7 Days of theatre in 60 seconds: January 23 – January 29
Top theatre industry stories
ACNI awards ‘highest honour’ £15k to playwright Jimmy McAleavey
Playwright Jimmy McAleavey is to receive an award from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland worth £15,000, described as the “highest honour” it presents. [read more]
Brighton Dome gets £5m Lottery boost towards refurb
Brighton Dome has secured almost £5 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund towards a major refurbishment. [read more]
Battersea Arts Centre picks up £1.2m grant
Battersea Arts Centre’s national theatre touring network has received £1.2 million from Arts Council England to expand its reach. [read more]
ITV entertainment director Elaine Bedell steps down
ITV director of entertainment and comedy Elaine Bedell, who has overseen shows such as The X Factor and The Sound of Music Live!, is stepping down after seven years. [read more]
Catford Broadway Theatre faces uncertain future as council looks to modernise
A public consultation has been launched on the future of the Broadway Theatre in south London while the local authority develops plans to bring the venue “back to its former glory”. [read more]
Wicked to stage first autism-friendly performance
Wicked is to hold its first ever autism-friendly performance in May. [read more]
Arts sector contributes £5.4bn to UK economy in 2014
The music, performing and visual arts sector contributed £5.4 billion to the UK economy in 2014, according to the latest figures. [read more]
Kit Harington returns to the West End in Jamie Lloyd’s Doctor Faustus
Game of Thrones star Kit Harington will return to the West End in a new production of Doctor Faustus. [read more]
Tricycle Theatre eyes £5.5m refit
Tricycle Theatre artistic director Indhu Rubasingham has unveiled a £5.5 million plan to expand the auditorium and overhaul the venue’s front of house capabilities. [read more]
Ian McKellen launches global Shakespeare film season
Ian McKellen has launched a season of Shakespeare cinema claimed to be the biggest ever programme of films inspired by the playwright’s work. [read more]
Cabaret space to open beneath the Menier Chocolate Factory
A new “cabaret-style” performance space has been completed beneath the Menier Chocolate Factory. [read more]
Andrew Hurst appointed chief exec of One Dance UK
Royal Ballet company and tour manager Andrew Hurst has been named chief executive of new industry body One Dance UK. [read more]
Camden Youth Theatre launches for teenagers
A new youth theatre for north London has been launched, which will give young people the opportunity to perform at venues including Camden People’s Theatre and the New Diorama. [read more]
National Theatre of Scotland celebrates transgender lives in autumn 2016 season
Transgender lives and the Scottish enlightenment will be key subjects of the second half of the National Theatre of Scotland’s 10th anniversary season. [read more]
Debrett’s 500 includes Sonia Friedman, Josie Rourke and Benedict Cumberbatch
Sonia Friedman, Josie Rourke, Judi Dench and Andrew Lloyd Webber have been listed among the most influential people in Britain. [read more]
- Akram Khan backlash as 400 sign open letter following female choreographer comments
- Choreography row: Akram Khan responds
- Wicked to stage first autism-friendly performance
- ITV2 to broadcast Grease: Live
- Mark Shenton: Memories? The Broadway revival of Cats seems to have forgotten its choreographer
Theatre talking points:
- Cheltenham Everyman Theatre has been forced to pay out more than £9,500 following an incident in which a member of the public was left unconscious. [read more]
- Drama school heads have hit out at “ludicrous” government plans to scrap student maintenance grants, claiming they will prevent the poorest young people from becoming actors. [read more]
- Award-winning set and costume designer Anna Fleischle has called for more recognition of her peers’ work. The Hangmen designer also said more needed to be done to support emerging designers at the beginning of their careers. [read more]
- David Suchet has defended the right of actors to play roles of any gender following his stint as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest. [read more]
- April’s Olivier Awards ceremony will be shown around the world when it is streamed on its own YouTube channel, and will also include a live streaming of the performances from the public stage in Covent Garden. [read more]
- Theatre by the Lake has appointed producer Conrad Lynch in a new role as joint artistic director and chief executive. [read more]
- Bend It Like Beckham, Judi Dench and Robert Icke were among the winners of this year’s Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards, which celebrates achievements in 2015. Other winners included Martin McDonagh’s play Hangmen, actors Kenneth Cranham and Denise Gough, and designer Anna Fleischle. [read more]
- About 400 people turned up for Jesus Christ Superstar open auditions at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. [read more]
Locus Amoenus review at the Lowry, Salford – ‘meticulous’ ★★★★
Minotaur review at Unicorn Theatre, London – ‘brief and breezy’ ★★★
One of Those review at Tristan Bates Theatre, London – ‘an anti-romcom’ ★★★★
Pink Mist review at the Bush Theatre, London – ‘devastating and poetic’ ★★★★
Wit review at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester – ‘heart-battering’ ★★★★
The Mother review at Tricycle Theatre, London – ‘desperately poignant’ ★★★★★
Horror review at the Peacock Theatre, London – ‘genuinely terrifying’ ★★★★★
Two review at the Octagon Theatre, Bolton – ‘first rate performances’ ★★★★
The Train review at Lancaster Arts – ‘immersive and engaging’ ★★★★
Strictly Come Dancing Live review at Birmingham Barclaycard Arena – ‘pure entertainment’ ★★★★
The Devil Inside review at Theatre Royal Glasgow – ‘subtle and daring’ ★★★
The Pianist of Willesden Lane review at St James Theatre, London – ‘evocative and heartfelt’ ★★★★
Need to know: The gender agenda
A recent trend adopted by venues and producers across the UK is the scheduling of relaxed performances, which loosen traditional theatre etiquette and adapt performances to be more inclusive for young children, and to those with disabilities such as autism spectrum or learning difficulties.
