News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 24th September 2010

The Theatre Royal Bath production of Richard Brinsley Sheridan's The Rivals, the classic comedy of romance, confusion and commitment, set in Regency Bath, with Penelope Keith and Peter Bowles, directed by Peter Hall, will transfer to the Haymarket Theatre, opening on 23rd November.

The National Theatre has announced new productions in the Cottesloe Theatre. Beauty And The Beast, by Lucy Kirkwood, based on the classic French fairy tale, with Mark Arends, Sian Clifford, Kate Duchene, Kristin Hutchinson, Sean Jackson and Justin Salinger, directed by Katie Mitchell, aimed at children aged 8 and above, will open a Christmas season on 1st December. Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, with Simon Callow, Simon Paisley Day, Rebecca Hall, Marton Csokas, Amanda Drew, Charles Edwards, Cornelius Booth, James Clyde, Samuel James, Richard Keightley, Ben Mansfield, David Ryall, Jeffry Wickham and Finty Williams, directed by Peter Hall, will open on 18th January.

The Kneehigh theatre company production of the Brothers Grimm's Hansel And Gretel, written by Carl Grose, music by Ian Ross and Stu Barker, with Carl Grose, Joanna Holden, Chris Price and Edith Tankus, directed by Mike Shepherd, will play at the Queen Elizabeth Hall from 16th December to 1st January.

The next production at Theatre503 in Battersea will be Gabriel Bisset-Smith's The Charming Man, a futuristic political satire that imagines the Green Party with a chance of gaining power in 2015, with Chris Brandon, Syrus Lowe, Simon Rivers, Sam Pamhilon and Kate Sissons, directed by Paul Robinson, playing from 19th October.

The National Campaign for the Arts has launched a new campaign to harness public support for the arts: I Value the Arts. It enables people to demonstrate their belief that the arts perform a vital public service and thus deserve to be protected from the worst of the forthcoming government cuts. You can register now at

I Value the Arts and you will be updated on plans that could affect the arts nationally and in your local area.

The King's Head Theatre in Islington is to be reinvented as a full time producing 'Little Opera House' by its new artistic director Adam Spreadbury-Maher, co-artistic director of OperaUpClose. The launch season will include Rossini's The Barber Of Seville, adapted and directed by Robin Norton-Hale, opening in October; the British premiere of Philip Glass's The Sound Of A Voice; Shostakovich's Cheryomushki, directed by Spreadbury-Maher; and Puccini's Madam Butterfly, in a new translation by Ben Cooper, also directed by Spreadbury-Maher.

The Tall Stories Theatre Company production of The Gruffalo, adapted and directed by Toby Mitchell and Olivia Jacobs, from Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's children's picture book, will return to the West End at the Garrick Theatre on 24th November for an 8 week season of daytime performances. It is the tale of a mouse in a forest who invents stories about a terrifying creature to scare off predators, but then comes face to face with his imaginary creation. The producers are Kenneth H Wax and Nick Brooke.

The Sticking Place and Seabright Productions will stage a second Terror season, Death And Resurrection, at the Southwark Playhouse, from 14th to 31st October. The quadruple bill will comprise the premieres of April De Angelis's Country, about one friend supporting another in her bereavement after her husband has died, directed by Hannah Eidinow; The Exclusion Zone, written and directed by Mark Ravenhill, where a couple get together after meeting online and find fiction and reality collide; and Neil LaBute's The Unimaginable, in which a voice from the darkness challenges perceptions of adult responsibility amidst the dangers the modern world presents to children, directed by Jason Lawson; plus William Ewart's Reanimator, adapted from a H P Lovecraft short story about a medical student pursuing ghoulish experiments, directed by Adam Meggido.

Research carried out by Visit Britain, using statistics generated by the Office for National Statistics through its International Passenger Survey, has confirmed what a vital part the theatre plays in supporting the British economy by generating tourism. The survey found that in 2009, of the 30m overseas tourists who came to Britain, 10% went to see a stage show, which contributed to a 2.8bn spend on culture and heritage, a figure which also encompasses spending on hotels, restaurants and other activities. Unsurprisingly, London was the most popular destination for theatre outings, with 2.2m theatregoers, who spent a total of 1.9bn. 55% of people who visit London theatre from overseas are female, and 41% are aged between 25 and 44, with 64% of visitors opting to see a musical, 24% choosing a play and 1% deciding to see an opera.

Larkrise To Candleford, adapted by Keith Dewhurst from the first of Flora Thompson's semibiographical novels of country life in a rural hamlet at the end of the 19th century, relating events on the first day of the harvest, with Sara Crowe, Eric Richards, Becci Gemmell, Christopher Beeney and Jonathan Ansell, directed by Joe Harmston, has just begun an extensive national tour. The producer is Bill Kenwright.

Wilton's Music Hall in Wapping will host The Love Suicides At Sonezaki, a piece of 16th century adult puppetry theatre by the Japanese dramatist Chikamatsu Monzaemon, adapted by Peter Case, from 4th to 6th October. Inspired by a real incident, it is a tragic love story of a young orphan merchant clerk and a courtesan.

The next production by Holiday On Ice will be Energia, inspired by an epic journey through time and space and the creation of the earth, exploring light energy, with a cast of skaters from around the world, in a show featuring airborne gymnastics as well as dance on the ice, directed by Kevin Cottam, which will open a national tour at the LG Arena in Birmingham on 7th January.