An Historical Comedy
The play opens in a 1660s playhouse in Drury Lane, London, where Nell Gwynn is an ‘orange hawker’ whose wit and beauty soon get her noticed. She becomes an actress, causing merry havoc in a traditionally male world, and wins the heart of King Charles II. Can her charm and spirit protect her from the dangers of the Court? First performed in 2015 at The Globe, London.
Nell Gwynn is a tour de force of comedy, drama, song, dance and music. It follows the fortunes of one of England’s first female actresses, from orange hawker to actress, to the King’s mistress. The restoration of the monarchy also meant the restoration of theatre too. Under the Puritans, theatre in any form had been outlawed. King Charles II returned from exile in France and established two theatre companies – The Duke’s Company and The King’s Company. Practically every character in Nell Gwynn is a historical figure, and every event portrayed is historically documented.
Syd has been a regular actor, designer and director at the Dolphin Theatre where he last directed Jane Austen’s Lady Susan. The recipient of 23 theatrical awards, seven of which were for Best Production, he has worked with many Auckland theatres and also directed Shadowlands, Terra Nova, The Woman in Black, Present from the Past, Improbable Fiction, God of Carnage, the NZ premiere of George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense. Nell Gwynn is a very challenging and complex production that he feels very privileged to direct.
AS NELL GWYNN
We are delighted to welcome this talented young newcomer to the Dolphin to be our heroine. Lili is an accomplished singer and songwriter, having completely wowed the audiences and judges on New Zealand’s Got Talent, back in 2012, and she continues to entertain audiences around Auckland. The role of Nell Gwynn has been an exciting challenge for Lili, and she has enjoyed playing a strong, funny, passionate and caring feminist.
AS LADY CASTLEMAINE
It would seem Dorren has a penchant for playing women with questionable morals. Some favourite roles over the past 25 years are Mrs Cheveley in An Ideal Husband (Dolphin), Sarraghina in Nine (Auckland Music Theatre), Madame la Marquise de Merteuil in Les Liaisons Dangereuses and the Grand High Witch in The Witches (Ellerslie). Dorren returns to her “home” theatre after a seven-year hiatus during which she became mumma to two gorgeous boys.
AS LOUISE DE KEROUALLE
Kelly has just completed her first national performance tour in Operatunity’s The Golden Era of Musicals and returns for their 2019 season. Operatically trained, she holds a BMus/BA in Classical Voice Performance and European Studies from the University of Auckland, where she was an Auckland Philharmonia Young Achiever. Outside this sphere, Kelly was invited to perform at the Globe Theatre, London as part of the SGCNZ Young Shakespeare Company 2013.
Lisa is the embodiment of the old adage: “There are no small parts, just small actors”. Lisa was last seen onstage in 1992 but decided to pursue her thespian skills as a stage manager until 2012. After three small roles at other Auckland theatres and getting her stage confidence back, she decided it was time to tread Dolphin’s boards once more and couldn’t have wished for a better character than Nancy.
AS ROSE GWYNN
Natasha returns to the Dolphin Theatre in the role of Rose Gwynn, Nell’s tough sister from the slums of London. Her previous roles here have been light-hearted, comedic characters as part of One Man, Two Guvnors and A Tomb with a View, so she is really looking forward to playing a strong character, channeling some of her slightly stroppy, overworked vibes into Rose and performing alongside this fantastic cast and director.
AS QUEEN CATHERINE
Shivaun was last seen on stage as Louella Parsons, in The Cat’s Meow at Howick Little Theatre. After a number of years away from the theatre, she is thrilled to be back on stage at the Dolphin. She would like to thank Syd for the opportunity to tread (or rather pace and stomp) the boards once more, and also her very patient partner for putting two preschoolers to bed solo every night!
AS ENSEMBLE 1
Alsa is happy to be back at Dolphin after appearing as Alicia Johnson in Lady Susan last year, even if it means curtsying to her sister and regularly switching between male and female roles! Having recently played Lady Chiltern in An Ideal Husband at Titirangi Theatre, she is relishing the chance to kick up her heels and engage in a little “song and dance”, harking back to her time in musical theatre many years ago.
AS OLD MA GWYNN
Pandora last appeared at the Dolphin in the award-winning role of Amanda Wingfield in Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie. Other Dolphin credits include Lydia in In Praise of Love, Joy in Shadowlands, Barbara in Theft, Frances in Present from the Past, Moxie in Relative Values and Clarisse in Mixed Couples. More recently she has designed costumes for productions of Improbable Fiction, A Doll’s House, Jeeves and Wooster in Perfect Nonsense and Lady Susan.
