Acting and Me, Karen McCaffrey


My one Woman Play Acting and Me, was inspired following a workshop with the Eastenders casting director Rowland Beckley. After the workshop I was sharing the experience with my singing teacher Bridget de Courcy. We have always laughed so much during our lessons, as I have always used my humour to keep myself sane in this crazy world of show business. Bridget suggested that I write a one-woman show about my experiences, as there have been so many funny incidences that she thought I could use.

This really struck a cord with me. For the last twenty-five years I had actually been thinking about writing a one-woman show. Back then this idea was just a glimmer but I was fascinated by Edith Piaf, Judy Garland, Barbra Streisand and all the great jazz singers from the 1920s onwards. I was always looking for the right subject, it had just never come together.

Time moved on and I had my daughter. When she was younger I took some writing courses to keep my creative soul sane. This was the catalyst I needed and I went on to write a play, several short films, two half novels and half a feature film. Also In feeding the flame of my creativity I joined a memoir-writing course to help me finish my autobiographical novel.

So coming full circle and from laughing in my singing lessons I realised that I was my own subject. I could tell my own story and if it entertained an audience as much as it had Bridget and I, I was onto a winner.

Acting and Me is about telling my story. I wanted to use my singing voice and there is one song which is relevant to the tale.

So now the nerves are really kicking in. The 28th of May will be the first time an audience has experienced Acting and Me. What will they think of it? The début crowd will be made up of theatregoers, friends and family alike, many of whom have never seen me on stage before. Will they like it? What will it bring? Who knows? I just hope it is the beginning of new horizons.

Broadway World UK Awards 2015

broadway-world-blogLondon Theatre Workshop celebrates the news that it garnered a number of nominations at the 2015 Broadway World awards. First up, our Artistic Director, Ray Rackham, has been nominated for Best Director of a Musical Production for LTW’s first export, the transfer of Ray’s own musical as lyricist-librettist Apartment 40C to the St James Theatre in April (music Tom Lees). The critically acclaimed Apartment 40C has also been nominated in the Best Musical category, alongside LTW’s sell-out smash Parade, directed by Jody Tranter, with Musical Direction by Erika Gundesen. Parade is LTW’s most successful show to date, with regular queues for returns throughout the run in September. Additional Creative nominations include a well deserved nod to Adam Scown, for Best Choreography, again for Parade.

In the Performer Categories LTW is very well represented, with Alex James Ellison receiving a Best Featured Actor nomination for his performance of Eddie in the St James Studio transfer of Apartment 40C, Liberty Buckland receiving a Best Actress nomination for her ground breaking portrayal of the lead in Yarico (produced by Jodie Kidd and her father John), and Dean Bray being nominated for Understudy of the Year in Parade.

Our 60 seat, studio theatre has also received a nomination in the coveted Theatrical Venue of the Year category.

Artistic Director, Ray Rackham, said “delighted is somewhat of an understatement. London Theatre Workshop continues to go from strength to strength, and in our short history we have established ourselves as a home for talented theatre practitioners to create; either side of the footlights. I am particularly thrilled with the Performer nominations. Any fringe theatre is only ever as good as the people who spend countless weeks, months (and in some cases years) in preparation of opening those house doors and inviting an audience into another world; be that seventeenth century Barbados, a loft apartment in Manhattan or the Old Red Hills of Home. My very best wishes to all nominees.”

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Through The Mill: Don’s Diary – Day 1

With my suitcase containing a plethora of percussion instruments, and my nose doing a pretty good impersonation of a dripping tap, I set off for the first day of rehearsals for “Through The Mill” – a brand new musical play written by the force of nature that is Ray Rackham. Having skilfully negotiated the Victoria and District lines, I arrive at London Theatre Workshop to find the man himself already in situ, direct from the Big Apple and looking fresh as a daisy.

Accompanied by our lovely dramaturg, Carolyn Scott-Jeffs, Ray is chatting to Lewis and Jazz, two students from Loughborough, who will be shadowing the rehearsal process. Excitement mounts as, one by one, cast members begin to appear. Introductions are made, “Oh, you’re my mum!”, and familiar friendships are renewed.

Skye Crawford, our whirlwind of a Producer, ensures a warm welcome for all, and with the arrival of Director, Max Reynolds, Musical Supervisor, Simon Holt, plus our gorgeous Stage Manager and Assistant Director, Alex Pearson, the brilliantly talented “Through The Mill” company is complete

We climb the spiral staircase and enter the magical space. Chairs have been placed in a semi circle, and I find that I am nestled between Helen Shiels on my left, and Harry Anton on my right. With CBS Judy and Sid Luft having a number of important scenes together, my immediate thought is to switch with Harry, but he who hesitates is lost. Before I can undertake my well intentioned manoeuvre, introductions have begun.

