News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 16th September 2011

The National Theatre is to stage Oliver Goldsmith's She Stoops To Conquer, the Georgian comedy of class, courtship, mistaken identity and dysfunctional families, with Sophie Thompson, Steve Pemberton and Katherine Kelly, directed by Jamie Lloyd, in January.

It has been confirmed that the current Chichester Festival Theatre production of the Betty Comden-Adolph Green-Nacio Herb Brown-Arthur Freed musical Singin' In The Rain, adapted from the film set in Hollywood in the early days of the talkies, with Adam Cooper, Daniel Crossley, Scarlett Strallen, Katherine Kingsley, Michael Brandon and Sandra Dickinson, directed by Jonathan Church, with choreography by Andrew Wright, will open at the Palace Theatre on 15th February. The producers are Stage Entertainment and Chichester Festival Theatre.

The Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park has announced its 2012 season, which will run from 18th May to 8th September, and comprise only 2 productions: the musical Ragtime, book by Terence McNally, music by Stephen Flaherty, and lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, based on EL Doctorow's epic novel, tracing the cultural, political and social changes in America at the beginning of the 20th century, through the stories of three families, and Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, both directed by Timothy Sheader and Liam Steel, playing in repertoire.

New York TheatreNet: The Transport Group will stage the premiere of the musical Queen Of The Mist, book, music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa, the story of a 63 year old woman daredevil who was the first person to survive plunging down Niagara Falls in a barrel, with Mary Testa, directed by Jack Cummings III, at the Gym at Judson Memorial Church from 18th October. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Sheridan Morley's Noel And Gertie, a revue of songs, sketches, letters and diary entries by Noel Coward and Gertrude Lawrence, with Ben Stock and Helena Blackman, directed by Thom Southerland, with choreography by Stewart Nicholls, will open at the Cockpit Theatre in Marylebone on 30th September. The producer is Danielle Tarento.

On The Casting Couch: Michael Sheen will be joined by Vinette Robinson, James Clyde, Sally Dexter and Michael Gould in Shakespeare's Hamlet, opening at the Young Vic Theatre on 9th November

Playwriting For Dummies by playwright Angelo Parra, recently published by John Wiley & Sons, aims to help writers at any stage of the process to hone their craft and create the most dramatic and effective pieces. The book is a guide through every part of the playwriting process, from crystallising story ideas, formatting the script, and understanding the roles of the director and the creative team, to marketing and financing. Professional insights on writing include how to create believable characters, plots and dialogue, and develop ideas and themes. For both aspiring playwrights looking to begin the process, and those who have already penned a masterpiece and need trusted advice to bring it into the spotlight, this book has it covered.

The Tall Stories Theatre Company production of The Gruffalo, adapted and directed by Toby Mitchell and Olivia Jacobs, from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's children's picture book, will return to the West End at the Lyric Theatre on 23rd November for an 8 week season of daytime performances. It is the tale of a mouse in a forest who invents stories about a terrifying creature to scare off predators, but then comes face to face with his imaginary creation. The producers are Kenneth H Wax and Nick Brooke.

Northern Ballet's 2011/2012 touring season will comprise a new production of Beauty And The Beast, set to a score including music by Bizet, Debussy, Poulenc and Faure, opening at the Grand Theatre in Leeds on 17th December, plus existing productions of Hamlet, Cleopatra and The Nutcracker, all choreographed by David Nixon.

Southwark Playhouse will stage Howl's Moving Castle, adapted by Mike Sizemore from the novel by Diana Wynne Jones, about a young girl transformed into an old woman by a witch, with music by Fyfe Dangerfield, mixing live action and projection, directed and designed by Davy and Kristin McGuire, opening on 2nd December. It is a co-production with Arts Collective.

Stage One is extending its Apprentice Scheme For New Producers to the subsidised sector for the first time. The scheme is an opportunity for new producers wanting to learn more about theatre production to get up to 12 months paid training in a commercial producer or subsidised theatre's production office. Applicants must have at least one year's practical experience in theatre administration or production, and be committed to a career in commercial theatre production. The award is up to 18,600 to cover expenses for the year. Applications are now being considered. Further information and an application form can be found on the Stage One web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Welsh National Opera's autumn season, which has just opened at the Millennium Centre in Cardiff, comprises a new production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, directed by John Caird, with choreography by Kate Flatt; and revivals of Rossini's The Barber Of Seville, directed by Giles Havergal; and Janacek's Katya Kabanova, directed by Katie Mitchell.

The Rumour Machine says: that Simon Gray's Quartermaine's Terms, which follows an English Language teacher at a Cambridge private school for overseas students through the terms of the academic year, with Rowan Atkinson, directed by Richard Eyre, may be returning to the West End next year, courtesy of producer Michael Codron. The Rumour Machine grinds on.