News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st September 2007

The Open Rehearsal scheme, which gives the public a chance to go behind the scenes and sample London's music, theatre, dance and opera, is back for a second year, running from 27th September to 2nd October. The range of mostly free activities includes backstage tours of the Lyric Hammersmith, National, Old Vic, Royal Court, Sadler's Wells and Unicorn theatres; an Introduction to Playwriting Workshop at the Royal Court; open rehearsals at the Central School of Ballet, and of Jean Genet's The Blacks reMIXED at the Theatre Royal Stratford East; ballet classes with English National Ballet; the chance to see the technical checks and warm up before Complicite's A Disappearing Number at the Barbican; a dance workshop with Hofesh Shechter Company at Sadler's Wells; a children's music making workshop at the Lyric Hammersmith; and a family play day at the Royal Academy of Music. Further information can be found on the OR web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

What is believed to be the only copy of an unpublished one act play by Noel Coward, The Better Half, has been discovered by researchers at the British Library, who were looking into unusual small scale theatre productions in London. The play has only been staged for a short run in 1922 at the Little Theatre near Charing Cross, which was destroyed during the Blitz. It is an unconventional comedy of manners, depicting the sexual intrigue surrounding an unhappy marital couple, as the husband is about to embark on an affair with the wife's best friend. The play will be staged by The Sticking Place theatre company as part of its Terror Festival at the Union Theatre in Southwark from 16th October.

The autumn season at the New End Theatre in Hampstead will begin with a double header of Edinburgh Fringe shows, early evening performances by Natasha Wood of her one woman show written with Beverly Sanders, Natasha Wood: Rolling With Laughter, a humorous one of a kind journey through her life and into the world of someone who has been in a wheelchair since birth, directed by Cameron Watson, from 3rd October, produced by Park Ravine Productions in association with Stars + Angels, and mid evening performances of James Saunders's Retreat, a psychological drama sparked by the unexpected arrival of a young girl at a remote Welsh cottage, with Gary Mackay and Alix Wilton Regan, directed by Sophie Lifschutz, produced by Hidden Pearl Productions, from 4th October. The season will also include Candida Cave's Lotte's Journey, about the German Jewish artist Charlotte Salomon, who painted an 'autobiography' of more than 1,300 canvasses while she was in hiding in France, directed By Ninon Jerome, from 24th October, produced by Pleasure for Pleasure; and Paul Birtill's Happy Christmas, a black comedy taking a look at the worst excesses of a family during the festive season, from 27th November, produced by Saskia Willis Productions.

The Rose Theatre, the Tudor theatre whose foundations were discovered during the construction of an office building in Bankside in 1989, which were preserved and are now open to the public, is to host a resident company again, for first time since the 17th century. The Rose Theatre Trust has worked to keep the remains, which date from 1587, both a site of archaeological importance and a working theatre, with some 50 performances since 1989. Now TheATRE hE, mMe, mm is to present a season of performances at the venue between 23rd October and 15th December, including pieces by (and inspired by) former resident playwright Christopher Marlowe, alongside more modern works. Further information can be found on The Rose web site, via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

New York TheatreNet: Jerry Springer - The Opera, music by Richard Thomas, book and lyrics by Stewart Lee and Richard Thomas, in which an ordinary day for the television 'people show' host turns into a nightmare when one guest goes too far, will receive its New York premiere with concert performances, directed by Jason Moore, at Carnegie Hall on January 29th and 30th. The National Theatre production won all the London Best Musical awards in 2004. The producers are David J Foster, Jared Geller and Avalon Promotions.

The Grand Opera House Belfast production of Marie Jones's A Night In November, a solo comedy about what it means to be Irish, sparked by a football match between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, performed by Patrick Kielty, directed by Ian McElhinney, will transfer to the Trafalgar Studios 1 from 16th October.

As the picnic hampers and travel rugs are packed away for another year, Glyndebourne Touring Opera takes to the road, from Plymouth to Stoke on Trent until December, following a launch mini season of performances on its home turf from 9th to 27th October. The repertoire comprises: this season's new production of Verdi's Macbeth, directed by Richard Jones, a revival of Peter Hall's production of Britten's Albert Herring, and a new production of Donizetti's L'elisir d'amore, directed by Annabel Arden.

Stage One and the Society Of London Theatre, in association with Arts Council England, are inviting further applications for a New Producer's Bursary. The bursaries are intended to support individuals in progressing their careers as theatre producers. Successful applicants will be able to use the bursary to develop and/or present a new production, or to support themselves while being an intern at an approved producer's office. In addition to a broad package of financial assistance of up to 15,000 per applicant, the scheme also provides the benefit of an established industry figure as a mentor for the project, and possibly shared office accommodation in Central London. The closing date for this round of applications is 1st November. 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.

Prime Theatre is a new company formed by Ros and Peter Liddiard, with Edward Woodward and Michelle Dotrice as patrons, specifically to feature the talents of writers, performers and technicians who are over the age of 60. It will stage its first production, Aleksei Arbuzov's Old World, in which mature romance blossoms between a patient and doctor in a sanatorium, with Kevin Colson and Ros Liddiard, opening a national tour at the Rondo Theatre in Bath on 27th September. The show's London dates will be the opening performances at The Courtyard Theatre's new premises in Hoxton from 23rd October to 18th November.