News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 14th October 2011

Noel Coward's Hay Fever, with Lindsay Duncan, Jeremy Northam, Kevin McNally and Olivia Colman, directed by Howard Davies, will open at the Noel Coward Theatre on 23rd February. It is the story of a weekend at the country retreat of a bohemian actress, her writer husband, and their two adult children, all of whom behave extravagantly badly in front of their mystified house guests. Coward wrote the play in three days, allegedly based on the home life of American actress Laurette Taylor. The producer is Cameron Mackintosh.

Physical theatre company DV8 will return to the National Theatre with a limited run of 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.

New York TheatreNet: The names of this year's thespians to be inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame have been announced. They are actors Tyne Daly and Ben Vereen, director Daniel Sullivan, costume designer Ann Roth, and producers George White, Elliot Martin and Woodie King Jr, with director Paul Sills inducted posthumously. The 41st annual ceremony will be held at the Gershwin Theatre on January 30th, hosted by Estelle Parsons. The Hall of Fame was created to honour performers and creatives who have made a lasting impression in American theatre. To be eligible for induction, a candidate must have a career that spans 25 years, with at least 5 major stage credits. Membership is marked by a plaque in the North Rotunda in the lobby of the Gershwin Theatre. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

A new production of the musical The Phantom Of The Opera, book and music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Charles Hart, book and additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe, will open a national tour at the Theatre Royal Plymouth from 25th February. The producers are Cameron Mackintosh and the Really Useful Theatre Company.

Commercial producers and Arts Council England are lobbying the government to introduce American style tax relief that would allow theatre investors to write off losses against income tax. The Treasury has just finished consulting on proposals aimed at extending tax benefits on investment by business angels for small and start-up businesses across all sectors. However, in its response, ACE has called on the government to launch a separate review looking specifically at tax breaks for all the creative industries - including theatre - claiming there is a need for a detailed review of the evidence base on the different forms, levels and instruments in this sector. It also wants the government to introduce additional tax incentives making investment in high-risk enterprises more attractive for investors.

The Print Room in Notting Hill will stage Mike Poulton's Judgement Day, a new adaptation of Henrik Ibsen's When We Dead Awaken, a semiautobiographical portrait of an aging artist, restless with his art, his homeland and his married life, directed by James Dacre, opening on 21st November.

The latest exhibition at the Royal Opera House is A Tribute To Dame Joan Sutherland, running until 11th February. The display gives a comprehensive overview of the legendary soprano's career, from its beginning with the Covent Garden Opera Company in 1952, through her landmark performance in Lucia di Lammermoor in 1959, to her farewell appearance on the Covent Garden stage in 1990. Items on view include costumes, headdresses and jewellery from productions such as Lucrezia Borgia designed by Michael Stennett, and La traviata designed by Franco Zeffirelli, plus photographs, programmes and posters that recall some of her most celebrated roles at the Royal Opera House.

Lizzie Nunnery's The Swallowing Dark, with Allyson Ava-Brown and Wil Johnson, about a Zimbabwian refugee's attempt to seek sanctuary in Britain, directed by Paul Robinson, will play at Theatre 503 in Battersea, from 1st November.

The Puppet Theatre Barge, currently moored at its home in Little Venice, opens its winter season on 22nd October with daytime half term performances of a double bill for children comprising The Three Pigs And The Wolf and Captain Grimey, a humorous cautionary tale about the dirtiest sea captain in the world, told with rod puppets. An adult production, The Money Game, a new marionette spectacle examining the global economic crash, will play evening performances from 31st October. The 50 seater theatre created on a canal barge, now in its 29th season, presents marionette and rod puppet spectacles throughout the year. The company also runs schools workshops. Further information can be found on the PTB web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

A new musical, Burlesque, book and lyrics by Adam Meggido and Roy Smiles, music and direction by Adam Meggido, centred on a blacklisted comedian working in a run down Burlesque show at the height of the McCarthy anti-Communist witch-hunt, with Linal Haft, Buster Skeggs, Jon Paul Hevey, Chris Holland, Alicia Davies, Victoria Serra, Sinead Mathias and Jeremiah Harris Ward, choreographed by Cressida Carre, will open at the Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly, on 8th November. The producer is Danielle Tarento.

The spring season at Nottingham Playhouse will include the (allegedly) final return of the comedy with music Forever Young by Erik Gedeon, adapted by Giles Croft and Stefan Bednarczyk, in which the inmates of a theatrical retirement home behave badly, performing rock 'n' roll classics, from 29th February; and Shakespeare's Romeo And Juliet, directed by Rupert Goold, from 13th March, a co-production with Headlong and Nuffield Theatre Southampton.