Reading and Audition notice dates for Pinter’s ‘The Birthday Party’


By Harold Pinter

Director: Craig Shelton

Performance Run: Wednesday 26th October 2022 – Saturday 5th November


SUNDAY, 26th JUNE AT 2.30 P.M.

The reading and the audition will be held at the Loft. Please come to the Stage Door at the rear of the theatre in Spencer’s Yard. This is clearly marked with a mural of a row of theatrical shoes, pointing to the direction of the Stage Door in the corner of the Yard.


There is a sense of menace throughout the play. Pinter makes the audience feel that the security of the principal character (Stanley) and even the audiences’ own security is threatened by some sort of impending danger or disaster


The Birthday Party is a terrific play and one of Pinter’s most memorable works.

Meg and Petey Boles run a boarding house in their small, sleepy seaside town. They have only one lodger: the reclusive, bitter Stanley, hiding away from the world outside. All changes, though, with the arrival of two mysterious visitors, the charming Goldberg and the menacing McCann. Stanley is immediately on edge, suspicious that the men are there for him, but Meg is too delighted by her new guests to pay him any heed. Goldberg convinces Meg to throw Stanley a birthday party, though he insists it isn’t his birthday. As the festivities barrel forward, out of anyone’s control, the celebration turns dark and a game of ‘Blindman’s Bluff’ grows violent as Stanley’s past catches up with him, threatening to shatter him inside and out.

The Birthday Party is essentially about insecurity and uncertainty. In the current climate these feelings are prevalent everywhere, which is why the play is as relevant today as it was 53 years ago.

As with much of Pinter’s work, there is an absurdity to it; an absurdity that seems to spring from these apparently naturalistic characters, placed into outrageous and complicated situations that are far from the norm. The juxtaposition of comedy and menace is always there, as it is in most of the playwright’s body of work.

This requires the actors to push themselves to the extremes as Pinter really works best when it is both very funny and very disturbing – sometimes both at the same time. It’s interesting to note here that we see his influences so starkly in some of our leading ‘modern’ playwrights such as McPherson, Butterworth and McDonagh.

This production will require actors that are not afraid to take risks. Michael Billington described his first viewing of one of the play’s most notorious moments as “one got a sense of what it must be like to be subject to brutal intimidation”.



Stanley, a man in his late thirties – Stanley is unkempt and lazy. He has been staying with Meg and Petey since a traumatizing event where he was locked in a concert hall a year ago. Our ‘protagonist?’

Meg, a woman in her sixties – the wife of Petey, with whom she operates a rundown boarding house. A mothering person in her mid-sixties who dislikes going out, she devotes her time to Petey’s meals and comfort and looking after her guests.

Petey, a man in his sixties – Meg’s husband, Petey comes and goes from his home throughout the day. He attends to the deck chairs early in the morning. His blandness puts into sharp focus the strange behaviour of Meg and Stanley and the menacing threats of McCann and Goldberg.

Lulu, a girl in her early to mid twenties – She appears mysteriously with a package. After flirting with both Stanley and Goldberg, she departs the next morning after being interrogated accusingly by Goldberg and savagely ordered by the puritanical “unfrocked” McCann to confess.

Goldberg, a menacing new guest in his late fifties, a “smooth operator” who takes charge of things, including his accomplice, McCann. He is a surrealistic, allegorical figure symbolizing the destructive impersonality of the modern world and its guilt-producing threat to the sensitive individual.

McCann, a man of thirty – serves Goldberg in the nefarious activities in which they conspire.


All ages are merely a guide – casting decisions will be made entirely upon the audition process and which actors fit best with one another.

Auditions will take place in the Loft studio with auditionees being asked to read sections with each other. Combinations will be changed throughout the afternoon.

To register interest, or if you are interested but can’t make the dates… or for any more information, please get in touch with the director, Craig Shelton at or the Artistic Director, Sue Moore at



The Loft’s casting policy is centred on casting the very best actors for each role. Casting will always be open and neutral. Everyone is welcome and warmly encouraged to attend auditions. If specific race/ethnicity or other characteristics are central to the story, we will make this clear in audition notices. There is no pre-casting without the express permission of the Artistic Director.

You do not need to be a member of the Loft to be cast in a production.