News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th September 2005

Rambert Dance Company is to develop a new 16.5m headquarters building on the South Bank, close to the National Theatre. Designed by architects Allies & Morrison, the six storey building will include one large principle dance studio, with retractable seating for 50 for occasional performances, two smaller dance studios, changing rooms, technical support facilities, office space, an archive resource centre and a reception area. The site has been provided by Coin Street Community Builders at a peppercorn rent, in return for which the company will run an extensive community programme. Rambert, Britain's oldest dance company, which will celebrate its 80th anniversary next year, hopes to be able to move in to the new building in the summer of 2008. Further information and images can be found on the Rambert web site via the link from Dance & Opera in the Links section of TheatreNet.

April de Angelis's bawdy comedy Playhouse Creatures, which tells the backstage story of the first female performers on the Restoration stage (including Nell Gwynne) who had to walk the fine line between fame and infamy, is in repertoire at the Theatre By The Lake in Keswick until 4th November. The company comprises Pamela Buchner, Janet Jefferies, Elizabeth Marsh, Vivienne Rowdon and Anna Stranak, directed by Stefan Escreet.

The National Theatre has broken its attendance record in the 2004/2005 season, playing to 94% capacity, amounting to nearly 800,000 people, 58,000 of them first time visitors. During the year ending in March, the company mounted 17 new main house productions and won 22 major awards. Financially, the National also experienced one of its most successful years ever, with an operating surplus of 674,000. Its Arts Council grant for 2004/2005 was nearly 15.9m, box office income 13.1m and other self-generated income 11.4m. This is partly due to the extended runs of Alan Bennett's The History Boys, which will probably be the most successful play in the theatre's history, and the second season of Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials. This golden scenario is unlikely to be repeated however, as productions in the current year have been both less well received critically and less well attended.

Concerts In Churches's autumn series of events in churches across the country, from Wimborne Minster to Eccleshall All Saints, runs from 1st October to 22nd December. Performers Cleo Laine and John Dankworth, The King's Singers, Felicity Lott and Thomas Allen, Julian Lloyd Webber and the Choir of King's College Cambridge, present a wide range of music, from English medieval to contemporary jazz. Whenever possible the performers meet with members of the audience after the concert. Further information can be found on the CIC web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Following its much feted appearance at the Edinburgh Fringe, Vanishing Point's production of Lost Ones has embarked on a national tour that includes Battersea Arts Centre on 19th and 20th October. In Shockheaded Peter vein, employing a mixture of puppetry, weird music, macabre images and theatre and film references, it is a surreal, fantastical adventure about a man whose unusual past is coming back to haunt him. The company comprises Rocio Galan, Sandy Grierson, Claire Lamont, Alasdair Macrae and Cath Whitefield. The 'living nightmare' is conceived and directed by Matthew Lenton, with songs by Alasdair Macrae, and lighting and set design by Kai Fischer.

Also on a post Edinburgh tour, Third Angel is performing a double bill of Class Of '76 , a Friends Reunited excursion as a man tries to trace all 34 children in his primary school photograph and find out what happened to them, and Hurrysickness, which explores the contemporary phenomenon of the impossibility of fitting everything you want to do in the time available. The solo shows are devised and performed by Third Angel's artistic directors Alexander Kelly and Rachael Walton.

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, continues through October and November, featuring the following masters of their arts: directors Philip Hedley and Stephen Pimlott, actor Clive Rowe, theatre company Forkbeard Fantasy, drama school director and tutor Geoffrey Colman, and writer Joe Penhall. Sessions begin at 2.30pm and last around two hours. Events are open to people aged between 17 and 30 and mature students, and are free of charge - but there is a refundable deposit required confirming the booking. Those aged over 30 who would like to attend can now subscribe to a Friends scheme. TheatreCraft 2005, a day long careers event will take place on 10th November, with workshops, talks, demonstrations and displays to enable young people to find out about non-performing careers in theatre. Further information and online booking can be found on the Theatre Royal Haymarket web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch: Victoria Hamilton, Adrian Scarborough, Caroline Sheen, David Suchet, Issy Van Randwyck and Marcia Warren will star in George S Kaufman and Moss Hart's Once In A Lifetime, directed by Edward Hall, which opens at the National Theatre on 15th December.

The Courtyard Theatre in the basement of Theatre Museum has announced further productions: Andrew Shepherd's The Trial Of Sir Henry Irving (Lately Deceased), in which the Victorian actor manager faces his final judgement, which is not quite what he expected, directed by Lucy Jameson, opening on 11th October, produced by ACS Random Productions; Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, directed by Michael Sargent, opening on 2nd November, produced by Centurion Theatre; and Suicided Man, adapted by Anna Toal from Antonin Artaud's Van Gogh - The Man Suicided By Society, which examines suicide by referencing the Dutch artist, directed by Mike Miller, opening on 29th November, produced by N1 Theatre Company.

The Oxford Samuel Beckett Theatre Trust is seeking applications for its award of up to 30,000 for emerging practitioners in experimental theatre. It will be given to the creative artist or group that submits a new bold, innovative and challenging project of outstanding merit, to help realise a fully resourced professional production. The winner will have the opportunity to perform a three week run at the Riverside Studios, plus support in financial management, contracting, press and publicity, and assistance in the long term strategic development of their work. Applications must be submitted by 24th October. Further information can be found on the OSBTT web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.