News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 22nd September 2006

Peter Hall's 50th anniversary production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting For Godot, first seen at Theatre Royal in Bath last year and currently touring, will open at the New Ambassadors Theatre on 9th October. The production retains the original cast of James Laurenson, Alan Dobie, Terence Rigby and Richard Dormer.

Subtitled 'A Tragicomedy In Two Acts' the play features two tramps who amuse themselves as they wait at a deserted roadside.

The Barbican has announced some of the events in BITE: 07, which will include its 25th birthday celebrations. These begin with a fortnight of special programming in February, although the festivities will continue all year, with 25 landmark events across all art forms. Theatre highlights will include the National Theatre of Iceland performing Ibsen's Peer Gynt; Cheek By Jowl with Chekhov's Three Sisters; The Maly Drama Theatre of St Petersburg's production of Chekhov's Platonov; a new work by Complicite, inspired by the story of Indian mathematician Ramanujan, directed by Simon McBurney; and Ozmosis, a festival of performances exploring Australia's culture, society and politics. The Barbican has completed its 3 year 14m foyer and public spaces redevelopment programme, including a new main entrance in Silk Street, designed by architects Allford Hall Monaghan Morris, with the aim of making the concrete bunker more welcoming and user friendly for audiences.

The National Theatre of Scotland production of Tutti Frutti, adapted for the stage by John Byrne, from his television comedy series about a Scottish rock group, directed Tony Cownie, is currently at His Majesty's Theatre in Aberdeen, where it plays until 30th September, transferring to the King's Theatre in Edinburgh from 3rd October. The cast comprises Tam Dean Burn, Kenny Bryans, Alan McHugh, Barrie Hunter, Pauline Knowles, Helen Mallon, John McGlynn, Gavin Mitchell, John Ramage, Dawn Steele, Tom Urie, Clare Waugh and Julie Wilson Nimmo. The story is brought up to date as the original characters reassemble for a silver jubilee tour, but the demise of their singer sees his younger brother arrive from New York as a replacement.

Eoin Colfer, author of the Artemis Fowl series of children's books about a teenage criminal mastermind, will be performing his one man show, Artemis Fowl: Fairies, Fiends And Flatulence, at daytime performances at Trafalgar Studios 1 from 21st to 29th October. The show is an expose of his creation: a genius, millionaire and son of a European crime lord, who encounters fairies and dwarfs in the course of his criminal dealings.

Opera North is returning to its home at the Grand Theatre in Leeds after completion of a 20.7m restoration programme, which included the re-raking of the seating and the introduction of a wooden floor in the stalls to improve the acoustic, together with the building of an adjoining opera centre housing rehearsal and technical facilities. It will reopen on 7th October with a new production of Verdi's Rigoletto, directed by Charlie Edwards, in a season that will include new productions of Britten's Peter Grimes, directed by Phyllida Lloyd, and Poulenc's solo piece La Voix Humaine, performed by Joan Rodgers, directed by Deborah Warner. A 10.3m second phase of the development project will see the restoration of the adjacent Leeds Assembly Rooms, creating a 350 seater flexible performance space, which will house Opera North's education programme.

The Old Vic is to stage another 24 Hour Plays Celebrity Gala on Sunday 8th October, hosted by Catherine Tate. A group of actors, playwrights and directors will come together on the evening of Saturday 7th October, and form teams to write and rehearse six short plays, to be performed 24 hours later. Among those taking part will be actors Alexander Armstrong, Clare Higgins, Patricia Hodge, Adrian Lukis, Nichola McAuliffe, Tamzin Outhwaite Clarke Peters, Greta Scacchi, Rachael Stirling and Alicia Witt, writers Simon Farquhar, Bryony Lavery, Colin Teevan and Sally Wainwright, and directors Nikolai Foster, Josie Rourke and Bijan Sheibani.

Anita Dobson will star in Hello Dolly!, book by Michael Stewart, music and lyrics by Jerry Hermann, directed by Chris Colby, with choreography by David Court, opening at the Theatre Royal Lincoln on 16th November. The musical is based on the Thornton Wilder play The Matchmaker, about a woman who provides solutions to the emotional problems of everyone around her in the New York of the 1880s.

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. 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.

Sheridan Smith, Paul Keating, Jasper Britton and Barry James will star in the musical The Little Shop Of Horrors, music by Alan Menkin, book and lyrics by Howard Ashman, directed by Matthew White, with choreography by Lynne Page, opening at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Borough on 29th November. The show is loosely based on Roger Corman's 1960 film about a flesh eating plant, for which Mike McShane will provide the voice.

New York TheatreNet: The official start to the Broadway season has seen the launch of the annual Season Of Savings campaign, with a wide variety of discounts on shows, restaurants and other activities. The original Season Of Savings scheme was devised by the Empire State Development Corporation and the League of American Theatres and Producers to encourage audiences to return to New York following the attack on the World Trade Centre, and has since become a regular event. Further information can be found on the SOS web site via the link from Box Office in the Links section of New York TheatreNet, which accessed from the link below right.