News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st January 2011

As part of the London Cultural Olympiad, Shakespeare's Globe is to stage all of Shakespeare's 38 plays in a different language over a period of 6 weeks from 23rd April 2012. The theatre will produce one of the plays, with the others being presented by international theatre companies. They will include King Lear in Australian Aboriginal languages, a Maori production of Troilus And Cressida, a Spanish Henry VIII, a Shona version of The Two Gentlemen Of Verona, an Urdu production of The Taming Of The Shrew and an Arabic musical version of The Tempest - plus Love's Labour's Lost in British Sign Language. Shakespeare's Globe has also announced that work will finally start next year on fitting out its indoor Jacobean style theatre, based a design believed to have been drawn by Inigo Jones, derived from the Blackfriars Theatre, which will allow the company to perform during the winter months. The theatre will seat around 320 people with 2 tiers of galleried seating and a pit seating area, and it is possible that performances will be lit by candlelight, although this is not yet finally decided. The first season is planned for November 2013.

Trevor Nunn is to be the artistic director at the Haymarket Theatre for the next year, beginning with Terence Rattigan's Flare Path, with Sienna Milller, set at an RAF base during the Second World War, about the relationships of a pilot, his wife and her former lover, which Nunn will direct, opening on 10th March. It is produced by Matthew Byam Shaw for Playful Productions, Tom McKitterick and the Theatre Royal Haymarket Company in association with Act Productions. The remainder of the season is expected to comprise 'a late Shakespeare', 'an early Stoppard' and the musical Follies, book by James Goldman, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, in which reunion of former Follies girls at their old theatre on the eve of its destruction brings back pleasant memories and bittersweet ghosts from their pasts.

OperaUpClose claims to be the first fringe theatre in London to run a repertory season, with its contemporary productions sung in English, playing at the King's Head Theatre in Islington until 31st March. The repertory comprises its hit production of Puccini's La Boheme, translated and adapted by Robin Norton-Hale, directed by Adam Spreadbury-Maher; Rossini's Cinderella, translated by Tony Britten, directed by Emma Rivlin; Puccini's Madam Butterfly, translated and adapted by Adam Spreadbury-Maher and Ben Cooper, directed by Spreadbury-Maher; Rossini's The Barber Of Seville adapted and directed by Robin Norton-Hale; and Leoncavallo's Pagliacci, translated and adapted by Anna Gregory.

New York TheatreNet: Atlantic Theater Company will stage Through A Glass Darkly, Jenny Worton's adaptation of Ingmar Bergman's 1961 film about a woman on a recuperative holiday with the three most important men in her life, who decides to take control of her own destiny, with Carey Mulligan, directed by David Leveaux, opening at New York Theatre Workshop, on 6th June. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway, can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Ian Marshall Fisher's Lost Musicals series, presenting neglected shows by great American Broadway theatre writers, in semi-staged performances by West End regulars on Sunday afternoons at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, has announced its 2011 season. The Band Wagon, book by George S Kaufman and Howard Dietz, music by Arthur Schwartz, lyrics by Howard Dietz, a revue written for Fred and Adele Astaire, some material from which was used in the subsequent film of the same name, will play from 27th March to 17th April; Coco, book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner, music by Andre Previn, about the fashion designer Coco Chanel in her later years as newer, younger designers began to challenge her position, from 15th May to 12th June; and Mexican Hayride, book by Herbert and Dorothy Fields, music and lyrics by Cole Porter, about a fifth rate racketeer who mistakenly becomes a Mexican hero, from 5th June to 7th August. All performances are preceded by introductory talks from guest speakers.

The Broadway show Fela!, the back catalogue biomusical about the African composer and activist Fela Anikulapo Kuti, which has just completed a season at the National Theatre, will return to London for a 6 week season at Sadler's Wells Theatre from 20th July.

On The Casting Couch: Les Dennis will feature in Alan Ayckbourn's Drowning On Dry Land, at the Jermyn Street Theatre from 22nd February; Anne-Marie Duff will be joined by Niamh Cusack, Lucy Black, Timothy Carlton, Simon Chandler, Richard Clifford, Oliver Coopersmith, Rory Fleck-Byrne, Freddie Fox, Jenny Galloway, Patrick Godfrey, Nicholas Jones, Tommy McDonnell, Lucy Robinson, Tristan Shepherd, Richard Teverson, Sarah Waddell, Michael Webber, Tristram Wymark in Terence Rattigan's Cause Celebre, opening at the Old Vic Theatre on 29th March; and Sarah Lancashire and Reece Shearsmith will be joined by Adrian Scarborough, David Bamber, Jack Edwards, Ann Emery and Mark Meadows in the Ron Cowen-Daniel Lipman-George Stiles-Anthony Drewe musical Betty Blue Eyes, opening at the Novello Theatre on 13th April.

Headlong Theatre will stage Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, with the action relocated to 1960s Hollywood, directed by Natalie Abrahami, opening a national tour at the Nuffield Theatre in Southampton on 3rd February. It is a co-production with Hull Truck.

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 February: 5th - Edinburgh International Conference Centre, 12th - Shaw Theatre, London and 19th - Contact Theatre, Manchester. Events are free. 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.

And Finally . . . The Royal Shakespeare Company's Costume Store is holding a costume sale on 12th February in Stratford on Avon, with 10,000 items of all periods on offer, including over 1,000 pairs of shoes, 500 shirts and 300 hats (Does anyone still wear a hat?). Of course the main interest will not be in the costumes themselves, but in who has worn them before. So, a light blue 18th century waistcoat worn by Charles Dance in As You Like It, a selection of shirts worn by Ian McKellen in The Seagull, or David Tennant's understudy costume from Love's Labour's Lost anyone?