News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th February 2012

The Space, the new Arts Council England/BBC online arts channel, which will broadcast new work, documentaries and filmed performances created by cultural organisations across the country, will launch on 1st May. Among the first commissions are: the Bristol Old Vic production of Arthur Ransome's Swallows And Amazons; Shakespeare's Globe's Globe To Globe Festival, with all of Shakespeare's 37 plays performed in different languages by companies from all over the world; and Sadler's Wells's Breakin' Convention hip hop dance festival, and Tanika Gupta's Bollywood musical Wah! Wah! Girls. Further information can be found on the ACE web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Following the runs at Bankside, the Shakespeare's Globe productions of Shakespeare's Richard III and Twelfth Night, with a company including Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry, directed by Tim Carrol, will transfer to Apollo Theatre, from 2nd November.

New York TheatreNet: Broadway Bears, the 15th and final annual auction to benefit Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, featuring a host of teddy bears dressed in costume as characters from Broadway shows, many autographed by the original stars, will be held at B B King Blues Club & Grill, on March 18th. Among the bears from shows old and new will be Evita, Follies, Kiss Of The Spider Woman, Porgy And Bess, Sister Act, Sunset Boulevard and War Horse. Last year's auction raised a total of $103,905, when the top seller was Eliza Doolittle from My Fair Lady, autographed by Julie Andrews, which went for $14,000. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Soul Sister, a biomusical about Tina Turner, with songs from her back catalogue, devised by Pete Brooks and John Miller, with Emi Wokoma, Chris Tummings, Sharon Benson, Nadine Higgin, Ngo Ngofa and Joanne Sandi, directed by Bob Eaton, with choreography by Jason Pennycooke, will open at the Hackney Empire on 19th April.

The spring season at the Queen's Theatre in Hornchurch will include Dario Fo's agit-prop farce Can't Pay? Won't Pay!, with Georgina Field, Simon Jessop, Jonathan Markwood, Kate Robson-Stuart and Steve Simmonds, directed by Bob Carlton, opening on 12th March; Shakespeare's The Merchant Of Venice, with Matt Devitt, Dominic Gerrard, Simon Jessop, Sam Kordbacheh, Greg Last, Jonathan Markwood, Natasha Moore and Kate Robson-Stuart, directed by Glen Walford, opening on 23rd April; and a musical adaptation of J M Barrie's Peter Pan, book by Vicky Ireland, music and lyrics by Steven Markwick, with Callum Hughes, Simon Jessop, Sam Kordbacheh, Greg Last, Jonathan Markwood and Natasha Moore, directed by Bob Carlton, opening on 28th May.

The 12th annual The Night Of 1000 Voices charity event celebrating musical theatre, at Royal Albert Hall on 6th May, will have the theme of Best Of British, and include songs from Evita, The Lion King, Jesus Christ Superstar, Les Miserables and We Will Rock You. The cast will include Kerry Ellis, Bonnie Langford, Peter Polycarpou, Ricardo Afonso, Daniel Boys, Clive Rowe, Caroline Sheen and Sally Ann Triplett, hosted by Christopher Biggins, accompanied by the City of London Philharmonic and the massed choirs of Sing Live UK and USA. The beneficiary will be Leukaemia & Lymphoma Research.

Let's Put On A Show!: Theatre Production For Novices, by Stewart F Lane, published by Subtext, is a one-stop, reader friendly handbook for anyone producing a play or musical. Lane - a Broadway producer, Tony Award winner, co-owner/operator of New York's Palace Theatre and member of the Board of the League of American Theatres and Producers - guides readers through the entire process from idea to ovation. Fundamentals covered include selecting a show, finding a theatre space, putting together a creative team, holding auditions and making casting decisions, scheduling rehearsals, promoting the show, and handling all the basic elements of bringing a production from page to stage. Lane offers ways to keep everyone involved working together, and solutions to the problems that occur in every show. This is a true compendium - straight from the horse's mouth.

The London Handel Festival runs from 15th March to 24th April, with highlights including: a fully staged performance of Riccardo primo, re d'Inghilterra, in collaboration with the Royal College of Music International Opera School; and Il pastor fido, with Lucy Crowe, Anna Dennis, Katherine Manley, Ciara Hendrick, Clint van der Linde and Lisandro Abadie. Events are mainly at St George's Church Hanover Square (best known as setting for the celebration of Alfred Doolittle's nuptials in My Fair Lady) plus the Foundling Museum, Grosvenor Chapel, the Royal College of Music, and the Wigmore Hall. Further information can be found on the LHF web site via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Shared Experience theatre company will stage the premiere of Helen Edmundson's Mary Shelly, about how the Victorian author came to write Frankenstein at the age of 18, with Kristin Atherton, William Chubb, Ben Lamb, Flora Nicholson, Sadie Shimmin and Shannon Tarbet, directed by Polly Teale, opening a national tour at West Yorkshire Playhouse on 16th March, including the Tricycle Theatre in London from 12th June. It is a co-production with West Yorkshire, Oxford and Nottingham Playhouses.

Polpo Productions will stage John Caine's Reunion, exploring the moral and ethical questions that surround whether one has the right to choose the time to die, with Roberta Taylor and Peter Guinness, directed by Anthony Biggs, opening at the Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly, on 16th April.

The Rumour Machine says: that the current Royal Shakespeare Company Stratford production of David Edgar's Written On The Heart, exploring the hazards faced and legacy left by the King James Bible's earliest translators, with Oliver Ford Davies, Bruce Alexander, Stephen Boxer and Jodie McNee, directed by Gregory Doran, may transfer to West End at the Duchess Theatre; and that Woody Allen is working on a musical adaptation of his film Bullets Over Broadway, about a struggling 1920s playwright who is forced to cast a mobster's talentless girlfriend in his latest drama in order to get it produced, incorporating period songs, aiming for Broadway next year. The Rumour Machine grinds on.