Mockingbird tour row ‘sets worrying precedent’ (your views, January 31)
Regarding the cancellation of the UK tour of To Kill a Mockingbird (front page, January 24), these [Broadway] companies seem to think they are Disney or something.
Productions of Broadway shows have been produced and played all over the UK and other countries in Europe for more than 70 years.
They seem to be like Trump: poised over that red button ready to press at a moment’s notice at someone “putting on a show” anywhere else but there. Or is it a Brexit thing?
Many of these shows are put on with charities in mind, so they are taking that away also.
Shame on Broadway – now there’s a title for a show.
This is a really worrying precedent. Surely the UK production was granted the rights first, irrespective of any ‘plans’ to eventually bring over the Broadway version? How disappointing for all the cast and crew involved in the tour.
I thought the Broadway production was a new rewrite from Aaron Sorkin? It’s a sorry state of affairs when producers have to exert their power over foreign productions of such an important work and halt them from touring.
It is very upsetting to see, considering the manpower that goes into producing shows. Not only that, it’s also sad that regional theatres now have a hole in their programme when the touring circuit is as fragile as it currently is.
Laurel and Hardy reprint overdue
Re: Laurel and Hardy (Archive, January 10, p38). Great article. The film is excellent and the leads are all I hoped they would be. I even did something I don’t usually do in the cinema – shed a tear.
You mention AJ Marriots’ comprehensive book that much of the film is based on – there is even a reference to it in the end credits. The film inspired me to search for the book, but it’s long out of print and second-hand copies are being sold at stupid prices.
I emailed Mr Marriot to ask if there were plans to reprint it (to my surprise, he replied the next day). Sadly, he has been trying for four years to get a publisher interested, to no avail. Now that I do find sad.
Touring has its challenges
I refer to your story ‘Doctor Dolittle musical collapses two months into year-long tour’ (News, January 17, p2). I produce small-scale touring theatre: new theatre but about universal subjects, and often ‘sheroes’.
The talent of the creative team is as crafted as any West End show, and in fact, in comparison to some, has added ingenuity and creativity because of a very small budget.
Ticket prices are kept at between £12 and £15 as we tour English towns and cities mainly in the West and South West, Midlands, and an occasional Oxford or London.
Actors have to have accommodation and need to eat. We have fuel and vehicle maintenance costs. The audiences are dropping off. And we earn the minimum wage.
Young actors – particularly those in universities – have been trained with the view that they are employed to act, maybe put up the set, but there is no ensemble work outside the rehearsal room. They complain if they think we might go over an eight-hour day. We don’t. They don’t clear up after themselves. They don’t understand rehearsal-room etiquette. And they won’t share rooms. They neither mix with nor learn from older actors. And this incurs cost. We can do no more. We will not survive.
As an actor producer and director in my 60s, I miss the days when we were all in it together, made ‘friends’ for the run, and all got stuck in, laughing and consoling in equal measure; creating exciting theatre that had a few technical tricks, a clever touring set, ingeniously made costumes using recycled materials, but, importantly, skilled, engaging, surprising work that entertained, touched and informed.
Single-seat policy is outrageous
I am a widower who sometimes go to the theatre with friends and sometimes by myself.
I have just tried to book The Starry Messenger at Wyndham’s in May, but was told that my choice of seat was not available as it would leave a single isolated seat next to it.
I find this outrageous and discriminatory. I cannot be the only person in the UK who goes to the theatre alone.
Toilet talk: tips to tackle loo queues
With reference to your West End toilets survey (News, January 3, p2), I have resorted to talking to women next to me to make the queue for the toilets more entertaining.
On my last visit to the Old Vic, several ladies and I “pee raced” to see who could take the least time in the stall without coming out undressed. So there are definitely options.
Quotes of the week
“It’s only taken us seven years to win this award, so thank you The Stage. In the words of the great Mahatma Gandhi: ‘This is fucking awesome’.” – Madani Younis, on accepting The Stage Award for London Theatre of the Year, which went to the Bush Theatre
“A marvellous afternoon at #TheStageAwards at @_bridgetheatre. Although I think they missed a trick. It should have been an immersive theatre awards ceremony at the Drury Lane where everyone was given a hard hat, helped with the renovation work, and the awards were bricks. #dear” – West End Producer (Twitter)
“Someone needs to let Katie Mitchell just make an actual porn film, get it out of her system.” – Journalist Helen Lewis on When We Have Sufficiently Tortured Each Other (Twitter)
“I just faked it until I made it and then, two years later, I was on the West End stage.” – Actor Layton Williams (Guardian)
“I think we’re in a really revolutionary age of theatre in terms of the kind of people making work, the stages that work is being put on and the kind of people accessing the work.” – Producer Tobi Kyeremateng (Evening Standard)
“It is female-led, female-driven but not alienating to men. I think that’s really important with what’s happening today.” – Actor/singer Katharine McPhee on Waitress (Express)
“There’s an underlying danger in Harold’s plays, and he certainly embodied that. He was a magnificent actor. I did The Hothouse with the great man himself in 1995. My God, there were sparks flying.” – Actor Celia Imrie on Harold Pinter (Guardian)
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