News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 20th May 2005

Covent Garden has announced its new season starting in the autumn. Royal Opera highlights include: new productions of Nielsen's Maskarade, directed by David Pountney; Rossini's Il barbiere di Sivigilia, directed by Moshe Leiser and Patrice Caurier; Mozart's Le nozzi de Figaro, directed by David McVicar; Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin, directed by Stephen Pimlott; Alfano's Cyrano de Bergerac, directed by Francesco Zambello, co-produced with the Metropolitan Opera New York; Puccini's Tosca, directed by Jonathan Kent, co-produced with Palau de les Arts Vanencia; and the completion of the new Ring Cycle with Siegfried and Gotterdammerung, directed by Keith Warner.

The Royal Ballet highlights include new productions of The Lesson choreographed by Fleming Flindt; Bournonville's La Sylphide staged by Johan Kobborg; Frederick Ashton's Les Rendezvous staged by Christopher Carr; Petipa's The Sleeping Beauty staged by Monica Mason; Andree Howard's La Fete Etrangee; Glen Tetley's Pierrot Luniare; Frederick Ashton's Homage To The Queen; and new untitled works by Matjash Mrozewski and Alastair Marriott. There will be revivals celebrating the 75th anniversary of the company's first performances at Sadler's Wells as the Vic-Wells Ballet. Further information can be found on the ROH web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Company Chordelia, the company that is not scared to make dance funny, is touring Scotland until late June with Cinderella Pilot Error!, in which Cinders is a cleaner in an airport, and Prince Charming is a pilot. Choreographer and artistic director Kally Lloyd-Jones draws on musical sources including classical and contemporary, Scottish and Indian dance, plus George Gershwin and Irving Berlin, in creating a show affirming that even in today's world, love may conquer all.

The 29th Spitalfields Festival, centred on Christ Church Spitalfields, runs from 6th to 24th June, with 40 events in 10 venues, including Wilton's Music Hall, Toynbee Hall, St Bartholomew's Hospital, and the Dutch Church, Austin Friars. The programme features a wide range of music from medieval to the newly commissioned. Performers include soloists such as Catherine Bott, James Bowman, Rachel Podger, Gary Cooper, and Melvin Tan; instrumental groups from the Vanbrugh Quartet and the Britten Sinfonia to the Concorde Ensemble, and vocal ensembles from The Cardinall's Musick and Trinity Baroque to the Choir of St John's College, Cambridge. Once again, in addition to the concerts, there are a series of free lunchtime and early evening rush hour events featuring leading young performers and composers. Plus bell ringing, fringe events, walks, talks, visits and exhibitions about the Spitalfields area and the restoration of Nicholas Hawkesmoor's Christ Church, one of the great baroque churches of Europe. Full details can be found on the Spitalfields Festival web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The new artistic director of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre is to be Dominic Dromgoole, currently artistic director of Oxford Stage Company. Mark Rylance will work alongside Dromgoole in planning next year's season, completing his ten year tenure of office on 31st December.

Agatha Christie is to be reborn for the 21st century with And Then There Were None, a new adaptation by Kevin Elyot from the original novel, directed by Steven Pimlott, heading for the West End in October, produced by Act Productions. Ten strangers are lured to an Indian island by a mysterious host, who accuses them of hiding a terrible secret - and then they are murdered one by one. The story has already had its title changed twice in advancing political correctness, and for the reality television age, the once off stage murders will be shown graphically and down centre.

The Theatre Royal Haymarket's Masterclass season for young people who have an interest in theatre, or are keen to pursue a career in the arts, continues through June and July featuring the following masters of their arts: writer/director Stephen Poliakoff, actor Anita Dobson, and actor/writer Kwame Kwei Armah, plus a panel event about musical theatre. Sessions begin at 2.30pm and last around two hours. Events are open to people aged between 17 and 30 and mature students, and are free of charge - but there is a refundable deposit required confirming the booking. Those aged over 30 who would like to attend can now subscribe to a Friends scheme. Further information and online booking can be found on the Theatre Royal Haymarket web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Eric Idle's hit Broadway musical Spamalot will open in London in September; and that Joseph Fiennes and Pam Ferris will star in John Osborne's rarely staged early play Epitaph For George Dillon (co-written with Anthony Creighton) about an artist who becomes involved with a dull suburban family, directed by Peter Gill, opening in the West End in October. The Rumour Machine grinds on.

And Finally . . . The Mill at Sonning, the dinner theatre created in an 18th century flour mill, is going back to its roots, by once again harnessing the power of the river Thames - to produce its own electricity. The hydro-electric system has cost 70,000 to install, but should save the theatre around 20,000 a year. The 18.5Kw turbine should create 162,000 units per annum, enough to satisfy the theatre's needs, and provide a small surplus to be sold to the national grid.