Published on: Saturday September 15, 2018


The Cherry Orchard by Anton Chekhov.

Director: Simon Futty

The Cherry Orchard was written during the last year of Chekhov’s life – 1903 / 1904. This was a time of great upheaval in Russia with the beginnings of the strikes and civil unrest which would culminate in the unsucessful revolution of 1905 and the later, successful revolutions of 1917. Russia was at a crossroads – Capitalism was in its infancy, the feudal system having been finally brought to an end with the emancipation of the serfs in 1861. At the same time there was a growing but very weak middle class, and a large and more assertive working class with no mediating labour movement to channel their grievances in a parliamentary or purely industrial direction. In other words – a powder keg.

Chekhov touches on all of these themes in The Cherry Orchard. He had to cut out a number of speeches which would have been censored by the Czar’s official theatre censor, but following his death these passages have been put back in.

In the UK there has been a tradition of seeing the play as an elegy for a dying class – much akin to Brideshead Revisited, a kind of angst in the drawing room. Although these sentiments exist in the play so too does an excoriating critique of Russian society and the vibrant challenge of a pure market economy or a socialist vision of the future. This is the basis of Trevor Griffiths’ 1977 version which was first performed at Nottingham Playhouse. It was revived for television in 1981 starring Judi Dench as Mme Ranevsky. This television version is available on youtube.

The other aspect of the translation is to anglicise the text to make it more immediate. Stuffy Russian patronymics are dispensed with as are Russian names (eg. Pyotr) where an English one would suffice (eg. Peter). Similarly esoteric drinks such as ‘kvass’ are rendered as ‘cider’.

Performance Dates: Tuesday 5th to Saturday 9th March 2019

6 performances over 5 days at the Seligman Theatre, Chapter Arts Centre, Market Road, Canton, Cardiff.

Performances every evening at 7.30 with a matinee on Saturday 9th March.


Auditions will take place on the following dates:

Friday 19 October
Slot 1 6.30-8
Slot 2 8-9.30

Saturday 20 October
Slot 1 10-11.30
Slot 2 11.30-1
Slot 3 2-3.30
Slot 4 3.30-5

Monday 22 October – The Green Room, Chapter
Slot 1 6.30-8
Slot 2 8-9.30

Tuesday 23 October – The Green Room, Chapter
Slot 1 6.30-8
Slot 2 8-9.30

Friday 26 October
Slot 1 6.30-8
Slot 2 8-9.30

All auditions in the Clubroom apart from where indicated.
There will be up to 6 auditionees per slot

Recalls will be held in the week of Tuesday 6 November

Please get in touch via if you wish to book a slot.

The format is open workshop with no need to prepare anything. In the workshop you will be asked to read/act through a number of scenes with the other attendees for that slot. Please indicate if there are certain characters that you would like to read for. The slots are 1 ½ hours in length.

Following auditions there will be call-backs which will follow a similar format. However, please do not think if you are not called back it necessarily means that you have not got a part – call backs are where the director has a number of actors in mind and need to see them work together to get the best possible combination.

The Cherry Orchard Audition-Pack

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