News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 27th May 2011

The Royal Opera House will screen productions in over 600 cinemas around the world during its 2011/2012 season. The Royal Opera productions of Gounod's Faust and Verdi's Rigoletto will be shown live, as will the Royal Ballet productions of The Sleeping Beauty, Romeo And Juliet and La Fille Mal Gardee, while Royal Opera performances of Cilea's Adriana Lecouvreur, Massenet's Cendrillon and Puccini's Tosca and Il Trittico will be recorded in advance.

The Society Of London Theatre has published the Box Office Data Report 2010, providing detailed analysis of attendance figures and box office returns in the West End, which includes the major commercial and grant aided theatres. Despite the continuing world economic crisis, and the challenges of snow, a volcanic ash cloud, strikes and the football world cup, overall attendances in 2010 almost matched the record breaking figure of the previous year. The total attendance was 14,152,230, down 0.8% on 2009, with the capacity sold at 70%, down 2% from the previous year, producing record breaking revenue of 512,331,808, up 1.5% on 2009, and only the second time the figure has exceeded 500,000. As well as exploring the attendance statistics as a whole, the report also analyses the differences in number of performances, attendance and receipts between the subsidised and commercial sectors, and discusses audience trends in relation to categories of production. The Box Office Data Report is essential reading for theatre investors, producers, and theatre marketers, as well as those in academic and government sectors dealing with the performing arts. Further information can be found on the SOLT web site via the link opposite.

The Barbican's 2012 season will include a new work by Complicite, directed by Simon McBurney; a Sydney Theatre Company production of Botho Strauss's Gross Und Klein, adapted by Martin Crimp, an Alice in Wonderland like adventure searching for human connection, with Cate Blanchett, directed by Luc Bondy; Philip Glass's opera Einstein On The Beach, the groundbreaking work that uses a series of recurrent images as its main storytelling device, shown in juxtaposition with abstract dance sequences, directed by Robert Wilson, with choreography by Lucinda Childs; and August Strindberg's Miss Julie, in a reimagined contemporary French language production, with Juliette Binoche, Nicolas Bouchaud and Benedicte Cerutti, directed by Frederic Fisbach.

New York TheatreNet: The biggest winners in this year's Drama Desk Awards were The Book Of Mormon with 5, including Musical and Director Musical - Casey Nicholaw and Trey Parker; and Anything Goes also with 5, including Musical Revival, Actress Musical - Sutton Foster and Choreographer - Kathleen Marshall; while War Horse took Play and Creative Team; and The Normal Heart won Play Revival and Director Play - Joel Grey and George C Wolfe. The full list of nominees and winners can be found on the Drama Desk Awards web site, via the link from Organisations in the Links section of New York TheatreNet, along with news, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway, via the link opposite below.

Manchester International Festival, running from 30th June to 17th July, will include more than 20 commissions, premieres and special events created by leading artists from around the world. Among the highlights will be That Day We Sang, written and directed by Victoria Wood, about an unexpected reunion of two fomer children's choir members, who have let life pass them by, with Jenna Russell and Vincent Franklin; Doctor Dee, written and performed by Damon Albarn, inspired by the Renaissance alchemist, scientist and spy John Dee, directed by Rufus Norris; The Life And Death Of Marina Abramovic, and biographical piece about the performance artist, conceived and directed by Robert Wilson, with Marina Abramovic and Willem Dafoe; and Punchdrunk's first show for children, The Crash Of The Elysium, by Tom MacRaem, from an original idea by Steven Moffat, a promenade production about a Victorian ship with a mysterious cargo that ran aground, directed by Felix Barrett.

The 30th Association of British Theatre Technicians Theatre Show takes place at the Royal Horticultural Halls in London on 15th and 16th June. As usual it will be the complete theatre package, featuring the products of over 120 leading lighting, sound and staging manufacturers, costume, prop and scenery makers, and suppliers of seating and soft furnishings, box office and IT systems, print and publicity, insurance and legal services, drama schools, training and safety, books and publications, and leading theatre organisations. There will also be the presentations of the ABTT and Stage Management Association Awards. Entrance is free to pre-registered visitors. Further information and online registration can be found on the ABTT and SMA web sites via the links from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Sheffield Theatres autumn season in the Crucible Theatre will include Shakespeare's Othello, with Clarke Peters and Dominic West, directed by Daniel Evans, opening on 20th September; and the musical Company, book by George Furth, music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, examining love, marriage and commitment, with Daniel Evans, directed by Jonathan Munby, with choreography by Lynne Page, from 30th November.

Rather more homespun than Glyndebourne, Iford Manor, Bradford on Avon, hosts outdoor opera performances in the round in the Peto garden, plus promenade style jazz and world music and chamber concerts, from 18th June to 9th August. This season's operas are the Chroma Chamber Ensemble production of Humperdinck's Hansel And Gretel, directed by William Tuckett; the Opera Della Luna production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, directed by Jeff Clarke; and the Iford Festival Opera production of Handel's Rodelinda, directed by Martin Constantine. The garden opens for picnics at 6pm with opera performances beginning at 7.30pm. Further information can be found on the Iford Arts web site, via the link from Festivals & Events in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Alice By Heart, a musical about the loss of childhood innocence, inspired by Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures In Wonderland, book and lyrics by Steven Sater, music by Duncan Sheik (who wrote the musical Spring Awakening on a similar theme), which is currently receiving a workshop production at the National Theatre, directed by Jessie Nelson, may lead to a production in the National's youth oriented Connections festival next year; that the prospective musical adaptation of Roald Dahl's Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, book by David Greig, music and lyrics by Marc Shaiman and Scott Whitman, which recently had a reading in New York, will premiere in London late next year, directed by Sam Mendes; and that a musical adaptation of From Here To Eternity, James Jones's novel set in Hawaii just before the Japanese invasion in 1941, book by Bill Oakes, music and lyrics by Stuart Brayson, with additional lyrics by Tim Rice, directed by Tamara Harvey, may premiere in London next year, with Tim Rice and Lee Menzies co-producing. The Rumour Machine grinds on.