News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 21st November 2008

Next year's season at Shakespeare's Globe, titled Young Hearts, celebrating the heedless joy of youth and a love of life, will run from Shakespeare's birthday, 23rd April. It will comprise: Romeo And Juliet, directed by Dominic Dromgoole, opening on 30th April; As You Like It, opening on 8th June; and Troilus And Cressida, opening on 22nd July; and the premieres of a new version of Euripides's Helen by Frank McGuinness, a strange, comic, fairytale like romance, from 5th August; and Trevor Griffiths's A New World, a play with music about the life of the revolutionary Thomas Paine, from 3rd September; plus the return previous productions of Che Walker's The Frontline, a modern tale of London life on the edge, set on a Saturday night outside Camden tube, directed by Matthew Dunster, from 8th May; and Love's Labour's Lost, directed by Dominic Dromgoole, from 25th September, prior to an American tour. The separate touring company, performing pared down productions outdoors across the country, will continue with The Comedy Of Errors and A Midsummer Night's Dream. This year's season, attracted over 330,000 theatregoers to 253 performances of 8 shows, averaging 83% capacity and grossing more than 5.3m in ticket sales.

A revised version of 50 Ways To Leave Your Lover, a group of short plays and sketches on the theme of relationship breakups, by Lucy Chillery, Ben Ellis, Stacey Gregg, Lucy Kirkwood and Ben Schiffer, augmented with festive partings, again featuring Claire Keelan, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith, Ralf Little and Michelle Terry, directed by Anthea Williams, will return to the Bush Theatre on Shepherds Bush Green, opening on 10th December.

The spring season at the Peacock Theatre will include French-Canadian new circus company The 7 Fingers with Traces, which tells the stories of its members; Latin Fever, featuring Darren Bennett and Lilia Kopylova in all kinds of Latin American dance; and Jasmin Vardimon Company with Justitia, a dance theatre piece that delves into the depths of the justice system; plus return visits by Tango Fire, a journey through the history of tango; and Havana Rakatan, a celebration of the dance and music of Cuba.

This year's Spitalfields Winter Festival, centred on Nicholas Hawkesmoor's Christ Church, one of the great baroque churches of Europe, is in two parts, from 9th to 19th December, and 5th to 9th January. The festival explores the sound of the festive season through the centuries, from some of the earliest written Christmas music up to the present day, employing musical forces ranging from local residents, workers and schools, to John Eliot Gardiner and the Monteverdi Choir and English Baroque Soloists performing J S Bach's Christmas Oratorio, and soloists Anton Luzoszevieze, Rhodri Davies and Craig Ogden. All this, plus lunchtime concerts, free events, and winter walks and visits around the Spitalfields and Shorditch area. Other venues include Toynbee Hall and Bishopsgate Institute. Further information can be found on the Spitalfields Festival web site via the link from Festivals, in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Forthcoming productions at the Trafalgar Studios 2 will include Zoe Lewis's Touched... For The Very First Time, a one person comedy about a woman who has been obsessed with Madonna since the age of 14, performed by Sadie Frost, directed by David Rintoul, from 4th February, presented by ILW Productions; and New Boy, adapted and directed by Russell Labey, from the novel by William Sutcliffe, about the trials and tribulations of life in the 6th form, with Nicholas Hoult, Mel Giedroyc, Ciara Janson, Gregg Lowe and Phil Matthews, opening on 19th March, produced by Jason Haigh-Elleryand Stuart Piper.

The Royal Opera House is continuing its ROH2 series of innovative and experimental small scale dance, opera and music events, staged in the Linbury Theatre. Upcoming highlights include the premiere of The Thief Of Baghdad, a dance drama adapted by Sarah Woods from a concept by Moira Buffini, music by Paul Englishby, directed and choreographed by Will Tickett, from 10th December to 3rd January; Benjamin Britten's adaptation of John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, directed by Justin Way, from 20th to 31st January; and a double bill comprising George Benjamin's Into The Little Hill, book by Martin Crimp, retelling the fable of the Pied Piper, and Harrison Bertwhistle's Down By The Greenwood Side, text by Michael Nyman, a contemporary version of a traditional Mummer's play, directed by John Fulljames, from 14th to 19th February.

The James Menzies-Kitchin Memorial Trust is inviting applications for the 2009 Young Theatre Director's Award. The Trust was formed in 1996 with the aim of assisting young untried directors. A Bursary of 12,000 is awarded, together with help and support, and a space at the Battersea Arts Centre for three weeks next July/August to enable the recipient to direct a text, chosen from a selection of 25 classic plays, from Edward Albee to The York Mystery Cycle, made by Michael Boyd. A runner up award of 2,000 is also made. Applicants must be British theatre professionals under the age of 30 who have undergone professional performing arts training, but have directed no more than two professional productions. The deadline for applications is 5th January. Further information can be found on the JMK Trust web site via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Agatha Christie Theatre Company, a partnership between the writer's estate and producer Bill Kenwright, with exclusive rights to create new touring productions of Christie's original stage plays, has announced its fourth annual production. Spider's Web, with Denis Lill, Melanie Gutteridge, Catherine Shipton, Ben Nealon, Bruce Montague, will open a national tour at the Theatre Royal Windsor on 13th January. When the wife of a diplomat discovers a body, she attempts to dispose of it before her husband returns home with an important guest, but having persuaded her houseguests to help her, it becomes apparent that the deceased was not unknown to all of them.