It was announced this week the producers of Wicked are to hold a relaxed matinee of the musical on May 14, following consultation with the National Autistic Society.
A relaxed performance for parents with young children underwent a trial run at London’s Royal Court in December, where some 20% of patrons had booked especially for the relaxed performance. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and War Horse are among shows to already have experimented with relaxed performances.
A poll by The Stage found overwhelming support for more relaxed performances.
When I was growing up, actors of colour were quite rare, so I looked to Sidney Poitier. He was in some really important seminal films where race was obviously part of his story, but wasn’t the story.[read more]
I knew I wanted to direct but – it seems mad now – I genuinely didn’t know how to get into that, so I went back to Northern Ireland and did a PhD in Shakespeare – again this sounds mad – thinking that might help. [read more]
Anger is the thing that starts you writing… But you can’t just write from anger. I’m sure we’ve all seen plays that seem like undiluted anger and sometimes that isn’t as effective as when the anger is harnessed and controlled. [read more]
As soon as you find yourself on a film set or a TV set, you realise quite quickly how precious theatre is. The process, the collaboration…it’s a completely different kettle of fish in that respect. [read more]
When I first left drama school I was happy to be doing anything. I was always told just to say yes and work it out later. Get as much experience as possible under your belt and then you can start to say no to things and yes to things. [read more]
What they said about…
- Howard Sherman: Does the West End need its own BroadwayCon spin-off?
- Alistair Smith: Access to drama training isn’t the biggest issue
- Susan Elkin: Why church buildings and drama training are a marriage made in heaven
- Daniel Evans: Ignore the cliche – actors care deeply about their work
- Mark Shenton: Memories? The Broadway revival of Cats seems to have forgotten its choreographer
- Kat Nugent: Stage management can be like The Great British Bake Off
- Libby Penn: Is wearable tech in theatre a fact, a fantasy, or too far off to matter?
- Mark Shenton: Is theatre any better than the Oscars when it comes to diversity?
- Mark Shenton’s week: Saying goodbye to Broadway with a tear in my eye
What you said about…
Poll: Which Shakespeare screen adaptation is best?
This time last year, the owner of Swansea’s Palace Theatre was granted additional time by its local council to complete urgent repairs needed to make the property safe.
Five Years ago, it was announced that former Legally Blonde star Sheridan Smith and Rome actor James Purefoy would join Sienna Miller in Trevor Nunn’s West End production of Flare Path.
Ten years ago, the former Welsh culture minister Alun Pugh promised to sign a “memorandum of understanding” guaranteeing the artistic freedom of the country’s six national arts companies.
What’s coming up?
Adrian Lester reprises his Critics’ Circle award-winning performance as 19th-century black actor Ira Aldridge in Red Velvet, which opens at the Garrick Theatre London on February 1.
Opening on January 27 beneath London’s Waterloo station is the 2016 Vaults Festival, with performances, live music, film screenings, kids shows, and a pop up restaurant. The festival runs until March 6.
Dawn Walton directs a new production of Lorraine Hansberry’s landmark play A Raisin in the Sun for the Eclipse Theatre Company. It will open at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield on February 1.