Playhouse Creatures

March 17 – April 8, 2017

CoHo Productions with Brenan Dwyer and McKenna Twedt present

Playhouse Creatures

by April De Angelis

Directed by Alana Byington

Featuring Dainichia Noreault, Brenan Dwyer and McKenna Twedt



Playhouse Creatures


Playhouse Creatures exposes actresses backstage, shamelessly revealing the pioneering actresses of Restoration England’s theatres. An all-female cast, crew and co-production team present this play by April De Angelis, uncovering how women struggle to be and not to be represented on the stage, as well as how they work, endure and thrive behind the scenes.

In 1669, theatres in England re-opened after Puritanical shut-down. Daring to tread the boards, Nell Gywn and other leading Restoration actresses endured poverty, violence, harassment and social ostracism while under constant pressure to produce new and titillating entertainment.

2016 has been called “the year of women in theatre” – with movements to advance equity in theatre production, casting, staffing, pay and opportunity. Yet for today’s actresses, making a living can be a constant hustle between freelancing, teaching, day-jobbing, seeking child-care or relying on others for financial stability in the creative pursuit of “this thing one gives one’s life blood for.”


“With delicious absurd extracts from the heroic repertory and frantic dressing room scenes, the prevailing tone is comic but you are not allowed to forget the gutter waiting to reclaim these glittering figures.”

– Independent

“Flesh and blood heroines…move and inspire…more female role models stamped firmly on your heart.”

– Time Out

“An immense talent and witty sensitive dialogue…Thoroughly entertaining.”

– Tribune

“For over 30 years, fuelled by feminism and her own experiences, De Angelis has reclaimed the stage as a place where female experience can be explored and celebrated. Although she admits that it’s sometimes been easier to be a feminist in her writing than it is in everyday life.”

-The Guardian


Playhouse Creatures has enjoyed multiple productions throughout the U.K. and United States, and this will be the first in Portland. It premiered in October 1993 at the Haymarket Theatre in England produced by the Sphinx Theatre Company. A revised commission of the play was produced in 1997 at the Old Vic in London where the playwright expanded the script to add four new characters and two more actors.


April De Angelis’s plays include Jumpy (Royal Court and West End), Wild East (Royal Court), A Laughing Matter (Out of Joint/NT/tour), The Warwickshire Testimony (RSC), The Positive Hour (Out of Joint/Hampstead/Old Vic; Sphinx), Headstrong (NT Shell Connections), Playhouse Creatures (Sphinx Theatre Company), Hush (Royal Court), Soft Vengeance (Graeae Theatre Company), Amongst Friends (Hampstead), The Life and Times of Fanny Hill (adapted from the James Cleland novel),Ironmistress (ReSisters Theatre Company) andWuthering Heights (adapted from Emily Brontë’s novel for Birmingham Rep). Her work for BBC Radio includes Visitants, The Outlander, which won the Writers’ Guild Award 1992, and Cash Cows for the Woman’s Hour serial. For opera: Flight with composer Jonathan Dove (Glyndebourne), and the libretto for Silent Twins (Almeida).


Brenan Dwyer is an actor, writer, director and producer of stage and screen projects. A Portland native, she’s worked in numerous houses around town as an acting company member at Northwest Classical Theatre Company, and Oregon Children’s Theatre, Artist Repertory Theatre, Imago Theatre, Lakewood Theatre, Action/Adventure Theatre, Willamette Shakespeare and at CoHo in Enjoy.

With particular passion for work by and for women, Brenan is the creator of my web series Potty Talk, delivering three seasons of web-based sketch comedy from a grassroots foundation. She also wrote, directed, and produced No Man’s Land for Action/Adventure Theatre’s Pilot Season that over-sold every night, and was voted by the audience to return in 2016 for a full run.

McKenna Twedt is an actor and costume designer working in Portland and surrounding areas, and a graduate of Western Oregon University with Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting and Costume Design. She’s worked with local companies Theatre Vertigo, PHAME Academy, defunkt, Post5 Theatre, Third Rail Repertory, Tears of Joy, Lakewood Theatre, CoHo Productions and Northwest Classical Theatre. She is a former Third Rail Mentee, and former educator with Tears of Joy Theatre and Tigard High School Theatre Department.

Playhouse Creatures