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Open Theatre Auditions: The Great Gale of Brixham 1866

15th September 2019 @ 12:30 - 17:00


Casting all roles for this researched historical professional theatre production based on a pivotal event in local history

These roles cover speaking characters (no extras) aged 10 – 70, playing for the most part real people and telling their stories through this storm.
People of all backgrounds very welcome.
Minors must attend with a parent or legal guardian, and involvement will be subject to individual child performance licences from the local authority.

Auditions are on Sunday Sept 15th 2019, at Chestnut Community centre, 1-3 Poplar Close, Brixham, Devon TQ5 0SA. Please arrive to begin at 1pm. (doors open from 12).

Rehearsal dates: Wednesday evenings 7pm – 9.30pm, Sundays 12.30pm – 5pm,
at Chestnut Community Centre, 1-3 Poplar Close, Brixham, Devon, TQ5 0SA, the same as the auditions. For this reason, priority will be given to performers who live in the South Devon region. Please note that you will be expected to attend regular rehearsals

Brixham Theatre – Dec 6th (evening), Dec 7th (matinee & evening)
The Watermark, Ivybridge Jan 18th (evening)
We may also book another one or two dates within this range.
Our main website:
Our email: [email protected]

(From our history booklet – more information can be found on our site at

On the night of January 10 – 11th 1866, a southeast gale blew up, and the storm is widely remembered in Brixham to this day. Much of the towns fishing fleet, as well as other ships sheltering in Torbay were destroyed, with a large loss of life.

The fishwives of Brixham built a bonfire of their household effects on the end of the breakwater (half the length of the current breakwater, although in the same location) to try to guide their husbands home safely, while the men on shore in the town did all they could to save people from the ships which were wrecked along the Brixham and Churston coastline, and all those saved, both locals, and those from other parts of Britain, and indeed mainland Europe, were shown great kindness by the residents of the town who in many cases offered them lodgings in their own homes, even as they waited for news of their own loved ones.

It is said, however, that after the storm one could walk along the coastline from Brixham to Paignton, upon the wreckage of all the wrecked ships. Over a hundred bodies were identified, and records to this day also list many other unidentified seamen who were found torn apart by the fury of the storm and unidentifiable. A mass grave and memorial exists at St Marys Church in Brixham to this day. The full death toll from the storm will never be known – for example it was reported that two passenger steamers had been seen in Torbay, and some sailors, later rescued from the wreck of their own ship, reported that in the chaos of the night, in the bay, their ship had crashed into an unknown steamer which then sank, as far as they knew, with all hands.

In the 19th century, at the time of this storm, Brixham was one of the foremost fishing ports in England, and it was due to this storm that the people of Exeter, the county capital, raised funds for Brixham to have her first RNLI lifeboat; named The City Of Exeter, and the town has always had a lifeboat since.

Castings will take the form of reading and characterising excerpts from the script. A casting pack will be available soon at

As with all our shows, all persons appearing as cast and crew for this production will be entitled to remuneration as
– equal profit share (ticket-take less venue hire cost)
– portfolio photos and video for portfolio use
– copies of all press in which the character is featured
– programme credit
(and anything else we find that we are able to offer)
More information on our audition process is to be found at

Some roles may be combined, or an actor take on more than one

Due to previous incidents we need to state that
1) All cast will need to be able to attend regular rehearsals, and to be able to learn characterisation, lines and blocking.
2) Actors will be required to wear costumes
3) All people in the production are expected to adhere to socially acceptable behaviour at all times, and work as a member of a focussed team.
4) Performances are on an open-book equal-profit share basis.
5) We welcome performers of all backgrounds.

More about us:


15th September 2019
12:30 - 17:00
Event Category:



Chestnut Community Centre
1-3 Poplar Close
Brixham, Devon tq5 0sa United Kingdom
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007855 090589