The reading of the script goes like a dream. From Helen’s rousing rendition of “Life Is Like A Bowl of Cherries”, right through to the spine tingling “Over The Rainbow” finale, the entire cast excel. From time to time I look across at Ray,

and I can honestly say that I’ve never seen him happier. Suddenly, it’s one o’clock. We break for lunch, and the generous Perry Meadowcroft helps me to erect my wobbly percussion stand in readiness for the afternoon music call.

Rehearsals for “Through The Mill” have well and truly begun ….

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Through The Mill: Don’s Diary – Day 3

Wending my way from Fulham Broadway tube to our venue at the Eel Brook,

I bump into our ubiquitous Producer, Skye Crawford. As per usual, Skye is very upbeat and tells me that the posters for “Through The Mill” have arrived.  They look fabulous!

Afternoon music call, and there is big news. The on stage Judy Garland band has been augmented in the shape of a drum kit. Perry Meadowcroft wastes no time at all in tuning it up, and trying it out. He is all smiles, and looks totally at home seated on his stool behind the array of drums and cymbals. I assemble my not so wobbly percussion stand on Perry’s right, and we’re ready to go.

With our very patient and understanding Musical Supervisor, Simon Holt, at the helm, we get to work on the opening numbers of the show. “Life Is Like A Bowl Of Cherries” sounds terrific, and then it’s straight into “I Feel A Song Coming On”. Simon suggests that I use my percussion shaker for the up-tempo jazzy number, but quickly changes his mind. “How about bongos”? he enquires with a slightly raised eyebrow. In the end, we try the number again with me hand slapping on the micro snare. It seems to work, and we’re keeping it in!

I am having the time of my life as a member of the band, and just can’t wait till the moment when Simon says, “Let’s have a look at “The Trolley Song”!!

Scene work tomorrow, and L B Mayer takes to the stage. Happy days …


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Through The Mill: Don’s Diary – Day 6

Saturday, and a change of rehearsal venue. Under rainy skies, my Glockenspiel and I – “have Glock … will travel”, take the Victoria Line to Stockwell tube station and we find our way to Lost Theatre, Wandsworth.

Upon arrival, I am greeted by the warm smiles of Simon Holt and Tom Reade, and our intrepid band stand around in clusters awaiting the opening of the doors.

Access to the building is finally achieved, upon which we toil up two flights of stairs – why I didn’t take the lift I’ll never know – to our designated rehearsal room. It is airless and windowless.

Our Stage Manager, Alex, marks out the set with red and blue tape, and we are ready to go. Almost all of the full company are present. This is rather nice, as we haven’t been together since the read-through on day one. The room is sparsely furnished with a few chairs and, somewhat bizarrely, a sofa. I spot the one small table and before anyone can stop me, I place it in a corner and unpack my Glock.

Starting the show from the top, it’s obvious that some really good work has been achieved in the past week. Max, our Director, begins to build in scene transitions and, as the temperature in the room continues to rise, it’s lunch.

Afternoon, and the heat in the room becomes borderline tropical. Temperatures rise on stage as well, with the sexual chemistry between Palace Judy (Belinda Wollaston) and Sid Luft (a bearded Harry Anton), feeling almost tangible. Late afternoon sees the arrival of Justin and Harry, our brilliant set designers. We all gather round as Harry introduces their stunning design for “Through The Mill”.

Max rounds things off with company notes and, with enormous relief, my Glock and I take refuge from the Sahara and accompany the genial Ray Rackham all the way back to Walthamstow Central. Week one done, week two to come.

Can’t wait!

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Hire Our Spaces



We have a purpose built black box theatre with a seating rake available for hire at London Theatre Workshop.

Nestled right in the heart of the City of London’s financial district, within the beautiful and historic Leadenhall Market. We are just a short walk from Liverpool Street, London Bridge, Bank and Monument stations.


Playing Space
6.5 metres (long)
5.5 metres (wide)

4 tier seating rake not included in these measurements.

Hire Costs :
Monday – Saturday 10 – 6pm £20 per hour
Monday – Saturday 6pm – 10pm £25 per hour (if you hire for more than 2 hours it reverts to £20 per hour)

For more information or to book the space please email
Other items available for hire include an electric piano – £15 per day.



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