News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 3rd December 2009

Next year's season at Shakespeare's Globe, titled Kings And Rogues, will again run from Shakespeare's birthday, 23rd April. It will comprise: Macbeth, opening on 29th April; Henry VIII, opening on 24th May; Henry IV Parts I and II, directed by Dominic Dromgoole, opening on 14th July; and a revival of the 2008 production of The Merry Wives Of Windsor, directed by Christopher Luscombe, opening on 19th August; plus the premieres of Howard Brenton's Anne Boleyn, which explores her marriage to Henry VIII from Anne's point of view, directed by John Dove, opening on 28th July; and Nell Leyshon's Bedlam, a fictional portrayal of a London hospital for the insane, based on the Bethlem Royal Hospital, opening on 9th September. The separate touring company, performing pared down productions of The Comedy Of Errors, directed by Rebecca Gatward, and A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Raz Shaw, outdoors across the country, will continue for a third year. The 2009 season attracted over 345,000 theatregoers, averaging 87% capacity, with over 40% of them paying 5 for a standing groundling ticket. Public booking for the 2010 season will open on 15th February.

The Society Of London Theatre will stage its 8th Get Into London Theatre initiative, designed to encourage new and young theatregoers to experience the wealth of theatrical fare to be found all over London. Discounted tickets will be available for some 40 shows, including opera, ballet and dance, in venues, encompassing West End, fringe and suburban theatres. Tickets will cost from 10 to 35 (according to the venue) for selected performances from 1st January to 12th February. Booking will open on 8th December. In addition, there will be accompanying events including backstage tours, workshops and classes. Restaurants are taking part with accompanying deals, and there are also hotels offering special mini-breaks. Further information will be available soon on the SOLT web site, via the link opposite below.

The spring season at Dundee Repertory Theatre will include Peter Shaffer's Equus, a series of sessions in which a psychiatrist tries to discover why a stable boy blinded six horses, directed by Jemima Levick, from 27th February; Mike Kenny's The Elves And The Shoemakers, adapted from the Brothers Grimm fairy tale, directed by Jemima Levick, from 29th March; and the musical Sweeney Todd, book by Hugh Wheeler, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the story of the demon barber of Fleet Street, directed by James Brining, from 19th May.

The Bush Theatre has launched a play sharing and publishing website, BushGreen, with the aim of providing new playwrights with an opportunity to bring their work to a wider public. Its mission statement is 'to provide playwrights, in the early stages of their careers, with the opportunity to publish their plays online and give practitioners access to plays, both to read and produce'. The site is free to join, although there is a charge to download plays, which will be split between the playwrights and the cost of the maintenance of the web site. The BushGreen site can be found via the link from Writing, Writers & Plays in the Links section of TheatreNet.

New York TheatreNet: The Goodman Theatre Chicago production of the musical Million Dollar Quartet, inspired by the 1956 recording session that brought together Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins and Elvis Presley in the Sun Records studio in Memphis, book by Colin Escott and Floyd Mutrux, featuring the singers' hit songs, directed by Eric Schaeffer, will transfer to Broadway, opening at the Nederlander Theatre in April. Casting has yet to be confirmed, but the current Chicago cast features Lance Guest, Levi Kreis, Rob Lyons, Eddie Glendening, Brian McCaskill and Kelly Lamont.

Raymond Gubbay's next arena opera season will be even more spectacular, moving to the O2 Arena, from 21st to 23rd May. It will feature the return of Bizet's Carmen, in a translation by Amanda Holden, with a cast of over 150, headed by Christina Nassif and John Hudson, directed by David Freeman, with choreography by Robert North.

Talking Theatre: Interviews With Theatre People by Richard Eyre, recently published by Nick Hern Books, comprises a series of engagingly candid interviews offering rare insights 'behind the scenes'. Shortly after he left the directorship of the National Theatre, Richard Eyre embarked on a series of interviews with people who had played a significant part in making and influencing the theatre of the second half of the 20th century. Forty of these interviews, threaded through with Eyre's own commentary, cover the topics: Shakespeare; Brecht and Beckett; Ireland and America; the British theatre before and after 1956; and the future. Among the interviewees are John Gielgud, Peter Brook, Peter Hall, Ian McKellen, Judi Dench, Trevor Nunn, Vanessa Redgrave, Stephen Sondheim, Arthur Laurents, Arthur Miller, Alan Bennett, Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard, David Hare, Jocelyn Herbert, William Gaskill, Arnold Wesker, Christopher Hampton, Peter Shaffer, Alan Ayckbourn, John Bury, Cameron Mackintosh and Robert Lepage. What emerges is a fascinating account of how theatre is made by the very people who made it. With unrivalled access, Eyre allows readers to eavesdrop on the stories behind many of the most important productions and performances in the theatre of recent times.

The next production by Northern Broadsides, famous for its 'eh bah gum' versions of the classics, will be Euripides's Medea, the story of a woman who avenges her husband's betrayal by killing their children, in a new version by Tom Paulin, with Nina Kristofferson, Barrie Rutter, Kulvinder Ghir, Cleo Sylvestre, Fine Time Fontayne, Michelle Hardwick, Barbara Hockaday and Heather Phoenix, directed by Barrie Rutter, opening a national tour at Oxford Playhouse on 2nd February.

The spring season at the Curve in Leicester will include Martin McDonagh's The Lieutenant Of Inishmore, a bloody black farce in the Celtic urban violence tradition, about a cat loving IRA dissident, directed by Paul Kerryson, from 5th February; and Shelagh Stephenson's The Long Road, about a family struggling to find meaning after their teenage son is stabbed to death, directed by Adel Al-Salloum, from 12th March.