Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews
The Shared Experience theatre company production of Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, adapted and directed by Polly Teale, featuring Monica Dolan, James Clyde and Miriam Acharki, will open at Trafalgar Studios 1 on 12th May. It is the quintessential Brote story of the worthy governess, the stern employer and his mad first wife who is locked in the attic. The production, which was originally staged in 1997, will open a pre West End tour at Richmond Theatre on 2nd February.
It's Official! As previously forecast here, Judi Dench, Peter Bowles, Belinda Lang, Kim Medcalf, William Chubb, Charles Edwards and Dan Stevens will star in Noel Coward's Hay Fever, directed by Peter Hall, opening at the Theatre Royal Haymarket on 6th April. It is the story of a weekend at the country retreat of a bohemian actress, her writer husband, and their two adult children, all of whom behave extravagantly badly in front of their mystified house guests. Allegedly based on the American actress Laurette Taylor, Coward wrote the play in three days. The producers are Bill Kenwright and Thelma Holt.
Jose Sanchis Sinisterra's The Leningrad Siege, translated and adapted by Catalina Botello and Rod Wooden, with Rosemary McHale and Deirdra Morris, directed by Mark Rosenblatt, opens a national tour at the Tron Theatre in Glasgow on 17th February. It is the story of the widow and mistress of a director, who have been living in an abandoned theatre for 20 years, and are searching for a lost manuscript as the building is about to be demolished. The tour includes a stop at Wilton's Music Hall from 15th to 25th March. The producers are Out Of The Box Productions and the Tron Theatre.
The Siobhan Davies Dance Company has moved into its first permanent home in the former Charlotte Sharman School Annexe in St George's Street, Southwark. Sarah Wigglesworth Architects have designed the £4.2m conversion project that incorporates a 70 seater main studio, rehearsal studio, meeting room, treatment room, offices, and technical facilities. The first performance event in the building will be the premiere of Davies's In Plain Clothes, which centres on the choreographic rehearsal process to music/sound by Matteo Fargion, on 2nd May. SDDC are joined at their new location by Independent Dance, the artist led training organisation, which is already offering weekday morning and evening development classes for professional dancers.
The Bush Theatre's spring season will include Christmas Is Miles Away, by Chloe Moss, about how the lives of two best friends have diverged since they left school in Manchester in 1989, with David Judge, Paul Stocker and Georgia Taylor, directed by Satah Frankcom, from 24th February; Trad by Mark Doherty, a surreal comedy about a journey of discovery across Ireland, with Peter Gowen, Frankie McCafferty and David Pearse, directed by Mikel Murfi from 6th April; the world premiere of Crooked, by Catherine Trieschmann, about a spiritual and sexual journey sparked by the meeting of a disabled 14 year old and a born again Christian, directed by Mike Bradwell, on 5th May; and Crusing, by Alecky Blythe, about pensioners in search of passion, directed by Matthew Dunster, from 9th June, a Recorded Delivery production using a verbatim theatre technique based on live performance of recorded interviews.
On The Casting Couch: Benedict Cumberbatch, Lisa Dillon, Jared Harris and Sandy McDade will star in Tennessee Williams's Period Of Adjustment, opening at the Almeida Theatre on 9th March; Jerome Flynn, Sally Hawkins, Robert Glenister, Danny Mays and Roger Lloyd Pack will star in The Winterling, opening ay the Royal Court Theatre on 9 March; and Claire Higgins will be joined by Sean Campion, Michael Feast, Linda Bassett, Paul Nicholls, Marcella Plunkett, Lucy-Anne Holmes and Janet Whiteside in Phaedra, opening at the Donmar Warehouse on 11 April.
The National Portrait Gallery currently has two exhibitions marking theatrical anniversaries. Royal Court Theatre: A Celebration Of Fifty Years features photographs of actors, directors and writers who have enjoyed a close association with the company, including George Devine by Ida Kar, Harold Pinter and Glenda Jackson by Bill Brandt, Jonathan Pryce by Snowdon, Arnold Wesker by Cecil Beaton, Joe Orton by Lewis Morley, and John Osborne by Mark Gerson. The Royal Ballet At 75 comprises some of the key figures who shaped the company and influenced British ballet, including founder Ninette de Valios and Lilian Baylis by de Valios's brother Gordon Anthony, Frederick Ashton by Angus McBean, Constant Lambert by Yvonne Gregory, Margot Fonteyn by Yousuf Karsh, Rudolf Nureyev by Cecil Beaton, Alicia Markova by Dorothy Wilding, Irek Mukhamedov by Alan Bergman and Darcey Bussell and Jonathan Cope by Jillian Edelstein.
The Royal Opera is staging the world premiere of Gentle Giant, an opera for children, adapted from the book by Michael Morpurgo, with book and lyrics by Mike Kenny and music by Stephen McNeff, directed by John Fulljames, at the Clore Studio at the Royal Opera House on 17th and 18th February. A travelling stranger and a young girl try to restore the fortunes of a fishing village, which believes a local giant has scared away their catch. It will go on to play performances at Hextable Dance in Swanley, the Mumford Theatre in Cambridge and the Ariel Centre in Totnes.