News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 20th April 2007

English National Opera has announced its 2007/8 season at the London Coliseum. It will include new productions of Bizet's Carmen, directed by Sally Potter; Monteverdi's The Coronation Of Poppea, directed by Chen Shi-Zheng; Lehar's The Merry Widow; Donizetti's Lucia di Lammermoor, directed by David Alden; Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier, directed by David McVicar; and Leonard Bernstein's Candide, directed by Robert Carsen; plus the UK premieres of Verdi's Aida, directed by Jo Davies; and Britten's The Turn Of The Screw, directed by David McVicar. There will also be revivals of Nicholas Hytner's production of Mozart's The Magic Flute; Jonathan Miller's production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado; and Anthony Minghella's production of Puccini's Madam Butterfly. In a new collaboration, ENO will stage the UK premiere of Lost Highway, adapted from the David Lynch film, with music by Olga Neuwirth and libretto by Elfriede Jelinek, directed by Diane Paulus; and a new production of Harrison Birtwhistle's Punch And Judy, directed by Daniel Kramer, at the Young Vic.

Behind The Scenes: The Hidden Life Of Georgian Theatre 1737-1784 offers an insight into the theatrical world of the 18th century. It takes visitors behind the scenes, into areas such as the Green Room and performers dressing rooms. More specifically, it explores the lives of Samuel Johnson (of dictionary fame) and the actor manager David Garrick, two of the London theatre world's most influential characters. Among the items on display are Garrick's powder puff and dressing room mirror, and Johnson's contract for the preparation of his 1765 edition of Shakespeare's plays, along with tickets, playbills and other memorabilia. The exhibition is accompanied by a comprehensive series of Georgian theatre related events, including tours, lectures, performances and workshops. It runs at Dr Johnson's House, Gough Square, London, until 18th September.

The National Theatre of Scotland has established a record by announcing a London transfer for its Edinburgh Festival production four months before the Festival begins. Euripides's The Bacchae, in a new version by David Greig, with Alan Cumming, directed by John Tiffany, which will open at the King's Theatre in Edinburgh on 11th August, will play at the Lyric Theatre Hammersmith from 5th September. The god of wine and dance has lured the women of Thebes away to Mount Cithaeron, but the young king Pentheus disguises himself as a woman and tries to get them to return home.

New York TheatreNet: The Broadway producers Boyett Ostar Productions has renewed for a further year its $450,000 annual 'first look' arrangement with the National Theatre, which began in 2003. This gives Boyett Ostar the first option to transfer any of the National's production to New York. So far this has resulted in Broadway stagings of Tom Stoppard's Jumpers, Michael Frayn's Democracy, Martin McDonagh's The Pillowman, Alan Bennett's The History Boys, and currently previewing, Helen Edmundson's adaptation of Jamila Gavin's Coram Boy, with Conor McPherson's The Seafarer scheduled for this autumn.

The 60th Aldburgh Festival will run from 8th to 24th June. Among the highlights will be a production of Britten's Death In Venice, directed by Yoshi Oida, with Alan Oke, Peter Sidhom and William Towers; the premiere of Elephant And Castle, a promenade opera incorporating film, digital sounds, installations and live performance, about two children lost in a shopping centre and their parents search for them, directed and devised by Tim Hopkins, music by Mira Calix and Tansy Davies, and text by Blake Morrison; The Masque Of Mements, recreating Masques from the courts of James I and Charles I, with Sophie Daneman, William Purefoy, James Gilchrist and Roderick Williams; and The Recycled Orchestra, an outdoor scratch performance using anything that can be struck or blown, under the direction of George Fothergill and Simon Limbrick. As well as performances, there will be films, workshops, lectures, masterclasses, walks and other outdoor events. Further information can be found on the Aldburgh web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch: Christopher Cazenove, Barry Cryer, Les Dennis and Angela Rippon will share the narrator's role alongside Abbie Osman, Alasdair Harvey and Josie Walker in David Kernan's revue Side By Side By Sondheim, opening at The Venue on 1st May; Kenneth Cranham and Rosamund Pike will be joined by Andrew Woodall and Rowena Cooper in Patrick Hamilton's Gaslight, opening at the Old Vic Theatre on 14th June; and Anne-Marie Duff will be joined by Oliver Ford Davies, Paterson Joseph, Angus Wright and Paul Ready in George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, opening at the National Theatre on 11th July.

The summer season at the Unicorn Theatre for Children at London Bridge includes Billy The Kid, about a boy whose career playing football for Chelsea is interrupted by the Second World War and its consequences, opening on 18th May; the return of Blue, a multi sensory installation of light, video images and blues music, created by Oily Carte for young people with complex disabilities or an Autistic Spectrum Disorder, opening on 6th June; Olga The Brolga, an Australian dance tale capturing the magic of the Aboriginal Dreamtime, opening on 13th June; the Young Person's Theatre Company with Flamingo Blues, a musical story of murder, corruption and double cross in the Chicago of 1952, opening on 18th July; and Baby Balloon, an interactive exploration of the senses of touch, sound, smell and sight by Oily Carte, opening on 15th August.

Oxford based Creation Theatre Company divides its time between performing Shakespeare seasons indoors at the BMW car factory in Cowley in winter, and outdoors in the summer. This year it is presenting Hamlet, directed by Gari Jones; and The Taming Of The Shrew, directed by Heather Davies; plus The Oxford Passion, a contemporary Mystery Play, directed by Charlotte Conquest, in the Castle Garden and Unlocked Castleyard at Oxford Castle, from 1st June to 8th September. Further information can be found on the CTC web site, via the link from Theatre Companies in the Links section of TheatreNet.