News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th April 1997

The Ken Hill Memorial Trust is to offer a biennial Musical Theatre Award to help nurture new writing. The award will be a total of 5,000 for the winner - 1000 in cash, with the balance going towards the production costs of a week's showcase at the Theatre Royal Stratford East, where many of Ken Hill's works were premiered. In addition, royalties will be paid for the showcase. The trustees also hope to offer small cash prizes to up to five runners up. For an application form send a stamp addressed envelope to: Tony Readwin, 17 Milton Court, Carrara Wharf, London SW6 3UJ. But hurry - the closing date for submissions is 6th June.

The Gielgud Theatre is in for a busy summer. Romance Romance closes on 19th April, and An Evening With Jack Dee will be in residence from 12th May to 21st June. A transfer of Shopping And Fucking, which has already played two seasons at the Royal Court Upstairs/Ambassadors, opens on 26th June, and this will be followed by the Reduced Shakespeare Company with The Complete Word Of God (Abridged) in August.

Details have been announced of the re-opening of the Barbican Theatre in September. The Royal Opera will stage a five week season, with three productions which have been specially designed for the new venue - Handel's Giulio Cesare, Rameau's Platee and Britten's The Turn Of The Screw. This will be followed by a new production from the Ninagawa Company entitled Shintoku-Maru, prior to the return of the RSC.

On The Casting Couch: Divouce Me Darling, Sandy Wilson's follow up to The Boyfriend at Chichester in July will have the all star line up of Tim Flavin, Ruthie Henshall, Marti Webb, Rosemarie Ford, Linzi Hateley, Joan Savage and Liliane Montevecchi; and Genet's The Maids at the Donmar Warehouse in June will feature Niamh Cusack and movie actress Kerry Fox in her London stage debut.

The final figure for attendances at West End theatres in 1996 was 11,179,326, producing a gross box office revenue of 229,016,639. Figures for the first two months of 1997 show a 4% rise on the same period in 1996.

The Rumour Machine says: that Staying On the adaptation of Paul Scott's Booker Prize winning novel has now been postponed until the Autumn due to the lack of a suitable venue; and that Zoe Wanamaker in Elektra will transfer from Chichester to the Donmar Warehouse in October. The Rumour Machine grinds on.