Saturday, April 13

Interviews

Designer Hayley Grindle is determined to make The Bard accessible
Interviews

Designer Hayley Grindle is determined to make The Bard accessible

Hayley Grindle is one of our brightest and busiest designers but her two current projects couldn’t be more different. She’s been working with tech wizards imitating the dog on their bold reimagining of the Frankenstein legend and is back at Leeds Playhouse conjuring up the madness of Macbeth directed by her long-time collaborator Amy Leach. Hayley and Amy have already created acclaimed reworkings of Romeo & Juliet and Hamlet. This time the duo reunite for a second go at one of Shakespeare’s darkest political dramas. Our Features Editor Paul Clarke caught up with Hayley to talk about the challenges of designing for two very different companies, and how design can draw audiences into even the densest texts. So, what was your inspiration for Frankenstein given it’s a story th...
imitating the dog’s Andrew Quick talks about their new version of Frankenstein
Interviews

imitating the dog’s Andrew Quick talks about their new version of Frankenstein

imitating the dog is a company who have developed an international reputation for high-tech reinventions of classic movies and texts, so it’s not surprising they’ve taking on Mary Shelley’s Gothic classic Frankenstein. This time Co-Artistic Directors Pete Brooks, Andrew Quick and Simon Wainwright are bringing their trademark multimedia experience to rethink this timeless novel as a psychological thriller that asks the eternal question – what is it to be human?  In this version a couple are forced to confront their own fears about impending parenthood in a version of the Frankenstein myth that erupts into life as everyday objects are transformed into glaciers, a ship at sea, a dissecting room and a house on fire.  imitating the dog’s two-han...
Pilot Theatre’s Esther Richardson talks about their new stage production of A Song for Ella Grey
Interviews

Pilot Theatre’s Esther Richardson talks about their new stage production of A Song for Ella Grey

Pilot Theatre have become of the UK’s leading companies making challenging work for younger audiences, and after their success with classic teen yarn Noughts & Crosses their latest production is an adaptation of David Almond’s A Song For Ella Grey This adaptation by Zoe Copper is a contemporary retelling of the Orpheus myth focusing on Claire and her best friend Ella Grey, who are just ordinary kids with everyday hopes and fears. They and their friends fall in and out of love, but one day a musician called Orpheus appears on the beach. He entrances them all, and particularly Ella, but where has Orpheus come from and what path will Ella take as she comes of age? The cast will feature actress, writer and to her 729.1k followers Tik Tok performer Grace Long as Ella Grey, Beth Crame...
Bradford Opera Festival stage The Barber of Seville…but with a distinctive local twist
Interviews

Bradford Opera Festival stage The Barber of Seville…but with a distinctive local twist

The opening event of the newly created Bradford Opera Festival is the world premiere of a Yorkshire dialect version of The Barber of Seville. To make this happen the festival team have been working with legendary Yorkshire poet Ian McMillan and conductor Ben Crick, who has long had a dream to stage a version of Rossini’s classic tale of class, lust and betrayal performed in the local vernacular. Alex Chisholm who has been a stalwart of the Bradford artistic scene for many years is directing, and she told our Features Editor Paul Clarke why this festival will help democratise a misunderstood art form for local audiences. Of all the great operas, why did you choose The Barber of Seville? This really came from Ben, and he has had this dream for the last 20 years, so it's not just...
Noel Sullivan talks about new musical In Dreams that has its world première at Leeds Playhouse
Interviews

Noel Sullivan talks about new musical In Dreams that has its world première at Leeds Playhouse

Noel Sullivan shot to fame as part of Hear’say who won the first reality TV music show, Popstars, but after the band imploded he carved out a very successful musical theatre career in West End shows like Rock of Ages and We Will Rock You. Now he's part of an ensemble cast who are working on a brand new musical, In Dreams,that uses the back catalogue of legendary rocker Roy Orbison to help tell the story of a rocker at a personal crossroads, and has its world première at Leeds Playhouse.    The book has been written by David West Read who wrote hit musical & Juliet and Schitt’s Creek, and is directed by Luke Sheppard who also worked on & Juliet which won nine Tony nominations. Our Features Editor Paul Clarke caught up with Noel during rehearsals to talk about the...
Richard O’Brien reflects on 50 years of The Rocky Horror Show
Interviews

