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Farewell to Queen’s Theatre, soon to be renamed after Stephen Sondheim – your views, July 18

Les Miserables at the Queen's in London's West End. Photo: Shutterstock The Queen's Theatre will reopen as the Sondheim Theatre in December following a refurbishment. Photo: Shutterstock
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After nearly 43 years I am leaving the Queen’s Theatre.

I would like to say it’s been an absolute pleasure and very humbling to meet so many fine actors, singers, musicians, comedians, producers, stage management, staff and fans over the course of that time – and my wife.

I don’t want to mention anyone by name as there are so many who have made my time at the Queen’s an absolute joy, but I want to say thank you for all the good times and the memories, and I will carry these into my retirement and wish all the best to my successors in the newly renamed theatre.

Malcolm Covill
Security officer, Queen’s Theatre

How does the Queen feel about this?

Paul Downham
Via Facebook

Her Majesty has many things named after her. I doubt she would begrudge this. Stephen Sondheim’s contribution to musical theatre has been greater – it’s an excellent thing

Amanda Buchan
Via Facebook

Just as long as theatregoers don’t get the impression that Mr Sondheim has anything to do with Les Mis.

Duncan Giles
Via Facebook

West End’s Queen’s Theatre to be renamed after Stephen Sondheim

Lords’ criticism of theatre

Surely politicians need to put their own house in order before criticising the theatre industry.

What do they know about high ticket prices subsiding the cheaper seats, and schools that are less inclined to engage with local theatres? Local venues are not the same as the London theatres they were discussing.

If politicians are going to address the arts more generally, they should acknowledge that the EBacc is stopping schools engaging with theatre. In the House of Lords, James Younger disputed that EBacc had resulted in a decline in arts subjects, saying it has remained broadly stable over the years.

What does ‘broadly’ mean? Is he unsure of the details? The facts published in The Stage and elsewhere say otherwise.

The Lords seemed to have strayed off the subject and achieved nothing. That’s politics for you, paid for by the electorate.

Martin Lightfoot

‘Murky world’ of London theatre scrutinised by Lords in wake of ticket-price hike

Misunderstood Molière

I absolutely agree with Matt Trueman about Molière.

I didn’t see Tartuffe at the National but did see the Royal Shakespeare Company’s version. Whatever that was, it wasn’t Molière – the new writers claimed they had to Google him. I know the RSC version brought in a fresh audience but it did not see Molière.

The same thing happens when they perform Brecht. To (mis)quote Monty Python: “It really makes me mad!”

Brian Bangay
Via Facebook

Matt Trueman: A British farce of habit – but Molière is no joke

Messing about on and off stage

The Green Room panel was asked: What’s the most unprofessional you’ve ever been?.

I’ll never forget a play I watched at the National Theatre. I’m hard of hearing so wear the hearing loop. I could vaguely hear the stage management team through the loop and during one scene change, I heard: ‘Where’s the fucking table?!” Minutes later, two stagehands ran on with a large table very hastily and ran off again.

Doug R Dunn
Via Facebook

I couldn’t possibly say. I’d never work again.

Andy Houlton
Via Facebook

There was this one time on my last day as a swing on Phantom in the late 1990s…

David Linsell
Via thestage.co.uk

The Green Room: What’s the most unprofessional you’ve ever been?

Keep producing The Mikado

I disagree with Lea Salonga about whether The Mikado is an acceptable show to produce. The Mikado and indeed Madam Butterfly are great classics and will continue to be performed. They have also been played by Japanese casts.

Themes such as the story of Katisha – an ugly old lady who loves a young prince – and that of a Japanese girl abandoned by a foreigner after their wedding are among many universal themes in both pieces.
There are also opportunities for genuine Japanese art in the designs.

Richard Duployen

Lea Salonga: ‘The physical demands on musical theatre performers are crazy’

Measuring student satisfaction

Mountview, Guildhall and East 15 are reportedly among schools with 100% student satisfaction rating.

Course satisfaction should be assessed by surveying graduates five years after having left the school.

Jonathan Hartman
Via thestage.co.uk

Quotes of the week

Michelle Terry. Photo: Pip
Michelle Terry. Photo: Pip

“I realise quite how much privilege and how much power I have and that comes with unbelievable excitement for what we can do, but an unbelievable amount of anxiety around what we’re not doing. When social justice is your endeavour there’ll always be people that you’re not serving.” – Michelle Terry, artistic director of Shakespeare’s Globe (Evening Standard)

“I’ve seen change, but it is very slow. I attended my first Olivier Awards in 1995, and at that point it was me and Adrian Lester in the room. So to go to the Oliviers now and look around and see an array of creeds and colours, that warms my heart.” – Actress and singer Sharon D Clarke (Guardian)

“Today’s tip: find your fire 🔥. It’s not good enough to make a show about your life because your mum or the pub thinks you’re interesting. Ask: What about your lived experience will help other people deal with their own lives?!” – Performance artist Bryony Kimmings (Twitter)

“I’m often asked if I write for or with a black audience in mind, and I always feel insulted by the question. I live and work in the UK, where the population is 86% white and arts audiences are 92% white. It would be imbecilic of me to create work that sidelines 92% of my potential audience. It shows a lack of basic imagination. If I was white, I would not be asked if I write for a white audience – a white writer would simply be writing.” – Playwright and performer Inua Ellams (Sunday Times)

“Theatre fans! Dont despair! I’ve decided to mount a revival of the original production of Les Misérables! We don’t have a revolve though so I’m gonna make the audience walk around me in circles #cannotfail #whathaveidone #sweetjesuswhathaveidone” – Dramatist and songwriter Gus Gowland (Twitter)

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

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