News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th March 2003

The Royal Opera House has announced its second ROH Too series of innovative and experimental small scale dance, opera and music events, staged in the Linbury Studio Theatre, Clore Studio Upstairs and Vilar Floral Hall. These range from visits by outside companies, such as Music Theatre Wales with the London premiere of Gwyneth And The Green Knight, a new musical slant on an Arthurian tale by Lynne Plowman and Martin Riley; through the Vilar Young Artists Programme in a dramatisation of Hugo Wolf's The Italian Song Book; and Sunday afternoon recitals by soloists of the Royal Opera House Orchestra; to Outside In 3, where independent contemporary choreographers collaborate with classically trained Royal Ballet dancers to create new work; and even Tea Dances with the New Covent Garden Band. Full details can be found on the ROH web site via the link from the London Venues section of TheatreNet.

The Finborough Theatre reopens in April after a six month refurbishment with the British premieres of three North American plays: Harry Kondoleon's Christmas On Mars, a comic portrait of bad manners in pursuit of love, with Justin Brett, Janie Dowding, Andy Spiegel and Joan Walker, directed by Joss Bennathan, from 1st to 26th April; Colleen Wagner's award winning The Monument, examining retribution and forgiveness in the context of contemporary warfare, directed by Helen Eastman, from 29th April to 17th May; and Tennessee Williams Something Cloudy, Something Clear, about what happens when the solitary existence of a playwright on the edge of his first Broadway success is torn apart, directed by Tamara Harvey, from 21st May to 14th June.

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Michael Brandon will play the title role in the National Theatre production of Jerry Springer - The Opera, heading a company of 36, most of whom are 'fresh blood' following the National's first ever open auditions. The now almost legendary show, by Richard Thomas and Stewart Lee, with Lee directing, in which trailer trash sing their stories, opens on 24th April.

The stage adaptation of Summer Holiday is back on the road, opening at Theatre Royal Plymouth on 3rd April. It features Suzanne Shaw, Stefan Booth, Christopher Biggins, Dougal Irvine and Aimi MacDonald. The show is directed by Michael Gyngell, choreographed by Gillian Gregory, and presented by Richard Temple and Bill Kenwright. Let's hope that the congestion charge will thwart its attempt to park in the West End.

The London Symphony Orchestra is celebrating the opening of a new 18m home for its education programme on 27th March with a week long festival, which will include the world premiere of A Deep But Dazzling Darkness, a violin concerto by James MacMillan. The centre has been built in St Luke's Church in Old Street, near the LSO's home at the Barbican Centre. A Grade I listed Nicholas Hawksmoor church built in 1728, it had been derelict for over forty years, after bomb damage during the Second World War. LSO St Luke's will not only provide a resource for music education, but it is also a striking venue for smaller scale performances, live recordings and rehearsals. State of the art communication technology enables it to be linked with other venues across the UK and abroad for multi-site projects. Further information can be found on the LSO web site via the link from the Dance, Opera & Orchestras section of TheatreNet.

The revolutionary Australian dance show Tap Dogs is returning to the UK, starting a regional tour at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 26th March. The 'six guys from a building site' dressed in Blundstone boots and jeans, tap, stomp, jump, grind and splash their way through a series of routines created by choreographer Dein Perry and director Nigel Triffitt. They have become a world wide phenomenon - even making it to the BBC1 ident.

Theatre Underground, a new Off West End theatre space, created in the crypt of St Andrew's Church, Holborn Circus opens on 26th March with David Williams Warcrime. The play is a courtroom style confrontation between a young waitress killed by a stray bomb and the pilot responsible for her death, with Penny Layden, Robert Atiko, Caroline Lintott, Vickie Glass, Tim Block, Caroline Lena-Olsson, David Gyasi, Simon Annand, Dave Gibbons and Rosie Ifould.

Following the previously mentioned reading at St Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn last November, Al Pacino and Marisa Tomei will star in a full scale Broadway production of Oscar Wilde's Salome at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre this spring, directed by Estelle Parsons. Dianne Wiest and David Strathairn also took part in the reading, but their participation is not confirmed. The play retells tells the Biblical story of the lustful and revengeful triangular relationship of King Herod, his stepdaughter Salome, and John The Baptist. As the producer is Robert Fox, there is speculation that the production may come to the West End.

Routes To New Revenue is a one day course to be held by the Theatrical Management Association to help venues to support their performances by finding new ways of increasing income through non-core activities. These include the areas of catering, merchandising, conferences and business tourism as well as box office. It will take place at the Patrick Centre, Birmingham Hippodrome on 10th April, and speakers will include: Adam Renton - Commercial Manager of the Alhambra Theatre Bradford; Carlos Candell - Chief Executive of Global Entertainment Media; Michael Rose - Theatre Producer; Tony Rogers - British Association of Conference Destinations; and Paul Turnock - General Manager of TicketPlan. Further information can be found on the TMA web site via the link from the Organisations section of TheatreNet.