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Gabriola Players will be holding open auditions for Will Shakespeare the Panto on Sunday, September 7 at 2pm at the Rollo Centre. There are 14 roles to cast, five of which require singing at least one song.

We are also looking for singers to be our chorus. Separate auditions for singers will be held on Thursday, September 11 at 7pm at the Rollo Centre. All singers will be asked to perform an a cappella rendering of Greensleeves in addition to one song of their own choosing (please bring your own music).

PantoThe roles to be cast are:

Edward De Vere: As well as being an all-round bad guy, Edward De Vere, the Earl of Nanaimo, believes himself to be the greatest poet and playwright in England, although he is in fact one of the worst. He also has a devious plan to become rich by kidnapping Queen Elizabeth and holding her to ransom. Singing role.

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern: Typical pantomime henchmen Rosencrantz and Guildenstern share more than names with their counterparts in Hamlet, they too are the tools of an unscrupulous employer. Neither is particularly smart, though Rosencrantz thinks he is.

Ben Jonson: The great poet and playwright makes a cameo appearance.

Helena Handbasket: Helena, the traditional pantomime dame, is Shakespeare’s agent, a job at which she is not really very good. She is not bright but is extremely loyal to Shakespeare, genuinely believes in his talent and will not even abandon him when things go bad. Singing role.

William Shakespeare (Will): At the time of the story Will is at the start of his illustrious career, just a talented young man with a dream and a lot of great words in his head. He cares about his writing more than anything else in the world but will learn that there just may be more to life. Singing role.

Rosie: Rosie (short for Rosalind), is resident cleaner for the William Shakespeare Strolling Players and Laundry Company. They can’t afford to pay her much but she stays because she is secretly in love with Will, even though he is so obsessed with his work that he barely notices her. Singing role.

Alexander Cooke: The actor in Shakespeare’s troupe who plays the female roles. Cooke is exceptionally proud of his prodigious acting talent but is also very loyal and passionate about theatre. (Alexander Cooke was a real actor in Shakespeare’s Company, whether or not this is an accurate version of him is open for debate.)

Richard Burbage: Like his fellow thespian Cooke, Richard Burbage was a real actor in Shakespeare’s company, specialising in dramatic roles, and again any similarity to the real person is purely coincidental. Also like Cooke he is very proud of his own talent and very much in love with his chosen career, although he tends to be a bit more dignified about it.

Bob: Despite the ban on women actors, Bob (real name Kate) has disguised herself as a boy to join Shakespeare’s company, where she finds it surprisingly difficult to get any female roles. Although she is treated very much as the new boy with much to learn, Bob joins in with the camaraderie of the company. Unlike her fellow actors, Bob is not based on a real person.

Elizabeth: Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth I, one of England’s most recognisable monarchs, seen here at her least recognisable. Elizabeth may have the body of a Queen but she has the heart and soul of an entertainer, she plays the lute and performs her own songs with gusto. She also takes absolutely no nonsense from anyone. Singing role.

Captain: Head of Queen Elizabeth’s personal guard, the Captain is obsessed with searching anyone and everyone who comes anywhere near the Queen, and yet still manages to be quite terrible at his job.

Guard 1: Bored and inattentive guard at De Vere’s castle

Guard 2: As above

Cow: Two people required

Chorus: Six or more singers.

For more information, contact director Miranda Holmes via email at

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