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7 days of theatre in 60 seconds: January 9-15

Alan Rickman. Photo: Marie-Lan Nguyen Alan Rickman. Photo: Marie-Lan Nguyen
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Top theatre industry stories

Alan Rickman dies aged 69
Alan Rickman, one of the most charismatic actors of his generation, has died from cancer aged 69.[read more]

Bend It Like to Beckham to close in March
West End musical Bend It Like Beckham will close in March after running for less than a year. [read more]

Universal hires theatrical talent
Universal Music Group has hired West End producer Scott Landis as it begins a major push into developing and producing theatre. [read more]

ATG hires Eventim boss to head up digital strategy
Ambassador Theatre Group has appointed Eventim managing director Rob Edwards to head up a new digital strategy. [read more]

Bad Jews returns to London for Theatre Royal Haymarket run
Comedy Bad Jews is returning to London for a run at the Theatre Royal Haymarket. [read more]

Ed Vaizey becomes UK’s longest serving arts minister
Ed Vaizey has become the longest serving arts minister in British political history, beating a record set by Labour’s Jennie Lee. [read more]

Scarborough’s Futurist Theatre faces demolition after appeals failure
Scarborough’s Futurist Theatre looks set to be demolished after a third appeal to make the venue a listed building was rejected. [read more]

Rising refurb costs force Scotland’s oldest theatre to appeal for more cash
Owners of the Theatre Royal Dumfries have called on the local authority for an extra £50,000 to complete a planned £1.9 million refurbishment of the building. [read more]

Most read

  1. Exclusive: Audience member covers for performer after last-minute illness in Into the Woods
  2. Akram Khan: ‘Don’t have more female choreographers for the sake of it’
  3. The Stage 100 2016 (top 5)
  4. Danielle Hope and Eva Noblezada to join the cast of Les Mis
  5. Billy Elliot producers branded ‘elitist’ in final night seats row

Theatre talking points:

  • A graduate fresh out of drama college went from audience member to starring role at Manchester’s Royal Exchange with just five hours rehearsal, after a lead cast member was unexpectedly taken ill. [read more]
  • Billy Elliot producers have been accused of elitism and class segregation after withdrawing premium tickets already sold to members of the public for the show’s final night. [read more]
  • Actors Noma Dumezweni, Paterson Joseph and Cynthia Erivo have hailed a new database of Shakespeare productions that exposes how black and Asian performers are “ghettoised” into second-tier roles. [read more]
  • The UK’s status as a “global cultural leader” is at risk because it is lagging behind other countries in terms of arts education and government investment in the creative industries. [read more]
  • Actor Charles Dance has claimed that state-educated actors are now being given fewer opportunities than performers who attend private schools. [read more]
  • A new musical about the fairytale Rapunzel written by the team behind US sitcom Friends will receive its UK premiere in London next month. [read more]
  • Senior figures from Welsh cultural organisations including National Theatre Wales, Welsh National Opera and the Arts Council of Wales have united to back a campaign opposing council cuts in Cardiff. [read more]

Theatre reviews

Rafe Beckley in The Lighthouse at the Space, London. Photo: Ben Carpenter
Rafe Beckley in The Lighthouse at the Space, London. Photo: Ben Carpenter

The Lighthouse review at the Space, London – ‘gem of a fairy tale two-hander’ ★★★★
Vertical review at Somerset House, London – ‘brave and brilliant’ ★★★★★
Give Me Your Love review at Battersea Arts Centre, London – ‘a provocation’ ★★★★
Until the Lions review at the Roundhouse, London – ‘breathtaking theatricality’
Tipping Point review at Platform Theatre, London – ‘spellbinding’ ★★★★
Marcel review at the Shaw Theatre, London – ‘poignant if simplistic’ ★★★
Richard III review at New Diorama, London – ‘intelligent and kinetic’ ★★★★
Tosca review at the Royal Opera House – ‘Gheorghiu does not disappoint’ ★★★
Fear and Misery of the Third Reich review at Union Theatre, London – ‘resonant’ ★★★★

Need to know: The politics of culture

On his 2,070th day in office, Conservative MP Ed Vaizey became the longest serving arts minister in British political history, beating a record set by Labour’s Jennie Lee.

On the other side of the parliamentary chamber, Maria Eagle, who has been appointed as shadow culture secretary, has been in the job for just a week. Eagle takes on the portfolio from Michael Dugher, who was “unceremoniously sacked” by Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn on January 5 after just four months in the role.

Dugher was considered somewhat outspoken in the wake of the government’s “hugely damaging” arts and culture spending cuts, and was criticised by Vaizey for his alleged “scaremongering” at the time.

People

Sheridan Smith. Photo: Greg Williams
Sheridan Smith. Photo: Greg Williams

Sheridan Smith:

My idols have always been people like Kathy Burke and Julie Walters and Maggie Smith, who also do that. They have no vanity, and if you can leave your vanity at the door, you can laugh at yourself and people can laugh with you. [read more]

Julie Hesmondhalgh:

If you’re filming a drama or doing a play, you never have 16 years of history behind you to bring to the last scene of something. Your investment in it and the audience’s investment in that character and the relationships and everything… it’s a really unique thing. [read more]

Imogen Stubbs:

I do like a challenge. I’m not keen on reproducing what I’ve already done. That’s not interesting for me or for the audience. I want to do things that frighten me a bit, like Shakespeare. [read more]

What they said about…

What you said about…

Poll: How many times have you seen a BAME actor playing the lead role in a Shakespeare play?

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[vote now]

Looking back…

This time last year, Oldham Coliseum Theatre revealed it was planning to relocate to a new £30 million arts and heritage centre.

Five years ago, it was announced the Donmar Warehouse was in the process of buying its own rehearsal, education and office space in Covent Garden London.

A decade ago, the Royal Shakespeare Company was awarded £20 million towards the proposed £100 million regeneration of its national base in Stratford-upon-Avon.

What’s coming up?

January 14: This Is Private Property opens at Camden People’s Theatre, the venue’s first in-house production since 2009.

January 20: LAMDA completes the exterior of its new building with a topping out ceremony.

January 18: Writers’ Guild Awards are announced.

January 21-22: Plasa Focus Glasgow takes place.

More breaking newsreviewsinterviewsobituaries and jobs can be found on The Stage.

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