News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 4th November 2011

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the current Chichester Festival Theatre production of the musical Sweeney Todd, book by Hugh Wheeler, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the Victorian melodrama about the demon barber of Fleet Street, with Michael Ball, Imelda Staunton, Lucy May Barker, Peter Polycarpou, John Bowe, Luke Brady, Robert Burt and James McConville, directed by Jonathan Kent, with choreography by Denni Sayers, will transfer to the Adelphi Theatre from 10th March.

The spring season at the Donmar Warehouse will comprise George Farquhar's The Recruiting Officer, the Restoration comedy of sex, money and the military, opening on 14th February; Robert Holman's Making Noise Quietly, a triptych of chance encounters between strangers, each overshadowed by a war, directed by Peter Gill, opening on 23rd April; and Friedrich Durrenmatt's The Physicists, which examines questions of scientific ethics and mankind's ability to handle its intellectual responsibilities, in a new version by Jack Thorne, directed by Josie Rourke, opening on 7th June.

The recent Broadway production of Terrence McNally's Master Class, inspired by the classes opera singer Maria Callas gave at the Juilliard School performing arts conservatory in New York in the 1970s, with Tyne Daly, directed Stephen Wadsworth, will transfer to the Vaudeville Theatre for a limited season opening on 7th February.

The National Theatre of Scotland's spring season will include Appointment With The Wicker Man, a musical adapted from Anthony Shaffer's screenplay for The Wicker Man and David Pinner's novel Ritual, by Greg Hemphil and Donald McLeary, with Greg Hemphill and Johnny McKnight, directed by Vicky Featherstone; and Reasons To Dance, which will explore why people dance, their memories of dancing and traditions associated with going out dancing.

New York TheatreNet: The 2006 London production of the musical Evita, lyrics by Tim Rice, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, with Elena Roger reprising her performance in the title role, joined by Ricky Martin and Michael Cerveris, directed by Michael Grandage, choreographed by Rob Ashford, will open at the Marquis Theatre on 5th April. The show tells the life story of Eva Peron, the wife and 'power behind the throne' of the Argentinean dictator Juan Peron. The original score is augmented by the new song written for the film version, and given a more South American flavour than the original. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

West End Lots is a new auction created to benefit the theatrical charity Stage One, which is committed to developing and supporting the next generation of theatre producers through bursaries, apprentice schemes, workshops and practical support. The auction features all kinds of exclusive theatre related lots, such as the chance to meet the cast of Wicked, play a walk on part in Jerusalem, have a personal dance class with Johnny Castle from Dirty Dancing, and attend the press night and party of Long Day's Journey Into Night, with David Suchet, plus theatrical memorabilia, including playtexts and posters signed by luminaries including David Tennant, Catherine Tate, Vanessa Redgrave, James Earl Jones, Dominic West and Cameron Mackintosh. Bidding is now open, and runs until 24th February. Further information can be found on the Stage One web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

A Round-Heeled Woman, written and directed by Jane Prowse, based on Jane Juskak's book documenting her search for sexual partners at the age of 67, with Sharon Gless, will transfer from the Riverside Studios to the Aldwych Theatre for a limited run from 24th November, produced by Brian Eastman and Andrew Welch.

English National Ballet will perform 3 new works at Tate Britain in a season running from 27th February to 4th March, which will also include workshops and demonstrations. The programme will coincide with the Tate's Picasso and Modern British Art exhibition, and pays tribute to the legacy of Ballets Russes, for whom Picasso designed several ballets.

Barmy Britain, the latest Birmingham Stage Company Horrible Histories production, adapted from Terry Deary's series of children's books, by Deary, Neal Foster and Ciaran McConville, with Benedict Martin and Lauryn Redding, directed by Neal Foster, will play daytime performances at the Garrick Theatre from 14th February.

Arts Council England has announced plans to invest 440m funding in strategic programmes over the next 3 years, with 45m going to assist touring companies, 180m for capital projects, aimed at improving existing facilities, and 50m for the previously announced Catalyst Arts programme, to develop arts organisations' fundraising capacities and stimulate private giving. As well as these targeted programmes, ACE will also commission pieces of work from companies responding to its briefs. ACE is opening applications to a 7.5m Audience Focus Fund for proposals that have the potential to help funded organisations reach significantly more people and/or develop shared approaches to audience development between organisations that cut costs.

The Rose Theatre in Kingston will stage Hans Christian Andersen's The Snow Queen, adapted by Charles Way, with Sara Stewart, Bettrys Jones, Zac Fox, Deidra Morris, Michael Matus, Charlotte Roach, Sian Robins-Grace and Christian Edwards, directed by Natascha Metherell, from 2nd December.

The spring season at Sadler's Wells will include return visits by Akram Khan's Desh, Wayne McGregor's Far, the Ballet Boyz, the Pet Shop Boys and Javier De Frutos's The Most Incredible Thing, Russell Maliphant, Richard Alston Dance Company, Royal Ballet of Flanders, Nederlands Dans Theater, Danza Contemporanea de Cuba, Scottish Ballet and Rambert Dance Company.

At the 22nd Empty Space Peter Brook Awards, for the support of new writers and directors in small studio spaces that receive comparatively little or no public funding, the main prize for went to the Southwark Playhouse, for the way that it has developed and programmed its space under London Bridge station. The National Theatre Wales took the Dan Crawford Innovation Award for its inaugural season that included a 72 hour performance of The Passion in Port Talbot, the Faction theatre company received the Equity Ensemble Award, the Bike Shed Theatre in Exeter received the Mark Marvin Rent Subsidy Award to enable them to produce new work, and Nicholas Kent was presented with a Special Achievement award in recognition of his 27 year tenure at the Tricycle Theatre.