Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews
The Society Of London Theatre has launched its seventh 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 over 45 shows, including opera, ballet and dance, in over 40 venues, encompassing West End, fringe and suburban theatres. Tickets are at £15, £25 or £35 (according to the venue) for selected performances from 1st January to 13th February. In addition, TheatreFix is a special promotion enabling 16 to 25 year olds to buy tickets for £15. Restaurants are taking part with accompanying deals, and there are also hotels offering special mini-breaks. Further information can be found on the SOLT web site, via the link opposite below.
An arena style production of the musical The King And I, music by Richard Rodgers, book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein, adapted from the novel by Margaret Landon about a British governess who goes to the court of Siam as tutor to the King's children, with Maria Friedman and Daniel Dae Kim, directed by Jeremy Sams, with choreography by Susan Kikuchi, will play at the Royal Albert Hall from 12th to 28th June. The producer is Raymond Gubbay.
A stage adaptation of Victoria Wood's television series Dinner Ladies, set in a factory canteen in Manchester, with Andrew Dunn and Shobna Gulati from the original cast, will open at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry on 11th May.
The Shape Ticket Scheme gives deaf, disabled and elderly people access to reduced price tickets, as well as providing transport and escorts to theatre, music and other arts events. The organisation is always looking for volunteers to help further its work in a variety of ways, from office administration, to providing transport. Volunteers use their own car to take a theatregoer to and from the venue, and offer assistance and support during the event. In return, car parking fees and mileage is paid, and they get to see the show for free. Further information can be found on the Shape web site via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet.
On The Casting Couch: Richard Dreyfuss will be joined by Elizabeth McGovern and David Suchet in Complicit, opening at the Old Vic Theatre on 22nd January; and Judi Dench and Rosamund Pike will be joined by Frances Barber, Deborah Findlay, Fiona Button and Jenny Galloway in Madame de Sade, opening at Wyndham's Theatre on 18th March.
Fraser Grace's The Lifesavers, a thriller that explores what happens when the goal of a 'safe' society is pursued to its logical conclusion, directed by Paul Robinson, will play at Theatre 503 in Battersea, from 27th January. It is a co-production with the Mercury Theatre in Colchester.
In addition to its partnership with English National Opera to produce small scale experimental opera, the Young Vic will also work with Sadler's Wells to present new dance theatre. Pictures At An Exhibition, Mussorgsky's piano suite inspired by 10 paintings, will be brought to life in a collaboration between director Daniel Kramer and choreographer Frauke Requardt, opening on 13th May. It will explore themes of love and loss, possessiveness and hero worship, death and commemoration, and the elusive pursuit of ideal love.
The Rose Theatre in Kingston is staging Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol, adapted by Karen Louise Hebden, with John Ramm, Pip Donaghy, Louise Ford, Daniel Goode, Eamonn O'Dwyer, Adrian Schiller, Amit Shah and Brigid Zengeni, directed by Stephen Unwin, running until 3rd January.
New York TheatreNet: What We Do: Working In The Theater by Bo Metzler, recently published by Infinity Publishing, is an insider's behind the scenes exploration of the who, what and where of theatre life in New York. It explores where plays come from and how they get produced, the kinds of people who work in the theatre and what they do, and explains how directors, stage managers and actors, look for work, keep their jobs, and what they do when they are 'resting'. The book follows the production process through auditions, rehearsals and technical periods, from the point of view of someone who has actually worked in all areas of the theatre. It also looks at the different types of theatres and theatre companies, and explains the similar and contrasting features that make all theatre the same - yet different.
The current production at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton is Roald Dahl's Danny Champion Of The World, the story of the son of a poacher and his battle to stop the local landowner from evicting them and their caravan from his land, adapted by David Wood, with Helen Kay, Stephen Chapman, Des O'Malley, Martin Miller, Thomas Aldersley, Morgan George and Elianne Byrne, directed by Mark Babych. New year productions will include Felix Cross and Paulette Randall's Up Against The Wall, a 1970s juke box musical, directed by Randall, from 29th January; Harold Pinter's The Caretaker, which explores the relationship between two brothers when a tramp enters their lives, from 5th March; the premiere of a jazz musical Looking For Buddy, book and lyrics by Alan Plater, music by Alan Barnes, which puts a Raymond Chandleresque spin on the new Tyneside, directed by Mark Babych, from 2nd April; David Mamet's Oleanna, exploring political correctness, as an American university student accuses her male professor of sexual harassment when faced with failing her course, from 30th April; and Conor McPherson's The Seafarer, where the arrival of a stranger from the past disturbs a night of drinking and cards at a run down house in Dublin, directed by Mark Babych, from 4th June.
The spring season at the Unicorn Theatre for Children at London Bridge will include the Pilot Theatre production of William Golding's Lord Of The Flies, adapted by Nigel Williams, in which a group of schoolboys soon revert to savages when their plane crashes on a desert island, directed by Marcus Romer, from 25th February; the Travelling Light/Tobacco Factory Theatre production of Hans Christian Andersen's The Ugly Duckling, with Derek Elwood, Mark Kane, Nina Wyllie and Bob Karper, directed by Sally Cookson, from 22nd April; and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, directed by Rosamunde Hutt, from 8th May.