News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 8th June 2012

The Society Of London Theatre is presenting the 15th Kids Week in the West End, designed to introduce young people to the theatregoing experience, with thousands of free tickets and special events. Once again this year it has been extended, and now runs for a whole month, from 1st to 31th August. Children between 5 and 16 can go free (when accompanied by a paying adult) to 38 West End shows, with up to 2 additional children at half price. There will be accompanying events taking place, including backstage tours, workshops, classes, storytelling and 'meet the cast' opportunities. There are also freebies and discounts at restaurants, and on travel and accommodation packages. Booking opens on 12th June. Further information can be found on the Kids Week web site via the link opposite below.

The Tony Award winning sellout Broadway musical The Book Of Mormon, book, music and lyrics by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Robert Lopez, telling the story of two young Mormon missionaries sent off to spread the word in a dangerous part of Uganda, co-directed by Trey Parker and Casey Nicholaw, who also choreographed, will open at the Prince of Wales Theatre 'around' 23rd March. The producers are Anne Garefino, Scott Rudin and Sonia Friedman Productions.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Anton Chekhov's Uncle Vanya, in a translation by Christopher Hampton, a story of unrequited love, dogged perseverance, and the strength of the human spirit, with Ken Stott, Anna Friel and Samuel West, directed by Lindsay Posner, will open at the Vaudeville Theatre on 2nd November. The producers are Stanhope Productions, Nica Burns, Robert Bartner and Max Weitzenhoffer.

Remains from the Curtain, one of London's first public theatres, which opened in 1577, where it is believed that the premieres of Shakespeare's Henry V and Romeo And Juliet were staged, have been found in Hewett Street in Shoreditch. Excavators from the Museum of London Archaeology have discovered two sections of an exterior wall, an outer yard paved with sheep knuckle bones, bits of broken clay pipe and fragments of china and wall tiles. While the archaeologists are confident they will uncover more as the site is cleared, the pieces of the wall found so far will aid in calculating the true dimensions of the theatre. The site is now owned by a development company, which plans to incorporate the remains into a proposed retail and residential scheme, as was done with the foundations of the original Globe in Bankside.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Simon Gray's Quartermaine's Terms, which follows a hopeless English Language teacher at a Cambridge private school for overseas students through the terms of the academic year, with Rowan Atkinson, directed by Richard Eyre, will open at Wyndham's Theatre on 29th January. The producers are Michael Codron and Theatre Royal Bath Productions.

New York TheatreNet: The Broadway League has announced that Broadway shows grossed a record breaking $1.14bn during the 2011/2012 theatre season running from 30th May 2011 to 27th May 2012, up 5.4% from $1.08bn in 2010/2011, with 12.33m paid attendances, down from 12.53m the previous year (a 53 week period). In 2011/2012 there were 40 new productions, comprising 14 musicals, 23 plays and 3 special events, performing for a total of 1,522 playing weeks. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Forthcoming productions by Paines Plough will include the musical The 8th, book by Che Walker, music and lyrics by Paul Heaton, which explores the seven deadly sins in a single poverty-stricken neighbourhood, directed by George Perrin, playing at the Barbican on 5th July; and Duncan Macmillan's Lungs, about a young couple agonising about having a child, directed by Richard Wilson, Nick Payne's One Day When We Were Young, about the impact of the Second World War on two ordinary lives and a love that spans more than sixty years, and Penelope Skinner's The Sound Of Heavy Rain, which follows a private detective's search for a missing cabaret singer, directed by James Grieve, playing in its Roundabout auditorium at Shoreditch Town Hall from the 19th September, co-productions with Sheffield Theatres.

The Festival Players Theatre Group, successor to Theatre Set-Up, the company that takes Shakespeare outdoors to historic settings across the country, is this year performing Richard III and Twelfth Night, with an all male ensemble of 7. The company works in association with English Heritage, The National Trust, and public and private stately homes, gardens and castles, performing mostly one night stands, this year running from now until 25th August. The diverse venues include Bosworth Battlefield Heritage Centre, Peckham Rye Common and Caerleon Roman Amphitheatre. Further information can be found on the FPTG web site via the link from Theatre Companies in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Hurly Burly Show - Naughty But Nice!, the burlesque show featuring Miss Polly Rae and The Hurly Burly Girlys, directed by William Baker, with choreography by Ashley Wallen, will play a season at the Duchess Theatre from 2nd July to 22nd September.

The Matcham Room, a 182 seater cabaret theatre, created within the original stage of the London Hippodrome, which has been converted to a casino, restaurant and bar complex, will open on 2nd July with a season called Live At The Hippodrome, featuring performers including Janie Dee, Jane Monheit, Tony Christie, Kate Dimbleby, Julian Ovenden, Maria Friedman, Adam Guettel, Ruthie Henshall, Barb Jungr, David McAlmont, Gwyneth Herbert, Kerry Ellis, Judy Kuhn, Stefanie Powers, Suzi Quatro, Lea DeLaria and Cerys Matthews. The London Hippodrome, which opened in 1900 as a venue for variety, circus and music hall, was designed by Frank Matcham, the world's greatest theatre architect, who also designed the London Coliseum and London Palladium.

Bristol Old Vic Theatre will reopen following an 10.5m refurbishment with John O'Keeffe's Wild Oats, the 18th century comedy, directed by Mark Rosenblatt, on 11th September, playing in repertoire with Does My Society Look Big In This?, a contemporary satire devised by the company with writer Stephen Brown and director Tom Morris.