News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 18th December 2009

The Edinburgh Fringe has launched its annual nationwide Roadshow of seminars to give would be producers an idea of what is involved in taking part. Dates and locations are: in January: 17th - Barrow Street Theatre, New York; February: 6th - Shaw Theatre, London, 13th - Edinburgh International Conference Centre, 20th - City Inn Hotel, Manchester; and March: 2nd - Fringe Artists' Bar, Adelaide. Events are free and do not require booking in advance. Registration for shows opens on 1st March, and the final deadline for inclusion in the Fringe Programme is 21st April. Further information about the Fringe and these events can be found on the Fringe web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Hampstead Theatre in Swiss Cottage has announced two additions to its spring season. Out of Joint's production of Sebastian Barry's Andersen's English, which imagines a visit by Hans Christian Andersen to the home of Charles Dickens, with Niamh Cusack, Lisa Kerr, Rose Leslie, Alastair Mavor, Kathryn O'Reilly, David Rintoul, Danny Sapani, directed by Max Stafford-Clark, will open on 8th April; and Jonathan Harvey's Canary, exploring the changing attitudes towards homosexuality in Britain over five decades, directed by Hettie MacDonald, will play from 17th May, a co-production with English Touring Theatre, and Liverpool Everyman/Playhouse.

Forthcoming productions at the Leicester Square Theatre will include Reza de Wet's Miracle, with Susannah York, in which six characters are in search of redemption, and only a miracle can save them, from 5th January, a Ruby In The Dust production; and John Godber's Bouncers, in which four actors play forty characters between them (female as well as male) in the story of a night out in a Northern nightclub, with Luke Stevenson, David Bauckham, Simon Higgins and Antony Law (who also directs), from 29th January.

The spring season at the Queen's Theatre Hornchurch will include Graham Greene's Travels With My Aunt, adapted by Giles Havergal, a comedy adventure in which a retired banker is embroiled in a world of crime, intrigue and espionage by his eccentric aunt, opening on 8th February; Patricia Highsmith's The Talented Mr Ripley, adapted by Phyllis Nagy, a 1950s psychological thriller of assumed identity, opening on 15th March; Jane Austen's classic romance Sense And Sensibility, adapted by Roger Parsley and Andy Graham, opening on 19th April; and the musical Camp Horror, book, music and lyrics by the Heather Brothers, in which a group of students at a summer camp find rehearsals of their horror musical interrupted by real murders, opening on 24th May.

Automats, Taxi Dances, and Vaudeville: Excavating Manhattan's Lost Places Of Leisure by David Freeland, recently published by New York University Press, uncovers some of the forgotten but still visible treasures of New York's offbeat, and sometimes seamier, underside. In 'the city that never sleeps' both native New Yorkers and tourists have played hard in ever changing ways for centuries. However, Manhattan's fast pace of change means that many of the beautifully constructed and incredibly ornate buildings that housed their entertainments have disappeared, and with them a rich history. Now, with David Freeland as a guide, it is possible to uncover skeletons of New York's lost monuments to its nightlife. With a keen eye for architectural detail, Freeland opens doors, climbs onto rooftops, and gazes down alleyways to reveal the remaining hidden gems of 19th and 20th century entertainment industry. From the Atlantic Garden German beer hall in present day Chinatown, to the city's first motion picture studio - Union Square's American Mutoscope and Biograph Company - to the Lincoln Theater in Harlem, Freeland situates each building within its historical and social context, bringing to life an old New York that took its diversions seriously.

The winter season at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow will include the premiere of Douglas Maxwell's Promises Promises, a thriller inspired by true events, telling what goes on behind the doors of a seemingly ordinary classroom, performed by Joanna Tope, directed by Johnny McKnight, from 3rd February, a Random Accomplice production; Adrian Mitchell's adaptation of Gogol's The Government Inspector, about a corrupt small town mayor who mistakes a penniless nobody for an undercover government inspector, directed by Gerry Mulgrew, from 11th February, a co-production with Communicado; and Martin Crimp's The City, a darkly comic mystery in which three characters fight to make sense of a surreal and collapsing world, with Selina Boyack, Gabriel Quigley and Ronnie Simon, directed by Andy Arnold, from 19th February.

The 10th annual The Night Of 1000 Voices charity event celebrating musical theatre, at Royal Albert Hall on 7th May, will honour the 80th birthday of composer and lyricist Stephen Sondheim. It will feature Kerry Ellis, Philip Quast and Adam Pascal, accompanied by the City of London Philharmonic and the massed choirs of Sing Live UK and USA. The beneficiary will be Leukaemia Research.

The Black And White Rainbow Theatre Company production of Lope de Vega's Madness In Valencia, translated by David Johnston, a farce in which a man fleeing the law and a woman fleeing an arranged marriage take refuge in an asylum, directed by Simon Evans, will open at the Trafalgar Studios 2 on 11th February.

New York TheatreNet: It has now been confirmed that the Chichester Festival Theatre/Royal Court Theatre/Headlong Theatre production of Lucy Prebble's Enron, based on the scandal surrounding the fraudulent activities of the U.S. energy company, directed by Rupert Goold, will open at the Broadhurst Theatre on 27th April. It will feature a new all American cast. The producers are Jeffrey Richards, Jerry Frankel, Matthew Byam Shaw, Act Productions, Caro Newling for Neal Street Productions and the Shubert Organization.

The spring season at the Octagon Theatre in Bolton will include Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by David Thacker, from 4th February; Les Smith and Martin Thomasson's And Did Those Feet, looking at the ability of football to bring people together in 1920s Bolton, from 11th March; Trevor Griffiths's Comedians, about a group of would be stand-ups learning the craft, directed by David Thacker, from 15th April, a co-production with Life Theatre; Ayub Khan-Din's Rafta, Rafta, based on Bill Naughton's All In Good Time, following the aftermath of a wedding in Bolton's Asian community, from 2nd April; and the musical The Hired Man, music by Howard Goodall, book and lyrics by Melvyn Bragg, adapted from his novel about life in a rural Cumbrian community shortly before the First World War, directed by David Thacker, from 10th June.