News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 3rd June 2011

The National Theatre has announced new productions in its autumn season. In the Olivier, Arnold Wesker's The Kitchen, set among the immigrant workforce backstage at a West End restaurant in the 1950s, with Tom Brooke, directed by Bijan Sheibani, opening on 7th September; Bach's St Matthew Passion, translated and edited by Paul Goodwin, with the Southbank Sinfonia, directed by Jonathan Miller, opening on 19th September; and the premiere of Mike Bartlett's 13, in which people all over contemporary London having woken from an identical terrifying dream, seek a saviour, directed by Thea Sharrock, opening on 25th October. In the Lyttelton, The Veil, written and directed by Conor McPherson, about a defrocked priest holding a seance in a haunted house in rural Ireland in 1822, with Jim Norton, opening on 4th October; Daniel Kitson's Edinburgh Fringe hit It's Always Right Now, Until It's Later, on the theme of being trapped between the past and the future, from 7th October; and an ensemble of actors reading extracts from the King James Bible, directed by Nicholas Hytner, James Dacre and Polly Findlay, from 8th October. In the Cottesloe, Mike Leigh's as yet untitled new play, with Lesley Manville and Ruby Bentall are Sam Kelly, Marion Bailey, David Horovitch and Wendy Nottingham, opening on 21st September.

Future productions at the Trafalgar Studios 2 will include the current Hampstead Theatre Studio production of Morgan Lloyd Malcolm's Belongings, following a woman's quest for identity as she returns to the battleground of a family kitchen after serving in Afghanistan, with Ian Bailey, Kirsty Bushell, Calum Callaghan and Joanna Horton, directed by Maria Aberg, opening on 21st June; and the musical Betwixt!, about New York flatmates who are catapulted into a strange enchanted world, written and directed by Ian MacFarlane, with Steven Webb, Ashleigh Gray and Benedict Salter, choreographed by Grace Harrington, opening on 28th July.

An impact study commissioned by umbrella body Festivals Edinburgh reveals that Edinburgh's 12 major festivals provided a financial benefit to the city of 245m in 2010, up 75m from a similar study in 2004. The study, by economic and social impact researchers BOP Consulting, used 15,000 survey responses taken over a 12 month period to describe and quantify the effect of the festivals on locals, visitors, young people, artists, the economy and the environment. By far the largest of the festivals considered was the Edinburgh Fringe, which had an output valued at 141m to the city and created more than 3,000 additional jobs. What the report provides is a complete justification of the investment that public bodies have made in the festivals to date. It quite clearly shows the benefit and the impact of that investment.

The National Theatre Wales's second season will include Tim Price's The Radicalisation Of Bradley Manning, about the American soldier who passed on state secrets to Wikileaks, directed by John McGrath; Anton Chekhov's A Provincial Life, adapted and directed by Peter Gill; Just Like Little Dogs, inspired by Dylan Thomas's story, created with Frantic Assembly; a new musical The Village Social, by Dafydd James and Ben Lewis; Dark Philosophers, adapted by Carl Grose from the works of Gwyn Thomas, directed by Paul Hunter, created with Told by an Idiot, at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe; plus Coriolanus, from William Shakespeare and Bertolt Brecht, directed by Mike Pearson and Mike Brookes; and Kaite O'Reilly's In Water I'm Weightless, inspired by the lives of disabled and deaf people, directed by John McGrath, with choreography by Nigel Charnock, staged as part of the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad.

New York TheatreNet: Free performances of Theatre For One - a 4ft by 8ft portable theatre with 1 performer playing to 1 audience member - will play to anyone on a first come, first served basis from 7th to 12th June in Times Square. The cast will include Steve Cuiffo, Birgit Huppuch, Marin Ireland, Tasha Lawrence and Dallas Roberts. The artists, of different disciplines, including theatre, poetry and magic, will perform 5 to 10 minute pieces in rotation. The works, all specifically created for the venue, are by playwrights Zayd Dorn, Stephanie Fleischman, Jacquelyn Reingold, Emily Schwend and Beau Willimon. Some surprise musical guests may be interspersed between performances. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

On The Casting Couch: Josefina Gabrielle, Gray O'Brien, Tessa Peake-Jones, and Daniel Weyman will feature in Frank Strausser's Park Avenue Cat, opening at the Arts Theatre on 30th June.

Forthcoming productions at the Landor Theatre in Clapham will include the musicals John & Jen, book by Tom Greenwald, music by Andrew Lippa, lyrics by Andrew Lippa and Tom Greenwald, the story of one woman's journey through life, as both a sister and a mother, with Katie Brayben and Adam Rhys-Davies, directed by Susan Raasay, opening 14th June, a co-production with Bottle of Red Productions; Carousel, music by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, telling the doomed love story of a naive mill worker and a glamorous but unreliable roustabout, with Georgia Bevis, Ebony Buckle, Chelsea Corfield, Lee Dillon-Stuart, John Fleming, Sean-Paul Jenkinson, Iddon Jones, Sue Kennett, Leonie Macaslin, Ross MacLeod, Charlotte Moore, Jill Patterson, Chloe Jane and Richard Vorster, directed by Jeremy Lloyd Thomas, opening on 8th July, a co-production with Almost-normal; Gypsy, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the story of the quintessential child star mother, and her daughter who became Gypsy Rose Lee, directed by Andrew Keates, from 2nd August; and Ragtime, book by Terence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, based on EL Doctorow's epic novel, tracing the cultural, political and social changes in America at the beginning of the 20th century, through the stories of three families, directed by Robert McWhir, opening on 6th September, a co-production with John W Carter and Jason Ferguson.

Theatre6 and MokitaGrit Productions will stage double bill of radio plays by David Mamet, Mr Happiness, performed by David Burt as a radio agony uncle, and The Water Engine, about the pressures on a man who invents the ultimate engine that runs on water, with Mensah Bediako, Katharine Bennett-Fox, David Burt, Lee Drage, Will Harrison-Wallace, James Hillier, Timothy Knightley, Anna Maguire, Lucy Roslyn, Jamie Treacher and Lawrence Werber, both plays directed by Kate McGregor, opening in The Screening Room at the Old Vic Tunnels, underneath Waterloo Station, on 14th June.