News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th April 2007

The Royal Opera House has announced its 2007/2008 season. Royal Ballet highlights include new works by Wayne McGregor as part of A World Stage At Covent Garden; Christopher Wheeldon in a triple bill with Jerome Robbins's Afternoon Of A Faun and Frederick Ashton's A Month In The Country; and Kim Brandstrup in a triple bill with George Balanchine's Serenade and Frederick Ashton's Homage To The Queen; plus a new staging of George Balanchine's Jewels, made to music by Faure, Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. Revivals include a triple bill of Wayne McGregor's Chroma, and Kenneth Macmillan's Different Drummer and The Rite Of Spring; and Frederick Ashton's Les Patineurs and The Tales Of Beatrix Potter; plus La Bayadere, Romeo And Juliet, The Nutcracker, Sylvia and The Sleeping Beauty.

Royal Opera highlights include the world premiere of Harrison Birtwistle's The Minotaur, libretto by David Harsent, with John Tomlinson, directed by Stephen Langridge; new productions of Don Carlo, directed by Nicholas Hytner; and Salome, directed by David McVicar; and London premieres of The Rake's Progress, directed by Robert Lepage; Iphigenie en Tauride, directed by Robert Carsen; and L'elisir d'amore, directed by Laurent Pelly. Revivals include complete cycles of Der Ring des Nibelungen, directed by Keith Warner; Parsifal, directed by Klaus Michael Gruber; Eugene Onegin, directed by Steven Pimlott; Carmen, directed by Francesca Zambello; La Cenerentola, directed by Moshie Leiser and Patrice Caurier; Simon Boccanegra, directed by Ian Judge; and La traviata, directed by Richard Eyre. Further information can be found on the ROH web site, via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Kenneth Cranham and Rosamund Pike will star in Patrick Hamilton's Gaslight, a psychological thriller set in Victorian London, about a wealthy woman being manipulated by her husband in order to steal her fortune, directed by Peter Gill, opening at the Old Vic Theatre on 14th June

The Old Vic has also announced The Bridge Project, a three year initiative in which Sam Mendes will direct two classic plays each year, with a company of British and American actors, that will play at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York, the Old Vic in London, and at another international venue, initially the Piccolo Teatro in Milan. The project will begin in 2008, when Mendes will direct Hamlet and The Tempest, with a cast led by Stephen Dillane, opening at Brooklyn Academy of Music in January, which will transfer to the Old Vic in May. These productions will be followed in 2009 by The Winter's Tale and Chekov's The Cherry Orchard, with Simon Russell Beale.

The first Manchester International Festival, which will be entirely made up of new work, will run from 28th June to 15th July. It will include over 25 specially commissioned productions, performances and projects, with a strong emphasis on music. Among the highlights will be Monkey: Journey To The West, a 21st century circus opera based on an ancient Chinese legend, adapted and directed by Chen Shi-Zheng, with music composed by Damon Albarn, and visual concept, set design and costumes by Jamie Hewlett; The Ground Beneath Her Feet, Salman Rushdie's epic novel transformed into a concert piece for orchestra, film, singers and narrator, music by Victoria Borisova-Ollas and libretto by Edward Kemp, directed by directed by Mike Figgis; a stage adaptation of The Pianist, based on the memoirs of Wladyslaw Szpilman, the story of one man's time in the Warsaw Ghetto during the Nazi occupation, conceived and performed by Mikhail Rudy, with narration by Peter Guinness, directed by Neil Bartlett; and the Royal Exchange Theatre's Bruntwood Playwriting Competition winners, Ben Musgrave's Pretend You Have Big Buildings, in which two teenagers from very different backgrounds forge an unlikely friendship, directed by Jo Combes and Sarah Frankcom; and Duncan Macmillan's Monster, about the relationships between teachers and pupils, young and old, generation and generation, directed by Jacob Murray. Further information can be found on the MIF web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Stephen Waley-Cohen has acquired the New Ambassadors Theatre from the Ambassador Theatre Group, although he is denying that it is his intention in the immediate future to transfer The Mousetrap from the St Martin's Theatre next door, which he also owns, back to its original home. He will however, drop the 'New' prefix, added by ATG, and revert to its original name with the next production.

Stage One, by arrangement with The Society Of London Theatre, is holding another Workshop For New Producers from 14th to 16th June. This is an intensive course for anyone planning to produce or co-produce in theatre. The aim is to provide detailed information on how to set up a production at a regional theatre and bring it into the West End, for those who have not previously produced commercial plays, or have only limited experience, but possess a firm commitment to a career in theatre production. It will be conducted by leading theatre practitioners led by production doyenne Andrew Treagus. Sessions will include: acquiring rights, budgeting, co-producing, booking a tour, finding and contracting a theatre, marketing, publicity and press. The closing date for applications is 26th April. Further information and an application form can be found on the SO web site via link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

W Somerset Maugham's The Letter, with Anthony Andrews, Jenny Seagrove, Karen Ascoe, Jason Chan, Andrew Charleson, Sioned Jones, Andrew Joshi, Chris McCalphy, Peter Sandys-Clarke, Liz Sutherland, Jon David Yu and Jamie Zubairi, directed by Alan Strachan, which is currently touring, will open at Wyndham's Theatre on 1st May. When the wife of a Malaysian rubber planter is witnessed murdering a local playboy, she claims it was self defence, but a mysterious letter comes to light, casting doubt on her integrity. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

On The Casting Couch: Eamonn Walker will be joined by Tim McInnerny, Zoe Tapper and Lorraine Burroughs in Othello, opening at Shakespeare's Globe on 4th May.

West End Live, the event showcasing West End entertainment will return to Leicester Square on 23rd and 24th June, from 12noon until 6pm. Cast members from Dirty Dancing, The Lord Of The Rings and The Drowsy Chaperone will be among those performing on the central stage, plus a host of other entertainers, exhibits and activities taking place in marquees around the square.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Russian clown Slava Polunin will bring Slava's Snowshow, his wordless that show sees a group of clowns overcoming various physical obstacles, culminating in the coup de theatre of a blizzard, back to London later this year, following a two year run at Union Square Theatre in New York; and that following their rehearsed reading of William Nicholson's Shadowlands last December, Charles Dance and Janie Dee may star in a West End production of the play, about the relationship of C S Lewis and Joy Gresham, directed by Jeremy Sams, in the autumn. The Rumour Machine grinds on.