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Shock closure of CPA Studios leaves a gap for students and parents (your views, August 16)

This is such a shock and very sad. My daughters have been attending CPA for the last nine years. They attended the weekend school and are devastated that CPA will no longer be [1].

They have learned so much – discipline, skills, independence, and most of all to know how it feels to be welcome and part of a family. I really am lost for words.

Yvonne Gilder
Via Facebook

I’m bloody furious. They took our term fees and left distraught students stranded. Thank God for the colleges that are rallying round trying to help.

Karen Beatens
Via Facebook

This is such awful news. My girls have attended the Saturday school since they were tiny. The confidence that CPA has instilled in them both is more than I can explain.

The staff were fantastic – their commitment and passion was clear and appreciated. [I’m] heartbroken for the CPA team and students.

Andrea Davies
Via Facebook

Very sad. I’m sure the staff are distraught. It can’t be easy admitting defeat, but I know they are doing all they can to help students get other places. [My] thoughts go out to all involved.

Sarah Moore
Via Facebook

I am in shock. I am devastated for everyone currently there, and wherever Colin [Putz, the school’s founder] is, my heart breaks for him.

Leah Knight
Via Facebook

Re: Long Read on casting directors

As an ‘audience subscriber’, may I say how very interesting the lengthy article on casting directors was (Long Read, August 2).

What do casting directors look for in auditions? Theatre’s hidden talent spotters reveal the secrets of their trade [2]

I am often amazed at how totally fitting casting is (although on a very few occasions I’ve witnessed some real howlers).

On another note, why not include an audience rep in the ‘Green Room’ when audience aspects are featured?

Alan Tingle
Address supplied

As a director, I don’t believe in the one-on-one audition and casting process. It’s also about who you’re going to cast against.

I once had to cast the play Saint Joan for a Broadway production. I booked a big theatre, and had an open call. The place was packed in short order. I then talked to the gathering and set the scenes I wanted to see played, improvisationally (no cold readings, thanks).

I selected those who put up their hand ready for the stage, and, as the afternoon went by, switched actors around to see how they performed with different partners. Hence I got my actors, casting mission accomplished.

The footnote to this is I got into big trouble from Equity, because a member complained that he expected a one-on-one, alone, in an office with the director – a process often to be scorned, especially with persuasive unknowns. Oh, and, er, sorry, I didn’t use a casting director.

John Clark

Via thestage.co.uk


More exclusive theatre, please

If the perception is that theatre is “elitist and out of touch” (‘Exclusivity doesn’t help theatre’ p7, August 2), Lyn Gardner, perhaps some exclusivity is helpful, and overdue?

As the trend toward smaller, organic and more credible venues continues to grow, some measured premium-ism may curtail the slippery descent into the same fate as popular music, with inattentive audiences munching, texting and waving their phones down the yellow brick road.

Lyn Gardner: £5,000 price tag doesn’t help theatre’s image problem [3]

After all, as stated, we desperately need patrons, and an alternative to hanging our work on festival posts and funding websites to die. As with ballet, in the courts of kings and queens: is more, new, innovative theatre not more, new, innovative theatre?

Elitist theatre that is substantive, considered and not pandering to the celebrity-obsessed agora? More please.

Martin Belk
London

Out of the loop at the Bridge

A new theatre with new technology. Of course. But I have never been excluded from enjoying a play as much as I was last week when watching Alan Bennett’s latest at the Bridge Theatre [4].

You require an app on your phone for those with loss of hearing to enable the theatre to supply you with Sennheiser headphones so that you may follow the dialogue.

Firstly, I had not wanted to open an app on my iPhone as I thought there may be other means of assisting with my hearing loss.

They do supply an iPad, which is linked to the headphones, but I was unable to obtain one of these in time for curtain-up as the one ‘guest host’ was busy attending to someone else.

I assumed, wrongly, that a new theatre would be fitted with the loop system – my hearing aids are programmed for this – but this one is not.

Many older people who are, perhaps, not au fait with modern phones, or indeed do not have one, would be completely out of their depth arriving at this new theatre and having to be instructed on the use of this hearing system.

Pat Briggs
Tunbridge Wells

Quotes of the week

Maureen Beattie. Photo: David Jensen
Maureen Beattie. Photo: David Jensen

“I think we’ve been very backwards in coming forward. We need to get out there and bang our own drum. I want people to be frightened of Equity. I think some people are a little bit nervous, but they need to be really scared and know we are coming after you if you do wrong to our members.” – Equity president Maureen Beattie (Guardian)

“The roles for mature women on stage are a thousand times better than anything written in film. The screen roles are usually stereotypes: the evil stepmother, the bitter spinster. Whereas in theatre there’s Martha [in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?] or Mother Courage – I could name many characters I’d love to do. That’s why, knowing where my career could grow as I got less desirable for the camera, I focused on theatre.” – Actor Kathleen Turner (Vulture)

“I know women my age who are working, who have had children and are doing really well. But I can probably count them on one or two hands. There’s still a weird feeling of ‘Do I not exist?’.” – Actor Jemima Rooper (Evening Standard)

“We should be talking about who’s producing, or who is writing or directing, doing the make-up and controlling the whole backstage team. It’s homogenous at the moment and the stories that we tell are homogenous.” – Actor Paapa Essiedu (Times)

“So sad we got rained off for Act 2 of #littleshopofhorrors @OpenAirTheatre last night. But I did enjoy hearing some audience members doing their own rendition of ‘Suddenly, Seymour’ over the tannoy as they were leaving.” – Marc Antolin (Twitter)

“[Harold Pinter] used to say ‘Bollocks to the pause’ – his whole thing about the pause being the be-all and end-all of his work, the big clue or way into his work, which seems so baffling – because you get these weird, very laboured, impenetrable productions because they’re so slow. You’ve got actors stopping for no reason.” – Director Jamie Lloyd on working with Harold Pinter (Sunday Times)

“Backstage I can hear a producer for another show asking if it’s ok to say the word ‘pussy’ in reference to Pussy Riot. Er… what else are you going to call them? Downstairs Riot?” – Comedian Viv Groskop (Twitter)


Email your views to alistair@thestage.co.uk [5] Please mark your email as ‘for publication’. The Stage reserves the right to edit letters for publication.

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