News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st October 2011

The spring season in Sheffield Theatres will include in the Crucible: William Congreve's Restoration comedy The Way Of The World, directed by Lyndsey Turner opening on 7th February; Michael Frayn's Democracy, about the relationship between West German chancellor Willy Brandt and his personal assistant Gunter Guillaume, who was a spy for the East German Stasi, directed by Paul Miller, from 8th March; and Harold Pinter's Betrayal, the semi autobiographical play about adultery, whose story unfolds backwards, with John Simm, directed by Nick Bagnall, opening on 22nd May; in the Lyceum: Michael Frayn's Copenhagen, in which German nuclear physicist Werner Heisenberg visits Danish colleague Niels Bohr in Nazi occupied Copenhagen to discuss developments in atomic research, directed by David Grindley, from 29th February; and in the Studio: Michael Frayn's Benefactors, a tragicomedy tracing the relationship of two neighbouring professional couples over a period of fifteen years, the fortunes of one rising, while in the other an architect sees his idealistic dreams frustrated by politics, directed by Charlotte Gwinner, from 1st March. Sheffield Theatres has also announced that it is to become the new home of the International Student Drama Festival, running from 22nd to 30th June.

Thomas Middleton and William Rowley's The Changeling, the Jacobean psychological tragedy prompted by obsessive love, with David Caves, Rob Heaps, James Northcote, Fiona Hampton, Sophie Cosson and Jonathan Brenda, directed by Micheal Oakley, will open at Southwark Playhouse on 7th November. The produces are Tom Powis and Emily Vaughn-Barratt for The Production Works.

Plans have been submitted for the redevelopment of the site of the former Astoria Theatre in Charing Cross Road, demolished in order for the construction of the east west Crossrail link at Totteham Court Road station. The plans include theatre (a statutory requirement already pre-approved), which will be a 350 seater flexible configuration space, including in the round capability, designed by Ian Albery, to be operated by Nimax Theatres, plus shops, offices, flats and nightclub. Building will not start until work on Crossrail has been completed, which is scheduled for 2017.

New York TheatreNet: The annual Brits Off Broadway Festival, which will run at 59E59 Theatres from November 1st to January 1st, will include: Neighbourhood Watch, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, a cautionary tale of the dangers of taking the law into your own hands; Farm Boy, Michael Morpurgo's sequel to War Horse, capturing life on a rural Devon farm between the World Wars, adapted and directed by Daniel Buckroyd; and George Orwell's Burmese Days, a portrait of the dark side of the British Raj, adapted and directed by Ryan Kiggell. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Christie's is holding a sale of Rock & Pop Memorabilia at 85 Old Brompton Road, London, at 1pm on Sunday 15th November, with viewing on 12th, 13th and 14th November. It will feature over 200 items, including programmes, posters, tickets, lyric sheets, letters, photographs and autographs of major performers of various eras, plus items including clothes worn by James Brown, Marc Bolan and Michael Jackson, guitars owned by Eric Clapton, Pete Townshend and James Brown, Sex Pistols promotional T-Shirts, and gold records by Pink Floyd and Status Quo. Further information can be found on the Christie's web site via the link from The Emporium in the Links section of TheatreNet.

On The Casting Couch: Harry Hepple, Ian Kelsey, Matt Rawle and Frances Ruffelle will head the cast of the Stephen Schwartz-Roger O Hirson musical Pippin, opening at the Menier Chocolate Factory on 7th December.

Forthcoming productions at the Little Angel Theatre in Islington, the 'National Theatre' of British puppetry, will include A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings, inspired by a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, about a startling world of ruined beauty and magic reality, written by Anna Maria Murphy, directed by Mike Shepherd, produced in collaboration with Kneehigh Theatre, from 19th November; and Goldilocks, using table-top puppetry, directed by Marleen Vermeulen, from 7th December.

TheatreCraft, the free annual event where 17 to 25 year olds can discover all about the exciting non-performance career opportunities in theatre, will take place at the London Coliseum from 9.30am to 4.30pm on 28th November. It provides an opportunity to explore the many skills involved in staging a production through workshops, talks, demonstrations, the opportunity to meet representatives from theatres, production companies, training institutions, unions and other professional bodies, and one-to-one advice sessions. Further information and online booking can be found on the TheatreCraft web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Forthcoming productions at the Finborough Theatre in Earls Court will include Dawn King's Foxfinder, a darkly comic exploration of belief, desire and responsibility, sparked by the arrival of a fox exterminator at a farm, directed by Blanche McIntyre, opening on 1st December; and Tash Fairbanks and Toby Wharton's Fog, about a father's attempts to reconnect with his children whom he put into care 10 years earlier, directed by Che Walker, opening on 5th January, produced by AGF Productions.

The Rumour Machine says: that the current Chichester Festival Theatre production of the Hugh Wheeler-Stephen Sondheim musical Sweeney Todd, the Victorian melodrama about the demon barber of Fleet Street, with Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, directed by Jonathan Kent, with choreography by Denni Sayers, may transfer to the Adelphi Theatre in March; and that the current touring production of the Cheri/Bill Steinkellner-Alan Menken-Glenn Slater musical Sister Act, adapted from the film about a disco singer fleeing the mob, who is given protective custody in a convent, may return to the West End next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.