The Importance of Being Earnest

by Oscar Wilde

APS's final production of the 2024 season will be The Importance of Being Earnest, Oscar Wilde's most famous and enduring work for the stage, and considered by many to be the greatest English stage comedy of all time. At its first performance on 14th February 1895, it was the fourth of his plays to be presented in the West End of London in three years. The successful opening night marked the climax of Wilde's career but also heralded his downfall.

The dazzling, farcical comedy centres on courtships, betrothals and confused identities in which two young men pursue two young women who are both determined to marry someone called Ernest. Set in fashionable London society, the play is famous for its witty dialogue, razor-sharp satire and timeless humour. Its lasting success rests not only on Wilde's genius as a wit, but also the enduring quality of its examination of moral principles surrounding marriage, lineage, duty, deception, love and money among the Victorian upper classes. And then, of course, there is a certain 'handbag' and its contents....

You are cordially invited to the reading of the play on Wednesday 31st July at 7.30 in the Sherborne Studio Theatre; anyone is very welcome to attend. Auditions will be held on Wednesday 14th August and Sunday 18th, and performances will take place in the Sherborne Studio Theatre from 2nd to 7th December 2024.

The Importance of being Earnest

The final production of the Amateur Players of Sherborne's 2024 season is Oscar Wilde's famous farcical comedy The Importance of Being Earnest. Open auditions for the play are being held in the theatre on Wednesday 14th August at 7.30 and Sunday 18th August at 2.30. If you would like to read for a part, please come along. Should you need an electronic copy of the script in advance together with a list of characters, please contact the director, John Crabtree at Performances will take place in the Sherborne Studio Theatre from 2nd to 7th December 2024.


John Worthing
He is an eligible man-about-town, a seemingly responsible and respectable person who takes life seriously. But he lives a double life which reveal certain contradictions. He goes by the name of Ernest when he's in town and Jack when he's in the country. He is in love with Gwendolyn Fairfax and intends to marry her. If his double life appears hypocritical, by the end of the play he demonstrates his conformity with Victorian moral and social standards. Age – Flexible. Possibly late 20s to mid-30s.

Algernon Moncrieff
The play's secondary hero. Algernon is a charming, idle, decorative bachelor who lives only for pleasure. He is the nephew of Lady Bracknell, cousin of Gwendolyn Fairfax and best friend of Jack Worthing. Algeron is witty, selfish, amoral and given to making delightful paradoxical and epigrammatic pronouncements. His fictional friend 'Bunbury' allows him to wriggle out of unpleasant or dull social obligations. He falls in love with Cecily. Age – Flexible. Age - probably late 20s,

Gwendolyn Fairfax
Algernon's cousin and Lady Bracknell's daughter. She is in love with Jack whom she knows as Ernest. She is fixated by the name Ernest. A model and arbiter of high fashion and society, Gwendolyn speaks with unassailable authority on matters of taste and morality. She is shallow, sophisticated, intellectual, cosmopolitan and pretentious. Age – mid to late 20s.

Cecily Cardew
Jack's ward. She has lived a sheltered life in the country and is probably the most realistically drawn character in the play. She is also obsessed by the name Ernest but is even more intrigued by the idea of wickedness. The idea, rather than the virtuous-sounding name, has prompted her to fall in love with Jack's brother in her imagination and invent an elaborate romance and courtship between them. Age – 18.

Lady Bracknell
Algernon's snobbish, mercenary, domineering aunt and Gwendolyn's mother. Her primary goal is to see her daughter married well hence her list of 'eligible young men'. Through the figure of formidable Lady Bracknell, Wilde manages to satirize the hypocrisy and stupidity of the British aristocracy. She is powered by her own sense of entitlement and is the voice of authority with all the haughty self-righteousness of the conventional Victorian upper-class matron. She is also greedy, snobbish, cunning and narrow-minded. Age – 55+.

Miss Prism
Cecily's governess. She is the source of pedantic cliches and highly approves of Jack's presumed respectability and harshly criticizes his 'unfortunate' brother. Despite her outwardly apparent strait-laced appearance she is, at heart, a passionate woman with an unrequited adoration for Dr Chasuble. Age – 50s – 60s.

Rev Canon Chasuble
The rector on Jack's estate. He entertains secret feelings for Miss Prism which brings them together at the end of the play. Age – 60+.

Algernon's impeccable and impassive manservant. He is a model of Imperturbability. Appears in Act 1 only. Age – 50+.

The butler at The Manor House. He appears only in Act 2. Age – 40+

Maid or Footman
Appears in Act 2 only. Can be any age.

The ages of all the characters in the play are very flexible. The main thing is that the actor conveys the character they are playing.


All events take place at 7.30 pm in the
Sherborne Studio Theatre
unless otherwise indicated

Play Reading
The Importance of Being Earnest

Wed 31st July

The Importance of Being Earnest

Wed 14th Aug, 7.30 pm
Sun 18th Aug, 2.30 pm

Annual General Meeting
and Summer Party

Fri 16th Aug

September Production
by Nick Payne
directed by Anna Carter-Brown
Mon 9th - Sat 14th Sept
Sat 14th Sept, 2.30 pm

December Production
The Importance of Being Earnest
by Oscar Wilde
directed by John Crabtree
Mon 2nd - Sat 7th Dec
Sat 7th Dec, 2.30 pm


We are delighted to announced that Twelfth Night, directed by John Crabtree,
has been awarded NODA's Most Innovative Production.


Twelfth Night was also nominated for the Hazelmere Award for Visual Excellence.
In addition The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, directed by Bev Taylor-Wade, was nominated for the Best Comedy Production award,
and Art, directed by Graham Smith, was nominated for the Best Drama Production award.


We are delighted to announce that Robert Brydges has won the Rose Bowl Bevan Brittan LLP Solicitors Award for Best Actor (Dramatic Production) for his portrayal of Ken Harrison in Whose Life Is It Anyway?, directed by Martin Williams.

Rose Bowl Citation
This challenging role was as a hospital patient paralysed from the neck down, and yet somehow Robert generated greater movement on stage than many the adjudicator has seen this year. Despite being so restricted for three hours, from doors open to the walk down, he completely engaged the audience, bringing both humour and dignity to such a sombre subject as the right to die. Robert made us believe his character's words were not scripted but the earnest and genuine creed of someone in such a situation, and for this he is Best Actor in a dramatic production.

APS also received no less than four further nominations for three different shows this year. They were: :

First Corporate Award for Coup de Theatre
Patient in a bed - Whose Life Is it Anyway?

FT-Works Productions Award for Best Youth Actor in an Adult Production
Charlotte Berry - Nurse Kay in Whose Life Is it Anyway?

Bevan Brittan LLP Solicitors Award for Best Actor (Dramatic Production)
Liam Beard - Adrian Mole in The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13¾

Eileen Hartley Hodder Award for Best Actress (Dramatic Production)
Sarah Nias - Emma in Betrayal