2023 Play Readings and Auditions

We are now planning our 2023 season and will soon be holding auditions. If you or anyone you know is interested in joining our community and taking to the stage at Chatsworth house please do be sure to get in touch

The Importance of Being Earnest

Reading November 18th - Auditions November 23rd and December 1st
Over Haddon Village Hall 7pm

Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest: a Trivial Comedy for Serious People, will be the Players' Spring production, directed by Chris Heery.

About the Play

John (Jack) Worthing, a serious young gentleman, is the inventor of a fictitious younger brother, “Ernest,” whose wicked ways afford Jack an excuse to leave his country home from time to time and journey to London, where he stays with his friend, Algernon Moncrieff. Algernon (Algy) has a cousin, Gwendolen Fairfax, with whom Jack is deeply in love. During his London sojourns, Jack, under the name Ernest, has won Gwendolen’s love, and in Act 1 he proposes marriage. Gwendolen accepts for she strongly desires to marry someone with the confidence-inspiring name of Ernest and indeed, will only marry a man with that name, much to Jack’s alarm. His problems increase when the formidable Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen’s mother, discovers he is a foundling who was left in a handbag at Victoria Station. Lady Bracknell is aghast at this news and insists Jack produce at least one parent before she consents to the marriage.

Returning to the country home where he lives with his ward, Cecily Cardew, and her governess Miss Prism, Jack discovers that Algy has also arrived under the identity of his fictitious, wicked, younger brother Ernest. Algernon falls in love with the beautiful Cecily, who, it turns out, has long been enamoured of her guardian’s mysterious, fascinating (completely fictitious) younger brother.

With the arrival of Gwendolen, and later Lady Bracknell, the situation grows yet more farcically complicated. It is discovered that Miss Prism is the absent-minded nurse who twenty years ago misplaced the baby of Lady Bracknell’s brother in Victoria Station. And so it is that Jack turns out to have actually been christened Ernest and that he is indeed, Algernon’s elder brother! The play ends with all couples embracing, including Miss Prism and her admirer, Canon Chasuble.


Character Breakdown

John (Jack/Ernest) Worthing (Lead; Age 25-35)

The play’s protagonist. He appears to be a trustworthy man, a pillar of Victorian respectability, but he regularly leaves his Hertfordshire estate to visit his fictitious brother Ernest in London. Ironically serious/grave demeanour. Impatient with Algy.


Algernon Moncrieff (Lead; Age 20 -30)

The foil to Jack; a dashing hedonist with an invented friend named Bunbury whose status as a permanent invalid allows Algernon to leave the city whenever he pleases. Algy believes this activity, which he calls, "Bunburying," is necessary, especially if one is going to get married-something he ironically vows never to do. Witty, fashionable, amoral.


Gwendolen Fairfax (Lead; Age 25- 30)

Like Lady Bracknell, Gwendolen is strong-minded and speaks with unassailable authority on matters of taste and morality. She is both a model and an arbiter of elegant fashion and sophistication, and nearly everything she says and does is calculated for effect.


Cecily Cardew (Lead; Age 18 – 25)

Jack’s ward, the granddaughter of the elderly gentleman who found and adopted Jack. She is a romantic who fantasizes about Jack’s wicked younger brother, Ernest. Delightfully strong-willed.


Lady Bracknell (Lead; Age 50+)

Algernon’s fearsome, overbearing aunt and Gwendolen’s mother. The antagonist of the play, blocking two potential marriages: does not allow Gwendolen to marry Jack when she finds out he is a foundling, and dislikes Cecily as a mate for her nephew Algernon until she learns that Cecily is wealthy. She appears in Acts 1 and 111.


Miss Prism (Supporting; Age 50+) 

The governess to young Cecily, a symbol of Victorian moral righteousness, enjoys intellectual pursuits, is the epitome of respectability and harshly criticises those who have

fallen to temptation. Despite her rigidity, however, Miss Prism harbours romantic feelings for the local reverend, Dr Chasuble.


Rev. Canon Chasuble (Supporting; Age 50+)

The vicar on Jack’s Herefordshire estate. Both Jack and Algernon ask him to officially christen them “Ernest.” Dr. Chasuble has secret romantic feelings for Miss Prism.


Lane (Supporting; Age 40+)

Algernon’s servant. When the play opens, Lane is the only person who knows about Algernon’s fictitious friend Mr Bunbury. In terms of worldly wisdom, he is more than his master’s equal. Lane only appears at the start of the play.


Merriman (Supporting; Age 40+)

The butler at Jack’s house. He only appears in Acts II and III. Lovely scene when he serves tea to Cecily and Gwendolen.

About the Director

Chris joined us during Lettice and Lovage as part of the backstage team and was Assistant Director for Dandy Dick. Chris comes to us after a lengthy career in the arts. She holds a degree in Drama from the University of London and Central School of Speech and Drama, and has taught Drama at various schools around the UK, finishing as Head of Drama at Sheffield Girls. She appeared onstage in numerous roles with SUDS (Sheffield University Drama Society), including Cecily in The Importance of Being Earnest. Her directing credits are varied and numerous, including: Anything Goes, Calamity Jane, The Pirates of Penzance, Twelfth Night, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Daisy Pulls it Off, and The Wind in the Willows

Performances March 23, 24, 25, 30, 31, April 1 2023 at the Theatre at Chatsworth House

Audition material can be found in the members area.

A Midsummer Night's Dream

Readings and Auditions in January

In July we will be performing Shakespeare’s classic comedy at various open-air venues including Whirlowbrook Hall, Cromford Mills, Carsington Water and the Whitworth Centre. 


Lindsay Jackson is directing Midsummer, and there will be a couple of readings and auditions in January, so keep your eyes peeled for that.

Performances July 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, 15 at various open-air venues across Derbyshire and Sheffield