News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st May 2010

Neil Simon's dark comedy The Prisoner Of Second Avenue, with Jeff Goldblum, Terry Johnson, will open at the Vaudeville Theatre on 13th July. Set in 1970s New York, it relates the experiences of a couple when the husband is made redundant and suffers a nervoius breakdown. The producers are Old Vic Productions and Sonia Friedman Productions.

Doctor Who Live, a new multimedia arena production, with optical illusions, pyrotechnics and special effects, will open a 25 date tour at Wembley Arena from 8th October. The show, created by the television series' production team, will feature some of the Doctor's greatest foes, including Daleks, Cybermen, Weeping Angels, Judoon and Oods. Actors from the television series will not appear live but will be seen as part of the multimedia element. The show will feature a 16 piece orchestra performing live.

The recent Menier Chocolate Factory productions of Willy Russell's female centred comedies will transfer to Trafalgar Studios 1, opening on 26th July, playing in repertoire. The plays comprise Educating Rita, in which a hairdresser takes an Open University course in English Literature with a disenchanted professor, with Laura Dos Santos and Tim Piggot-Smith, directed by Jeremy Sams; and Shirley Valentine, with Meera Syal as bored the Liverpool housewife talking to her kitchen, directed by Glen Walford. The producers are Chocolate Factory Productions, Sonia Friedman Productions, Tanya Link, Bob Bartner and Bob Boyett.

Meanwhile, it has been confirmed that the musical Aspects Of Love, music by Andrew Lloyd Webber, lyrics by Don Black and Charles Hart, based on the novel by David Garnett, with Michael Arden and Katherine Kingsley, directed by Trevor Nunn (who staged the West End premiere in 1989) will open at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark on 15th July. Set in 1940s France and Italy, it explores interconnected love affairs that cross generations and family lines.

The 34th Spitalfields Festival, centred on Christ Church Spitalfields, runs from 11th to 26th June, with over 70 events in 9 venues, including the Whitechapel Gallery, Shoreditch Church, Whitechapel Bell Foundry, the and new arts spaces, The Rag Factory and Village Underground. The programme features a wide range of music, including premieres such as James MacMillan's Miserere, James Weeks's Tide Trilogy, and works for the piano by Piers Hellawell; Birmingham Contemporary Music Group in David Sawer's Rumplestiltskin, directed by Richard Jones; and Renaissance and Baroque music such as Blow's Venus & Adonis and Handel's Saul. In addition to the concerts, there are free lunchtime and early evening rush hour events featuring young performers and composers, plus bell ringing, fringe events, walks, talks, visits and exhibitions about the Spitalfields area and Nicholas Hawkesmoor's Christ Church, one of the great baroque churches of Europe. Further information can be found on the Spitalfields Festival web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch: Sinead Matthews will be joined by Sean Campion, Caroline Faber and Michael Colgan in Frank Wedekind's Lulu, at the Gate Theatre in Notting Hill from 10th June; and Caroline Harker and Marshall Lancaster will head the cast of E Nesbitt's The Railway Children, opening at the former Eurostar terminal at Waterloo station on 12th July.

Stage One has announced a new investment scheme called the Start Up Fund for New Producers. The scheme aims to help kick-start the careers of new commercial theatre producers by awarding them 25,000 investment into a West End or commercial touring production. Applications are only accepted from producers that have already been awarded a place on the Stage One Workshop, Apprentice Scheme or received a Bursary. The Start Up Investment will have to be matched with additional investment raised by the new producer, giving them a minimum 50,000 stake in a new production. Applicants will not normally have more than 2 commercial productions to their name. The aim is to invest in 4 individuals per annum. When the annual funds have been spent, the scheme will be closed for applications until the start of the next cycle. The Start Up Fund has been established by contributions from many theatre suppliers, agents, businesses and individuals. Further information and an application form can be found on the Stage One web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Kneehigh Theatre Company is to celebrate its 30th anniversary with revivals of its productions of The Red Shoes, based on the Hans Christian Andersen story; Blast!, about a Cornish man who reaches the end of his tether and takes the law into his own hands; and The King of Prussia, telling the story of a notorious Cornish smuggler and the cruel, beautiful woman who ruins him, performed in a specially commissioned dome tent called The Asylum. The tent, which cost 820,000 to create, and will hold audiences of between 250 and 1,000, will initially be located in a field near Truro from 27th July to 29th August, after which it is expected to tour.

Craig Higginson's Dream Of The Dog, a violent confrontation between a colonial couple and their ex-servant in contemporary South Africa, with Janet Suzman, Ariyon Bakare, Gracy Goldman and Bernard Kay, directed by Katie McAleese, will transfer from the Finborough Theatre in Earl's Court to Trafalgar Studios 2, opening 27th May. It is a co-production with Meeting Point Productions.

Longborough Festival Opera, one of the 'alternative Glyndebournes', presents its 21st season, running from 17th June to 31st July. It comprises new productions of Mozart's Don Giovanni, directed by Jenny Miller; Puccini's Madama Butterfly, directed by Richard Studer; and Wagner's Die Walkure, directed by Alan Privett; plus a Young Artists' concert featuring scenes from various operas. In order to accommodate a dinner interval performances generally begin at 6.30pm. Further information can be found on the LFO web site, via the link from Dance & Opera in the Links section of TheatreNet.