News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th February 2007

The Royal Court Theatre has announced Dominic Cooke's first season as artistic director, which will include: the National Theatre of Scotland production of The Wonderful World Of Dissocia, written and directed by Anthony Neilson, with James Cunningham, Christine Entwistle, Alan Francis, Amanda Hadingue, Jack James, Clair Little, Matthew Pidgeon and Barnaby Power, in which a woman in search of one lost hour that tipped the balance of her life, embarks on an Alice In Wonderland journey, opening on 28th March; Mike Bartlett's first play My Child, examining the issues behind Fathers4Justice, directed by Sacha Wares, opening on 3rd May; American writer Bruce Norris's The Pain And The Itch, a satire on the double standards of many liberals, directed by Dominic Cooke, opening on 14th June; and two absurdist plays in repertoire from 21st September, Ionesco's Rhinoceros, in which people are turning into rhinoceroses, and Max Frisch's The Fire Raisers, in a new version by Alistair Beaton, a black comedy about creeping menace. A scheme for playwrights and directors to explore themes and ideas collaboratively, will showcase works in progress as Rough Cuts, from 2nd to 15th July, with projects involving Cooke, Sacha Wares, Lucy Prebble and Joe Hill-Gibbons.

Brandon Thomas's classic Victorian farce Charley's Aunt, with Stephen Tompkinson, Nicholas Clayton, David Partridge, John Vine, Richard Syms, Michael Melia, Tatina de Marinis, Emily Pennant-Rea, Marty Cruickshank and Sophie Roberts, directed by Mel Smith, has just opened a national tour at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford. An Oxford undergraduate dresses up as his eccentric aunt from Brazil (where the nuts come from) in order to provide a chaperone for himself and fellow student with their lady friends. The producer is David Pugh.

Shakespeare's Globe has announced more details about its forthcoming season. Eamonn Walker is to play the title role in Othello, directed by Wilson Milam; Dominic Dromgoole will direct Love's Labour's Lost, which will tour to South Korea at the end of the season; and The Merchant Of Venice will be directed by Rebecca Gatward. There is to be a new touring company established, with a limited cast and pared down set, which will perform outdoors across the country, launching with a production of Romeo And Juliet at the Globe on 17th June.

The Shared Experience production of Diane Samuels's Kindertransport, with Marion Bailey, Lily Bevan, Alexi Kaye Campbell, Pandora Colin, Matti Houghton and Eileen O'Brien, directed by Polly Teale, will open a national tour at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford on 1st March. It tells the story of a 9 year old girl transported from Germany to Manchester in 1938, as part of the evacuation of around 10,000 unaccompanied Jewish children.

See A Voice, a project set up jointly by Stagetext and VocalEyes, aims to increase the amount of audio description and captioning of performances at venues across the country. Over 1m from the Treasury and Arts Council England, will fund the setting up of 15 'hubs', providing state of the art equipment and training, for theatre staff and local describers and captioners. The theatres will then be able to provide the services much more cheaply and easily than by involving an outside company for a one off performance. Among the venues to have signed up to the project so far are the Almeida, the Old Vic and Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse.

The Taming Of The Shrew, with Rachael Stirling, Oliver Chris and Philip Voss, directed by Nick Hutchison, will play at Wilton's Music Hall in Wapping, from 22nd March to 28th April.

The next production by Compass Theatre Company will be Arthur Miller's The Price, with Peter Banks, Amanda Bellamy, Stuart Richman and Robert G Slade, directed by Neil Sissons, which will premiere at the Theatre Royal Wakefield on 28th February, launching a national tour. The play examines the relationship of two long estranged brothers, who meet after many years, to dispose of their father's belongings.

The Channel 4 Theatre Director Scheme offers a one year programme for anyone over the age of 20 who wishes to make a career as a theatre director. Three candidates will be awarded bursaries of 10,000, and attachments at theatres, during which they will work as assistant director on a variety of in house productions, as well as becoming involved in education, outreach and community work. They may also have the opportunity to direct play readings and other events. Previous theatres participating in the scheme include the Royal Court, the Young Vic, Bristol Old Vic, Belgrade Theatre Coventry and Sheffield Theatres, while Michael Boyd, Ken Loach, Trevor Nunn and Tim Supple are among those directors who have benefited from it. The closing date for applications is 10th March. Further information and an application form can be found on the C4TDS web site, via the link from Information in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Harold Pinter's Old Times, with Neil Pearson, Janie Dee and Susannah Harker, directed by Peter Hall (who directed the original production in 1971) will open a regional tour at the Theatre Royal Brighton on 27th February. A married couple are visited by the wife's female friend, and as all three recall different versions of events twenty years earlier, the lines between memories and reality, desire and loss become blurred. The producer is the Theatre Royal Bath.

The spring season at Polka Theatre for children in Wimbledon includes currently Flat Stanley, Mike Kenny's adaptation of the book by Jeff Brown, about a boy squashed by a notice board who is only half an inch thick, directed by Gail McIntyre, a co-production with the West Yorkshire Playhouse; the Theatr Iolo production of Nick Wood's Warrior Square, about young brother and sister refugees in Britain, opening on 27th March; the Pop-Up production of David Almond's Heaven Eyes, the story of two children who run away from a children's home and meet a mysterious girl with webbed fingers, opening on 3rd April; Visible Fictions's two handed version of the legend of Jason And The Argonauts, directed by Douglas Irvine, opening on 11th April; and Michael Rosen's We're Going On A Bear Hunt, the tale of a family on a journey of adventure, in a new adaptation by Dan Jamieson, directed by Asha Kahlon, opening on 27th April.