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The Green Room: What are your predictions for 2018?

Clockwise from top left: Hamilton, Macbeth becoming in vogue, with productions including that of the Royal Shakespeare Company’s Macbeth starring Christopher Eccleston, celebrating the Bridge Theatre's success and continued focus on harassment. Photo: Matthew Murphy/Shuuterstock/Philip Vile/Shutterstock

Meet our panel: We have given our panellists pen-names and used stock images but their biographies reflect their real career details…​​​​

Albert_Parker

Albert Parker is 60 and has appeared as a regular in soaps, two BAFTA award winning sitcoms, theatre and TV

Annie Walker is 25. Since graduating from drama school, she has worked predominantly in regional theatres and is also a writer and street performer

Gary Abblett is a 38-year-old jobbing actor with experience at the National, RSC, in the West End and on the road

John Pepper is 31, and for the past 10 years has worked extensively as an actor in various regional theatres, the National Theatre and in radio, television and feature film

Jenny Talbot, 39, has nearly 20 years of experience in West End and touring musical theatre with occasional forays into TV, film and plays

Peter Quince, 72, works in theatre and television

Vivian Lee is 38 and has played leading roles at the National, the RSC and the Royal Court, alongside regular TV appearances


A
nnieWe’ll get our own Green Room Netflix series and it will be brilliant. I can see it all!

John I always find the skip into the New Year filled with determination: ‘I want to work there, I want to achieve that.’ I think we need that drive to survive. But little distant tremors in the mind of ‘how much longer do I do this?’ can’t be helped.

Albert Hamilton will run and run.

Hamilton review at Victoria Palace Theatre, London – ‘world-shattering’

Peter The Mousetrap won’t close, either.

Albert Who would have thought that a musical about a failed politician with a wife called Christine would do so well?

Jon Albert, someone will be cooking that up for the Edinburgh Fringe, and if they’re not, they should be. Or maybe a musical about a racing driver shouting at his nephew for wearing a princess dress?

Peter There’ll be a play about Christine Keeler.

Jon Because all the major players in that story are now dead, you mean? Normally I’d say that was a very good call, but the relative lack of success of Stephen Ward might make producers a little nervous.

Annie I think a lot more young writers – mostly actors making their own work – will step up and bring out some political corkers.

Peter James Graham has cornered the market.

Albert Actor-led work should figure more prominently, I believe.

Vivian The badly implemented fad for superficial diversity will have run its course and we will return to the sad old pale-and-male lead casting.

Annie More and more musicals will come into the West End and there will be no plays left anywhere but the National and the Royal Court.

The Exorcist actor Jenny Seagrove bemoans decline of West End plays

Peter You won’t be able to get into drama school if you can’t play an instrument.

Jon It looks as if this year’s ‘play that everyone does’ (like Julius Caesar was last year) is going to be Macbeth. Or maybe Julius Caesar again?

Albert I’m penning a musical about the correct pronunciation of the word ‘harassment’.

Jon May I suggest the working title Rhymes With Embarrassment?

Albert Like it!

Jon Let’s leave looking forward for a moment and have a brief look back. What will be your abiding memories of 2017?

Vivian Bad contracts. Lovely work.

Peter Sadly, sexual harassment. The musical.

Gary There’s no doubting that 2017 was a year of scandal with Weinstein, Spacey, Stafford-Clark and so on. On a related note, it was the year when some theatres felt the need to put warnings up in the dressing rooms telling actors not to harass one another.

Royal Court publishes 30-point plan to tackle harassment in theatre

John The most notable aspect of 2017 was the very first shaving of the tip of the iceberg regarding the abuse within our industry. The focus of 2018 has to be to try to begin to clear it up. I hope I am right in feeling that this focus is going to be more than a passing phase.

Vivian There will be no follow-up after Spacey. Harassment will continue, but not be reported because that was ‘so 2017’.

Jon It does understandably feel as if Weinstein and Spaceygate overshadowed everything else last year, doesn’t it? Do we have any positive memories of 2017?

Peter The joy of a politician returning to the theatre and winning an award for playing King Lear in her 80s. In her 80s!

Jenny It’s been an outstanding year for plays. The Ferryman was astonishing. James Graham is cleaning up, though I’ve not seen any of his recent plays yet.

Albert They are great, Jenny. Quiz is coming into the West End as well in April.

James Graham’s Quiz announces West End transfer

Jenny I will be seeing them all I hope. Also, the musicals aren’t doing too badly and TV series are such a trend thing now. You have to binge-watch the right series otherwise you’ve got nothing to talk to anyone about – and to have that happening for TV series again can’t be a bad thing for actors.

Jon Any other positives to think about?

Vivian Despite my worries that they’ll go away, I think the conversations that are happening within the industry about harassment and calling people out are really positive.

Jenny The gender pay gap being aired is a highlight, and will move things in the right directions. That’s exciting.

Peter The highlighting of the importance of equal roles for women, too.

Albert Yes – the Equal Representation for Actresses campaign is a good thing.

Annie I agree. Highlights for me last year were things like equal pay and the speaking up about harassment.

Jon And theatres opening! The Storyhouse in Chester, the Bridge in London…

How two theatres, a cinema and a library became Chester’s Storyhouse

Jenny Yes, new theatres! Amazing.

John In terms of my memories of 2017, right at the top probably has to be being at one of the previews at the Bridge. Standing around in awe, thinking: ‘They made a theatre? They just went and made a bloody theatre!’

Jon Awe was my reaction to being part of the opening company at Storyhouse, too. I’m sure most of us would have ‘being in the first performance at a new theatre’ on our bucket list. Although I do admit it puts even more pressure than normal on the first preview.

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