On this page, we'll be sifting the wheat from the chaff and picking out speeches we think would be perfect choices for auditions, or just if you're looking for some great pieces of writing to get your teeth into.
All of the plays we feature are available to buy online. If you want any more ideas, feel free to email or phone, or ask us on Twitter or Facebook.
Speeches for Women
An Intervention by Mike Bartlett
The character: A.
A young woman. She is not a fan of her best friend’s choice of girlfriend and proceeds to explain exactly why.
The speech: Page 27
"I’ve got a personality and she looks like an ant. The ant thing's not the issue. How she looks isn’t my problem, my problem is that she’s the sort of person who stands at the side of the party and doesn’t do anything interesting or fun, but instead she’ll take a picture of those that do, which if we’re honest, nine times out of ten is – me – or someone like me – she’ll take a picture of us and put it on Facebook or tweet it and comment some passive-aggressive shit like ‘someone was having a good time’…"
"…and Hannah is a fucking stormtrooper in that regard.".
Pastoral by Thomas Eccleshare
The character: Moll
An elderly woman who sits there people watching. She see’s everyone as fat.
The speech: Pages 21 to 23
"Everyone out there is fat. Except… no, that’s a lamp-post. Everyone out there is fat. There’s four fat women, two fat men, five fat children and a fat infant. Suckling on her fat mum’s breast. It’s one of those milky, floppy breasts…."
"It’s like they’ve been inflated.
Everything’s growing. Winston?
Radiant Vermin by Philip Ridley
The character: Kay
A young girl whose little brother is terminally ill. She used to look after him then one day she just cracked and started hitting him, but for some reason, she wasn’t in trouble. So she ran away.
The speech: Pages 60 to 61
"I’ve got a brother. His name is Barney. He’s five years younger than me. He could spin a football on the tip of his finger. When he was nine, he got ill. Acute lymphatic leukaemia. The house stank of medicine. I met a boy I liked once. It was all going fine till he found out about Barney. ‘I wanna have fun, not worry about your brother dropping dead all the time.’…"
"…I kiss mum goodbye and walk out of the house. I walk down the main road, past the school, down the next main road, round the roundabout, down the motorway. I just keep walking and walking.".
Skylight by David Hare
The character: Kyra
Early 30’s. She gives a furious speech about rich people’s attitudes and how they are out of touch with reality.
The speech: Pages 86 to 87
"Earlier this evening you were going on about ‘business’. ‘No one understands business’ that’s what you said. Suddenly I must say, I hear it everywhere. These so called achievers telling us they have a grievance. The whole of society must get down on their knees and thank them because they do something they no longer call ‘making money’. Now we must call it something much nicer, now we must call it ‘the creation of wealth.’"
"…yes I have to say, it’s even harder than running a bank."
Gut Girls by Sarah Daniels
The character: Annie
Young, working class girl. She used to work for a rich household but was raped by a member of the family and let go. Her baby was still born and she was jealous of it.
The speech: Pages 42 to 43
"I was in service, oh not round here, no. In a beautiful house in Blackheath and I was real proud of me-self, oh I was. The master and mistress was alright. Never thrashed you or anything, they was above that. Had a son at Oxford University… "
"…it was born with the chord round its neck. It had strangled itself the poor, poor little tiny thing and I looked at it before they took it away and I thought, you lucky, lucky bastard, how much better if I’d have been born like that."
Di and Viv and Rose by Amelia Bullmore
The character: Di
35 and one of three very close friends. She was set to give a speech at Rose’s wedding, now she finds herself giving a speech at her funeral.
The speech: Pages 76 to 77
When Rose asked me to speak at her wedding I was really pleased and I was nervous because I wanted to get it right. I wrote it and re wrote it and I did it to Viv over the phone and she said it was ready. And then Rose died. It turns out that what you need to say at someone’s funeral isn’t so different to what you want to say at their wedding… "
"…what you feel is sadder than I knew was possible. Me and Viv will have to continue growing up without Rose, but it won’t be as good."
Apples by John Retallack
The character: Eve
Older teenager describing her first ecstasy pill which led to her losing her virginity.
The speech: Pages 11 to 12
"It was about a year back when I lost my pill virginity. I went and lost my other virginity and all. I remember Fairhurst picking me up from Sydney Close. I love the name Sydney. If I ever get pregnant I’d call the baby that. I was meant to be in English with Miss Moore. He Slung a clear teeny bag on the dashboard, I saw these tiny white pills with the picture of an apple on the sides…"
"…I decided to take the bull by the horn, which other girl in Brackenhoe had ever lost her virginity on Ecstasy? I had a few nerves even though the pill was unreal, then I just slid my legs open."
Speeches for Men
Invincible by Torben Betts
The character: Alan
Working class man. Affable and chatty. He talks a lot about how people tell him he talks a lot.
The speech: Pages 26 to 27
"Sorry, she’s always telling me. ‘Alan, you talk too much’. She’s always on at me like. She says ‘Alan, you know what your biggest problem is’ and she says ‘you talk too much’. So sorry if do. I mean, you’ll just have to say ‘Sorry pal, I don’t know if you know it, but you might just be talking a bit too much at the moment’ and then I’ll try and put a lid on it… See me mum, she had…"
"…Dawn. Dawn, please will you say something. Please will you speak because I never know what the bloody hell you’re thinking".
Valentine: The Quintessential Vampire by Peter Brammer
The character: Valentine
A 200 year old vampire who runs a flower shop has managed to find a girlfriend. But fearing for their future he has decided the best option is to break up. So he explains it to her…. whilst she is asleep.
