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News and Events

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 17th April 2015

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company season at the Garrick Theatre will comprise Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, with Judi Dench and Branagh, playing in repertoire with Terence Rattigan's Harlequinade, a backstage comedy about a theatre company producing The Winter's Tale and Romeo And Juliet, with Branagh, both co-directed by Branagh and Rob Ashford, opening 7th November; Francis Veber's farce The Painkiller, adapted and directed by Sean Foley, with Rob Brydon and Branagh, opening on 17th March; Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet, with Lily James and Richard Madden, directed by Branagh, opening on 25th May; and John Osborne's The Entertainer, with Branagh as the struggling music hall comedian in 1950s Britain, directed by Rob Ashford, opening on 30th August.

The Royal Opera's 2015/2016 season will include the premieres of Donnacha Dennehy's The Last Hotel, libretto by Enda Walsh, about life, death, duty and guilt; and Georg Friedrich Haas's Morgen und Abend, libretto by Jon Fossee from his novel about the life of a fisherman, directed by Graham Vick; plus Philip Venables's 4.48 Psychosis, adapted from Sarah Kane's play about suicide at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith; and new productions of Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, directed by Katie Mitchell; Gluck's Orphee et Eurydice, directed by John Fulljames, co-directed and choreographed by Hofesh Shechter; Mascagni's Cavalleria rusticana / Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, directed by Damiano Michieletto; Chabrier's L'Etoile, directed by Mariame Clement; Musorgsky's Boris Godunov directed by Richard Jones; Enescu's Oedipe directed by Alex Olle; and Vedi's Il trovatore directed by David Bosch.

The Royal Ballet's 2015/2016 season will include the premieres of Frankenstein by Liam Scarlett, to a score by Lowell Liebermann; Carmen by Carlos Acosta; and one act ballets by Wayne McGregor and Christopher Wheeldon.

The autumn season at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse at Shakespeare's Globe will include the premiere of Jessica Swale's Thomas Tallis, a play with music about the life and work of the English composer, directed by Adele Thomas, from 22nd October; Luigi Rossi's opera Orpehus, directed by Keith Warner, with choreography by Karl Schreiner, from 23rd October; Derek Walcott's adaptation of his poem Omeros, relocating Achille, Hector and Helen to a St Lucian fishing village, directed by Bill Buckhurst, from 26th October; and the premiere of Simon Armitage's The Odyssey: Missing Presumed Dead, a modern retelling of Homer's epic poem, directed by Nick Bagnall, from 3rd November.

On The Casting Couch: Richard Fleeshman, Summer Strallen, Desmond Barrit, Isla Blair, Nicholas Farrell, Sally Ann Triplett and Richard Dempsey will head the cast of the George and Ira Gershwin musical A Damsel In Distress, opening at Chichester Festival Theatre on 30th May; and John Simm, Amanda Drew and Gawn Grainger will head the cast of Patrick Marber's Three Days In The Country, opening at the National Theatre on 14th July.

Shakespeare's Globe will celebrate Shakespeare's birthday with a Free Family Open Day on 19th April from noon to 5pm, with traditional birthday party activities given a Hamlet twist, such as an Elsinore bouncy castle, the grave diggers' ball pit, and a skull coconut shy. There will also be the traditional Sonnet Walks, during which sonneteers entertain walkers along routes to Bankside starting from the Banqueting House in Whitehall or St Leonard's Church in Shoreditch, leaving every 15 minutes from 10am to 12.45pm.

The Royal Shakespeare Company will celebrate Shakespeare's birthday with a festival on 25th and 26th April from 11.30am to 6pm. This will include demonstrations and workshops, music and storytelling, free family activities and the Sonnets From The Tower, with RSC actors reciting sonnets on the new theatre viewing platform. Other events will include the annual procession and street pageant from Shakespeare's Birthplace to his grave at the Holy Trinity Church at 10.30am on 25th.


Opening This Week

Golem - Trafalgar Studios 1
The recent Young Vic production combining animation, live music and performance to bring to life a dark and fantastical story about a man and his machines, written and directed by Suzanne Andrade.
Light Shining In Buckinghamshire - National Lyttelton
The premiere of Caryl Churchill’s play set in the aftermath of the English Civil War, with Trystan Gravelle, Joshua James and Ashley McGuire, directed by Lyndsey Turner.
The Vote - Donmar Warehouse
A host of actors make guest appearances in the premiere of James Graham’s play set in a fictional polling station during the final 90 minutes of Election Day 2015, directed by Josie Rourke.


First Nights

22nd - Golem - Trafalgar Studios 1
23rd - Light Shining In Buckinghamshire - National Lyttelton
24th - The Vote - Donmar Warehouse
27th - A Mad World My Masters - Barbican Theatre
27th - Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare’s Globe
27th - American Buffalo - Wyndham’s
29th - Everyman - National Olivier
30th - The Merchant Of Venice - Shakespeare’s Globe
1st - Beyond Caring - National Temporary
5th - The Audience - Apollo
11th - Hay Fever - Duke of York’s
11th - Beyond Bollywood - London Palladium
13th - Death Of A Salesman - Noel Coward
14th - High Society - Old Vic
16th - Beyond Caring - National Temporary


18th - The Broken Heart - Wanamaker
18th - Dido, Queen Of Carthage - Wanamaker
18th - Shakespeare In Love - Noel Coward
25th - The Nether - Duke of York’s
25th - Cats - London Palladium
2nd - Harvey - Haymarket
5th - Behind The Beautiful Forevers - National Olivier
7th - The Vote - Donmar Warehouse
8th - Romeo And Juliet - Shakespeare’s Globe
9th - A Mad World My Masters - Barbican Theatre