News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 25th July 2008

Shelagh Stephenson's stage adaptation of Tracy Chevalier's historical novel The Girl With A Pearl Earring, with Adrian Dunbar and Kimberley Nixon, directed by Joe Dowling, will open a prospective pre West End season at the Cambridge Arts Theatre on 11th September. The novel provides a fictional backstory to 17th century Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer's painting of the same name. The producer is Andrew Welch.

The revised version of Stephen Sondheim's first musical, Saturday Night, written in 1954, book by Julius J Epstein, adapted from the play Front Porch In Flatbush by Julius J and Philip G Epstein, directed by Tom Littler, will open at the Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly Circus, on 10th February. It is the story of a group of friends in Brooklyn, New York, in 1929, one of whom hatches a get rich quick scheme that backfires and he barely escapes jail.

The Royal Exchange Theatre Manchester production of Tennessee Williams's The Glass Menagerie, with the original cast, comprising Brenda Blethyn, Mark Arends, Emma Hamilton and Andrew Langtree, directed by Braham Murray, will open a national tour at the Theatre Royal in Bath on 26th August. It is the story of an overbearing mother and her son, who is torn between an obligation to his family and his desire to break away, in 1930s St Louis. The tour is being produced by Duncan C Weldon and the Theatre Royal Bath Productions.

The 15th annual international festival celebrating the work of Gilbert and Sullivan, hosted by the Buxton Opera House, will run from 2nd to 23rd August. It will feature 27 full scale operetta productions by Opera Della Luna, Charles Court Opera, the Gilbert and Sullivan Opera Company, and other professional and amateur companies from around the world. A programme of fringe events for 'serious enthusiasts', at the Paxton Theatre will include vocal recitals, staged performances, and rare Sullivan operas, such as Contrabandista, The Rose Of Persia and The Foresters.

The New Players Theatre in The Arches under Charing Cross station has announced a further production. Burlesque-Esque, a cabaret featuring the Kitten Club, with burlesque, song, dance, comedy, magic and fire eating, hosted by a series of special guests including Richard O'Brien, Arthur Smith and Scott Capurro, will run from 4th November.

The autumn season at the Belgrade Theatre in Coventry will include Federico García Lorca's The House Of Bernarda Alba, in a new adaptation by David Johnston, about sibling rivalry and a clandestine affair in a household of sexually repressed women, directed by Gadi Roll, from 25th October; the return of Alan Pollock's One Night In November, the story of one family's experience of the Coventry Blitz, directed by Hamish Glen, from 8th November; Dick Whittington, by Ian Lauchlan and Will Brenton, with Andy Hockley, from 25th November; and Anthony Neilson's The Night Before Christmas, a comedy with a grown up slant on Christmas, directed by Hamish Glen, from 4th December.

Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound Of The Baskervilles, adapted for the stage by Clive Francis, with Peter Egan and Philip Franks, directed by Robin Herford, will open a new national tour at Richmond Theatre on 20th October. The producer is Ian Fricker.

So You Want To Be A Playwright: How To Write A Play And Get It Produced, by Tim Fountain, recently published by Nick Hern Books, covers the complete process from blank page to the first night. Fountain's experience as literary manager, playwright and educator, has resulted in a book that contains practical advice presented in a readable way, set out as a series of questions or points, which can be easily referenced. It is a step by step guide covering both inspiration and perspiration, from the groundwork necessary before writing begins, through the refinement process of structuring the story, developing the characters and creating the dialogue, to finding an agent, and what happens in rehearsals.

Future productions at the Arcola Theatre in Dalston will include Tennessee Williams's Small Craft Warnings, about a group of characters in a seedy coastal bar in Southern California, with Jack Shepherd and Iain Robertson, directed by Bill Bryden, opening on 12th September; and Sonja Linden and Adah Kay's Welcome To Ramallah, an exploration of the balance between duty and love in an occupied city, directed by Sue Lefton, from 23rd September, produced by iceandfire.

English Touring Theatre will open its autumn tour of Thomas Hardy's Far From The Madding Crowd, about a young woman who has inherited a farm and chooses unwisely between three suitors, in a new adaptation by Mark Healy, directed by Kate Saxon, at the Northcott Theatre Exeter on 11th September.

The autumn season at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond will feature the work of the Czech writer Vaclav Havel, comprising the British premiere of Leaving, inspired by King Lear, centring on a politician's loss of power and eviction from the state villa that was his home, translated by Paul Wilson, directed by Sam Walters, from 19th September; Mountain Hotel, about a motley group of guests striving to live with each other in a hotel and the staff who serve them, and Audience, in which a man is summoned to a meeting with his boss, not knowing if he is to hear good or bad news, from 29th October; and Private View, in which a dissident couple invite a friend to share the spoils of a visit to the West, and Protest, about events surrounding the arrest of a pop musician, from 24th November. It will be followed by Henry Arthur Jones's Mary Goes First, an Edwardian comedy about political corruption, directed by Auriol Smith, from 17th December

The Rumour Machine says: that The Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark will stage John Webster's The White Devil, the bloody Jacobean revenge tragedy, directed by Jonathan Munby, in October; and that Ben Elton's 'comedy of violence' Popcorn, in which a movie producer is held hostage, will be Broadway bound in the autumn, directed by Laurence Boswell, who staged the original London production in 1997. The Rumour Machine grinds on.