Auditions for the Studio Theatre Company’s next production Road

Come audition for the Studio Theatre Company's next production Road, by Jim Cartwright on Mon 27 Sept 7.30pm, and Fri 1 Oct 7.30pm. They will be group auditions, nothing to prepare. The company are looking for 7 actors most of whom will multi role. The performance...

Shrek 2022 Auditions

We are excited to share that our 2022 Easter Production will be Shrek The Musical - coming to the Wilde Theatre in April 2022! If you would like to be part of the greatest fairy tale never told, that's guaranteed family fun, then book your audition here. Auditions...

RARE Productions Hairspray Auditions

Visiting company RARE Productions will hold open auditions for their production of Hairspray at South Hill Park from Thu 3 - Sat 5 Feb 2022. Auditions will take place at South Hill Park on Tue 5 & Sat 9 Oct and are open for anyone aged 8-21yrs. Audition event...

Excellent results for South Hill Park’s LAMDA students

Eleven learners took their LAMDA exams at South Hill Park this summer under the tuition of Mark Hooper (Director of Learning, Participation and Community Engagement). The learners (10 Grade 8 & 1 Grade 1) had their exams cancelled at the start of the pandemic and...

Bracknell resident completes 500km run for South Hill Park Trust appeal

On 12 June 2020 Bracknell Forest resident David Baker pledged to run 500km in aid of South Hill Park Trust’s major public fundraising campaign following the potentially devastating impact of Covid-19. On Saturday 12 June 2021 David will complete this mammoth feet at...

An acting debut in Rope 2021

Gordon Vince, who will make his acting debut in the Studio Theatre Company’s 50th show celebration performance of Rope from Wed 23 – Sun 26 June, has shared with us what made him want to audition, what audiences can look forward to, and some behind the scenes...

Live events return to the Wilde

‘The social distancing at this was amazing; lines and rows of seats physically removed to keep all groups apart with a fantastic one-way system and oodles of sanitiser everywhere. It was lovely to support a local production and the cast were insanely good.’ – Louise,...

Calling all 8-18yr olds to audition for this year’s Pantomime, Cinderella (2021)

Panto Auditions – Junior Ensemble Want to be in panto? Oh yes, you do! Audition for South HiIl Park’s in-house pantomime production this Christmas Cinderella (Fri 26 Nov 2021 – Mon 3 Jan 2022). We are looking for 30 young performers who can dance, sing and act to form...

South Hill Park receives second lifeline grant from Government’s Culture Recovery Fund

South Hill Park Arts Centre and Wilde Theatre in Bracknell is delighted to have received a grant of £112, 814 from the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund to help the organisation recover and reopen. We are among more than 2,700 recipients to benefit from...

STAR 1000 – South Hill Park’s Christmas Wish

South Hill Park would like to share a huge thank you to everyone who has generously donated to our recent major fundraising campaign, including the first 100 monthly donors. The campaign was launched in June due to the impact of Covid-19 and has already raised over...



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Bums on Seats Blog – ‘An Actor Despairs: Q and A with Benedict Thrush’

July 15, 2015

Over the course of two summer weeks South Hill Park will stage a performance of Bums on Seats, a riotous comedy that stiches together madcap scenes highlighting the inconceivable, bewildering nature of actors, and their craft . The performance documents the staging of Fecund, where we meet actors both unrivalled and unknown, heralded and haggard, luvvee and unloved. It’s clear that they would be more at home in a contained section of a hospital, than a commended stage in Hollywood.

It’s a real whizz-bang romp, and to preview South Hill Park’s open-air display, I caught up with Benedict Thrush, an accomplished actor who is starring in Fecund, the play within the play.


Q: So, Benedict, you’re in South Hill Park now, yet where would we have seen you last?

A: Probably in the shop around the corner, stocking up on some Soothers, Lockets, Strepsils and bucketfuls of honey and lemon – my throat took a real battering during last nights rehersals. You see, being an actor is a constant battle against all normal physical responses. A normal muggle can just take a day off sick if they get barely a flicker of phlegm – any job at the bank would easily continue with one less cashier to slowly sift through a queue of people desperately paying in money for the menial. However, you see a thesp. cannot just ‘phone it in’. It requires upwards of 100% of emotion and dedication. The show must go on.


Q: No, I mean…what would I have last seen you in? I’m pretty sure I caught you on TV in a sitcom only a few months ago.

A: Ahh, yes… my mistake. No, yes…erm… that old thing. Come to think of it, I did briefly share a screen with Zara Roscoff from Fecund in that too, perhaps more than a screen, but actors never kiss and tell. To answer your question – as humans, in order to make ends meet, one must occasionally forget principles, honour and dignity, and simply do what is necessary. Many take their track-suited selves to the job centre. Others will stand on street corners wearing purple, glittery eye-shadow and latex. I found myself doing something far worse… appearing in a prime-time comedy filmed in front of a studio audience on BBC 1. Work can occasionally suck at the soul of an actor.


Q: So, Fecund, how are you getting ready for such a prominent role?

A: Many, simple-minded norms. believe that being an actor is little more than repeating a few lines, whilst standing in a specific spot on a stage and pulling a funny face. The time with which I could spend detailing just how wrong these muggles are would tire even the most hardy of Ibsen fans. In preparing for my role in the piece, I have had to delve to uncharted depths of my emotional range. I have scoured the bed of my psychological floor in desperate search for an undisturbed treasure of feeling, which I can use to accurately tell the truth of my character on the boards. It is one thing merely saying the lines, but to make the audience…the no-doubt bountiful audience believe them, that takes proper time, care and effort.


I could just as easily spend much less energy on a job in a nearby supermarket, and like many regular men I’d flog teas, toothpaste and Twiglets, and take home a similarly sized packet at the end of each day.


Yet, I have chosen a different path in life. A more complex, unearthed one. This requires weeks of reading and researching, and to justifiably earn my crumb – which, despite what you may read of actors, is actually fairly insubstantial when you deduct agent fees and what-have-you – one must put the work in.


When I stand centre-stage at the end, open my arms and receive rapturous applause, commendations and presumably a bouquet of flowers from the audience, I will, however, know I have earned my shilling. And more importantly, for a brief moment, told a tale of real truth.


At that moment a door opened, cameras flashed and we heard distant cries of adoration for one of the greatest actresses of our generation, Zara Roscoff. She entered and immediately illuminated the room, swiftly followed by her husband Hugo who promptly dimmed it – both will also be appearing in Fecund.


With this, Benedict appeared to sweat suddenly and then awkwardly glared at his watch, repeating how he ‘must be getting on his way…’, ‘important people to see…’, ‘real trouble if…’ – he didn’t complete one sentence as Zara and Hugo paced towards me for our interview. Making minimal eye contact, he jumped up, profusely apologised and made for the exit. Thrush departed in such a rush he left his Saville Row Tailored Scarf, which no doubt was guarding his already damaged throat from any windy chill.


Realising his mistake, he swiftly turned and ran to retrieve the neck-piece, then galloped off, leaving a cartoonish silhouette of where he once stood. He did find time here, however, to hastily throw in my direction one of the national tabloids, with a 5 star review of his sitcom. It was glowing. Literally glowing. That’s what happens when you repeatedly trace over the word ‘remarkable’ with a highlighter pen.







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