News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th November 2005

The National Theatre of Scotland has announced its first season, starting on 25th February with 9 free, site specific pieces inspired by the theme of Home, performed simultaneously in streets, schools and other non theatrical venues across Scotland. The company does not have its own building, but will work in association with existing theatres. The formal season will include: The Wolves In The Walls, based on the book by graphic novelist Neil Gaiman, directed Vicky Featherstone and Julian Crouch, co-produced with Improbable Theatre; Elizabeth Gordon Quinn, by Chris Hannan, directed by John Tiffany; The Wonderful World Of Dissocia, written and directed by Anthony Neilson, with the Tron, Glasgow and Drum Theatre, Plymouth; Snuff, written and directed by Davey Anderson, with Arches Theatre Company; Black Watch, by Gregory Burke, directed by John Tiffany; a new play written and directed by Anthony Neilson, with the Edinburgh International Festival; Tutti Frutti, by John Byrne, directed by Tony Cownie, with His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen; Mancub, by Douglas Maxwell, directed by Matthew Lenton, with Vanishing Point; and AALST, by Pol Heyvaert, with Tramway, Glasgow and Victoria of Belgium.

Janie Dee will join David Soul in a revival of John Doyle's Watermill Theatre Newbury production of the musical Mack And Mabel, with book by Michael Stewart, and music and lyrics by Jerry Herman, which will open a prospective pre West End tour at the Theatre Royal Bath on 24th January. Set in Hollywood at the peak of the silent movie era in the 1920s, it charts the relationship of director Mack Sennett and his star, the comedienne Mabel Normand.

Bonhams is holding a sale of film, television and rock'n'roll memorabilia at its Knightsbridge saleroom in Montpelier Street SW7, from 10am on 16th November. Nearly 800 lots in the sale include original film posters such as Breakfast At Tiffany's,Modern Times and King Kong; signed photographs of Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, Audrey Hepburn, Elvis Presley, the Rolling Stones, and the Beatles; memorabilia relating to the life and career of Laurence Olivier; James Bond film storyboards, scripts, props and costumes; Star Wars memorabilia - including Yoda's hand; Buddy Holly's electric guitar and amplifier; Elton John's Don't Shoot Me I'm Only The Piano Player gold disc; Tom Baker's Dr Who scarf - and a full size darlek. Further information can be found on the Bonhams web site via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Kate Atkinson, Rebecca Hobbs, Mark Little, Andrea McEwan, Craig Parker, Ben Steel and Julianne White are starring in the premiere of the comedy Serial Killers, by James Griffin, directed by David Freeman, at Derby Playhouse until 26th November. The show tells the backstage story of an Australian television soap opera, where, as the plot becomes ever more ridiculous to keep the ratings up, the lives of the writers and actors provide as much scandal and entertainment as their characters.

The James Menzies-Kitchin Memorial Trust is inviting applications for the 2006 Young Theatre Director's Award. The Trust was formed in 1996 with the aim of assisting young untried directors. A Bursary of 12,000 is awarded, together with help and support, and a space at the Battersea Arts Centre for three weeks next July/August to enable the recipient to direct a classic text of their choice. Applicants must be British theatre professionals under the age of 30 who have undergone professional performing arts training, but have directed no more than two professional productions. The deadline for applications is 9th January. Further information can be found on the JMK Trust web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Saucy Jack And The Space Vixens, the spoof sci-fi musical, with book by Charlotte Mann, music by Jonathan Croose and Robin Forrest, and lyrics by Charlotte Mann and Michael Fidler, will open at The Venue off Leicester Square on 6th December. The company comprises Faye Tozer, Scott Baker, Mark Carroll, Paul Christopher, Carl Mullaney, Joel Karie, Carmen Cusack, Melitsa Nicola and Gemma Zirfas. It will directed be Michael Fidler, with choreography by Bruno Tonioli, and the producer is TWF Theatrical Productions.

The Theatre Royal Haymarket's Masterclass season for young people who have an interest in theatre, or are keen to pursue a career in the arts, continues through November and December, featuring the following masters of their arts: actresses Jane Krakowski, Imelda Staunton and Sophie Okonedo. Sessions begin at 2.30pm and last around two hours. Events are open to people aged between 17 and 30 and mature students, and are free of charge - but there is a refundable deposit required confirming the booking. Those aged over 30 who would like to attend can subscribe to a Friends scheme. TheatreCraft 2005, a day long careers event will take place on 10th November, with workshops, demonstrations, talks and displays to enable young people to find out about non-performing careers in theatre. Further information and online booking can be found on the Theatre Royal Haymarket web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Juliet Stevenson will star in Chekhov's The Seagull, directed by Katie Mitchell, at the National Theatre next year; and that Mike Leigh's Two Thousand Years will return to the National Theatre in March with Tracy-Ann Oberman joining the cast. The Rumour Machine grinds on.

And Finally . . . In Bah Humbug! style, the Christmas show at Battersea Arts Centre, from 1st December to 25th January, will be Cartoon de Salvo's The Ratcatcher Of Hamelin. Billed as 'an antidote to sickly seasonal fare', it's The Pied Piper Of Hamelin - but not as we know him - as he is now a disgruntled stranger who takes his revenge on a town that betrays him. The company bringing a Holocaust edge to Christmas comprises Niall Ashdown, Neil Haigh, Dennis Herdman, Brian Logan, Catherine Marmier, Hannah Marshall, Jules Melvin, David Price, Sophie Russell and John Surman, directed by Alex Murdoch.