News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 17th April 2003

BAC Opera has so much to offer this year that it is splitting into two seasons, running from 8th to 31st May and 29th August to 13th September. The first group of shows are more instrumentally based, while the second group are more vocally oriented. Highlights include Kombat Opera Klubneit, an epic urban song cycle; The Latin American Roadshow, promising poetry, puppets and tango; The Clod Ensemble with Greed, inspired by the comedy and melodrama of silent films; and Newsnight: The Opera, mixing news footage with musical scores by a variety of composers. Further information can be found on the Battersea Arts Centre web site via the link from the London Venues section of TheatreNet.

The Royal Court is not letting Donmar and the Almedia hog all the film and television names that are turning to the stage, but it's confining them to the attic in the Theatre Upstairs. Tamsin Outhwaite will star in Che Walker's Flesh Wound, a London gangland story, directed by Wilson Milam, from 20th May to 7th June. Linda Robson will feature in Mick Mahoney's Food Chain, about a self made man realising that what he owns is who he is, directed by Anna Mackmin, from 23rd June to 12th July.

The Stephen Joseph Theatre Scarborough has three world premieres in its current season. Making Waves, by Stephen Clark, a family drama about a volunteer lifeboat man ignited by the return home of his son after five years away, directed by Daniel Slater, runs from 30th April to 24th May. Bedtime Stories, by Lesley Bruce, a haunting story of a woman's memories of her mother, directed by Laurie Sansom, plays from 10th June to 12th July. Sugar Daddies, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn (his 63rd play) runs from 17th July to 2nd August and from 25th August to 13th September.

Buxton Festival, centred on the spectacular Opera House designed by Frank Matcham, is celebrating its 25th anniversary by extending to 16 days, from 5th to 20th July. Highlights include new festival productions of Donizetti's Maria Padilla and Handel's Semele, and visits by Music Theatre Wales' Gwyneth And The Green Knight, The Opera Group's Candide and Opera Femina's Hansel And Gretel. The Literary Series boasts appearances by Matthew Paris, Tom Stoppard, Margaret Drabble, Michael Frayn and Claire Tomalin. Concerts and recitals include Ann Murray, Yvonne Kenny and Graham Johnson, Christopher Maltman singing Winterreise, and Mediva with Heavenly Delights And Earthly Pleasures. Further information can be found on the Buxton Festival web site via the link from the Festivals section of TheatreNet.

Christie's is holding an auction of Pop Memorabilia at its Brompton Road sale rooms on 30th April, with viewing on the preceding three days. The sale's eclectic mix includes the life size figure of Marlene Dietrich used on the cover of the Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album, signed by all four Beatles and the designer Peter Blake; a costume printed with newspaper headlines used in the film of The Who's Tommy; gold and platinum discs presented to David Bowie in his Ziggy Stardust period; Kurt Cobain's Fender Stratocaster guitar which he smashed up on stage at the Astoria Theatre in December 1989; and 95 immigration landing cards from Heathrow, bearing signatures ranging from Ray Charles, The Three Degrees and Ike and Tina Turner to Geri Halliwell, Marianne Faithfull and Kylie Minogue. Prices are expected to start from £250 - but it costs nothing to look.

The Kirov Ballet returns to Covent Garden from 21st July to 9th August, presented by Victor Hochhauser. The season consists of five programmes, including a new production of La Bayadere, and two mixed bills comprising Les Noces - Homage To Diaghilev - Chopiniana - Scheherazade and The Rite Of SpringSerenade - Etudes.

New York's legendary Carneigie Hall will open its new Zankel Hall on 12th September with a two week festival, comprising 23 events ranging across early, classical, jazz, world and pop music, featuring over 100 artists. It has been created in a space beneath the main hall, previously used as an Off Broadway theatre and more recently a cinema. The 644 seater flexible format auditorium, equipped with the latest multimedia and recording facilities, completes Andrew Carneige's original vision of one building housing three venues of different sizes, by bridging the gap between the main hall and the recital room. A series of world premieres of specially commissioned and other works will be performed during the inaugural season. Further information can be found on the Carnegie Hall web site via the link from the New York section of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch: at the Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park this year will be Issy Van Randwyck, Dale Rapley, Claire Redcliffe, Victoria Woodward, Nicholas Burns, Nick Fletcher, Peter Forbes and artistic director Ian Talbot in A Midsummer Night's Dream and The Two Gentlemen Of Verona; and Annette Mclaughlin, Tracie Bennett, Dale Rapley, Hal Fowler and Brigit Forsyth in High Society.

The 11th Hampton Court Palace Festival runs from 10th to 21st June with a series of prestige events in the specially designed theatre built in the Base Court of the Palace. Artists taking part include Jose Carreras, Darcey Bussell, Jools Holland, Elton John and Nigel Kennedy, plus Best Of The West End, Fanfare And Fireworks and °Viva Cuba! concerts. Glyndebourne style, audiences are invited to explore the Palace and picnic in the grounds, while being further entertained by costumed entertainers, either before the events or during extended supper intervals. The annual Music On A Summer Evening series of outdoor concerts at Kenwood House, Marble Hill House and Audley End House with their famous firework finales will run at weekends between 5th July and 31st August, with every kind of music from opera to Bjorn Again. Further information can be found site via links from the Festivals section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Vincent In Brixton may return to the West End when it completes its Broadway run on 4th May; that the Off Broadway success Shakespeare's R And J, about a secret production of Romeo And Juliet in a Catholic boys school, adapted and directed by Joe Calarco, which made its UK debut as part of the Bath Shakespeare Festival, will transfer to the Arts Theatre in September; that Felicity Kendal is to star in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days directed by Peter Hall in London this autumn; and that although it has yet to open, there is already talk of a West End transfer for Sam Mendes Broadway production of Gipsy with Bernadette Peters. The Rumour Machine grinds on.