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South Hill Park

RG12 7PA

Audition Call for The Railway Children

June 26, 2017


Auditions at South Hill Park

South Hill Park is looking for community actors to take part in The Railway Children (by E Nesbit), which is being directed by Joe Malyan (Macbeth 2017, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe 2017 and Peter Pan 2016). This is an October Half-Term Production. The performances run from Wednesday 25th – Saturday 28th October 2017.

This is a family production. The set will be designed by Victoria Spearing and costumes by Anne Thomson.

Character Breakdown:

Roberta (Bobbie): Female. Age 16+. Principal role. RP accent. Actual age – 15 years old. Strong and persistent but also playful. Confident, emotive and brave. The sort of girl who steps in front of a train to stop it from hitting a landslide.

“”Of course, mothers never have favourites, but if their mother had had a favourite, it might have been Roberta.”

“Let me see, Phyl. Oh, it’s only a little burn. If you’d been a Roman martyr you would’ve been burnt whole if you’d happened to live in the days when those things were fashionable.”

Requires an intelligent actress with good emotional range.

Peter: Male. Age 16+. Principal role. RP accent. Actual age – 12 years old. Adventurous and smart. Honest and generous. It’s Peter’s idea to ask all the people in the village to donate gifts for Perk’s birthday. He wants to be an engineer when he grows up.

“I never thought we should ever get as near a train as this. It’s the most ripping sport.”

Phyllis: Female. Age 14+ Principal role. RP Accent. Actual age – 10. Innocent but curious and playful. Good comic timing (although she may not always realise she is being funny). The youngest of the three children she looks up to her elder sister with admiration whilst having a more tempestuous relationship with her brother Peter, who is closer in age. Requires an intelligent actor with good emotional range.

Mother: Female. Age 35+. Principal role. RP accent. Strong female lead, forced to take on sole-guardianship when her husband is wrongly arrested for a crime he did not commit. Having come from a comfortable, middle-class life in the city, with maids and staff, she embraces a life in the country with true spirit. She is kind and generous, and a wonderful mother.

“She was almost always there, ready to play with the children, and read to them, and help them to do their home lessons. Besides this she used to write stories for them while they were at school, and read them aloud after tea, and she always made up funny pieces of poetry for their birthdays and for other great occasions, such as the christening of the new kitten, or the refurnishing of the doll’s house, or the time they were getting over the mumps”

Requires an actress with strong emotional range.

Perks: Male. Age 35+ Male. 35+. Principal role. Regional accent. Actual Age – 35. He is the narrator of the story who drives the action. A kind man who can occasionally let his pride get in the way. He is from a working class background and although he has six children he does what he can to provide for them. He loves his job as the local station porter. Requires an actor who is proficient in storytelling and can keep an audience gripped. Needs a good emotional range.

Mrs Perks: Female. Age 35+. Supporting role. Regional accent. Wife of Mr Perks. A kindly woman, and a good mother, especially given their somewhat poorer background, and so many mouths to feed. She is strong-minded and keeps Mr Perks in line.

John: Male. 16+. Supporting role. Regional accent. Actual age – 14. The eldest of the Perk’s children. Wants to become an engine driver, inspired by his father’s love of trains. He clashes with Roberta on a number of occasions before warming to the three children. Witty and clever he is on the verge of becoming a man, although he still enjoys messing around with his siblings.Protective of his family.

Alfred: Male. 16+. Supporting role. Regional accent. Actual age – 12. Second eldest of the Perk’s children, he looks up to his elder brother John and enjoys causing trouble with his siblings. A cheeky chappy who has many good one liners. Needs a strong comedic actor.

Edith: Female. 16+. Supporting role. Regional accent. Actual age – 11. The eldest girl of the Perk’s children, she has to contend with her brothers to get into the spotlight. Brave and slightly tomboyish. Admires Roberta.

Bert: Male. Age 14+. Supporting role. Regional accent. Actual age – 9. The third eldest boy in the family. Sadly, the slightly slower one. Often allowing his imagination to run ahead of logic. Despite this, he’s always up for an adventure.

Emma and Joan: Female. Age 10+. Minor role. Regional accent. Actual age – 8 and 7. The youngest of the Perk’s family, these two are never apart. Cute and innocent. They love strawberries.

Doctor Forrest: Male. 40+. Supporting Role. Regional accent. The local Doctor in this village. He is well liked, trusted and admired. Will often go out of his way to help people in need.

Mr Szczepansky: Male. Age 35+. Supporting role. Russian Accent. A Russian author exiled from his own country who came to England looking for his family. He is taken in and cared for by the Railway Children family. Required an actor who can pull off a convincing Russian accent. Strong emotional range required.

Old Gentleman: Male. Age 55+. Lead supporting role. RP/Regional accent. The hero character, first spotted when he waves back to the Railway Children from his regular seat on the train to London. Referred to by the children as ‘our own old gentlemen’, he’s a well-loved character, who helps the children on several separate occasions.

“If there’s any other way I can help you or your mother I’ll certainly try my best”.

Jim: Male. Age 16+. Supporting role. RP/Regional accent.
The Old Gentleman’s grandson. He plays the role of the “hare” in the local school’s paper chase, where he suffers an unfortunate accident!

Ensemble – Various smaller roles including Super Intendant, Mrs Walker, Father and chorus.


Rehearsals will take place on Tuesday evenings and Saturday daytimes and some Sunday as well, given the shorter rehearsal period. Starting on the 29th August and running through until production week.



Auditions are by appointment, each lasting 15 minutes. Please arrive 15 minutes prior to your allocated audition time, which will be given to you once you have emailed the contact below, along with a copy of the script extracts you need to prepare for the audition. Please also prepare a monologue suitable for your character lasting 2-3 minutes.


Audition Date –Thursday 20th and Friday 21st July from 6pm-10pm by appointment

Rehearsals – 29th August – READ-THROUGH

Rehearsals – 2nd September – 22nd October

Production Week – Sunday 22nd – Tuesday 22nd October. THERE MAY BE AN ALL DAY TECH REHEARSAL ON THE MONDAY.


If you are interested in taking part, please email Joe Malyan at




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