News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 20th March 2009

It's Official! As previously forecast here, Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, about the relationships between past and present, order and disorder, and the certainty of knowledge, with Samantha Bond, Nancy Carroll, Jessie Cave, Neil Pearson, Dan Stevens and Ed Stoppard, directed by David Leveaux, will open at the Duke of York's Theatre on 11th June. The producer is Sonia Friedman.

Stephen Sondheim's first musical, Saturday Night, written in 1954, book by Julius J Epstein, adapted from the play Front Porch In Flatbush by Julius J and Philip G Epstein, directed by Tom Littler, will transfer from the Jermyn Street Theatre to the Arts Theatre from 25th March. It is the story of a group of friends in Brooklyn, New York, in 1929, one of whom hatches a get rich quick scheme that backfires and he barely escapes jail. The cast comprises Helena Blackman David Ricardo-Pearce, Joanna Hickman and Charlie Cameron. The producer is Primavera.

Forthcoming productions at Liverpool Everyman and Playhouse Theatres will include: at the Everyman: Harold Pinter's The Caretaker, which explores the relationship between two brothers when a tramp enters their lives, with Jonathan Pryce, directed by Christopher Morahan, from 2nd October; and the world premiere of Laurence Wilson's Lost Monsters, directed by Matt Wilde; and at the Playhouse: J B Priestley's When We Are Married, the classic Edwardian comedy about love, marriage and middle class propriety, with Les Dennis, Jodie McNee, Tom Georgeson, Eileen O'Brien and Polly Hemingway, directed by Ian Brown, from 30th April, a co-production with West Yorkshire Playhouse; Moliere's The Hypochondriac, in a new version by Roger McGough, directed by Gemma Bodinez, from 19th June, a co-production with English Touring Theatre; and J M Synge's The Playboy Of The Western World, the turn of the 20th century rural comedy of self discovery, directed by Garry Hynes.

On The Casting Couch: Imogen Stubbs, Annette Badland, Michael Garner, Gawn Grainger, Jonathan Guy Lewis, Chloe Newsome and Ian Talbot will feature in Michael Frayn's Alphabetical Order opening at Hampstead Theatre on 21st April; and Naomi Bentley, Simon Burke, Jonathan Cullen, Lisa Dillon, Richard Hope, Tom Mison, Phoebe Nicholls, Leah Purcell, Sargon Yelda will comprise the cast of When The Rain Stops Falling, opening at the Almeida Theatre on 21st May.

Stage One is holding another Workshop For New Producers from 25th to 27th June. This is an intensive course for anyone planning to produce or co-produce in theatre. The aim is to provide detailed information on how to set up a production at a regional theatre and bring it into the West End, for those who have not previously produced commercial plays, or have only limited experience, but posess a firm commitment to a career in theatre production. It will be conducted by leading theatre practitioners led by production doyenne Andrew Treagus. Sessions will include: acquiring rights, budgeting, co-producing, booking a tour, finding and contracting a theatre, marketing, publicity and press. The closing date for applications is 8th April. Further information and an application form can be found on the SO web site, via link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

This year's Peter Hall Company season at the Theatre Royal Bath, running from 25th June to 29th August, will comprise: a double bill of Terence Rattigan's The Browning Version, about a cowed schoolmaster who finds the courage to make a stand against his bullying headmaster and his unfaithful wife, and Anton Chekhov's Swan Song, in a new translation by Stephen Mulrine, where an elderly actor wakes up in a dress room after giving his final performance to an almost empty theatre, both directed by Peter Hall; George Bernard Shaw's The Apple Cart, in which the entire cabinet threatens to resign if the king doesn't give up the royal veto, also directed by Hall; David Storey's Home, about two senior citizens whose genteel existence is shattered by the arrival of raucous neighbours, directed by Stephen Unwin; and Michael Frayn's Balmoral, set in the royal residence in 1937, where a warden oversees a group of recalcitrant writers, and the imminent arrival of a government inspector, directed by Alan Strachan. In addition, the world premiere of Peter Gill's Another Door Closed, in which two sisters' memories of their childhood home are disrupted by a male visitor who reveals family secrets, directed by Gill, will play in the Ustinov Studio. The company will include Peter Bowles, David Calder, Janie Dee and Rik Mayall.

Stop Messing About, a stage show set at a recording of the 1960s radio comedy series featuring Kenneth Williams, Joan Sims, Hugh Paddick and Douglas Smith, using the original scripts by Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke, with Robin Sebastian, Emma Atkins, Charles Armstrong, Nigel Harrison and Keith Wic, directed by Michael Kingsbury, will open at the Leicester Square Theatre on 22nd April.

The new Theatre And Performance Galleries at the Victoria and Albert Museum are now open, displaying some 250 highlights from the collection of the former Theatre Museum in Covent Garden. They show the history, development and practice of the performing arts in Britain over the last 350 years, embracing drama, dance, opera, musical theatre, circus, rock and pop and popular entertainment. The galleries focus on the process of performance, from the initial concept, through the design and development stages, to audiences' reactions, with displays embracing costumes, set models, stage props, original posters and playbills, theatrical prints, paintings, archive performance footage and photographs. Highlights include a 1623 first folio of Shakespeare's plays; the only known Handel prompt book produced during his lifetime; an early draft manuscript of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's comedy The School For Scandal; an original 1957 poster for Look Back In Anger; the 1971 score for Jesus Christ Superstar, marked with alterations made by the musical director during rehearsals; a guitar Pete Townshend smashed during a 1970s performance with The Who; and costumes worn by performers such as Richard Burton, Margot Fonteyn, Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh.

Siobhan Davies is collaborating with Victoria Miro to present The Collection, featuring performers and artists in specially commissioned free dance and artwork events at Siobhan Davies Dance Studios and Victoria Miro Gallery from 24th March to 9th April. Further information can be found on the SDD web site, via link from Opera & Dance in the Links section of TheatreNet.