News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 11th November 2011

The National Theatre has confirmed its winter season, which will include in the Olivier: Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops To Conquer, the Georgian comedy of class, courtship, mistaken identity and dysfunctional families, with Sophie Thompson, Steve Pemberton, Katherine Kelly, Harry Hadden-Paton and John Heffernan, directed by Jamie Lloyd, opening on 31st January; in the Lyttelton: Nicholas Wright's Travelling Light, about Eastern European immigrants' influence on the golden age of Hollywood, with Antony Sher, Lauren O'Neil, Damien Molony and Paul Jesson, directed by Nicholas Hytner, opening on 18th January, and Physical theatre company DV8 with Can We Talk About This?, exploring freedom of speech, Islam and multiculturalism, through text, dance and archive footage, directed by Lloyd Newson, opening on 12th March; and in the Cottesloe, Errol John's Moon On A Rainbow Shawl, set in post Second World War Trinidad, where a man wants to escape his dead end job for a fresh start in England, directed by Michael Buffong, opening on 14th March.

The Royal Court Theatre has announced its programme for the first half of 2012, which will include David Eldridge's In Basildon, exploring inheritance in the heart of Essex, with Linda Bassett, Debbie Chazen, Christian Dixon, Lee Ross, Ruth Sheen and Jade Williams, directed by Dominic Cooke, opening on 27th February; Mike Bartlett's Love Love Love, looking at the baby boomer generation as it retires, directed by James Grieve, opening on 3rd May, a co-production with Paines Plough; and Joe Penhall's Birthday, which takes a no-holds-barred look at pregnancy and childbirth, with Stephen Mangan, directed by Roger Michell, opening on 28th June.

New York TheatreNet: Reid Farrington's A Christmas Carol, a multimedia performance of Charles Dickens's classic Christmas story, combining live action with images from 35 different film versions projected on moving screens using a modern-day version of the magic lantern, created and directed by Reid Farrington, with Laura K Nicoll, Christopher Loar, John Forkner, Jennifer L Reed and Sandrine Hudl, will play Off Broadway at the Abrons Arts Center from 1st December. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

The London International Mime Festival will run from 11th to 29th January, featuring companies from around the world spanning the full range of visual theatre, including leading exponents of mime, animation, circus, puppetry, clowning, juggling and vaudeville, together with a programme of talks and workshops. Performers will include from Switzerland, Baccala Clowns with Pss Pss, blending classic and modern clown techniques with physical skills; from Japan, Hiroaki Umeda performing Haptic and Holistic Strata, combining street dance and butoh; from France, Camille Boitel's L'Immediat, in which acrobat-adventurers defy a tsunami of unstable forces that threatens to engulf them; from Belgium, Claudio Stellato manipulating objects, perspective and his own physical form in L'Autre; and from Australia, Fleur Elise Noble with 2 Dimensional Life Of Her, a performance made of drawing, animation, puppetry, projection and paper. Further information can be found on the LIMF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The spring season at the Curve in Leicester will include in the main house: the musical Gypsy, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Jule Styne, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, the story of the quintessential child star mother, and her daughter who became Gypsy Rose Lee, with Caroline O'Connor, directed by Paul Kerryson, from 10th March; the return of the 2010 production of the musical The King And I, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, music by Richard Rodgers, the story of an English woman who tutors the children of the King of Siam, with Ramon Tikaram and Josefina Gabrielle, directed by Paul Kerryson, with choreography by David Needham, from 8th May; and in the studio: Michael Morpurgo's The Butterfly Lion, about a boy following a lion cub he saved from the veldt in Africa to Europe, adapted by Daniel Buckroyd, from 12th April, a co-production with New Perspectives and Derby Theatre.

The Southbank Centre has announced a Christmas season of shows at the Queen Elizabeth Hall: The Bollywood Trip, a musical written and directed by Rolf Heim, in which a young man living in a fantasy world, where he is a Bollywood star, convinces an entire psychiatric hospital to take part in an extravagant Bollywood dance, from 12th to 18th December; and Aurelia Thierre's Murmurs, about a woman on the run, fleeing from reality, whose life is packed up in cardboard boxes, directed by Victoria Thierre Chaplin, from 20th December to 2nd January.

And Thereby Hangs A Tale is an exhibition that looks into the mystery that surrounds the marriage of William Shakespeare and Anne Hathaway. Reasons why the event has an air of mystery include the fact that it was a man below the age of consent (18) marrying an older woman (24) who was already pregnant with his child, that there are crucial missing pages from church registers, and there were rumours of a jilted spinster said to be Shakespeare's true love. For the first time all the surviving evidence of Shakespeare's wedding have been brought together in one place, comprising historical records, church registers, documents, artefacts and stories from the time. This intriguing exhibition runs in Anne Hathaway's Cottage, in Shottery, Warwickshire, the most picturesque of the surviving Shakespeare properties, until 29th January.

This year's Spitalfields Winter Festival, centred on Nicholas Hawkesmoor's Christ Church, one of the great baroque churches of Europe, will run from 10th to 20th December. The festival explores the sound of the festive season through the centuries, from some of the earliest written Christmas music up to the present day, employing musical forces ranging from local residents, workers and schools, to I Fagiolini, European Union Baroque Orchestra, The Sixteen, Gallicantus, La Nuova Musica, Joglaresa, Gavin Bryars' 'Circus Band' and the London Contemporary Orchestra performing the world premiere of a piece by Martin Suckling. In addition, there are lunchtime concerts, free events and a Christmas market. Other venues include Shoreditch Church and 18th century Huguenot houses. Further information can be found on the Spitalfields Festival web site via the link from Festivals, in the Links section of TheatreNet.