News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 3rd August 2012

The National Theatre will stage the premiere of Lucy Prebble's The Effect, set in a clinic conducting the trial of a new drug, with Billie Piper, Jonjo O'Neill, Tom Goodman Hill and Anastasia Hille, directed by Rupert Goold, opening in November.

Delegates at The Global Business Summit on Creative Content were reminded that theatre attracts the same number of visitors each year as football matches in the entire Premiership and Football League combined; that the single highest grossing piece of entertainment is not a film, but the musical The Phantom Of The Opera, which has taken over $5bn at box offices worldwide; and that the relatively small area of the West End in London, where the heart of the theatre world still resides, has an overall economic impact estimated to be in excess of 2.5bn annually.

Meanwhile, according to the World Cities Culture Report 2012, London is one of the highest ranking cities for outputs of theatre, dance and music performances. The survey, which compares 12 international destinations, finds that London comes 2nd after New York for both the number of theatre and dance performances per year. London puts on nearly 32,500 theatre shows, while New York has just over 43,000, and London hosts just under 3,000 annual dance performances, while New York has over 6,000. London comes 3rd for the number of music performances per year with just over 17,000, after Paris with around 33,000, and New York with around 22,000.

Cirque du Soleil will perform Kooza, combining acrobatic performances with the art of clowning, written and directed by David Shiner, at the Royal Albert Hall from 5th to 27th January

New York TheatreNet: David West Read's The Performers, a comedy set at the Adult Film Awards in Las Vegas, where an ex and a current porn star review their lives, with Henry Winkler, Cheyenne Jackson, Daniel Breaker, Ari Graynor and Jenni Barber, directed by Evan Cabnet, will open at the Longacre Theatre on 14th November. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The autumn season at Liverpool Playhouse will include Ben Jonson's Jacobean comedy The Alchemist, in which three con artists set about trying to cheat, charm and scam their way to riches, directed by Robert Icke, opening on 18th September; Joe Ward Munrow's Held, the story of a family in which each member remembers events differently, directed by Lorne Campbell, from 8th November; and Jack And The Beanstalk, a rock'n'roll pantomime by Sarah A Nixon and Mark Chatterton, who also directs, with Adam Keast and Francis Tucker, from 30th November.

Kieran Lynn's An Incident At The Border, a comedy that looks at what happens when a country's boarder is redrawn and separates two lovers, with Tom Bennett, Florence Hall and Marc Pickering, directed by Bruce Guthrie, will transfer from the Finborough Theatre, in Earl's Court, to the Trafalgar Studios 2 from 20th August.

The autumn season at the at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry will include on the main Stage: 20th Century Boy, a biomusical about Marc Bolan, book by Peter Rowe and Gary Lloyd, with George Maguire, Donna Hines, Craig Storrod, Matthew Ashcroft, Tim Bonser, Steve Simmonds, Sophia Ragavelas, Derek Hagen, Lucy Sinclair, Anthony Topham and Patricia Villa, directed and choreographed by Gary Lloyd, opening on 18th September; and Sleeping Beauty, written, directed by and featuring Iain Lauchlan, from 28th November; plus on the B2 Stage: Geoff Thompson's Fragil, a one man performance charting a journey through traumatic abuse, self-discovery and ultimately redemption, directed by Nick Bagnall, opening on 11th September; William Inge's The Dark At The Top Of The Stairs, the story of a hard pressed family in 1920s Oklahoma, directed by Lisa Forrell, opening on 23rd October; and the return of Forbes Masson's Crackers, a musical about an assistant in a Christmas shop, opening on 11th December.

Soho Theatre will stage Finding Butterfly, a radical adaptation of Puccini's opera that recasts the story to focus on an American immigrant's rediscovery of his Japanese heritage, directed by Stephen Tiller, opening on 5th October.

Dress Circle, which describes itself as the 'longest-running showbusiness and musical theatre shop in the world', is to close on August 15th, after 33 years, owing to the combined effects of escalating rent for the premises and the change in the way that people are buying music. The company will continue to operate thought its website, which can be found via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Forthcoming productions at Theatre 503, in Battersea, will include Life For Beginners, by Alice Birch, Matt Hartley, Ben Ellis, Lizzie Nunnery and Rex Obano, exploring the magical and joyful moments in everyday lives, directed by Tim Roseman and Paul Robinson, opening on 7th September; Douglas Rintoul's Elegy, about the victims of homophobic murders that take place in Iraq, opening on 12th October, a co-production with Transport/a summerday; and Joe Hammond's Where The Mangrove Grows, the tale of a lost boy in care's transformation, opening on 8th October, a co-production with Number Nine Theatre.

Northern Ballet's 2012/2013 season will comprise new productions of Ondine, opening at the Grand Theatre in Leeds on 8th September, and The Great Gatsby, based on the novel by F Scott Fitzgerald, opening at the Grand Theatre in Leeds on 2nd March, plus existing productions of Madame Butterfly, Beauty And The Beast and The Nutcracker, all choreographed by David Nixon, together with Ugly Duckling, a new ballet for children based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairytale, choreographed by Northern Ballet dancers Dreda Blow and Sebastian Loe.

Forthcoming productions at The Yard Theatre, in Hackney Wick, will include Carl Heap's A Progress, based on John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress, from 15th August, a Beggarsbelief Theatre Company production; and Rose Lewenstein and Russell Bender's Game Of Life, about the search for meaning in the unexplainable, inspired by the mathematical phenomenon of Emergence, from 5th September.

Antic Disposition will stage a new version of Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, book, lyrics and direction by Ben Horslen and John Risebero, music by Christopher Peake, in the 16th century Middle Temple Hall, which will be decorated with holly boughs and filled with the aromas of mulled wine, roasted chestnuts, mince pies and other festive fayre, all of which will be available to help put the audience in the Yuletide spirit, from 22nd to 30th December.