“The electric bloody chair! I’m told when that goes wrong, they come out sizzling like a bloody steak.”

It’s 1965, and capital punishment has just been abolished in the UK.

In a dingy, old-school pub in Oldham, the landlord, Harry, who until recently was known as ‘the second-best hangman in Britain’, holds court.

Surrounded by a motley crew of sycophants and hangers-on, he relishes the celebrity his profession has brought him.

His wife works behind the bar; neither seems to notice that their anxious, awkward teenage daughter is ripe for exploitation.

The arrival of a mysterious stranger from ‘the South’ turns the atmosphere toxic with suspicion, and when Harry’s arch-rival turns up, the clash of egos is both brutal and desperately sad.

This brilliantly plotted and wildly off-beat play ((from the acclaimed writer of In Bruges, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Banshees of Inisherin and The Beauty Queen of Leenane) is a stinging condemnation of state-sanctioned murder delivered with furious, macabre humour.

Winner: 2015 Olivier Award for Best New Play

“Tremendous: a departure, and a deepening of McDonagh’s talents.” The Guardian

Director Deborah Mulhall
Assistant Director Tim Carter
Stage Manager Owen Hirschfield
Set Designer Tom Bannerman
Costume Design Helen Kohlhagen

Tue 13 Aug to Sat 14 Sep 2024

Rehearsals will start the week commencing Mon 20 May with a combination of weekend days, week evenings and possibly weekdays. Exact times and dates tbc, subject to cast availability. Expect to rehearse Sunday evenings.

Sat 11 May, 9am to 12pm
Mon 13 May, 6pm to 9.30pm

Sat 18 May 9am to 12pm

NB: An English Midlands accent is expected for all roles except for Mooney who has a “London” accent (interpret that how you will, but it isn’t RP or Cockney).
Ages indicated are ages of characters, not actors.

Larger Roles:
Harry: 40+ A bluff, proud Northerner. Harry is faced with existential dread now that his career as a hangman is being abolished. Outwardly tough, he is brittle, pseudo confident and often offensive. He is also a man who isn’t quite ready to let go of the power, authority, and status his role provided and so uses his position amongst the pub regulars to maintain his self-importance.

Mooney: 25 – 35 (doubles with Hennessy) Whilst Hennessy is hysterical and miserable (and very possibly innocent), Mooney is at the heart of the play as much as Harry is. Charming, witty, polite, while also conveying a darker, more disturbing edge. Something about him should make us uneasy and uncomfortable. Both Hennessy and Mooney are (stage) hanged.

Mid-Size Roles:
Syd:  30+ Humiliated by Harry over the years, Syd is quietly after his own revenge whilst maintaining a façade of goodwill.
Alice: 35 – 55. Stoic and weary. Harry’s long-suffering wife.
Clegg: 20+ Wannabe journalist after his big story.
Fry: 50+ Retired police inspector. Lonely and lost now that he is without the job that defined him for so long.
Arthur: 40 + Oldest of the of three bar regulars. Slightly deaf. Alcoholic without purpose, which seems to have been the course of his life.
Shirley: 16 (actor who can play 16) Harry’s daughter. Shy, naïve. Innocent with all the unfocused longing of a teenage girl.

Double-Up Roles:
Governor/Pierrepoint: 40+ The governor is a politician, Pierrepoint was the most famous Hangman in England
Doctor/Charlie: 30 –50 Prison doctor. Also plays Charlie who is one of the three regulars at Harry’s pub. Along with the younger Bill and older Arthur they form a sort of Greek chorus/ Three Stooges group. Charlie is the middleman, translating, explaining.
Guard 1/ Bill: 18+ Prison guard. Also plays Bill who is youngest of the bar regulars who make up the Greek chorus/Three Stooges group at the pub. Bill is the hanger-on type, seeking approval in a life which seems to have little purpose.
Guard 2 will be played by the stage manager to guide the change of scene.

