Audition Notice

Audition notice – The Flint Street Nativity

By Tim Firth (Calendar Girls, Kinky Boots, Neville’s Island)

Director– Jenn Pickstone-Groves  Assistant Director – Hamish Robb

Audition Dates:  8th and 10th July 2024 at 8pm in Settlement Kincaid Hall.

Key Production Dates:
Shows 14th to 16th November 2024.
Dress Rehearsal 13th November 2024.
Technical Rehearsal 10th November 2024.
Rehearsals Mondays and Wednesdays at 8pm, Sundays Times TBC.

Miss Horrocks’ class of 6 year olds is about to perform their nativity play for their proud mums and dads – and the occasional social worker. The inevitable squabbles arise, revealing what one critic called “an ungodly snake pit of paediatric power-politics”, with “warm, witty, funny” results.

The children are played by adults, who later play their audience of parents (or maybe grandparents), so the scale of the set and props changes to show this.

The actors will need to take their roles deadly seriously, as any 6 year old would. This is very much an ensemble piece, and doesn’t have any leads.

There are 11 parts, written as6 male and 5 female all with a rough playing age of 20s – 50s. (some scripts mistakenly call for an extra male shepherd). There is flexibility in the casting in terms of age, and the Narrator’s gender. We could also potentially change a parent into a Grandparent to stretch the ages.

Singing – while this is not a musical, all the characters except for the Narrator sing short solos/duets. These are all to the tunes of Christmas carols, and the new lyrics reveal a lot about the children (and their home lives). You DO NOT have to be a good singer, and if you are, you may be asked to sing worse because 6 year olds do not tend to sing well! You will need to be brave enough to sing out so the audience can hear the words. We will also work with a pianist to get the song into a comfortable key for you.

The audition will therefore feature some singing.

Audition pieces posted here

The Flint Street Nativity – characters

Mary/Mary’s mum  (Female-presenting, 30-50)

(“Mary’s Mum” needs to look at least 10 years older than “Gabriel’s mum”)

(Mary’s Mum needs to be able to climb the playground equipment)

Jenny Bennett, who plays Mary, knows all her words (and everyone else’s). She is, however, quite anxious and perfectionist, possibly due to pressure from her mum. “Mary” has good reason to worry, because Gabriel is plotting her downfall…

She sings the most, fairly competently, needs to be a confident singer (“loud and true”), and will need to learn to play a song reasonably competently on the treble recorder (so it looks to scale). She sings O Come All Ye Faithful and Away in a Manger with original lyrics, then Once in Royal David’s City as a duet with Herod, plus a solo as Mary’s mum to Away in a Manger

NB: she will also be required to “vomit” onstage, so this isn’t a part for any emetophobes.

Mary’s Mum is a stay-at-home-mum, and the chair of the PTA. On the surface she seems to be a Wonder Woman who has her life completely under control.

Wise Gold / Wise Gold’s mum (Female-presenting,25-70)

Jess is one of Gabriel’s hench girls. She is emotionally battered by her “friend”, being alternately in favour or frozen out of the group, and shows this throughout the nativity. She is (understandably) insecure!

She sings her solos to We Three Kings.

Coded as working class, Wise / Gold’s mum spends all her time at the bingo, even missing the nativity. She can be very rude about her child, and gets a bit drunk onstage. (Could potentially be played as a Grandma).

Angel/Angel’s mum (Female-presenting, 30-50, Person Of Colour preferred)

(Written as Indian. We can rewrite to fit any female-presenting person of colour, as skin colour racism is mentioned in the script, or to white racism/ethnic conflict if necessary. The competition between Angel’s family and “the Vorbanis”, written as a Pakistani family, is referenced throughout the play“.)

Shamima, who plays an Angel, is another of Gabriel’s hench girls, who struggles with the mean-girl power-politics. She tries to be kind and diplomatic but is still 6, so can be weak and sycophantic. She also struggles with her family’s ongoing battle with their rivals, “the Vorbanis”.

Angel’s mum is described as “striking, svelte, glamorously dressed like a Bollywood star”. She is smoothly vicious as she destroys her enemy’s mince pies.

Gabriel/Gabriel’s mum (Female-presenting,18-30)

(Needs to look 10 years younger than “Mary’s mum” – “Gabriel’s mum” gets mistaken for a 6 year old’s older sister, and “dresses very young”)

Ashley, who plays Gabriel, KNOWS she should have been cast as Mary, and goes about trying to correct this with the “dead-eyed steel of a mafia boss”. Be prepared to study up on The Godfather and Mrs Danvers from Rebecca. Used to having to compete as a younger stepchild, Ashley brutally plays her friends/hench girls off against each other. In my opinion, she gets some of the best lines and visual comedy of the play, which also means she needs to be prepared for a quick clean up between scenes!

She sings her murderous solo/duet “against” Mary to Away In A Manger, and if you can manage it, sings the descant of the same tune as her adult solo.

Gabriel’s mum is her husband’s second wife, which has left her quite insecure. She tries very hard and wants the best for her daughter.

Shepherd/Shepherd’s mum (Female-presenting, 25-50)

(Shepherd is Innkeeper’s twin sister, although they don’t need to look too alike!)