Richard O’Brien reflects on 50 years of The Rocky Horror Show

Who would have thought a small-scale musical production about an innocent couple who meet a charming but corrupting space alien in his gothic mansion would become one of the longest running shows of all time. It's been an astonishing 50 years since the show opened upstairs in the Royal Court Theatre, and all these years later raucous audiences are still coming along dressed up like mad scientist Frank-n-Furter, do the Time Warp and always determined to make the long-suffering Narrator's life hell. The show was also a cult movie starring the deliciously louche Tim Curry as Frank and the whole thing was the brainchild of New Zealander Richard O'Brien who played Riff Riff on the big screen. What was your original inspiration behind the Rocky Horror Show? Someone asked me to enter...
Wish Sunita a happy birthday at Leeds Playhouse
Interviews

Wish Sunita a happy birthday at Leeds Playhouse

Harvey Virdi is best known as Dr Misbah Maalik on long-running TV soap Hollyoaks, but she is also a writer who scored a hit play back in 2014 with Happy Birthday Sunita. The revival of the play is about the power of British Asian women on stage is on its way to Leeds Playhouse and Harvey tells us about the fun you can have with a dysfunctional family. What’s Happy Birthday Sunita all about? It’s Friday evening and the family are gathering to celebrate Sunita’s special birthday. But after years of denial and strained relationships, emotions are running high and the family is finally forced to face the truth. Can they be brave and let go of the past and embrace a new future? What are the new team of actors bringing to this tour? A new cast always forces you to see your play i...
War Horse star Matthew Trevannion takes on two major roles at Pitlochry Festival Theatre
Interviews

War Horse star Matthew Trevannion takes on two major roles at Pitlochry Festival Theatre

Matthew Trevannion was one of the stars of the National Theatre’s War Horse and now he takes on two iconic roles as part of a season long acting ensemble at Pitlochry Festival Theatre. It’s rare that theatres take a gamble on hiring an ensemble for a whole season, and it’s the brainchild of the Perthshire theatre’s artistic director Elizabeth Newman. It means Matthew will be leading in two very different roles as the brutal Stanley  Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire, and then repressed commuter Alec in Brief Encounter. Our Features Editor Paul Clarke caught up with Matthew to find how he is making sense of what seem to be opposing characters, and if being part of an ensemble is informing his work. Stanley in A Streetcar Called Desire offers one of the iconic roles for any...
The creatives behind The Beekeeper of Aleppo discuss its power and truth as it buzzes into Leeds Playhouse
Interviews

The creatives behind The Beekeeper of Aleppo discuss its power and truth as it buzzes into Leeds Playhouse

The Beekeeper of Aleppo was a surprise hit novel but the stage version on its way to Leeds Playhouse began with just a feeling and a Facebook post. After volunteering at a refugee centre in Athens in 2016 – a decision prompted by her own experiences as a daughter of Cypriot refugees – bestselling author Christy Lefteri wrote on her Facebook page: ‘You wouldn’t believe what’s going on here.’   Leferi was too overwhelmed with her volunteering work to post again, but the seeds of the novel had been sown, and the hard graft of writing it down would soon begin. Despite the tales of devastation and destruction she had heard, the first scene that Lefteri wrote was one of hope - a man salvaging a pomegranate for his wife among a pile of rotting fruit. “Just from that one scene,” ...
Carrie Hope Fletcher Talks About New Chapters Ahead Of Debut Solo Tour An Open Book
Interviews

Carrie Hope Fletcher Talks About New Chapters Ahead Of Debut Solo Tour An Open Book

For Carrie Hope Fletcher, 2022 was destined to be one to remember – she was leading the cast in the title role of a West End show, was living with her long-term boyfriend, and was going to turn 30. Little did she expect it to turn out to be quite such a landmark in her life. Or did she? As the musical theatre actress, vlogger and author says, 22 is her lucky number… But it didn’t get off to the best start, with the show she was starring in, Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Cinderella having a Covid-enforced eight-week stop, and the end of a four-year relationship. Carrie might have been forgiven for rethinking her lucky charm. However, come the end of the year, and it was a different story: Carrie had happily turned 30, found a new, true love – and got engaged, impressed critics with her...