News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 7th August 2009

The new season at the Bush Theatre on Shepherds Bush Green will include Jack Thorne's 2nd May 1997, in which three personal stories unravel as the results of New Labour's first general election victory are declared, with James Barrett, Geoffrey Beevers, Linda Broughton, Jamie Samuel and Phoebe Waller-Bridge, directed by George Perrin, opening on 14th September, a co-production with nabokov, Watford Palace Theatre and Mercury Theatre Colchester; the premiere of Nick Payne's If There Is I Haven't Found It Yet, about what happens when a young girl tries to hit back at her school bullies, directed by Josie Rourke, opening on 22nd October; Stefan Golaszewski performing his solo double bill Stefan Golaszweksi Speaks About A Girl He Once Loved and Stefan Golaszweksi Is A Widower, giving a glimpse into one man's love at two very different stages of his life, directed by Phillip Breen, opening on 4th December, a co-production with Stefan Golaszewski, Richard Jordan Productions and United Agents; James Graham's The Whisky Taster, about two advertising wonder kids who meet a strange wisdom that changes their lives, directed by James Grieve, opening on 26th January; and Penelope Skinner's Eisengrau, a black comedy about two sets of flatmates thrown together by circumstance, whose beliefs are challenged, directed by Polly Findlay, opening on 15th March, a co-production with Western Edge Plays and Strawberry Vale Productions.

The Society Of London Theatre has published the Box Office Data Report 2008, providing detailed analysis of attendance figures and box office returns in the West End, which includes the major commercial and grant aided theatres. Despite the world economic crisis breaking in the autumn, overall attendances in 2008 were the highest on record at 13,892,460, 1.9% up on 2007, at 18,275 performances, also the highest since records began, up 4.7% on the previous year, with the capacity sold at 70%, the second highest ever. This trend has continued, with the first half of 2009 seeing a 2.5% rise in attendance over the same period in 2008. As well as exploring the attendance statistics as a whole, the report also analyses the differences in number of performances, attendance and receipts between the subsidised and commercial sectors, and discusses audience trends in relation to categories of production. The Box Office Data Report is essential reading for theatre investors, producers, and theatre marketers, as well as those in academic and government sectors dealing with the performing arts. Further information can be found on the SOLT web site via the link opposite below.

The Bridge Project has announced that the company of British and American actors for its second season, comprising Chekhov's Three Sisters and Shakespeare's As You Like It, directed by Sam Mendes, will include Anne-Marie Duff, Stephan Dillane, Christian Camargo and Juliet Rylance. The productions will open at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York in January and transfer to the Old Vic next summer.

Further productions have been announced at Trafalgar Studios 2. My Real War 1914-?, adapted and directed by Tricia Thorns, from the letters home of a young soldier serving in the trenches in the First World War, performed by Philip Desmeules, will open on 7th October, produced by Two's Company. Perfect Pitch, the festival of new British musicals, presenting 45 minute concert versions of 4 shows in double bills, From Up Here, by Adam Day Howard, Aaron Lee Lambert, Benjamin Murray and Adrianne Salmon; The Go Between by Richard Taylor and David Wood; In Touch, by Dougal Irvine; and Super Alice Smith, by Tim Driesen will play from 3rd to 7th November; plus a full length concert performance of Through The Door, book by Judy Freed, music and lyrics by Laurence Mark Wythe, in which a contemporary woman in a going-nowhere marriage discovers a gateway to 17th century France in her kitchen. Sam Peter Jackson's Public Property, about the handling of an impending scandal involving a public figure, directed by Hanna Berrigan, will open on 13th November, presented by Tara Wilkinson.

Stage One is inviting applications for The Apprentice Scheme For New Producers. It is an opportunity for new producers to get one year's paid training in a commercial producer's office in London. Applicants must have at least one year's practical experience in theatre administration or production and be committed to a career in commercial theatre production. The award is up to 15,000 to cover expenses. The closing date for applications is 31st August. Further information and an application form can be found on the Stage One web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre is to present its first out of season production at Christmas with Footsbarn Theatre's Christmas Cracker, a midwinter celebration combining magic, music, carnival, dance, puppets and circus, inspired by the works of Shakespeare, and drawing on festive traditions of all ages, including the Lord of Misrule, who reigns supreme over the Feast of Fools, playing daytime performances from 22nd December to 3rd January.

The Headlong Theatre Company/Chichester Festival Theatre's recent production of Rupert Goold and Ben Power's contemporary reworking of Luigi Pirandello's Six Characters In Search Of An Author, in which six characters invade the rehearsals for a play and insist on being allowed to tell their story, directed by Goold, with Jack Shepherd, Catherine McCormack, Russell Bentley, Sarah Belcher, Gina Bramhill, Andrew Frame, Jeremy Joyce and Dominic Rouse, will open a national tour at the Bristol Old Vic on 26th September.

Arts Council England has announced the first tranche of 4m from its new Sustain funding project, set up to help cultural organisations combat the effects of the recession. 2.4m will go to opera companies (as opera is the most expensive art form its grants tend to be larger), with Welsh National Opera receiving 900,000, English National Opera 750,000, the Royal Opera 700,000 and British Youth Opera 75,000. Other recipients include Nottingham Playhouse 362,572, South Hill Park Arts Centre in Bracknell 114,000 and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra 649,000. The awards are being judged chronologically as applications are received, with 36m of other requests currently under consideration, from a total of 87 organisations so far.

May Contain Nuts, a collection of American one act comedies, comprising Philadelphia, Sure Thing, Time Flies, Universal Language, and Words, Words, Words by David Ives, and Sexual Perversity In Connecticut and Dust by Mike Folie, with Noa Bodner, Caroline Colomei, Jason Denyer, Trine Garrett, Helen Jeckells, Jack Lewis and Pamela Parry, directed by Niki Flacks, will open at the Hen And Chickens Theatre in Highbury, on 22nd September. The producer is PinchOuch! Productions.