The following auditions are currently scheduled:

Thomas Tallis

by Jessica Swale
directed by Hannah Leonard

Playing Dates

Friday 15th to Saturday 23rd November 2019
(8 performances)
and potentially
Waltham Abbey Church on Wednesday 27th - Thursday 28th November

Audition Dates

Wednesday 10th July 2019 at 8pm at The Little Theatre
Sunday 14th July 2019 at 8pm at The Little Theatre
Thursday 11th July 2019 at 8pm at The Little Theatre
Open voice workshop
for any potential singers (please tell your friends!) Friday 28th June 2019 at 7.30pm at The Little Theatre

Thomas Tallis is a portrait of the life of one of Britain's most successful composers set against the tumultuous political backdrop of the renaissance. Living under four monarchs, Tallis was forced to adapt his musical style to suit each of their religious demands, but at what cost? In Swale's vividly imagined play, we follow the contrasting fates of Tallis and a young priest, from the dissolution of the monasteries through Mary's bloody reign, via encounters with a young Elizabeth and the mysterious Dr Dee, to their dramatic conclusion.

Tallis’s glorious music is just as central to this play as the characters, and so the show calls for singers in addition to actors, weaving live choral music throughout the piece. Singers will not need to act, or vice versa, unless wanted. They’ll need to be confident enough to sing in a small unaccompanied group, but this music doesn’t need big or operatic voices. The open workshop will give interested singers a flavour of what’s going to be involved.

Apart from the two central characters, all acting roles have a single scene so there is plenty of scope for doubling, or for taking on a smaller commitment. Despite their size, many of the characters are strongly drawn, with nicely shaped scenes. Ages are approximate and often flexible, as is gender for some roles. There will also be some ensemble work, with scene transitions extending underneath the music to illustrate the passage of time and history as well as place.

The Characters

Thomas Tallis(ages during the play, from c.35 to 55) - a talented but pragmatic man, driven by music and his own quietly personal love of God, who struggles through and adapts to each obstacle the State places in the way of him creating music glorious enough to be a conduit between earth and heaven. Would be useful if he could sing a little, informally.
Priest (ages during the play, from 20s/30s to 60s) - a Catholic priest thrown into hiding and exile after the dissolution of Waltham Abbey, who puts his commitment to his faith ahead of his own survival and whose fate contrasts starkly with Tallis’s, not just in physical but also in spiritual terms.
Henry VIII (mid to late 30s) - in his prime, already set against the Pope and full of his own importance.
Catherine of Aragon (early to mid 40s) - a woman using all her capabilities to cling on to her husband and her place.
Singerthe only role that both sings (a short solo) and acts. Ideally a higher voice, played as (but not necessarily by) a man.
Royal Commissioner (any age, m/f) - comes to inventory Waltham Abbey’s property ready for dissolution.
Edward VI(9-10) - the boy king, Henry’s only son, takes his father’s Protestantism to the next level.
Attendant(any age, m/f) - Edward’s attendant, struggles to remain professional in the face of his/her charge’s newfound control.
Joan(early to mid 40s) - Tallis’s wife, seen supporting him through the transition to Edward’s highly simplified musical style.
Bethan(20s-30s) - an ordinary rural wife and mother who stays secretly true to Catholicism and harbours the Priest in his exile.
Mrs Prest(30s-50s) - a staunch Protestant who rampages through Waltham Abbey in her outrage at the reign of the ‘Popish whore’ Mary.
Plasterer(30s-40s) - a craftsman restoring Catholic plasterwork to its former glory, until Mrs Prest wreaks her destruction.
Dr Dee(early 30s) - Elizabeth’s advisor, a mathematician, astronomer, astrologer and occult philosopher (yes, really!), who channels the Archangel Gabriel in support of Elizabeth’s ambition.
Elizabeth(c.25) - shortly before she takes the throne, she looks to the occult for prophesy on her future path.
Mary(any age) - a mysterious woman who comforts the Priest in his final incarceration.
Guard(any age) - the last human contact the Priest has, as he leads him to Tyburn to be hanged.

Scripts are available from Hannah on or 07977 782459 - please also get in touch with any questions, and offers of backstage help of course!