News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 12th September 2003

The previously mentioned production of Frederick Knott's Wait Until Dark, which plays at the Theatre Royal Windsor from 16th to 27th September, will transfer to the Garrick Theatre on 15th October. However, it will now star Saskia Wickham, Gary Mavers and Peter Bowles. The classic thriller is the story of one blind woman's struggle to outwit the criminal underworld. It will be directed by Joe Harmston and the producer is Bill Kenwright.

The Society Of London Theatre is looking for 14 enthusiastic and knowledgeable theatregoers to join one of the judging panels for next year's Laurence Olivier Awards. Panellists will receive a pair of free tickets for all shows playing in the West End between 1st January and 31st December. There are four panels assessing Theatre, Opera, Dance and Affiliates (covering work at the Almeida, Greenwich, Hampstead, Lyric Hammersmith, Royal Court Upstairs, Tricycle and Young Vic). The Theatre panel is expected to attend about 60 performances (of which about 20 are musicals), Opera and Affiliates about 20 each, and Dance about 40. Applications can be made online on the SOLT web site, which can be found via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet. Alternatively there are leaflets in all West End theatres. The deadline for applications is 15th November.

Nottingham Playhouse's autumn season includes The Mill On The Floss, Helen Edmundson's adaptation of George Eliot's classic Victorian novel about a miller's daughter and her struggles in a male dominated world, directed by Richard Baron, running until 20th September; Peter Brook's The Man Who, based on Oliver Sacks book about his neurological studies, The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat, directed by Giles Croft, from 3rd to 18th October; Patrice Naiambana as Othello, directed by Paul Savage, from 31st October to 22nd November; and Aladdin, with Kenneth Alan Taylor writing, directing and starring, from 29th November to 17th January.

Actor Sean Cullen is leading a campaign to establish an American National Theatre in the redevelopment of Ground Zero in New York. Daniel Libeskind's master plan for the area includes provision for a performing arts centre, but as yet no definite decisions have been taken on its composition. Cullen has wide ranging support across the profession, including such luminaries as Harold Prince, Meryl Streep, and Arthur Miller. He submitted a proposal to the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation this week for a complex containing three auditoria, ranging in size from 800 to 400 seats. The centre would not be a producing house, but would provide a national showcase for 15 productions each year from regional theatres. The expected $20m annual running costs would be met from corporate and individual sponsorship, as no public money is likely to be forthcoming.

The annual Pick Of The Fringe season featuring double bills of the Perrier Awards finalists will run on Sundays in October, at Her Majesty's Theatre on 5th - Reginald D Hunter's White Woman and Howard Read and Little Howard's The Big Howard Little Howard Show; 12th - Dara O'Briain in I Am Not An Animal and Rich Hall in Without Roy Chubby Brown; and 19th - Adam Hills with Cut Loose and Flight Of The Conchord with High On Folk; and at the Palace Theatre on 26th - Demetri Martin's If I... and Gary Le Strange's Polaroid Suitcase. Further information can be found on the Perrier Comedy Awards web site via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet.

Timothy West, and students from the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (of which he is president) will perform scenes from Shakespeare at two gala receptions and private views at the Dulwich Picture Gallery on the evenings of 7th and 8th October. The event celebrates the current Shakespeare In Art, exhibition, which features paintings of both 'acted' and 'imagined' Shakespeare scenes, portraits of great actors, and a look at theatrical production and scenography, and continues until 19th October.

The Almeida Theatre has added two further plays to its current season. The British premiere of Edward Albee's The Goat, Or Who Is Sylvia?, about a man who in the same week as he receives an international prize, a lucrative contract, and celebrates his 50th birthday, is forced to reveal a relationship which will probably destroy his marriage, his career, and his life, directed by Anthony Page, will run from 3rd February to 13th March. The world premiere of David Eldridge's Festen (The Celebration), an English language stage adaptation of a Danish film in which a dark family secret is revealed at a 60th birthday celebration, directed by Rufus Norris, will run from 25th March until 24th April.

On The Casting Couch: Peter Blake, Sarah-Louise Young, Andrew C Wadsworth, Perry Benson and Gabrielle Noble head the cast of Money To Burn, opening at The Venue on 9th October; and Paul McGann and Clarke Peters are to join Helen Mirren, Eve Best, Paul Hilton and Sean McGinley in Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra, opening at the National on 27th November.

The Theatre Royal Haymarket is holding another Masterclass season for young people who have an interest in theatre, or are keen to pursue a career in the arts. Events are open to people aged 16 and over, and are free of charge - but there is a refundable deposit required confirming the booking. The autumn series runs from 27th October to 30th November, with sessions beginning at 2.30pm and lasting around two hours. It features the following masters of their arts: Terry King - fight director, Tanika Gupta - writer, Paulette Randal - director and Gillian Anderson - actor. Further information and online booking can be found on the Theatre Royal Haymarket web site via the link from the London Venues section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Victoria Wood is developing Acorn Antiques into a stage musical; and that Simon Corble and Nobby Dimon's adaptation of John Buchan's The 39 Steps, the very British 1930s spy adventure, which includes a multiplicity of characters, train journeys, a bi-plane flight and the hero's leap from the Forth Bridge created by just four actors and very limited resources in a highly imaginative way, may finally reach the West End next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.