We very much encourage and welcome submissions from people who identify as First Nations, PoC, CaLD, LGBTQI+, gender diverse or neurodiverse.

It is essential to read the script BEFORE applying. There is a perusal copy of the script available for viewing here.

Email your EOI to with AUDITION in the subject line.

In your email, please:

  • Include an up-to-date headshot and CV.
  • Indicate if you are currently a New Theatre member.
  • Indicate your preferred audition date/time.
  • Indicate if you are unable to audition in person – submission of self-tape can be arranged.
  • Indicate your rehearsal availability (days and/or evenings).

Audition pieces:

Harry: (midlands accent): p37 to 38 from: ‘’See, now you’re trying to come the smartarse again …” to “…I’m not saying I’d win, but we’d definitely be running neck and neck. If you’ll pardon the expression”. Ignore Clegg’s question on p 37 “why weren’t you asked, Harry?”

Mooney: (London accent NOT RP or Cockney) p88. “Well, riff-raff is in the eye of the beholder …” to “… could I have a bag of peanuts Alice?”.

Alice: (midlands accent)

  1. “Oh aye”. Sounds like me at opening time. Your Dad’s lost himself in paper, I knew he would. Won’t hurt business though, the likes of folk around here. Probably help business. They’d pay to watch a car crash IF you could slow one down. They’re just morbid. (pauses) Two hundred and thirty-three. (pause) I’s stop you reading if I didn’t think you’d get ahold of it one way or t’other.
  1. She’s been missing since morning. We were hoping she might’ve tried to go to Burnley to try to see her mate Phyllis in that home there … so we’re a bit worried now. Well, we were worried before. We’re more worried now. Well, I am. Worry is a good thing, int it, ‘worry”? It means you love her, don’t it, ‘worry’? It means that you care. You just like, hope she’ll be fine. You’re not sure she will be fine, cos you don’t know. The Inspector seemed worried but he has one of them faces. It don’t mean nowt. But you come away from a night with him thinking the world’s just bloody ended. My world would end if it were true. If she didn’t come home.

Shirley: (midlands accent) p102 to 103. From “Alright, I know! …. (to) Mam, I’m starved”.

Governor / Doctor / Pierrepoint/ Fry/ Syd /Clegg / Arthur/ Charlie/ Bill: (In midlands accents and differentiated according to character description)
P97 to 98 from “I remember him …” to “… you were a shite hangman and all”.

Callback pieces (Sat 18 May):
P91-94:  Harry/Syd/Fry/Mooney/Charlie/Arthur / Bill
P95-97:  Pierrepoint/Harry/Fry/Syd
P66:  Syd/Mooney
P41-42: Alice / Shirley (from “Morning Our Shirley…”)
P73-75: Alice / Harry / Clegg

New Theatre a community theatre company and a volunteer-based organisation – there is no for payment for this production.

If cast, you will be required to wash your own costumes and assist with production bump out.

Starting as an actress: Kate in Taming of the Shrew (Little Theatre); Titania in Midsummer Night’s Dream (Ars Viva) and Raina in Arms and the Man; moved on to directing and then writing for stage. Deborah has studied at NIDA and La MaMa International, written nine full length plays and directed over 20. Represented and published by Australian Plays Transform. Her play Cry, Wolf ran off-Broadway for eight weeks and has been, like Gentlemen Inc, optioned for film. Breathless, a war play, was a finalist in the Silver Gull Award 2019. Other works have been translated and performed overseas including the triptych The Kiss, three short plays for the LGBTQIA+ community and currently touring in Ecuador. A founding member of the Parramatta Theatre Company, one-time President of the Illawarra Council for the Performing Arts; a life member of Workshop Theatre and has been Education Officer for New Theatre.   Directed Much Ado About Nothing for the Genesian Theatre 2017; for New Theatre Britannia Waves the Rules (2015), The Lieutenant of Inishmore (2018), Pygmalion (2019) The Lovely Bones (2021) and The Pond at Flight Path in 2020.

Main image: ©© Eric Isselee/Shutterstock