News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st August 2009

The National Theatre has announced further details of its autumn season. In the Lyttelton: the previously mentioned premieres of David Hare's The Power Of Yes, a socialist analysis of the world financial crisis, and how government has dealt with its consequences, with Jasper Britton, Claire Price, Jemima Rooper, Jeff Rawle, Julien Ball, Malcolm Sinclair, Richard Cordery, Jonathan Coy, Paul Freeman, Ian Gelder, John Hollingworth, Bruce Myers, Christian Roe, Peter Sullivan, Nicolas Tennant and Simon Williams, directed by Angus Jackson, will open on 6th October; and Alan Bennett's The Habit Of Art, reflecting on growing old, creativity and the ethics of biography through an imagined meeting between Benjamin Britten and W H Auden, with Michael Gambon, Alex Jennings, Frances de la Tour, Adrian Scarborough, Stephen Wight, John Heffernan and Elliot Levey, directed by Nicholas Hytner, will open on 17th November. In the Cottesloe: Ferdinand Bruckner's Pains Of Youth, adapted by Martin Crimp, set in Vienna in 1932, centring on sexually entangled medical students who restlessly wander in and out of a boarding house, with Sian Clifford, Laura Elphistone, Cara Horgan, Jonah Russell, Geoffrey Streatfeild and Lydia Wilson, directed by Katie Mitchell, will open on 28th October; and Dr Seuss's The Cat In The Hat, adapted and directed by Katie Mitchell, aimed at 3 to 6 year olds, will open on 16th December, and then transfer to the Young Vic from 28th January.

The next production at Theatre 503 in Battersea will be Sylvia Reed's The Ones That Flutter, depicting a conversation between a prison warder and prisoner during the last few hours before his execution in an American prison, directed by Abbey Wright, opening on 15th September.

Save London's Theatres Campaign, which has helped secure the future of more than 20 threatened performance venues across the capital over the last 37 years, is to close down in November. The organisation was launched by Equity activists in 1972 as a response to the imminent threat to 16 of the West End's historic venues, including the Lyceum, London Coliseum and Garrick. It famously held a 72 hour vigil at the Shaftesbury, where actors formed a human chain to prevent it from being knocked down. Most crucially, it was successful in calling for the foundation of the Theatres Trust in 1976, which has since taken on many of the campaign's responsibilities, and become a statutory consultee on all theatre building projects. SLTC's remaining campaign funds, of around 8,000, will be given to Equity to be held in a separate account for use in any future campaigns when theatres are at risk.

The Little Angel Theatre, the home of British puppetry, is to curate Suspense: The London Puppetry Festival, from 30th October to 8th November. The first festival of its kind to take place in the capital for over 25 years, it will showcase a diverse range of contemporary work from 24 British and international practitioners, aimed at adult audiences. It will encompass all kinds of puppet performances, masterclasses and symposia at 7 venues across London. Highlights will include Bric a Brac with Richard's Love, weaving together intricate shadow puppetry and quirky mask characters; Green Ginger performing Rust, about two rival pirate radio stations, with grotesque puppets, animated sets and absurd humour; Faulty Optic with Fish Clay Perspex, a world of surreal imagery, mechanical theatre and animated objects and figures; and Movingstage Marionette Company performing Out Of The Heart Of Darkness, a marionette drama based on Joseph Conrad's diary and novella, about the influence of Europeans on Africa. Further information can be found on the Suspense web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links area of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch: Finbar Lynch, Neet Mohan, Alec Newman, Eileen Page and Jaime Winstone will feature in The Fastest Clock In The Universe, opening at Hampstead Theatre on 22nd September; Lesley Sharp, Marc Warren, Rachel Lumbert and James Cartwright will join Diana Vickers in The Rise And Fall Of Little Voice, opening at the Vaudeville Theatre on 20th October; and Jessica Hynes and Rachael Stirling will head the cast of The Priory, opening at the Royal Court Theatre on 26th November

Forthcoming productions at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston will include Sebastian Michael's Elder Latimer Is In Love, in which a Mormon falls for a Muslim, provoking a battle of faiths, with Nila Aalia, Zina Badran, Richard David-Caine, Rob Heaps and Steve Nicolson, directed by Adam Berzsenyi Bellaagh, opening on 10th September, a co-production with OptimistCreations; David Mamet's The Shawl, an exploration of trust, greed and betrayal, and the power of spiritual knowledge in a secular world, with Elizabeth McGovern, Matthew Marsh, Paul Rattray, directed by Amelia Nicholson, opening on 11th September; Lucy Kirkwood's It Felt Empty When The Heart Went At First But It Is Alright Now, about the life of Dijana Polancec: professional romantic, eternal optimist and accidental prostitute, opening on 9th October, produced in association with Clean Break Theatre Company; Thomas Kyd's The Spanish Tragedy, the story of grief, violence, and the human need for retribution, directed by Mitchell Moreno, opening on 16th October, a Doublethink Theatre production; Bryony Lavery's Origin Of The Species, a quirky comedy about an evolved woman who finds a prehistoric skeleton, which leads to a re-imagining of Darwin's theory, directed by Tom Littler, from 27th October, a Primavera production; Timberlake Wertenbaker's The Line, about Edgar Degas and his protege Suzanne Valadon, with Henry Goodman, directed by Matthew Lloyd, opening on 22nd November; and Adam Brace's A Real Humane Person Who Cares And All That, set in central Asia, where three British writers disappear after attending a local execution, sending ripples through the ex-pat community, directed by Jamie Harper, from 24th November, a Rested Theatre Company production.

Richmond Theatre in Surrey, in collaboration with The Frank Matcham Society, is holding a one day seminar on 23rd October, looking at the work of Frank Matcham, Britain's greatest theatre architect. Chaired by John Earl, former Director of the Theatres Trust, it will feature presentations from architectural, management, technical and acting perspectives, by David Wright, Karin Gartzke, Philip Bernays, David Wilmore and Timothy West, showing how Matcham theatres work in the 21st century.

The Rumour Machine says: that in addition to the previously announced film adaptation of My Fair Lady, with a script by Emma Thompson, Cameron Mackintosh also has plans for big screen versions of Les Miserables and Miss Saigon; and that Douglas Carter Beane's Tony Award winning comedy The Little Dog Laughed, possibly directed by Jamie Lloyd, and featuring Rupert Friend, is looking for a West End home late this year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.