“The Dresser” by Ronald Harwood

Directed by Chrish Kresge
Produced by Caroline Gelb

The Dresser is a 1980 play by Ronald Harwood which tells the story of an aging actor’s personal
assistant, Norman, struggling to keep his master’s life together. As World War II rages, backstage in a provincial English theatre during the Blitz, the ageing, once-famous classical actor is troubled. ‘Sir’ is one of the last of a dying breed of great Shakespearean actors, unwilling to take to the stage tonight, while his faithful dresser Norman urges him to put on another great performance.

The Dresser is a compelling exploration of the dynamics within a theater company, particularly the bond between the actor and his dresser. The characters, especially Sir and Norman, are richly developed, and the play delves into themes of aging, loyalty, and the power of art. It has been adapted into two successful films and has been performed by scores of theater companies around the world. Based on the author’s own experiences as dresser to Sir Donald Wolfit, this brilliantly written, bracing and heartbreaking drama is an elegy to a by-gone era.

Production Dates:

Friday, March 8th – Saturday, March 24th, 2024 at Kensington Town Hall, 3710 Mitchell Street, MD
Fridays, Saturdays, and Sunday Matinees – 10 performances.

Rehearsals: Tuesdays (evenings), Thursdays (evenings) and Saturdays (mornings), beginning January 9th at Bannockburn Community Clubhouse, 6314 Bannockburn Dr., Bethesda, MD 20817

Audition Information for “The Dresser”


Tuesday, Dec. 5th, 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
Wednesday, Dec. 6th, 7:00pm to 9:00pm.
Thursday, Dec. 7th (callbacks) 7:00pm to 9:00pm.


Kensington Town Hall, 3710 Mitchell Street, Kensington, MD [Directions]

For the audition:

Cold readings from the script. British accents/RP preferred.

Bring: Your own calendar for rehearsal conflicts.

The Characters in “The Dresser” by Ronald Harwood, including their alternate roles:

Norman (the Dresser) – Norman is the dedicated dresser for Sir, the lead actor. His primary role is to assist Sir in preparing for his performances, but he also takes on other roles within the plays they perform. (50s-70s)

Sir/King Lear – Sir is the aging and temperamental lead actor of the theater company, known for his portrayal of King Lear. He struggles with his health and career, and his role in the play is central to the story. (60’s – 70’s)

Her Ladyship/Cordelia – Her Ladyship is Sir’s wife and a member of the theater company. She also takes on the role of Cordelia in “King Lear,” one of the characters within the play they are performing. (50’s- 60’s)

Irene/Map Carrier – Irene is a younger member of the theater company, and she takes on various roles in the productions. She also plays the role of the Map Carrier within “King Lear.” (20s – 30’s)

Madge – Madge is a member of the theater company and plays various roles in the productions. While not a central character, she adds depth to the ensemble of actors. (40’s – 60’s)

Geoffrey Thornton/Fool – Geoffrey Thornton serves as the company’s manager. He is responsible for the logistical aspects of the tour. In the play within a play, he also takes on the role of the Fool in “King Lear.” (50’s – 60’s)

Mr. Oxenby/Edmund – Mr. Oxenby is another member of the theater company. He also takes on the role of Edmund, one of the characters in “King Lear.” (50’s- 70’s)

Duke of Gloucester/Knight – The Duke of Gloucester is a character within the play “King Lear,” and one of the roles played by members of the theater company. The Knight is another character within “King Lear.” (20’s- 60’s)

Duke of Kent/Gentleman – The Duke of Kent is a character within the play “King Lear,” and one of the roles played by members of the theater company. The Gentleman is a supporting character within “King Lear.” (20’s- 60’s)

Contact and further info: Chrish Kresge chrish@chrishkresge.com, Caroline Gelb caroline.gelb@gmail.com