News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd January 2010

The National Theatre has announced further productions for the spring and summer. In the Olivier: Thomas Middleton's Jacobean tragedy Women Beware Women, with Harriet Walter and Samuel Barnett, directed by Marianne Elliott, opening on 27th April; the premiere of Moira Buffini's Welcome To Thebes, directed by Richard Eyre, opening on 22nd June; Georg Buchner's Danton's Death, about the struggles between the leading figures in post Revolutionary France, in a new version by Howard Brenton, with Toby Stephens, directed by Michael Grandage, opening in July; and Shakespeare's Hamlet, with Rory Kinnear and Clare Higgins, directed by Nicholas Hytner, opening in September. In the Lyttelton: Terence Rattigan's After The Dance, a satirical social drama about 'bright young things' and their failure to politically engage, directed by Thea Sharrock, opening on 8th June; the return of Alan Bennett's The Habit Of Art, with a new cast in July; and a new play by J T Rogers, directed by Howard Davies, opening in September.

In the Cottesloe: the Royal Theatre Northampton productions of Eugene O'Neill's Beyond The Storm, a story of youthful dreams crashing into reality, and the human spirit being tested almost beyond endurance, and Tennessee Williams's Spring Storm, in which a young woman's choice between two men, one wild and the other safe, has consequences for her debt ridden family, directed by Laurie Sansom, opening on 7th April; and the premieres of Drew Pautz's Love The Sinner, about the ordination of gay priests, directed by Matthew Dunster, opening on 11th May; Mike Bartlett's Eathquakes In London, laying the blame for global warming, directed by Rupert Goold, opening in August, a co-production with Headlong Theatre; and a piece devised, written and directed by Neil Bartlett and Handspring Puppet Company, performed by Basil Jones and Adrian Kohler, opening in September. Long term plans include Mary Shelley's Frankenstein, adapted by Nick Dear, directed by Danny Boyle; and Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, with Rebecca Hall, directed by Peter Hall.

The Tricycle Theatre in Kilburn has added a further play to its Irish season. The Livin' Dred Theatre Company production of Pat McCabe's The Dead School, about the struggle between the forces of change and tradition in a school in the 1970s, with Sean Campion, Carrie Crowley, Peter Daly, Gemma Reeves and Nick Lee, directed by Padraic McIntyre, will run from 22nd February

Arts Council England has unveiled proposals for a new 'politician-proof' 10 year plan that would see a radical shake up of its funding system, including allowing grant applications from commercial theatre companies for the first time in decades. The arts sector is being asked to voice its views on a consultation paper, Achieving Great Art For Everyone, which will be taken into account by ACE before a final strategy framework is published later in 2010, after the general election. This action is in response to criticisms of the Arts Council's handling of its last investment strategy, in the hope it will help avoid the clashes that occurred between the recipients and the Council on that occasion. Among the proposals are longer term funding guarantees of up to 5 years ahead, in order that companies can plan more strategically. The consultation paper can be found on the ACE web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet. Responses must be submitted by 14th April.

The spring season at Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh will include What We Know, written and directed by Pamela Carter, relating the funny, painful, absurd, bewildering and moving experiences of a woman, presented in a unique and innovative style, opening on 19th February, a co-production with EK Performance; Edward Albee's The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?, the story of a man whose life is thrown into turmoil when he confesses to falling in love with a goat, directed by Dominic Hill, opening on 21st April; and the premiere of Linda McLean's Any Given Day, exploring fear of the unknown, and guilt and responsibility towards ourselves and others, also directed by Dominic Hill, opening on 1st June.

Mind The Gap Theatre will stage Durang Durang, an evening of comic works by playwright Christopher Durang, with Janet Prince, Stuart Williams, Dan Frost and Melanie MacHugh, directed by Alicia Dhyana House, at Jermyn Street Theatre, from 15th February.

Forthcoming productions at the Theatre Royal in Windsor will include Jeremy Paul's The Secret Of Sherlock Holmes, examining the great detective's relationships with his friend Dr Watson, and his enemy Professor Moriarty, with Peter Egan and Philip Franks, directed by Robin Herford, opening a regional tour on 22nd February, produced by Ian Fricker; and The Little Hut, translated by Nancy Mitford, from the French comedy by Andre Roussin, in which a man is shipwrecked with his wife and his best friend (who is her secret lover), and when she confesses her infidelity, they adopt a plan whereby each man will stay with her every other week, while the other retires to the little hut, with Aden Gillett and Janie Dee, directed by Tim Luscombe, opening on 4th May.

The spring season at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond will include the premiere of Ben Brown's The Promise, in which politics, religion and love collide with a world changing effect during the First World War, with Nicholas Asbury, Patrick Brennan, Miranda Colchester, Sam Dastor, Oliver Ford Davies, Christopher Ravenscroft, Colin Stinton, Michael Sheldon and Jonathan Tafler, directed by Alan Strachan, from 17th February; and Taking Steps, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, set on three floors of a crumbling house in the space of a mad-cap 24 hours, with Stephen Beckett, Matthew Cottle, Anna Francolini, Adrian McLoughlin and Michael Simkins, from 24th March.

Warnings, a site specific promenade experience, featuring readings of two ghost stories by M R James, A Warning To The Curious and Count Magnus, directed by Nick Blackburn, will take place in the Crypt of St Pancras Church, in Euston Road, from 23rd February to 13th March. Audience members will have the freedom to wander through the maze of spaces in order to follow the narrative thread, where they will encounter ghostly figures, other worldly images and other surprises.

And Finally . . . The Arts Theatre off Charing Cross Road is probably breaking a record by announcing its next Christmas show only two weeks after the last one finished. Puss In Boots, written and directed by Susie McKenna, with music by Steve Edis will run from 17th November to 9th January. The producer is Tiny Tim Productions.