Thursday, August 6

FEATURES

Josephs Assemble……for a special online production of a timeless classic!
Interviews

Josephs Assemble……for a special online production of a timeless classic!

In the same way the Avengers assemble to fight baddies a crack squad of Josephs have come together to perform an online megamix version of that classic musical for showbiz charity Acting For Others. As well as Darren Day, Jess Conrad and Jaymi Hensley, who have all played the man with the multi coloured coat over the last 52 years, the Josephs are joined by a team of 30 former ensemble performers. The original idea of this charity event came from Jordan Doolan who runs a Facebook fan site. His suggestion caught the attention of West End performer and producer Adam Lacey who decided he wanted to help turn the idea from a concept into a production. “Jordan had this idea that everyone is in lockdown and the London production we saw with Sheridan Smith, Jac Yarrow and Jason Donovan w...
Theatre Cash Injection – A Wise Investment?
Blogs

Theatre Cash Injection – A Wise Investment?

Given we made two appeals for government support for theatres to survive beyond the pandemic it would be churlish not to welcome the government’s £1.57 billion cash injection to protect our world leading cultural sector. Now it’s true that money has to go a long way across theatres, museums and live venues, but considering yesterday we had no support this is a significant acknowledgement that many big and small theatres were on the brink of going under. And, make no mistake, once they went dark the reality was they would never come back like the Nuffield in Southampton. You can’t help but think the National Theatre’s decision to lay off its front of house staff, or the announcement by regional powerhouse the Royal Exchange of potential redundancies must have focused the government’s...
Hard hitting urban drama No Milk for the Foxes makes a welcome return online
Interviews

Hard hitting urban drama No Milk for the Foxes makes a welcome return online

Try as it might theatre all too often gets working class culture badly wrong unless it is created by people who have lived experience of daily struggle and social disadvantage. That’s exactly why the online revival of Beats & Elements’ 2015 production of No Milk for the Foxes is very welcome. Using spoken word, beatboxing and live looping Beats & Elements founders Conrad Murray and Paul Cree explored David Cameron's England from the perspective of their own class. It’s the tale of security guards Marx, a white working-class male from Croydon, and Spaxx, an Anglo-Indian from Mitcham, counting down the hours on a zero hours nightshift. So did Conrad base these two funny and angry men on anyone he knew, or they are composites? “It is when it comes to Spaxx, and it is ...
Scenesaver – Fringe Theatre Online Hub
FEATURES

Scenesaver – Fringe Theatre Online Hub

In these times of no live theatre performance (apart from digital alternatives), Fringe theatre has been badly affected.  With no stage for their performances and summer festivals cancelled, they have had to either become creative online or go and find a job in another sector.  I was, therefore, very pleased to hear about a wonderful ‘online fringe theatre hub’ which at the click of a button, opens up the world of fringe theatre without leaving your home. Set up in 2019, Caroline Friedman had an idea to help people who would love to attend live theatre performances, but are unable to do so for a multiple of reasons – cost, accessibility, etc.  In creating this online off west end and fringe theatre hub, Friedman has widened the audience reach for these artists, who norma...
From Page to Stage is a Leap
Blogs

From Page to Stage is a Leap

Today I received an email from a publisher saying that while the theatres are dark it’s an ideal time to start giving reading playscripts a go, as it creates the same experience you’re missing while you’re not able to see a play. Now, a publisher’s primary responsibility is to sell books, so I understand where they’re coming from in making the best of the situation to create a market for books which probably don’t sell that well to people who don’t work within theatre, but I do think it’s very important to point out that reading a playscript absolutely does not create the same experience we’re missing out on while our theatres sit empty during this crisis. Obviously, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t read playscripts. Reading scripts can be a fulfilling and rewarding experience,...
Lockdown Interview – Willy Russell
Interviews

Lockdown Interview – Willy Russell

On 11th May as part of Bloomsbury Academic and Stage-ed, I had the pleasure of being involved in a Q&A session with writer, composer, and lyricist Willy Russell, best known for Blood Brothers, Educating Rita, and Our Day Out, to name but a few of his celebrated works. I have a confession to make: on a personal level, Russell had a huge influence on me both as a writer and actor. Our Day Out was the first musical I was cast in and Blood Brothers was the first musical I watched. So, to be part of this was something really special for me. Russell spoke openly and honestly as to how Blood Brothers came about and how he wrote and composed the songs for the show, and in a session that was scheduled to last one hour, ever the gentleman, he gave us ninety minutes. With the soundtrack fo...
Elizabeth Newman finds new ways of making work
Interviews

Elizabeth Newman finds new ways of making work

In the second part of an interview with Pitlochry Festival Theatre Artistic Director Elizabeth Newman our Features Editor Paul Clarke hears about the innovative work her team are doing to stay connected to their audience and community. Like most artistic directors Elizabeth Newman was focused on staging her next season at Pitlochry Festival Theatre and then COVID-19 struck forcing her to abandon most of that work as the theatre closed its doors. That meant Newman and her team at the Perthshire venue had to quickly pivot away from the traditional way of making theatre into a very different way of connecting with their audience at the self-styled ‘theatre in the woods’. “As we entered lockdown we launched some really key initiatives,” recalls Elizabeth.  “The first was PFT...
Elizabeth Newman is keeping theatre alive in the hills
Interviews

Elizabeth Newman is keeping theatre alive in the hills

In the first of a two-part interview with Pitlochry Festival Theatre’s Elizabeth Newman our Features Editor Paul Clarke asks her about the challenges of being an artistic director in the midst of a worldwide pandemic. After eight successful years as Bolton Octagon’s Artistic Director, Elizabeth Newman moved across the border to lead the team at Pitlochry Festival Theatre, but just as she was preparing to launch a new season of productions COVID-19 struck. Elizabeth and her team at the Perthshire venue are in lockdown after scrapping that season of work. They’ve been using that time to create online work in the maelstrom of a totally unprecedented challenge for the theatre world that managed to keep the lights on even as the Luftwaffe were dropping bombs on London. There's not...