Lucy Bell, writer and NLA member

The North London Actors offered me a reading of my play Jo's War in 2011. I was delighted to have this opportunity, but was a little nervous about the outcome because there was only one afternoon to rehearse (and the play was an hour and a half long). However the professionalism of the director and actors was amazing. They breathed life into the play, quickly overcame problems and established a really strong grip on character. The reading the next day felt more like a stripped down performance than a rehearsed reading. There was a good sized audience because other members of NLA turned out and lots of helpful feedback from the different artists present.

This opportunity really gave me confidence in my piece and not long afterwards it was picked up by in the Ronald Duncan Playwriting Prize and was taken on tour. I have had some interest from an agent as a result, so the help of the NLA has made all the difference to me as a writer trying to establish myself. There are opportunities out there for playwrights to have readings of their plays but it is usually just short sections that are dealt with and I had never been given access to such top rate professionals before.

Richard Stirling, writer and NLA member

In May 2012, North London Actors presented a staged, rehearsed reading of my play The Last Princess, concerning the relationship between Princess Margaret and John Bindon. The cast was led by Rosalind Adler as the Princess and Edmund Dehn as Bindon and featured Hayward Morse and James Harden, all of whom are part of North London Actors and who showed exactly why this group is so highly regarded. The level of commitment, application and energy in rehearsal and performance meant that the audience saw something come alive off the page in a short space of time. This is thanks to the actors' talents, the direction of Dimitri Devdariani and, certainly not least, the organisational skills of Michael Murray and Gareth Pilkington. It is Gareth who oversees North London Actors to excellent effect, and from the start he was clear about what he could offer and the way in which his members could provide it - all of which was very much delivered.
The Last Princess is now in further development both with a theatre dramaturg. For the help Gareth and North London Actors has given me towards placing the piece commercially, I am extremely grateful.

Helen Cashin, actor and NLA member

It is frequently said that theatres today are minimising their repertoire, for fear that audiences will not come to see anything they do not already know. Happily, North London Actors goes in the other direction.

Since leaving theatre school I have not had as much opportunity to participate in play readings so I was delighted to be introduced to North London Actors, especially as I have a particular interest in period and classical plays. Since joining I have had the chance to read roles by some of my favourite writers which I may otherwise never have had the chance to perform, and have also been introduced to some works that were quite new to me.

It has been wonderful to have the chance to hone my sight-reading skills and learn from other actors in the group who are so adept at hitting the ground running in a semi-staged reading. I have also enjoyed meeting others with an interest in discovering overlooked works. I look forward to the upcoming readings.

The help of the NLA has made all the difference to me as a writer trying to establish myself.
Lucy Bell, writer

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