Zoe, who plays Shepherd, is a “brutally factual” girl, who lives on a farm. She freely shares her understanding of religion, additional needs, infected tick bites and the miracle of birth. She gets some brilliant lines. The lines are written to suit a broad Northern accent – it is hard to imagine anyone else in the part after Jane Horrocks, but we can be flexible! She needs to have a speaking voice that can carry over singing.

She sings her solos to While Shepherds Watched.

Shepherd’s mum is described as “later 30s”. She constantly tries to puncture the pomposity of her husband, Innkeeper’s Dad, who has been elected mayor. She has reluctantly inherited the farm recently.

Innkeeper/Innkeeper’s Dad (Male-presenting,20-60)

(Innkeeper’s is Shepherd’s twin brother, although they don’t need to look too alike!) (Innkeeper either needs to have enough hair to be “sticky-up”, or prepared to wear wigs. His hair is a plot point.)

Bradley, who plays Innkeeper, gets “done” (in trouble) on page two, and throughout the play. He is described as menacing and terrifying, creates an atmosphere “like a Hitchcock film”, and has an “expressionless, shark-like gaze that makes him seem uncaring, impassive”. He creates a lot of the darkness in the play, and needs to be a forceful, lurking presence. However, Innkeeper adores Mary, and tries to impress her in ways that end up creeping her out.

He sings his solo My House Always Smells of Beer to Hark the Herald.

Innkeeper’s Dad is a publican, who has been elected mayor. He takes himself very seriously, although his wife bursts his bubble frequently. He reveals his prejudice against Travellers, and puts his foot in it with Ass’s dad. He is obsessed with the lack of spice in the mulled wine. 

Star/Star’s “Dad” (Male-presenting, 20-45)

Marcus, who plays Star, has  a special interest in space (his Uncle Ted works for NASA, you know, and he’s coming for Christmas). He is irritated that his costume doesn’t look like a “proper star”, likes to pretend everyone is dead when he plays, and tends to “info-dump” when he is nervous. He is nervous most of the time, which is understandable when everyone keeps breaking the rules, and with Innkeeper around!

Star loses a tooth in the play and spits up “blood”.

He sings his solo to O Little Town of Bethlehem.

Star’s Dad is actually his “Uncle” Ted who has come back from America for Christmas. He went to university with Star’s mum, right before she got pregnant…

Ass/Ass’s Dad (Male-presenting, 25-60)

The boy who plays the brilliant Ass isn’t named in the play. He wears a cardboard box head most of the time, which he loves because people can’t tell he is swearing during the songs. He is one of the “Special Unit” kids, who “doesn’t give a toss and slightly shouts most things”, so will need to be played sensitively. He gets many fantastically funny lines, but also much of the pathos – the audience’s hearts should break for this lad.

He sings/shouts his solo/duet to Ding Dong Merrily, most of which is rude words.

Ass’s Dad is really kind – he buys gifts for needy kids and dresses as Father Christmas to give them out. Other parents are inadvertently really rude about his “Special Unit” kid and their traveller background.

Narrator/Narrator’s Dad (All genders, 20-60)

(Could be gender-blind part)

Narrator (not given a name) is an anxious little chap who is worried –about what everyone should be doing, about the massive bits of cardboard with his lines on, about knowing all his words off by heart to make people proud, and about the fact that his dad doesn’t sleep at his house any more. He is “onstage” throughout the nativity, and delivers a lot of the “classic” mistakes6 year olds make with the archaic language of the nativity. Because he is onstage so much, everyone gets to see his heart break.

He sings only 2 lines, with Star(although of course he sings along when everyone sings).

Narrator’s Dad only enters right at the end, for half a page, but he makes a big impact. No singing solo for him, either.

Herod/Herod’s Dad (Male-presenting, 40-50)

(Herod needs to have enough hair to be “scruffy”, so Mary can nag him about it)

(Herod is the most physical role– needs to be capable of some slapstick)

Ryan, who plays Herod, has also been strong-armed into playing the part of Joseph because his step-brother has chicken pox. Mary pesters him constantly about learning Joseph’s lines, but he would much rather re-enact episodes of A Question of Sport, playing Sue, both team captains, and the footballers in the clips.

He sings a duet with Mary to Once in Royal David’s City.

Herod’s dad is a bit older, and is supposed to be taking a break from prioritising work to spend quality time with his son. He struggles to stick to this, and resents every minute.

Wise Frankincense/Wise Frank’s Dad (Male-presenting,40-50)

(Needs to be able to climb to the top of the playground equipment and perch there for a while)

Adrian, who plays Wise / Frankincense, is a slightly posh kid. He used to go to a private school, so is known as “New Adrian”. He is another sensitive, anxious child, which is not helped when he is switched from delivering myrrh to frankincense – not the best for a boy with a lisp. He has even more reasons to be worried as his back-story is revealed.

He sings with Ass to Ding Dong Merrily, and his lisp continues when he sings.

Wise Frank’s dad is a bit older, and a hard-nosed businessman. He isn’t impressed at having to send his kid to the state sector. He is also unhappy that his kid has a lisp and is in the Special Unit, but he certainly isn’t perfect himself…

Please contact if I can do anything to make the audition process more accessible for you, including if you cannot make one of the two audition dates. Thank you for reading!

Jenn Pickstone-Groves