News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 31st March 2006

The Royal Opera House has announced its new 2006/2007 season. Royal Ballet highlights include new works by Christopher Wheeldon and Wayne McGregor in a triple bill with Balanchine's The Four Temperaments; a new work by Alastair Marriott performed with Balanchine's Apollo and Theme And Variations; Will Tuckett's new staging of Brecht and Weill's Seven Deadly Sins; and Johan Kobborg's new staging of Bournonville's Napoli Divertissements. Revivals include Coppelia, The Sleeping Beauty, The Nutcracker, Swan Lake, Onegin and Mayerling; and a triple bill of Ninette De Valois's Checkmate, Frederick Ashton's Symphonic Variations, and Kenneth Macmillan's Song Of The Earth.

The Royal Opera highlights include new productions of Mozart's La Finta Giardiniera, directed by Christof Loy; Bizet's Carmen, directed by Francesco Zambello; Donizetti's La fille du Regiment, directed by Laurent Pelly; and Ravel's L'Heure Espagnole and Puccini's Gianni Schicchi, directed by Richard Jones; and London premieres of Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande, directed by Stanislas Nordey; and Beethoven's Fidelio, directed by Jurgen Flimm. Revivals include Faust, Lady Macbeth Of Mtsensk, Orlando, The Tempest, Tosca, The Queen Of Spades, Stiffelio, and Kat'a Kabanova. Further information can be found on the ROH web site via the link from London Venues in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Royal Opera House has offered to become involved in efforts to keep the Theatre Museum at its present site in Covent Garden, floating the idea of merging its opera and ballet archive and educational activities with the Museum's collection and programme. This would have the double advantage of bringing more financial resources into play, and reinvigorating both the displays and events, which should make the Museum more attractive to visitors. However, the Victoria & Albert Museum trustees seem more interested in the money saving option of moving the Museum's collection and activities to the its main buildings in South Kensington. The trustees are "conducting a further round of consultation with professional theatre bodies, public arts funding bodies, existing users of the museum and others in the theatre field to examine the various options" (in plain language: assessing what they can get away with) prior to taking a decision at a meeting on 18th May.

The next productions at the Menier Chocolate Factory in Southwark will be Breakfast With Jonny Wilkinson, written by and starring Chris England, with Norman Hale, Beth Cordingly, Abi Tucker, Michael Beckley, Tony Bell and Kevin Wathen, set in a dilapidated rugby club, during England's World Rugby Cup triumph in 2003, opening on 27th April; and the British premiere of Jason Robert Brown's The Last Five Years, a two handed song cycle about a relationship, told from beginning to end by the man, and from end to beginning by the woman, opening in July.

Stage One, by arrangement with The Society Of London Theatre, is holding another Workshop For New Producers from 1st to 3rd June. This is an intensive course for anyone planning to produce or co-produce in theatre. The aim is to provide detailed information on how to set up a production at a regional theatre and bring it into the West End, for those who have not previously produced commercial plays, or have only limited experience, but posess a firm commitment to a career in theatre production. It will be conducted by leading theatre practitioners led by production doyenne Andrew Treagus. For an application form send a stamped addressed envelope to Workshop For New Producers, Stage One, 32 Rose Street, London WC2 9ET. The closing date for applications is 20th April. Further information can be found on the SO web site via link from Organisations in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Arthur Kopit's Off Broadway hit Road To Nirvana, with Shaun Williamson, Wendy Morgan, Marem Hernandez and Ian Porter, directed by Colin McFarlane, will receive its British premiere at the King's Head Theatre in Islington on 4th May. The play is a satirical slice of 1980s Hollywood life, in which a host of money grabbing characters try to wheel and deal their way to fame, fortune and power. The producer is 4th Wall Entertainment.

Shelagh Delaney's A Taste Of Honey, with Samantha Giles, Bruno Langley, Andonis Anthony, Chris Jack and Amantha Robinson, directed by Stuart Wood, opens a national tour at Oldham Coliseum on 20th April. The only contender for the title of an 'angry young woman' play, it is a slice of working class life in Salford, in the changing times of the late 1950s.

The 14th Hampton Court Palace Festival runs from 8th to 24th June, with a series of prestige events in the specially designed theatre, built in the Base Court of the Palace. Artists taking part include Kiri Te Kanawa, Eric Clapton, Ronan Keating, Tracy Chapman, Van Morrison, Jools Holland, Katherine Jenkins, Art Garfunkel, Nicola Benedetti, Glyndebourne Festival Opera performing Die Fledermaus, and The Armonico Consort Orchestra of the Baroque. Glyndebourne style, audiences are invited to explore the Palace and picnic in the grounds either before the events or during extended supper intervals. Further information can be found on the HCPF web site via link from Festivals in the Links section of TheatreNet.

The Rumour Machine says: that Trevor Nunn is to direct a West End production of the Gershwins' Porgy And Bess in the autumn; that David Bowie may write the music and lyrics for Journey To The West, a bio-musical about the kung fu actor Bruce Lee, to be directed by Matthew Warchus, pencilled for Broadway in 2008; and that The Lord Of The Rings may be stopped in its tracks by the critical bruising it received at its pre West End/Broadway tryout in Toronto: "Everyone and everything winds up lost in this $25m adaptation of JRR Tolkien's cult-inspiring trilogy - that includes plot, character and the patience of most ordinary theatregoers . . . desperately short of both humour and depth of feeling . . . one lives in constant dread of a nasty outbreak of Morris dancing". The Rumour Machine grinds on.