News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 28th September 2007

It's Official! It has now been confirmed that the long discussed new musical adaptation of Margaret Mitchell's Gone With The Wind, the epic saga of the South during and after the American Civil War, as seen through the life and loves of plantation owner's daughter Scarlett O'Hara, book, music and lyrics by American Margaret Martin, directed by Trevor Nunn, (who also adapted Martin's book and lyrics), with movement direction by David Bolger, will open at the New London Theatre on 22nd April, produced by Aldo Scrofani and Colin Ingram; and that David Mamet's Speed-the-Plow, a behind the camera look at Hollywood, centring on a producer's decision to film a novel about a nuclear catastrophe and the end of the world, rather than his usual star laden surefire hit, with Kevin Spacey, directed by Matthew Warchus, will open at the Old Vic on 1st February.

The autumn season at the Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough includes the world premiere of Torben Betts's The Swing Of Things, where a woman who feels she has been denied what life should have offered her, invites her old school classmates for a reckoning, directed by Adam Bernard, from 4th October; Northern Broadsides with Andrew Pollard's new version of Charles Kingley's The Water Babies, about a Victorian child chimney sweep, who dives into a stream and goes on a magical underwater journey to the Other-end-of-Nowhere, directed by Adam Sunderland, from 27th November; and A Trip To Scarborough, written and directed by Alan Ayckbourn, based on a play by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, in which ghosts from the 18th and mid 20th centuries mingle with contemporary guests at the Royal Hotel, from 6th December.

Live Theatre, which specialises in new writing reflecting life in the North East, has just reopened after a 5.5m refurbishment of its home in 16th to 18th century bonded warehouses and almshouses on Newcastle Quayside. It has relaunched with the premiere of Lee Hall's The Pitmen Painters, adapted from the book by William Feaver, directed by Max Roberts, which tells the true story of a group of Ashington coal miners in the 1930s who invited a professor to give them art appreciation classes.

Trestle Theatre Company, which for over 25 years has championed use of masks, is broadening its remit to incorporate physical and visual techniques to present non-verbal theatre. The company's first production without masks, Little India, devised with writers Nina Patel and Anna Reynolds, produced in association with the Indian theatre company Little Jasmine, has just opened a tour at its refurbished home, Trestle Arts Base in St Albans. The show reimagines the story of Shakuntala, from the epic the Mahabharata, incorporating the South Indian martial art Kalari, and set to original music by Konarak Reddy. Future collaborative projects include a vocally-inspired piece with the Polish group Song of the Goat, and a flamenco-driven play about the life of 19th century dancer Lola Montez.

The autumn season at Theatre 503 in Battersea will include the premiere of Ben Ellis's The Final Shot, about the dilemma of how far a documentary film make should go recording a terminal patient, with Susannah York, Tom McKay, Fred Pearson, Peter Gowen, Candida Benson, directed by Tim Roseman, opening on 12th October; and John Donnelly's Songs Of Grace And Redemption, in which five lost people make life changing decisions to rescue themselves - and each other - through random acts of kindness, from 30th October, produced by Liminal Theatre in association with Time Won't Wait.

New York TheatreNet: Following in the footsteps of Kids' Night On Broadway, and Singles' Night On Broadway, comes Ladies Night Out On Broadway, The League of American Theatres and Producers' new initiative celebrating 'Broadway's most loyal group of theatregoers', which is scheduled for 24th October. The event will offer females a 20% discount on tickets at over 15 participating Broadway and Off Broadway shows, a free cocktail party with food and drink, karaoke, a charity raffle, a Women In Theatre panel and gift bags at Spotlight Live, from 5pm to 7.30pm, plus discounts to Theatre District restaurants and parking.

Compass Theatre Company's triple bill of Harold Pinter's The Dumb Waiter, in which two supposed hit men wait in a basement for their instructions to be delivered via a dumb waiter from the kitchen above, and Anton Chekhov's The Evils Of Tobacco, a cry from the heart of a long suffering man, and The Proposal, about a gentleman's inability to broach the subject of marriage to his beloved, in new versions by Neil Sissons, will open a national tour at the Theatre Royal in Lincoln on 30th October.

The Actors' Yearbook 2008, edited by Simon Dunmore and Andrew Piper, recently published by A&C Black, modestly claims to be "an essential resource for actors and anyone involved in the industry, from those just embarking on a career, to experienced actors who may be unfamiliar with certain areas of the profession". It certainly is a comprehensive reference guide to acting for television, film and theatre, which lists contact names and addresses for all sections of the acting world, from agents to production companies, together with articles and commentaries providing a valuable insight into the profession, including new topics such as The World Of Children's Television, Musical Theatre Cattle Calls, Finding Funding For Projects and Effective Audition Speeches.

English Touring Theatre opens its autumn tour of Thomas Middleton and William Rowley's The Changeling, the psychological tragedy prompted by obsessive love, directed by Stephen Unwin, at Nottingham Playhouse on 28th September. The company comprises Ken Bones, Anna Koval, Daon Broni, Gabriel Fleary, Gideon Turner, Terrence Hardiman, Marianne Oldham, David Cardy, Geoffrey Lumb, Adrian Schiller, Samantha Lawson, Ian Mercer and Leon Williams.

Business, a comedy in which an Englishman, a Frenchman and an American (respectively an office drone, a fashion photographer and an international businessman) are stuck in an airport in Siberia, written and directed by David Furlong, translated by Emma green, will play at the Pleasance London in Islington from 2nd October. The producers are Medialex and Echange Theatre Company.

The autumn season at Polka Theatre for children in Wimbledon includes Roy Williams's There's Only One Wayne Matthews!, about a boy who dreams of being a world famous footballer, but is a useless player, directed by Jonathan Lloyd from 28th September; David Wood's stage adaptation of Roald Dahl's The BFG, the story of young orphan who is whisked off to Giant Country by the 15ft BFG (Big Friendly Giant), directed by Roman Stefanski, from 9th November; and Hans Andersen's The Princess And The Pea, in a version devised, directed and designed by Joy Haynes, played out among sheets and blankets with puppetry, toys and dreamlike projections, from 21st November.