Nell Gwynn — Audition

Nell Gwynn

by Jessica Swale

Directed by Cate Nunn


Tuesday 21 March – Saturday 25 March

Oxford Playhouse, 11-12 Beaumont St, Oxford OX1 2LW

About the play

It’s Charles II’s London – and after years of Puritan gloom, the King wants life to be exuberant, sexy and fun. He’s reopened the theatres – and for the first time ever, they’re letting women on the stage…
In Drury Lane, spirited and charming Nell Gwynn is selling oranges. Rising from the backstreets of London to become a star of the burgeoning West End, she wins the adoration of the public – and the heart of the King.
A funny and heart-warming tale of a woman who triumphed against all the odds, set in the riotous and vibrant world of Restoration England, Nell Gwynn is a joyful story of love, friendship, theatre and family.

Important Dates

First auditions  — The Old Schoolhouse, Hertford Street, Oxford OX4 3AJ

Wednesday 2 November 7.30pm to 9.30pm

Monday 7 November 7.30pm to 9.30pm

Thursday 10 November, 7.30pm to 9.30pm [no longer open to sign-ups)


Recalls by invitation — Saint Margaret’s Institute, Polstead Road, Oxford OX2 6TN

Sunday 13 November 2.00pm – 5.00pm

Audition Process

There will be 3 first round audition sessions and then recalls by invitation only.

You must fill out an audition form and state the date you will be attending. Please expect to stay for the whole time, 7.30 to 9.30pm.

You do not need to learn anything! There is no requirement to learn the audition pieces which can be downloaded below. If you struggle with reading, you will still be able to participate fully, just let us know in advance.

Select the link below to complete the audition form (opens in a new window).


We are looking for an actor to play Nell with a rough playing age of 20s or 30s. Playing ages for all other roles are flexible.

Actors of all ethnicities will be considered for all roles.


Nell Gwynn – confident, flirtatious, joyful and headstrong, unafraid to stand up for herself

Rose Gwynn, Nell’s sister – more cynical and hardened than her sister, gets drawn into her sister’s new life at the theatre but is wiser to some of the risks than Nell is

Nancy, a dresser in the theatre company and Nell’s friend – strong, warm, no-nonsense, a loyal friend to Nell and a key part of the theatre troupe

Lady Barbara Castlemaine, the king’s mistress – imperious, manipulative and powerful

Louise de Kerouralle, a French aristocrat – self-assured, smooth, smarter than she initially lets on

Queen Catherine – a dramatic cameo role, Charles’ neglected and furious wife who despises his mistresses

Ma Gwynna comic cameo role, Nell’s raucous, drunken and scandalous mother


King Charles II – charismatic, extremely self-confident and always full of humour in public, uses jokes to mask a more serious inner self

Charles Hart, leading actor in the theatre company – confident, romantic, smart, he has the vision to see the potential in Nell when no one else does but becomes jealous of the king’s attentions to her

Thomas Killigrew, manager of the theatre company – kind, fatherly, a steadying presence at the heart of the group with a dry sense of humour

Edward Kynaston, an actor in the company who previously played the women’s roles – highly strung, passionate, fiercely jealous of his position as the sole female-player in the group

John Dryden, the company playwright – a nervy, struggling playwright with writer’s block

Ned Spiggett, an actor in training with the company – an inexperienced, impressionable young actor, keen to please

Lord Arlington, advisor to the king – a consummate politician, genuinely wants the best for the country but willing to go to sinister lengths to achieve it

William, palace servant – a cameo role, William seamlessly switches loyalties depending on who’s in power in the palace

Other information

  • Nell and Charles Hart both sing, so we will be looking for actors who are comfortable with a bit of singing (you don’t need to be a perfect opera performer or anything – just confident and comfortable with a couple of tunes). The acting company join in on one or two, but always together in a group, no need for solo singing!

  • Please be aware Nell appears in almost every scene of the play, so the actor playing her will be called to almost all rehearsals.

Accessibility concerns

If you have any specific needs with regards to access or any other issues, please do contact us at and we will help if we can.

What if I can’t make those dates and times?

If you are interested in auditioning, but are unable to come to any of the given dates, please contact us at and we will try to see you at another time, if possible.

All OTG auditions are run in accordance with our policies:

Audition Policy

Harassment Policy & Procedures

Safeguarding Policy


We are still learning to live with the virus and so all OTG activities – including the auditions and rehearsals – will take place in line with our Covid Policy. Full details can be read in our OTG Covid Policy.