EU lighting proposals will force small theatre companies to close (your views, April 26)
Bureaucrats have no idea of the impact of seemingly simplistic regulations (‘Theatres face £180m bill under EU lighting rules’, News, April 19). I am the artistic director of a very small arts centre, which, if these rules become law, will not be able to produce shows.
All our lighting is recycled from big theatres on whom we rely. Our budget is insufficient to purchase new lighting so we will have to close. That will mean no children’s theatre, choir, acting classes for adults, pensioners’ film club, musicals or plays – all community-based activities. Well done, EU.
Will the new regulations apply to the UK even though we won’t be in Europe by then?
Most manufacturers are based in the EU and will be forced to follow European law. Whether or not the UK government allows their use, the supply will dry up.
Is honesty the best policy?
On Lyn Gardner’s column about giving feedback to friends appearing in disastrous shows (Comment, April 19), if a production is terrible, politeness or eerie silence does not help.
Those involved in the production should take a very deep breath, acknowledge the failure and revisit the show’s problems. There’s no point accusing individuals as everybody is part of the process. Depending on the budget and other time commitments (theatre rarely pays enough), flawed productions should take advantage of a long run to make substantial changes and invite critics again.
To close your eyes and keep going is not a solution for the audience nor the creatives. A bad press night should not be the end.
Elisabeth von Glasenapp
“Great job!” covers most bases while being vague enough and recognising their hard work. If your friend gave a bad performance in an otherwise enjoyable show, then “Great show!” compliments it overall without singling them out. If you want to subtly dig the knife in, however, “I loved your scene with X” implies “They were great; you, not so much”. Or, of course, there’s the old standby: “Darling, you looked amazing – fantastic costume.”
Tricycle Theatre name change
I am glad about the changes at Kiln Theatre, including the name (‘Tricycle named Kiln after revamp’, News, April 12).
Let’s forget about stereotypes: sometimes things need fresh movements. The Tricycle name wasn’t bad, but the new one matches Kilburn’s energy and reinforces the idea of a new era coming.
Not everything is about the name – it isn’t what defines a good product. In terms of great works of art, the Tricycle/Kiln has long given us marvellous productions.
So, congratulations to all those people who have been working hard to let us share in the joy of the theatre’s reopening.
Cheddy Mendizabal Alvarez
The Tricycle is a recognised name that has become synonymous with high-quality artistic diversity. It has taken decades to establish its first-class international reputation, while taking pride in its locality. The venue is celebrated among theatre lovers, but the name is now to be squandered for no good reason.
There was no consultation on the name change. The theatre’s leaders have used funds raised for the Tricycle and spent it on a rebrand the donors did not knowingly contribute to. They fundraised for the Tricycle, then abolished it.
They’ve appropriated the cheers for the theatre’s re-opening to claim it in support for the name change. The Tricycle is not a private fiefdom, a vanity project or a company selling widgets. It’s a facility funded by members of the public that forms part of the identity of the local area. It’s our Tricycle, not their Kiln.
Double standard for BAME artists
By his own admission, Jack Thorne wrote “a lot of bad plays” in his early career. If only British writers of colour were afforded the same luxury.
As the Young Vic announces its first programme under new artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah, it’s clear that British black, Asian and minority ethnic writers will once again be playing second fiddle to their American cousins.
There are virtually no spaces for BAME playwrights to develop their work and certainly nowhere to develop projects of scale. This is problematic as it severely restricts the kinds of stories writers of colour can tell – if they are allowed to tell them at all.
What would Quentin Letts have thought if he’d been a drama critic between 1825 and 1882 (‘RSC actor: Quentin Letts made ‘unforgivable racial slur against me’ ’, News, April 19)?
He could have seen Ira Aldridge and Samuel Morgan Smith playing Hamlet, Macbeth, Lear, Othello, Aaron, Shylock and Richard III. Aldridge played Guy Mannering in 1830.
How much longer does it have to be repeated that a BAME actor can play any part?
Peter J Sutton
Quotes of the week
“People have written letters saying ‘Don’t do this’. There is concern about women playing men. One person was outraged that I would be playing Hamlet, which they felt I was selfishly using as therapy for my ‘obvious transgender issues’.”
Shakespeare’s Globe artistic director Michelle Terry on playing Hamlet (Telegraph)
“I feel like it is easy to wear a badge saying #MeToo or something and that doesn’t cost you anything. But I really don’t believe that any change happens unless sacrifices are made or people risk things. Women are massively under-represented in this industry. That’s not going to change until audiences demand it.”
Actor Romola Garai (Times)
“A director has usually spent a year or more working on a production before the actors arrive. So when rehearsals begin I usually tell the actors everything I think I know, which sometimes involves a lot of talking, but then I try to shut up and let them do their stuff. I have a pretty high tolerance for living in chaos for a long time while the actors create their own neural pathways as they construct their performances.”
Director Rachel Chavkin (Playbill)
“A royal baby born on St George’s Day? Great plot. Shakespeare must think it’s his birthday.”
Television presenter Richard Osman (Twitter)
“You don’t have to do a ton of research about egotistical bosses if you have done a bit of acting, although I have been relatively lucky.”
Actor Ben Chaplin on preparing for his role in Mood Music at the Old Vic (Evening Standard)
“At my age, I’m grateful to get any work, so when somebody sends me a script, I approach it with a positive attitude. In the past, I might have been more uppity, but now I’m just like, ‘Oh God, a script – great!’ There just aren’t many roles written for women over 65. I don’t think there are many young writers who are interested in what’s going on at the other end of the age stick.”
Actor Ellen Burstyn (New York Times)
“I’m curious to see how the conversations that are going on now engender new, more representative writing, so I’m waiting to see what comes in. I think at the end of this year you will start to see evidence of people’s gaze shifting. I hope.”
Actor Ophelia Lovibond (Evening Standard)