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Young Vic ‘cannot treat people like this’ – your views, July 11

Young Vic artistic director Kwame Kwei-Armah
by -

I feel for these two writers. It is a nasty position to be put in and creatively deflating. The love, passion and time they have no doubt put in to the project is being tarnished by unnecessary power struggles. If it is as described, it is callous, unprofessional and damaging all round.

Chris Chambers
Via thestage.co.uk

Authorship row erupts over Idris Elba and Kwame Kwei-Armah show

It seems inconceivable to me that this show could ever be done at the Young Vic. In fact, unless it wants to lose the audiences it has, I’d be inclined to suggest to the board that it look for a new artistic director. You cannot treat people like this.

When it comes down to brass tacks, two older men, in clear positions of power, have used two young female writers and not given them the credit they are due, whether or not the final words of the piece were theirs.

No matter if the Young Vic has stayed true to the letter of the law, perception is everything, especially from two men who have previously been so keen to hold themselves up as beyond reproach. They’ve clearly acted very badly, whatever their condescending excuses.

Richard Voyce
Via thestage.co.uk

From the blog of the writers involved, Idris Elba seems to be the one person who comes out as a good example of how to communicate and mediate these situations. He seemed to care about both the staff and the end product and tried to keep dialogue going. People should care about how creatives and writers are respected and credited for their work.

Do you remember when the entire US film-making industry was shut down between
2007 and 2008 for exactly these sorts of
crediting issues?

Nick Lloyd
Via Facebook

Idris Elba: Accusations against me in Tree authorship row are offensive and troubling

New theatre good for Greenwich

I was amazed that such a great idea is being grumbled at. Why on earth would there need to be public consultation apart from the usual planning applications? Competition is not always bad and Selladoor’s typical programming seems different to the Greenwich Theatre.

Providing choice improves exposure to the theatre and is a positive thing? Every industry is subject to competition – from takeaways, to nightclubs – let alone the obvious ones such as supermarkets and corner shops.

Of course when presented with two productions and only one chunk of available funds to buy tickets, people will choose. However, when I looked at the programming for the Greenwich Theatre up to Christmas, there wasn’t a single show I would go to if they were at my local theatre. If Selladoor offers people like me alternatives, then Greenwich won’t have lost a customer at all.

It isn’t that Greenwich’s programming is poor, far from it, but there’s nothing that would attract me. Maybe Selladoor will programme for my tastes. If it doesn’t then that too is fine – it’s about choice. Two theatres with Jim Davidson in one and Shakespeare in the other are never competition – these are two totally different audience demographics.

Surely we should applaud Selladoor for opening a new theatre in the current climate?

Paul Johnson

Selladoor’s plans for Greenwich are not a done deal – your views, July 4

Alan Drury remembered

Michael Quinn has served the playwright, director and literary manager Alan Drury well in his obituary – except in one, vital detail. He describes Little Brown Jug as a “Glenn Miller jukebox musical”. Alan would never have written such a thing and neither would I have commissioned, produced and directed it for the Northcott Theatre. It did, as The Stage says, have a full Glenn Miller band on stage – but it was very much a play with music.

Many in the audience had lived through the events Alan had depicted and their recognition of the play’s authenticity was voluble and warm. The play also had a hilarious scene where Miller tries to explain to an upper-class BBC Producer the importance of his band’s “dynamics”. The Producer was worried that during the quiet passages, the British Public would worry the BBC was off the air and Hitler had invaded.

Stewart Trotter
Artistic director Northcott Theatre 1980-85

Obituary: Alan Drury – ‘Playwright and BBC Radio Drama literary manager’

European Billy Elliot tour a must-see

A feisty and forever timely British export that is worthy of far more support and acclaim than it is getting, is the rejuvenated Billy Elliot, which ran last month at Erkel Theatre, Budapest and will run this month at Budapest Opera House.

It is a story of vindication of personal ambition to dance and act against the odds and is also playing in Madrid, Pilsen and Stockholm.

John Woods

Tickets sold on star names

In response to the latest poll about audience’s rights when a star can’t perform, if it’s being sold on the “name” then a refund should be offered. A show with a big name costs more, so if they don’t appear, the buyer should have a choice.

Matt Forrester
Via Facebook

Quotes of the week

Roy Alexander Weise. Photo: Helen Murray
Roy Alexander Weise. Photo: Helen Murray

“The building was once one of the world’s largest Cotton Exchanges. If you don’t know what this means in this context, then please dig for the truth. Anyway, here I am. Descendant of slaves, of immigrants, about to co-lead this wonderful theatre. I mean, I literally am my ancestors’ wildest dream.” Roy Alexander Weise on his and Bryony Shanahan’s appointment as artistic directors at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (Twitter)

“I am strangely attracted to the idea of being told what to say and do through an earpiece. This could be the way forward for my career.” Joanna Lumley on performing in Whodunnit at London’s Park Theatre (Sunday Times)

“At a time of, let’s just say political jaggedness, we need to grasp the potential of the extraordinary creativity of this country. But in Bristol, there is this ongoing, resilient creative churn, with people who grow up here, and increasingly people saying: ‘I’ve had it with London, there’s no space to live or work in.’ And in Bristol, there is.” Bristol Old Vic artistic director Tom Morris (Guardian)

“To criticise a story on the basis of where the author has come from, or how privileged the author is, undermines the story. I’ve never pretended I’m not from a privileged position. I really know that I am. I was perfectly set up to have success in the world. But my privilege didn’t create Fleabag, I created Fleabag. But from a place where I was able to sit and write and take the time. I was around people who could support that.” Writer and actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge (How to Fail With Elizabeth Day podcast)

“After 17 happy years at the Standard, this is my last review. Thank you very much for reading.” Critic Fiona Mountford signs off her review of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Shakespeare’s Globe (Evening Standard)

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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