The speech: Pages 48 to 49
"Hayley? Hayley?… You asleep Hayley?... are you… you sleeping? Hayley? Ok. Right then, right… right then. Ok. Ok Hayley… I know you’re asleep, but I also know you’re a light sleeper, I have the bruises on my shins to prove it. So I’m assuming what I’m about to say will fall into your subconscious and, therefore, you’ll remember it. Hayley, I can’t see you any more…"
"…I’m a bad person. Not intentionally, it’s kind of hereditary. It’s not you, it’s… my family bloodline. I want to be with you and everything that goes with it, but I can’t."
When is a Clock by Matthew Freeman
The character: Alex
A young catholic schoolboy. Wildly profane, talking about lessons from a nun, about breasts and St George.
The speech: Pages 13 to 14
"Jesus Christ. Jesus motherfucking Christ. One of the nuns today went off. She just went insane, fucking shit. She went insane. Ok, ok, ok so we’re just standing outside and Sister Ashkelon comes out and tells us that saint George had milk for blood. Ok, yes, good, we’re listening because we have no choice, right?..."
"…this is the story she tells us. This story about tits and stabbing stuff. Here’s the obvious question. Should I just whip it out for this nun? Because she obviously wants to get nailed."
Not Quite Jerusalem by Paul Kember
The character: Mike
An intelligent and educated young man. He’s been working on a kibbutz and tries to explain an almost inexplicable frustration with England, with life and with society.
The speech: Pages 51 to 52
"All I’m talking about is this. Democracy. Having a say in your own affairs. Taking decisions about your own lives. You discuss everything which affects you. Things don’t get done here unless they’re good for you, it’s not like that in England. A least you’re not just on the receiving end all the time. The decisions aren’t taken by another group of people whose way of life is different from yours. That’s what it’s like for us. They think we’re the same as them only less so. They think we have the same wants, the same needs but that ours are just a little less acute than their own…"
"…I think it’s time we ditched that idea. I think it’s time we started thinking for ourselves.".
Land of Our Fathers by Chris Urch
The character: Mostyn
A 17 year old lad from a Welsh village. He’s working in a mine to get to know his Dad who has never been a part of his family. But he stands his ground and says he’s ok without him; that he doesn’t need him.
The speech: Pages 115 to 116
"Shut up. I’m speaking now… When I was five, I thought you were part of the secret service. I know it sounds daft but that’s what mam told me and I believed her. She said you were my dad but if anyone found out it would put us all in jeopardy so I told no one. I believed her for years, what a twat ay?..."
"…I don’t want anything from you. There’s nothing you could possibly give me that I don’t already have. I don’t want us to be friends, or family, even colleagues. Tom, I’m happy to carry on being ghosts."
Everyday Maps for Everyday Use by Tom Morton-Smith
The character: Richard
A 52 year old man. He fell out with his son and is trying desperately hard not to lose him. He is trying to explain this to someone who has some photos that could ruin any chance of a reconciliation and plead for them to be deleted.
The speech: Pages 72 to 73
"Could you just…please. My relationship with my son is fragile. I don’t want… any reconciliation… any move on my part to be drowned out by his cries of ‘hypocrite, hypocrite.’ I called him a pervert… my son… just before he left. He’s gay. He left some websites open… on my computer… images… links… forums… gay chat. I think he wanted me to find them… easier that talking about… I called him a pervert… "
"...I’m a fifty two year old man looking for a woman between the ages of thirty five and fifty within a ten mile radius of my postcode (pause). I just want to tell my son that I love him… without any of… anything else…. overshadowing."
When Did You Last See My Mother? by Christopher Hampton
The character: Ian
American, late teens, maybe early twenties. He’s frustrated with a pedantic job where he only looks forwards to tea breaks then goes home to a monotonous life where he doesn’t even have tea breaks to look forward to. This time though he feels better, he achieved something.
The speech: Pages 41 to 42
"I’m sick of it. I’m there… clamped all day. And then in the evening I come home to this. From monotony to loneliness. Let me tell you about yesterday. Yesterday was an ordinary lousy day and yet somehow it was lived with a certain intensity. All day I worked thinking about the next tea-break, the next rest-period and I spent the time trying to work out how much I’d earn tying up one particular parcel. Maybe, if the foreman wasn’t looking, I could slow up and earn one and four just for wrapping up one small parcel. And that was my pleasure…" "
"…I smashed them against the wall and I was satisfied. I’d done something different and achieved something. I was… satisfied. So I went to bed."
Disappeared by Phyllis Nagy
The character: Jack
An American bartender. A girl from his bar disappeared after meeting a creepy guy there. He recounts the meeting though his ‘re-remembering’ may not be the most accurate.
The speech: Pages 10 to 11
"So there we was, the perp’ and me. Eyeball to eyeball. Me and the perpetrator of the aforementioned crime. And I told Sarah, I said, look woman, this guy ain’t kosher. He’s like some weirdo in a waiters outfit trying to pass himself off as a representative of the legal profession. But she was real big on him…"
"…women don’t listen. Women don’t wait. Sarah and me, we go way back, I’m all broke up but whattaya gonna do? Life proceeds."
Valued Friends by Stephen Jeffries
The character: Howard
Early 30’s and a writer. However he’s found himself doing lots of manual work in the garden in an effort to save some money. He’s desperate for it to just stop so he doesn’t have to do any more physical labour.
The speech: Pages 35 to 36
"I don’t think I can take it anymore. Let’s do the flat up ourselves, let’s save some money. Ok, I’ll do that, I’m on the bus. Why pay a load of cowboys ten grand to excavate out half of the garden when we can do it ourselves for five hundred quid?..."
"…I just want to be in a quiet room surrounded by books, writing. Yesterday I took the top off a bottle of tippex to remind me of the smell. It was beautiful."