York Shakespeare Project director Tom Straszewski to hold July auditions for Marlowe’s Edward II. Here’s how to apply

York Shakespeare Project’s poster for this autumn’s production of Edward II

YORK Shakespeare Project is to hold auditions next month for its first foray into staging a play by one of Shakespeare’s contemporaries.

A diverse ensemble of 12 to 15 actors is sought for Christopher Marlowe’s intimate drama Edward II, to be staged by returning director Tom Straszewski at Theatre@41, Monkgate, York.

“We were delighted that Tom emerged from a strong field to be chosen as the director of the first non-Shakespeare play of YSP’s new project,” says chair Tony Froud.

“Strasz brings great knowledge and wide experience of directing Elizabethan and Jacobean drama and promises an innovative interpretation of Marlowe’s fascinating text.

“He previously directed The Merry Wives Of Windsor in 2012 and The Two Noble Kinsmen in 2018, now joining Paul Toy, Mark France and Ben Prusiner as three-time directors for YSP. We look forward to a memorable follow-up to Lucrece and Richard III, the first plays of phase two of YSP.”

In Marlowe’s historical tragedy, Edward II is finally king. Eager to bestow his gifts on those he loves, he calls back his exiled lover, Piers Gaveston. King, court and country are caught up in the heady atmosphere of their passions.

“This is a play about power and love – who has it, who gives it, who takes it, and who suffers for it,” says Tony. “For this production, we’ll begin by exploring the play through creative workshops, editing a script that reflects the people in the room.

Edward II director Tom Straszewski

“No characters will be cast until after this process: you will help decide this, alongside the director and rest of the ensemble.”

To audition, please complete this application form: https://forms.gle/DUGsmNVaLxkrJVZq5. To arrange your audition and/or if you have any questions, email Strasz at tom.straszewski@gmail.com, indicating your preferred day(s) and time.

Auditions will take place in York at a venue yet to be confirmed on Tuesday, July 4 and Wednesday, July 5 at 6.30pm onwards and Saturday, July 8, 2pm onwards. “You’ll be asked to work in a small group on a short scene from the play,” says Tony.

“You will have the opportunity to review the play extract in advance of auditioning and do not need to learn a speech. All we want to see is how you work together and approach the text with adaptability and inventiveness.”

Those cast for YSP’s amateur production must be available for five evening/weekend workshops in late-July, the production week from October 15 to 22 and the majority of the rehearsal period.

“There will be two or three rehearsals per week between August and October, though you are unlikely to be required for every one,” says Tony. “If you are likely to be away for more than two weeks during the rehearsal period but are keen to audition, we’ll see if we can make this happen.”

YSP is seeking recruits for a technical team for make-up, sound, lighting, captions and videography too. If you can help, please email Strasz at tom.straszewski@gmail.com.