simultaneously is a really challenging project as the actors will have to theatre-hop to tell their own personal stories,” said director and founder of Different Animal Theatre Group Dan Branch. “Coordinating the timing will be absolutely key.

“Everyone is really excited about the collaboration, where Different Animal Theatre Group will direct and produce House and the Lichfield Players Garden and we’ll be sharing the same cast.

“During performance, we’ll have backstage crew in the wings to help actors move between the Garrick’s Main House and Studio venues. All should appear seamless to audiences as though the 14 speaking actors are only performing in the play they’ve specifically come to see.”

The collaboration has received an e-mail from Alan Ayckbourn himself. The playwright shared his methods of direction and performance management from his own experience of directing the plays at The National Theatre in London.

He told the Lichfield production: “Good luck and have fun.”

Parts available cover a wide range of ages from teens upwards. Anyone interested in finding out more should come along to an open meeting at 7.30pm on June 30 at The Friary School in Lichfield. Different Animal’s Dan Branch and director for the Lichfield Players Chris Stanley will both be outlining their ideas, reading through selected scenes, discussing the rehearsal schedule and giving details about the audition process. For more information contact info@differentanimal.co.uk or Lichfieldplayers1@gmail.com.

Full auditions will be held on July 7 at 7.30pm at the Friary School, Lichfield. The productions will run from October 7 to 12.

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