News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 5th May 2006

The Royal Opera House is extending its free big screen live relays of ballet and opera productions to more locations across Britain this summer. On 1st June at 7.30pm, The Royal Ballet performing The Sleeping Beauty will be shown in the Piazza Covent Garden, Canada Square Canary Wharf, Duthie Park Aberdeen, Clayton Square Liverpool, Exchange Square Manchester, Queen Victoria Square Hull, Chamberlain Square Birmingham, and Millennium Square Leeds. On 28th June the Royal Opera performing Le Nozze Di Figaro will be shown in Trafalgar Square, Victoria Park Bow, Christchurch Park Ipswich, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, Birmingham and Leeds. On 7th July the Royal Opera performing Turandot will be shown in the Piazza Covent Garden, Botanical Gardens Belfast, Aberdeen, Liverpool, Manchester, Hull, Birmingham and Leeds. Further information can be found on the ROH web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Belgrade Theatre Coventry is to follow its Millennium and 2003 stagings of The Mysteries with a new production, in the ruins of the old Coventry Cathedral, directed by Barry Kyle, running from 18th July to 5th August. Ron Hutchinson's adaptation is a fusion of the original Coventry Mystery Plays, telling the best known Bible stories, and contemporary street theatre, with over 100 local professional and community actors and musicians.

On The Casting Couch: Juliette Lewis will be joined by Martin Henderson, Larry Lamb and Joe Duttine in Fool For Love, opening at the Apollo Theatre on 15 th June; and Broadway original Idina Menzel will be joined by Adam Garcia, Miriam Margolyes and Nigel Planer in Wicked, opening at the Apollo Victoria Theatre on 27th September.

The 30th Spitalfields Festival, centred on Christ Church Spitalfields, runs from 5th to 23th June, with over 40 events in 9 venues, including Wilton's Music Hall, St Bartholomew's Hospital and Crispin Place. The programme features a wide range of music from medieval to the newly commissioned. Performers include soloists such as Anne Mason, Rohan de Saram, Rachel Podger and Django Bates; instrumental groups from The Schubert Ensemble and The Continuum Ensemble to The Czardas Duo; vocal ensembles from Joyful Company of Singers and The Orlando Consort to Westminster Cathedral Choir; and Peter Maxwell Davies conducting the Royal Academy of Music Manson Ensemble in world premiere pieces by Jordan Hunt, Elspeth Brooke and Maxim Bendall. In addition to the concerts, there are free lunchtime and early evening rush hour events featuring young performers and composers, plus bell ringing, fringe events, walks, talks, visits and exhibitions about the Spitalfields area and the restoration of Nicholas Hawkesmoor's Christ Church, one of the great baroque churches of Europe. Full details can be found on the Spitalfields Festival web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

New York TheatreNet: This year's Brits Off Broadway Festival, running until 2nd July, brings 11 British productions to Off Broadway venues. These include The Ideas Foundry's production of Ron Hutchinson's Beau Brummell, with Ian Kelly and Ryan Early, and Cooking For Kings, written and performed by Ian Kelly, both directed by Simon Green; the Paines Plough/Bush Theatre production of Dennis Kelly's After The End, with Loo Brealey and Tom Brooke, directed by Roxana Silbert; the Bristol Old Vic production of Michael Morpurgo's Private Peaceful, adapted and directed by Simon Reade, with Alexander Campbell; and the Glasgow Citizen's production of Henry Green's Nothing, with Pete Ashmore, Candida Benson, Simon Dutton, Andrea Hart, Sophie Ward, Derwent Watson and Tristram Wymark, directed by Robert David Macdonald.

The Puppet Theatre Barge, currently moored at its winter home in Little Venice, is presenting afternoon performances of Joey's Circus Comes To Town at weekends during May and June, and over the Spring Bank Holiday. The 50 seater theatre created on a canal barge, now in its 24th season, presents marionette and rod puppet spectacles throughout the year. It spends July to October on the River Thames, giving performances at Henley, Marlow, Cliveden and Richmond. Further information can be found on the PTB web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Upcoming productions at The Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn include J B Keane's The Field, a tragic conflict between a man who has long tended a piece of land and an outsider who wants to buy and build on it, with Lorcan Cranitch leading an Irish cast, directed by Roisin McBrinn, opening on 31st May; John Buchan's 1930s spy thriller The 39 Steps, adapted for the stage by Patrick Barlow, in a heroic and idiosyncratic style, with 4 actors playing 150 roles, from the original idea by Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon, opening on 10th August; and the return of Jenny Jules in Lynn Nottage's Fabulation or The Re-Education Of Undine, a comedy about a successful Manhattan businesswoman who gets a few surprises when she is returned to her roots in the shabby Brooklyn projects, directed by Indhu Rubasingham, on 14th September.

This year's Opera Holland Park season runs from 6th June to 14th August, with the City of London Sinfonia as resident orchestra. It comprises new productions of Giordano's Fedora, directed by John Lloyd Davies; Puccini's Manon Lescaut, directed by Tim Carroll; Mozart's Cosi fan tutte, directed by Annilese Miskimmon; Lehar's The Merry Widow, directed by Tom Hawkes; Verdi's Rigoletto, directed by John La Bouchardiere; and Tchaikovsky's The Queen Of Spades, directed by Martin Lloyd Evans. The Theatre is located in the middle of Holland Park and uses the ruins of Holland House as a backdrop to the performances. Both stage and audience are covered by a canopy. Further information and online booking can be found on the OHP web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Royal Shakespeare Company's two part production of The Canterbury Tales may follow The Crucible at the Gilegud Theatre in July; and that the new musical adaptation of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind, the saga of the south in the American Civil War, directed by Trevor Nunn, which was recently workshopped, has its sights set on Drury Lane early next year if The Producers transfers to another theatre. The Rumour Machine grinds on.