AS CHARLES HART
This production marks Matthew’s return to theatre after a few years away. He has appeared in several productions at Dolphin over the years, including The Crucible and The Woman in Black, also directed by Syd Mannion, and Journey’s End at Ellerslie Theatre in 2014. Whilst he might be feeling a little rusty, he is very excited to be part of such a great production with this wonderful cast and director.
AS JOHN DRYDEN
Learning that Nell Gwynn was coming up this season, John decided he had to be part of what would be an excellent conclusion to his rather active year. He has appeared in several past productions with Dolphin Theatre, including A Doll’s House and Hidden in This Picture. He has also appeared in shows throughout Auckland and Sydney, including Ghosts, The Crucible and Cosi.
AS THOMAS KILLIGREW
Hamish is delighted to be part of this cast, in his second production at Dolphin, having performed in That’s Love in 2016. His other recent Auckland appearances include The House by the Lake, Bookends and Central Otago Man at Howick Little Theatre, Company Theatre’s Weed, and The Graduate and Things My Mother Taught Me at Ellerslie. In addition to acting roles, Hamish has also performed in several classical and modern choirs in Auckland in recent years.
AS LORD ARLINGTON
This is Brett’s first venture with Dolphin since moving up the ranks from Sgt Wilson in Dad’s Army to his last as Lord Melchett in Blackadder. Now he’s earl, but still no throne. The real Earl of Arlington fought for Charles l, but here he battles anything he thinks is detrimental to his beloved Charles ll and [ahem] himself. Brett admits with a smile that “it’s always fun to play someone who’s a bit of a b@st@rd, but never more so than with a stellar cast like this one.”
AS EDWARD KYNASTON
Raymond has been loitering around the Dolphin for a few years now and is pleased he hasn’t received a trespass notice yet. This year has been good for him: apart from sneaking onto Titirangi Theatre’s stage for An Ideal Husband, he stole his way into Dolphin’s One-Act Play Festival; and now he has licence to flounce around as a maniacal cross-dresser. He promises there won’t be any further invasions. Dolphin Theatre is currently reviewing its security measures.
AS NED SPIGGETT
Greg is excited to make his Dolphin Theatre debut. Freshly arrived from the United States and most recently appearing in the Short+Sweet Festival (July Third and A Space Oddity), he has spent the last few years performing for Disney Cruise Line (Peter Pan, Iago, Quasimodo, Lumière) and Universal Studios. He studied drama at New York University’s Tisch School. When not on stage, Greg teaches yoga and meditation. Love and thanks to David.
AS KING CHARLES
Mike is psyched to return to the Dolphin following his performances in Death of A Dream and Hidden in This Picture. He also wrote and directed Now Lie In It, which was a finalist at this year’s Short+Sweet Festival. A graduate of the theatre programme at Emerson College in Boston, his past credits include Hamlet, Sexual Perversity in Chicago, and A Bright Room Called Day. He is proud to be the American King of England.
MUSICIAN - VIOLIN
Marika is 20 years old and is completing her Bachelor of Music, majoring in Violin Performance at the University of Auckland. She is a violin teacher and performer of all genres of music, including classical, Irish fiddle, gypsy jazz, baroque to name a few. She has performed in multiple shows in Auckland, has travelled the United States, Europe, Australia and Fiji with her family band and has had solo gigs at Hobbiton, and at weddings, restaurants and many more.
MUSICIAN - RECORDER
Kevin is a leading professional recorder player in New Zealand, specialising in historical music performance and practice. He has appeared in numerous concerts for groups such the Age of Discovery, NZ Barok, Auckland Choral, Handel Consort and Quire, NZ Opera, Affetto, Le Trio des Paupières Espiègles and The Sweet Siffler. He is also an active member, composer and performer of Auckland Composer Collective and The Committee, and performs experimental music regularly at Vitamin S, and as a member of the trio “Breath, Gut and Wire”.
MUSICIAN - GUITAR
Adam is a classical guitarist, currently studying towards a Bachelor of Music at the University of Auckland. Rather late, he came to music at the age of 17, after arriving from Samoa. He holds a Diploma in Contemporary Music from Unitec, specialising in collaborative performance and composition. Adam is a regular performer at the Classical Guitar Society of Auckland. When he is not performing, he can be found teaching guitar and drums, or composing.
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