News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 9th December 2011

Booking has opened for The Society Of London Theatre's 11th Get Into London Theatre initiative, designed to encourage new and young theatregoers to experience the wealth of theatrical fare to be found all over London. Discounted tickets are available for 56 shows, including opera, ballet, dance and pantomime, encompassing West End, fringe and suburban theatres. Tickets cost from 10 to 35 (according to the venue) for selected performances from 1st January to 10th February. In addition, there are accompanying events, including backstage tours, workshops and classes. Further information is available on the GILT web site, via the link opposite.

Alan Ayckbourn's Absent Friends, set at a friendly gathering meant to cheer up someone who has lost their fiancee, which dissolves into jealousy, infidelity and barely concealed loathing, with Kara Tointon, Reece Shearsmith, Katherine Parkinson, Elizabeth Berrington, Steffan Rhodri and David Armand, directed by Jeremy Herrin, will open at the Harold Pinter Theatre on 9th February. The producers are Sonia Friedman Productions and Bob Bartner.

Meanwhile, the Stephen Joseph Theatre Scarborough production of Neighbourhood Watch, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, a cautionary tale of the dangers of taking the law into your own hands, with Eileen Battye, Terence Booth, Phil Cheadle, Matthew Cottle, Richard Derrington, Frances Grey, Amy Loughton and Alexandra Mathie, will open a national tour at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford on 18th January, which will conclude with a 4 week season at the Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn from 10th April.

New York TheatreNet: Playbill has launched The Playbill Vault, the most comprehensive searchable database of Broadway history on the web, including information on over 10,000 shows and 120,000 actors, creative teams and crew members, who have or are currently working on Broadway, with further content being added on a daily basis. Information includes cast histories of long-running shows, with principal replacements, understudies, and swings; a history of productions in each Broadway theatre; cast, creative team, production and theatre photos and videos; winners and nominees of all major awards; and comparative analysis and charts of Broadway grosses by season and show; with all productions searchable by title, person, theatre or season from 1930/1931 onwards. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

John Webster's The Duchess Of Malfi, the Jacobean tragedy of a young widow's refusal to obey her brother's command never to remarry, with Eve Best, directed by Jamie Lloyd, will open at the Old Vic Theatre on 28th March.

A Bowl Of Cherries, a musical revue that looks at life through a cycle of scenes and songs, as observed by two wartime ghosts, devised and directed by Andrew C Wadsworth, book by Carolyn Pertwee, music by David Martin, with Gary Wilmot and Clare Buckfield, will open at the Charing Cross Theatre, under the Arches at Charing Cross Station, on 8th March. The producer is Loose Cannonz Productions.

On The Casting Couch at the Young Vic: Patrick Stewart will be joined by Richard McCabe and Matthew Marsh in Edward Bond's Bingo, opening on 23rd February; and Katie Leung will head the cast of Jung Chang's Wild Swans, opening on 13th April.

Street Of Dreams, a musical arena show celebrating Coronation Street, written by Trisha Ward and Damon Rochefort, featuring stars past and present, including Julie Goodyear, Kevin Kennedy, Brian Capron William Roache and Katy Cavanagh, hosted by Paul O'Grady, directed by John Stephenson, with choreography by Stephen Mear, will open at the M.E.N Arena in Manchester on 21st March. The producers are ITV Studios and Reckless Entertainment.

The James Menzies-Kitchin Memorial Trust is inviting applications for the 2012 Young Theatre Director's Award. The Trust was formed in 1996 with the aim of assisting young untried directors. The Award comprises a production budget of 18,000, together with help and support, and space in the Clare Studio at the Young Vic to enable the recipient to direct a classic text of their choice. Applicants must be British theatre professionals under the age of 30 who have undergone professional performing arts training, but have directed no more than two professional productions. The deadline for applications is 6th January. Further information can be found on the JMK Trust web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Fresh Glory Productions will stage Karin Young's The Awkward Squad, a comedy that looks at challenges faced by modern women of all ages, with Barbara Marten, Charlie Hardwick, Libby Davison and Lisa McGrillis, directed by Fiona Macpherson, opening at the Arts Theatre, off Charing Cross Road, on 8th March.

Save The Last Dance For Me, a romantic musical set during a seaside holiday in the early 1960s, book by Laurence Marks and Maurice Gran, with songs from the back catalogue of American pop song writers Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman, directed by Bob Tomson, with choreography by Carole Todd, will open a prospective pre London tour at the Churchill Theatre Bromley, on 13th January. The producers are Bill Kenwright and Laurie Mansfield.

Ice Age Live! A Mammoth Adventure, an arena show based on the 2002 animated film, book, music and lyrics by Ella Louise Allaire and Martin Lord Ferguson, directed by Guy Caron, combining ice skating, aerial performance, puppetry and film, will premiere at Wembley Arena in November. The producers are Twentieth Century Fox and Stage Entertainment.

Ho! Ho! Ho! Dept A reminder that this is the peak season for the purchase of Theatre Tokens. Available in units of 5, 10 and 20, they can be exchanged for tickets at over 240 venues nationwide, including all West End theatres. As they have no expiry date, the recipient can choose which show they want to see, and when and where they want to see it. The Tokens can be combined with gift packs, with a book or CDs and a card. Tokens are available from most theatres, major bookshops and ticket agencies, and the tkts Ticket Booths in Leicester Square and Brent Cross. Alternatively they can be bought direct from the Tokenline on 0844 887 7878 or online from the Theatre Tokens web site via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet. As they say, don't just give an object this Christmas - give an emotional experience like no other.