News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th February 2010

The nominations for this year's Laurence Olivier Awards, Britain's premier theatre awards, given by the Society Of London Theatre, are dominated by Royal Court Theatre productions with 15, including Enron: New Play, Samuel West - Actor (Play), Tim Piggott-Smith - Supporting Actor (Play) and Rupert Gould - Director, and Jerusalem: New Play, Mark Rylance - Actor (Play), Mackenzie Crook - Supporting Actor (Play) and Ian Rickson - Director; and the Donmar Warehouse with 10, including Hamlet: Jude Law - Actor (Play), and Michael Grandage - Director; A Streetcar Named Desire: Rachel Weisz - Actress (Play) and Revival (Play) and A Doll's House: Gillian Anderson - Actress (Play). The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Grosvenor House Hotel on 21st March. Voting is now open to choose the winner of the new Audience Award, giving theatregoing audiences the chance to honour their favourite long running West End show. Everyone who votes will be entered into a prize draw to win a pair of tickets for the presentation ceremony. The full list of nominations and the voting form can be found on the SOLT web site via the link opposite and below.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark will stage productions of Willy Russell's female centred comedies Educating Rita, in which a hairdresser takes an Open University course in English Literature with a disenchanted professor, with Laura Dos Santos and Larry Lamb, directed by Jeremy Sams, and Shirley Valentine, with Meera Syal as bored the Liverpool housewife talking to her kitchen, directed by Glen Walford, in repertoire from 26th May. They will be followed by the premiere of the musical Paradise Found, based on Joseph Roth's novel The Tale Of The 1002nd Night, about a Shah with 139 wives, who travels to Vienna, where he falls in love with the empress of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, book by Richard Nelson, lyrics by Ellen Fitzhugh, music by Johann Strauss II adapted by Jonathan Tunick, co-directed by Harold Prince and Susan Stroman, with Mandy Patinkin, and prospectively, John Cullum, Shuler Hensley, Kate Baldwin and Judy Kay, from 19th May.

New York TheatreNet: The Royal Shakespeare Company will perform a 6 week, 5 play residency in a full scale replica of the Courtyard Theatre constructed in the historic Park Avenue Armory in New York, as part of the Lincoln Center Festival from 6th July 2011. The current 44 member ensemble will perform 5 plays from the 2009 and 2010 repertoire: Antony And Cleopatra, As You Like It, Julius Caesar, King Lear, Romeo And Juliet and The Winter's Tale. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway, can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Once Upon A Time At The Adelphi, a musical telling an epic love story spanning 60 years at Liverpool's most famous hotel, from its 1930s heyday onwards, written and directed by Phil Willmott, with choreography by Andrew Wright, which premiered last year at the Liverpool Playhouse, will play at the Union Theatre in Southwark from 3rd March. The cast comprises Rebecca Hutchinson, Jamie Birkett, Lucyelle Cliffe, Ally Holmes, Jodie Michaels, Jon-Paul Hevey, Matt Markwick, Will Stokes, Marc Antolin, Matthew Naegeli, Emma Barr, Joanna Goodwin, Lucinda Lawrence, Lindsay Scigliano, Emily Barlow, Nicholas Collier, Benjamin Bond and Rudi Last. The producers are MokitaGrit Productions and The Steam Industry.

As part of the Theatre Royal Haymarket's Masterclass season for young people who have an interest in theatre, or are keen to pursue a career in the arts, physical theatre company Dante or Die will stage La Fille a la Mode, a site specific performance in usually unseen parts of the historic building, on 26th February. Taking its inspiration from the theatre's first production of the same name in 1720, it will look at some of the many female performers who have appeared there. Further information and online booking can be found on the Masterclass web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The second pair of productions in Greenwich Theatre's partnership with DVD production company Stage On Screen, to stage and record a series of classic plays, will be Ben Jonson's Volpone, a satire of greed and lust, and 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, both directed by Elizabeth Freestone, playing in repertoire from 18th March. The cast comprises Harvey Virdi, Conrad Westmaas, Tim Treloar, James Wallace, Peter Bankole, Edmund Kingsley, Aislin McGuckin, Brigid Zengeni, Mark Hadfield, Richard Bremmer, Tim Steed and Maxwell Hutcheon.

Sarah Sigal's Alice's Adventures In The New World, a music hall drama that explores myths about women, sexuality and gender relations in the Victorian era, with Rebecca Dunn, Ailsa Ilott, Emily North and Fiona Putnam, directed by Jessica Beck, will play at the Old Red Lion Theatre at the Angel, Islington, from 23rd February. The producer is Fluff Productions.

Despite losing funding from ITV, Ovation, the Regional Theatre Young Director Scheme, will continue, offering a 1 year programme for anyone over the age of 21 who wishes to make a career as a theatre director. Three candidates will be awarded bursaries of 12,000, and attachments at theatres, starting in July, where they will gain experience in all aspects of the theatre's operations, and undertake a programme of training to include assisting on productions. Previous theatres participating in the scheme include the Royal Court, the Young Vic, Bristol Old Vic, Belgrade Theatre Coventry, Birmingham Rep, Royal Exchange Manchester, Sheffield Theatres and West Yorkshire Playhouse, while Tim Albery, Michael Boyd, Vicky Featherstone, Rupert Goold, Nicholas Kent, Ken Loach, Adrian Noble, Trevor Nunn and Tim Supple are among those directors who have benefited from it. The scheme is administered by the Young Vic. The closing date for the receipt of applications is 22nd March. Further information and an application form can be found on the Ovation web site via the link from Information in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that David Herson's La Bete, a Moliere style comedy pitting the head of the royal court sponsored theatre troupe against a foppish, frivolous street entertainer in 17th century France, with Joanna Lumley, Mark Rylance and David Hyde Pierce, directed by Matthew Warchus, will open in the West End in the spring, followed by a Broadway transfer in the autumn. The Rumour Machine grinds on.