News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th January 2011

The National Theatre has confirmed its forthcoming productions into 2012. In the Olivier: Anton Chekov's The Cherry Orchard, picturing rural Russia at the brink of the Revolution, with Zoe Wanamaker, Conleth Hill, Claudie Blakley, Mark Bonnar, Pip Carter, Gerald Kyd, James Laurenson, Tim McMullan, Emily Taaffe, Charity Wakefield and Sarah Woodward, directed by Howard Davies; Henrik Ibsen's Emperor And Galilean, about the Roman Emperor Julian the Apostate wrestling with his faith, in a new version by Ben Power, with Ian McDiarmid and Andrew Scott, directed by Jonathan Kent; Arnold Wesker's The Kitchen, showing the lives of workers in a restaurant kitchen, directed by Bijan Sheibani; Bach's St Matthew Passion, written and directed by Jonathan Miller, with the Southbank Sinfonia; Shakespeare's The Comedy Of Errors, directed by Dominic Cooke; and William Congreve's Restoration comedy The Way Of The World.

In the Lyttelton: Clifford Odets's Rocket To The Moon, in which a man's humdrum world is turned upside down by the arrival of a woman discovering life and hungry for love, with Keeley Hawes, Joseph Millson, Jessica Raine and Nicholas Woodeson, directed by Angus Jackson; Richard Bean's One Man, Two Guvnors, which relocates Carlo Goldini's The Servant Of Two Masters to 1960s Brighton, with James Corden, directed by Nicholas Hytner; Thomas Heywood's A Woman Killed With Kindness, the Jacobean drama in which a man punishes his wife's infidelity with ostracism, directed by Katie Mitchell; a new untitled play written and directed by Conor McPherson; a co-production with Abbey Theatre Dublin of Sean O'Casey's Juno And The Paycock, reflecting life in a Dublin tenement in the 1920s, with Sinead Cusack and Ciaran Hinds, directed by Howard Davies; and a musical, book and additional lyrics by Samuel Adamson, music and lyrics by Tori Amos, based on George MacDonald's fairy tale The Light Princess, about a princess cursed with a lack of gravity, directed by Marianne Elliott.

In the Cottesloe: a documentary musical, London Road, book and lyrics by Alecky Blythe, music and lyrics by Adam Cork, based on interviews with Ipswich residents after the murder of six local prostitutes, with Rosalie Craig, Kate Fleetwood, Nick Holder, Claire Moore, Michael Shaeffer and Paul Thornley, directed by Rufus Norris; a new play by Mike Leigh, with Lesley Manville and Ruby Bentall; and John Hodge's Collaborators, a comedy that imagines an encounter between Joseph Stalin and dissident playwright Mikhail Bulgakov, with Simon Russell Beale and Alex Jennings, directed by Nicholas Hytner.

Despite the economic situation, general election, world cup, strikes, riots, volcanic ash cloud and snow, figures released by the Society Of London Theatre reveal that West End theatre enjoyed a record breaking year in 2010. Box office revenue totaled 512,331,808, up 1.46% from the previous record of 504,765,690 in 2009, generating 76,304,737 in VAT for the Treasury, while there were 14,152,230 tickets sold, just 0.79% down on the previous record of 14,257,922 in 2009, and the number of performances, at 18,615 was the highest ever. Plays achieved a record attendance total of 3,702,031, 2% up on 2009, Musicals attendance was 8,423,430, 3% down, and attendance of Others (Opera, Dance and Entertainment) was 2,026,769, up 3%. As in previous recessions, it seems that the Great British Public is showing a 'determination to be entertained', with domestic 'staycations', and foreign visitors encouraged by the fall in the Pound, boosting attendances.

New York TheatreNet: Tyne Daly will star in Terrence McNally's Master Class, inspired by the classes opera singer Maria Callas gave at the Juilliard School in New York in the 1970s, directed Stephen Wadsworth, opening at the Friedman Theatre on 21st June. News, information and special offers about theatre on and off Broadway, can be found on New York TheatreNet, via the link opposite below.

Forthcoming productions at the new Waterloo East Theatre, under Waterloo East station, will include a repertoire season presented by Equinox Drama comprising Anna Jordon's Bender, inspired by stories and anecdotes posted on Facebook, Jo Stokes's one woman comedy Laundry, the story of a young American woman recently scorned by love, Jonathan Bonfiglio's Tatchell, about the self publicist's failed election ambitions, and Anna Jordon's triple bill ShortStuff, from 11th February; Jeremy Paul's The Watcher, a psychological drama about a woman sunbathing alone in a park who is approached by a stranger, with Donna Air and Jon Shaw, directed by Roger Martin, opening on 11th March, a Fresh Look Theatre production; and Love&Madness's production of Dario Fo's Accidental Death Of An Anarchist, in a new version by John Laskin and Michael Aquilante, the agit-prop satirical farce, directed by Neil Sheppeck, opening on 5th April.

On The Casting Couch: Sienna Miller will be joined by Sheridan Smith, James Purefoy, Joe Armstrong, Sarah Crowden and Clive Woods in Terence Rattigan's Flare Path, opening at the Haymarket Theatre on 10th March

Bankcider Productions will stage Alex Burger's Whose Blood, about a 19th century doctor's unorthodox methods of reviving a patient, directed by Karena Johnson, at the Old Operating Theatre Museum, opening on 24th February. The museum is located in the Victorian hospital lecture theatre in the roof space of a former Baroque church, at London Bridge.

Edinburgh Festival Fringe venue operator Assembly Theatre has signed a 3 year contract to move its operations from the Assembly Rooms, which it has occupied for the last 30 years, and are being renovated by Edinburgh City Council, to George Square. From this year, it will take over the George Square Theatre, plus two tents and three indoor spaces in the George Square Gardens. The scale of the Assembly Rooms renovation, which includes retail development on the ground floor, means that Assembly Theatre will be unlikely to move back there when it has been completed.

Forthcoming productions at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith will include Edward Fox performing Trollope In Barsetshire, a one man show celebrating the work of Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, featuring characters from his series of books the set in the imaginary county of Barsetshire, devised and directed by Richard Digby Day, and T S Eliot's The Four Quartets, from 24th February.