News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th May 2010

The 48th City Of London Festival, running from 21st June to 9th July, has the twin themes of music from the Portuguese speaking world and a celebration of the 200th birthday of Chopin. The festival comprises the usual mixture of lunchtime, rush hour and evening events, with concerts of every kind of music, plus drama and poetry, installations and exhibitions of visual art, film screenings, and architectural walks and talks, in both historic and modern city buildings, and outdoors in squares and gardens. Among the highlights are the world premieres of a work for 21 upright pianos by Richard Causton, drawing on all 21 of Chopin's Nocturnes; and a work by the Brazilian choreographer and capoeira master, Ponciano Almeida, set against the backdrop of some of the City's most historic and iconic places; and Pedro Caldeira Cabral, the world's leading authority of the Portuguese Guitar, tracing the 500 year history of the instrument and its music. As part of the International Year of Biodiversity there will be a number of bee-related events, including the installation of a number of beehives throughout the City, newly commissioned poetry and music, tastings, seminars and a lecture by the Bishop of London. Further information can be found on the COLF web site, via the link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Birdsong, adapted by Rachel Wagstaff, from Sebastian Faulks's novel about an illicit all consuming love affair set against the First World War, directed by Trevor Nunn, will open at the Comedy Theatre on 28th September. The producers are CMP and Becky Barber Productions.

The Royal Opera House is extending its free big screen live relays of ballet and opera productions to even more locations across Britain this summer. On 8th June at 7pm the Royal Opera performing Bizet's Carmen will be shown in Trafalgar Square, Walthamstow Town Square, Aberdeen, Bristol, Derby, Dover, Liverpool, Manchester, Middlesborough, Norwich, Plymouth, Sunbury, Swansea and Swindon; on 10th June at 7.30pm the Royal Ballet performing the triple bill Chroma / Tryst / Symphony In C will be shown in Trafalgar Square, Stratford Park Newham, General Gordon Square Woolwich and Manchester; and on 13th July at 7.30pm the Royal Opera performing Verdi's Simon Boccanegra with Placido Domingo, will be shown in Trafalgar Square, Canary Wharf, Bradford, Bristol, Ipswich, Leicester, Manchester, Plymouth and Portsmouth. Further information can be found on the ROH web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The autumn season at Sadler's Wells will include the premiere of Shoes, a dance revue exploring footwear through the ages, directed and choreographed by Stephen Mear, with additional choreography by Aletta Collins, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Mark Smith and Kate Prince, opening on 3rd September; Rosas performing the British premiere of The Song, choreographed by Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker, on 19th October; Emanuel Gat Dance with the British premiere of Winter Variations on 2nd November; Random Dance with the premiere of Far, choreographed by Wayne McGregor to an electronic score by Ben Frost, opening on 17th November; and a revised version of Matthew Bourne's Cinderella, set to the Prokofiev score, but relocating the story to London during the Blitz, from 30th November

Following a national tour, Peppa Pig's Party, an audience participation stage show adapted from the children's television series, directed by Richard Lewis, will play daytime performances at the Criterion Theatre from 30th November to 18th December.

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 19th June to 7th August. This season's opera productions are the Chroma Chamber Ensemble production of Rossini's La Cenerentola, directed by Bill Bankes-Jones; and the Iford Festival Opera productions of Handel's Xerxes, directed by David Freeman; and Verdi's Rigoletto, directed by John Ramster. 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 musical Sunshine On Leith, book by Stephen Greenhorn, with songs from The Proclaimers, about the lives of two men who leave the army and return home to their families in Leith, with Billy Boyd, directed by James Brining, with choreography by Lizzie Gee, will return to Dundee Repertory Theatre on 31st August, opening a national tour.

Secret Sondheim . . . a celebration of his lesser known work, devised and directed by Tim McArthur, with Valerie Cutko, Laura Armstrong and Tim McArthur will open at the Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly, on 8th July.

This year's summer season at the Keswick Theatre By The Lake, includes Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, adapted by Tim Luscombe, combining fashionable Bath life and Gothic horror, directed by Ian Forrest; Joe Orton's What The Butler Saw, the outrageous farce set in a psychiatric clinic, directed by Ian Forrest; and William Inge's Bus Stop, in which the disperate passengers on a cross country bus are snowbound in a diner overnight, directed by Stefan Escreet, playing in repertoire. The company comprises Patrick Bridgman, Robert Calvert, Rebecca Elliot, Amy Ewbank, Sarah Groarke, Andrew Grose, James Hogg, Vanessa Johnson, Stephen Ley, Adam O'Brian, Maggie Tagney and Christopher Webster.

Theatre Set-Up, the company that takes Shakespeare outdoors to historic settings across the country, is this year performing The Merchant Of Venice, in 18th century Venetian carnival style, with a company of 7: Elizabeth Arends Terry Ashe, Jamie Blake, Suzie Edwards, Tony Portacio, Steven Rostance and Richard Sanderson. Now in its 34th season, Theatre Set-Up works in association with English Heritage, The National Trust, and public and private stately homes, gardens and castles, performing mostly one night stands, this year from 13th June until 22nd August. The diverse venues include Glastonbury Abbey, Hall's Croft, Stratford upon Avon, Ventnor Botanic Gardens, Tatton Park Old Hall, The Rookery Streatham Common, Powderham Castle and The Lost Gardens Of Helligan. Further information can be found on the TSU web site via the link from Theatre Companies in the Links section of TheatreNet.