Community Casting Call

May 5 2017 | By More

Gorebridge takes on Annie S Swan

East Lothian’s 3in1 Theatre has put out an open call for performers in its Gorebridge community play, Swan, a new piece about prolific Scottish author Annie Swan, who was born in Gorebridge in 1859.

The company is looking for 33 community performers – from Gorebridge and beyond – who can commit to twice weekly rehearsals from May, leading up to four performances in September.

Annie S Swann by Edward Drummond Young

The new script, by artistic director Matt Dunn, follows Swan’s later life, from 1910, up until her death in 1943, with a focus on her work in the UK, France and the USA during the First World War.

Matt Dunn told Æ: “Annie was a women who faced so many trials and tribulations in her professional and (more interestingly) personal life! Her story is truly remarkable and what I love most is this idea that a women from a little Scottish town could challenge her environment, travel the world, create change and act with such honour, integrity and respect.”

The casting call is for Tuesday May 9, 2017 in Gorebridge. It is open to everyone, no matter their experience, with a lower age limit of 15. The roles in the play vary dramatically in length from the main characters to the chorus and parts with just a few lines.

Swan, who wrote mostly under her maiden name, had over 30 novels published by the time she was 40 and became editor at Women in Home. It is this work which has led her to be commonly thought of as one of the Kailyard writers, a disapproving reference to the parochialism and sentimentality of the writing.


However Swan also wrote novels under the pseudonym of David Lyall about – and sympathetic to – the suffragette movement and spoke in public about it and other social causes. She stood down from her editor post during the First World War, going on morale-boosting tours, visiting the States and meeting Herbert Hoover.

She stood for parliament in 1922, one of the first female candidates after the 1918 Representation of the People Act gave women the vote. Although she had always been a liberal, she was a founding member of the SNP in 1934.

Dunn adds: “Annie Swan is a truly extraordinary Scottish woman. It has been a real privilege to write this play and I cannot wait to share it with its cast. This play, appropriately titled Swan, takes our audience through Annie’s life from 1910-1943 affectionately meeting her friends and foes along the way.

“This is a great opportunity for anyone of all skill levels to come along and get involved in a play that will really mean something to its cast and audience.”

Contact details and character breakdown

Auditions are on Tuesday 9 May, Gorebridge. Email or call 07508601307 for details or to book an audition slot or if you have further questions.

3 in 1 Theatre on Facebook: 3in1theatre


ANNIE SWAN (playing age anywhere between 30-80)
The main character of the play. The story follows her life between 1910-1943. Annie is a very strong character, a successful; novelist, columnist, agony aunt, political figure and most importantly a mother. Given the play spans 33 years of Annie’s life the actor needs to successfully portray the length of Annie’s journey as she ages through out the play. Annie can be a very fiery character although most importantly she is kind, honest and respectful. All this aside Annie has a very challenging and turbulent personal life, which impacts her character greatly through out the play.

JAMES BURNETT SMITH (playing age anywhere between 30-80)
Annie’s husband. A successful doctor, although a little too old to offer his services in WW1, he lies about his age on his army documents and goes off to serve his country. This action gives you a feel of the type of character James is and his level of integrity. Although James is undoubtably a good man he is corrupted as a result of events within the play.

EDDIE SWAN (playing age of 10-15)
Annie’s son. A small though key part to the play’s plot.

YOUNG EFFIE SWAN (playing age of 10-20)
A small though challenging part.

EFFIE SWAN (playing age of 20-40)
Annie’s daughter Effie is seen in the play as a child through to a women. Effie in many ways represents the younger Annie Swan, although she too faces her own challenges within the play which have an impact on the family and most importantly Annie.

The Narrator provides colour for the play which Annie herself is too humble to discuss and acts as a guide for the audience giving context and reflecting on parts of the play and the characters within.

Some examples of Chorus Parts:
General Winterbottom
Herbert Hoover
Alexander Smith
Colonel John Buchan

General Requirements:
“That you get in touch with us and come for a 10 minute audition were we can have a chat with you, ask you to read part of the script with us and give you an opportunity to answer any questions you may have about the project.

“That you can commit to rehearsals Monday and Wednesday evenings 7pm-9.30pm in Gorebridge, beginning Monday 15th May.”


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  1. Gorebridge Casting Call : All Edinburgh | Dec 28 2017