Following their fantastic run of Annie Get Your Gun in October, DAODS are in the full swing of rehearsals for their next production: Made In Dagenham. The show is being performed in April at the Orchard Theatre and is based on the film of the same name. It follows the main character of Rita O’Grady, who finds herself the spokesperson for a group of female workers at Ford’s Dagenham plant, and eventually leads them on strike when it becomes apparent they are being paid less than their male colleagues for doing the same work. Their actions ultimately led to the creation of the Equal Pay Act 1970.
In the build up to the show, the creative team will be sharing their experiences of bringing this production together. This month the show’s director, Alex Campbell, takes us through the audition and casting process. Alex has been a member of DAODS for over fifteen years and this show marks her Orchard Theatre directorial debut. In her day to day life, Alex works in the casting department for the Royal Shakespeare Company and lives in Dartford with her housemates who are also DAODS members.
Casting the production is the first step for the creative team and the decisions made at this stage can have a huge impact on the show that you eventually see. The process at DAODS is that each society member is welcome to audition for as many principal roles as they would like or they can do a smaller audition piece to be a part of the chorus. We encourage members to audition for any part they would like to play and it is always a brilliant day watching the incredible talent we have in our society.
Making those crucial decisions is always very tough. We are fortunate in DAODS to have a vast number of talented performers and that can make choosing the right person for each role hugely challenging. Each auditionee needs to demonstrate that they can sing, act and dance to the standard required and often show other skills such as accents (although Dagenham is not much of a stretch for our Dartfordian members!) Then comes the tricky process of matching people together to create the final cast list. Often there are several strong candidates for each role and it becomes about finding the most harmonious combination. For example: matching couples in terms of age or finding child actors who look enough like their on stage parents and each other. In Made In Dagenham, we want our principal females to be a range of different ages and appearances in order to represent the community of working women we are depicting and I am absolutely thrilled with the cast we have.
Now that we have our amazing cast, we have begun to start work on blocking the show; a task that can feel hugely daunting at the beginning. However, things are already off to an excellent start and the show is shaping up brilliantly (if I do say so myself). We are extremely excited to be bringing this fantastic new show to the people of Dartford and to be telling the story of these inspiring women.
- Made In Dagenham is being performed from 26th – 29th April at the Orchard Theatre, Dartford. Tickets: 01322 220000 or www.orchardtheatre.co.uk.