News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 26th November 2010

The Royal Shakespeare Company has announced its 50th birthday season, opening on 14th April, which will include in the new Royal Shakespeare Theatre: Macbeth, directed by Michael Boyd; The Merchant Of Venice, directed by Rupert Goold; A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Nancy Meckler; and Peter Weiss's The Persecution And Assassination Of Marat As Performed By The Inmates Of The Asylum Of Charenton Under The Direction Of The Marquis De Sade, English version by Geoffrey Skelton, verse adaptation by Adrian Mitchell, directed by Anthony Neilson; and in the Swan Theatre: Shakespeare's Don Quixote-inspired 'lost play' Cardenio, directed by Gregory Doran; Philip Massinger's The City Madam, a 17th century satirical comedy about inheritance, directed by Dominic Hill; David Greig's Dunsinane, directed by Roxana Silbert; and Harold Pinter's The Homecoming, directed by David Farr; plus new plays by David Edgar on the politics surrounding the translation of the King James Bible, and Helen Edmundson about the 17th century Mexican nun who wrote The House Of Desires.

The Shakespeare Almanac by Gregory Doran, published by Random House, is a cornucopia of intriguing and details about the life and times of the world's greatest playwright. It is a sumptuously illustrated day by day calendar of William Shakespeare's year, following the rural farming cycle of lambing to sheep-shearing to harvest home as they are referred to in his plays and poetry, listing all the high days and holidays, from Christmas to Easter, Candelmas to Hocktide. Every passing month is supplied with quotations from Shakespeare's plays about changeable weather patterns, the arrival of flowers and plants, and the animals and birds he saw around him. In addition, each day, records significant events in Shakespeare's family life. There are also eyewitness accounts of duels and executions, an accident at a bear-baiting, a tilt in Westminster, and a masque at Whitehall, while some days are accompanied by extracts from influential books of the period.

The Open Air Theatre in Regent's Park has announced its 2011 season, which will run from 19th May to 10th September, and comprise: Nigel Williams's adaptation of William Golding's Lord Of The Flies, the story of a group of schoolboys who are marooned on a desert island and soon fall into anarchy, directed by Timothy Sheader; John Gay's The Beggar's Opera, the satirical 18th century play with music of the time about a highwayman and the London criminal class, directed by Lucy Bailey, and the musical Crazy For You, book by Ken Ludwig, music and lyrics by George and Ira Gershwin, in which an aspiring actor sent to close down a failing theatre falls for the manager's daughter and together they revive its fortunes, directed by Timothy Sheader, with choreography by Stephen Mear; and as the daytime production, Shakespeare's Pericles, reimagined for young audiences.

In A Forest, Dark And Deep, written and directed by Neil LaBute, a mix of family drama, mystery and thriller, as a brother and sister meet to clear out a cabin in the woods, with Matthew Fox and Olivia Williams, will open at the Vaudeville Theatre on 14th March. The producers are Anna Waterhouse, Nica Burns, Max Weitzenhoffer, Jay Harris and Josephine Genetay

On The Casting Couch: Keira Knightley and Elisabeth Moss will be joined by Ellen Burstyn, Tobias Menzies, Carol Kane, Bryony Hannah, Nancy Crane, Amy Dawson and Isabel Ellison in Lilian Hellman's The Children's Hour, opening at the Comedy Theatre on 9th February; and Danielle Hope and Michael Crawford will be joined by Hannah Waddingham, Emily Tierney, Paul Keating, Edward Baker-Duly and David Ganly in The Wizard Of Oz, opening at the London Palladium on 1st March.

The Royal Ballet will perform an arena production of Romeo And Juliet, with live relay screens showing close-up shots of the dancers, at the O2 Arena, from 17th June. It will be presented in association with Raymond Gubbay.

The Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson Theatre Collection is to move from its current home in Greenwich to join of the University of Bristol Theatre Collection, forming one of the world's largest theatre history archives. The two archives will complement one another, as much of the MMTC material concerns London performances in the 18th and 19th centuries, while the UBTC holds regional and 20th century theatre artefacts. The move will come early next year, with the collection accessible to visitors from the spring.

Further productions have been announced at the Trafalgar Studios 2 from 11th January. Barbershopera: Apocalypse No!, book by Rob Castell, Tom Sadler and Sarah Tipple. music by Rob Castell and Tom Sadler, an a cappella comedy musical about the 3 men and 1 woman of the Apocalypse, with Rob Castell, Tom Sadler, Pete Sorel-Cameron and Lara Stubbs, directed by Sarah Tipple, will play early evening performances; and The Fitzrovia Radio Hour, live performances of three 1940s radio plays He Should Have Known His Place, Captain Fasthand And The Rooty Gong and The Undead Queen Of Evil!, written, directed and performed by Alix Dunmore, Jon Edgley Bond, Tom Mallaburn, Phil Mulryne, Martin Pengelly and Alex Ratcliffe, will play mid evening performances. The producers are Seabright, Barbershopera and Fitzrovia Productions.

The Russian State Ballet will open a national tour of its productions of Sleeping Beauty, Romeo And Juliet, The Nutcracker, Don Quixote and Swan Lake, accompanied by the Orchestra of Siberia at The Bridgewater Hall on 4th January. It is presented by Raymond Gubbay.

It has been confirmed that Leslie Jordan's solo Off Broadway show My Trip Down The Pink Carpet, a collection of true life stories charting his journey from small-town USA to Hollywood, directed by David Galligan, will open at the Apollo Theatre on 3rd February.

The Rumour Machine says: that the musical adaptation of Daphne Du Maurier's Rebecca, in which a man brings his new young wife to his country estate, where his first wife still has a strong hold, original book and lyrics by Michael Kunze, English book and lyrics by Christopher Hampton, music by Sylvester Levay, directed by Michael Blakemore, which premiered in Vienna in 2006, directed by Francesca Zambello, may open at the Shaftesbury Theatre next spring, courtesy of producers VBW Theater (Vereinigte Buhnen Wien) and Global Broadway Productions. The Rumour Machine grinds on.