News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 6th February 2009

The nominations for this year's Laurence Olivier Awards, Britain's premier theatre awards, given by the Society Of London Theatre, are dominated by Donmar Warehouse productions with 13, including Actress (Play): Penelope Wilton and Margaret Tyzack and Play Revival - The Chalk Garden, Actor (Play): Derek Jacobi - Twelfth Night, Actress (Musical): Elena Roger and Musical Revival - Piaf. For an individual production La Cage Aux Folles leads with 7, including Actor (Musical): Douglas Hodge and Denis Lawson, and Director: Terry Johnson, while Jersey Boys and Zorro each received 5. The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel on 8th March. The full list of nominations can be found on the SOLT web site via the link opposite and below.

The Peter Schaufuss Company will perform Marilyn, a biographical 'dancical' about Marilyn Monroe, featuring Zara Deakin and a company of 15 dancers, choreographed by Peter Schaufuss to music from Monroe's films, at the Apollo Theatre from 3rd June to 13th June.

The summer season at Pitlochry Festival Theatre will include the world premiere of Whisky Galore - A Musical!, adapted from the novel by Compton McKenzie, about Scottish islanders hiding the whisky they have liberated from a wrecked ship during the Second World War, book by Shona McKee McNeil, music and lyrics by Ian Hammond Brown, from 15th May; J M Barrie's What Every Woman Knows, the Edwardian comedy on the theme that behind every great man there is a woman, from 21st May; Liz Lochhead's Good Things, a contemporary comedy about a volunteer in a Glasgow Charity shop who feels she's been remaindered, from 28th May; The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie, adapted by Jay Presson Allen from the novel by Muriel Spark, about the idiosyncratic 1930s Edinburgh school teacher, from 4th June; The Servant O' Twa Maisters, Victor Carin's Scottish take on the classic Goldoni Commedia dell'Arte farce, from 16th July; and Simon Donald's The Life Of Stuff, a blackly comic and violent contemporary inner city crime story, from 19th August.

On The Casting Couch: Jonathan Pryce will be joined by Holliday Grainger, Alex Lanipekun and Anne Reid in Dimetos, opening at the Donmar Warehouse on 25th March.

The British Council has launched the UK Young Performing Arts Entrepreneur Award scheme, to give young theatre professionals an opportunity to gain experience of the international performing arts business in emerging markets. It is open to applicants aged between 25 and 35, with at least three years experience of working within the performing arts. The inaugural award offers the chance to take part in a specially tailored tour of India's performing arts industry. Applicantions must be received by 2nd March. The scheme is one of 9 run by the British Council in industries including design, fashion, music, publishing, screen and the visual arts. Further information and an application form can be found on the Creative Economy web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Mill at Sonning, near Reading, is to stage the world premiere of Adam Rolston's A Sentimental Journey, a back catalogue biomusical about Doris Day, with Sally Hughes, Ian McLarnon, Glyn Kerslake, Carol Ball and Tim Wallers, directed by Alvin Rakoff, with choreography by Joseph Pitcher, from 25th February.

New York TheatreNet: the recent Old Vic production of Alan Ayckbourn's trilogy The Norman Conquests, directed by Matthew Warchus, will transfer to Broadway, with the original cast of Amelia Bullmore, Jessica Hynes, Stephen Mangan, Ben Miles, Paul Ritter and Amanda Root, opening at the Circle In The Square Theatre on 23rd April. The plays, Table Manners, Living Together and Round And Round The Garden follow a group of characters over a weekend, one showing the events taking place in the dining room, one in the living room and one in the garden.

Druid Theatre's hit Edinburgh Fringe production of The New Electric Ballroom, written and directed by Enda Walsh, with Rosaleen Linehan, Ruth McCabe, Mikel Murfi and Catherine Walsh, will open at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith on 5th March. A sort of 'reverse Three Sisters', the play centres on three siblings living in a remote Irish fishing village, remembering their halcyon days in the city at the New Electric Ballroom.

The second SPILL Festival will bring performance, live art and experimental theatre to London from 2nd to 25th April. It will include almost 100 live performances, 3 commissions, world and UK premieres, film screenings and feasts where audience members can talk to the performers about what they have seen. Events will feature artists from America, Australia, Belgium, Germany and Italy, as well as Britain. Among the highlights will be Romeo Castellucci's Paradiso, a trilogy inspired by Dante's Divine Comedy; Grace Ellen Barkey and Needcompany with The Porcelain Project, an erotic allegory about power, lust and desire; Forced Entertainment performing Void, 'a rollercoaster ride through the decimated remains of contemporary culture'; and Pacitti Company with A Forest, exploring myth, money and magic. Venues will include Barbican, Greenwich Dance Agency, Laban, National Theatre Studio, Shunt Vaults, Soho Theatre, South Bank, Stratford Town Hall, and Toynbee Studios. Further information can be found on the SPILL web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that the Ambassador Theatre Group has plans for new Broadway productions of Frank Loesser's musical The Most Happy Fella, directed by Casey Nicholaw, and Simon Bent's Elling, directed by Doug Hughes, plus transfers of the recent production of Neil LaBute's Fat Pig, and current production of Andrew Lloyd Webber's Sunset Boulevard, and is looking for a building in Manhattan that could be converted into a two theatre complex - one commercial and one to develop new work. The Rumour Machine grinds on.