Tuesday, January 25

FEATURES

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...
Investing in our theatres is not a handout
Blogs

Investing in our theatres is not a handout

Our Yorkshire Editor Paul Clarke welcomes the theatre world asking for short term government support, not handouts. The news that Leicester Haymarket is the latest venue forced into liquidation, and a stark warning from legendary producer Sonia Friedman writing in the Telegraph that British theatre is on the ‘brink of total collapse’ has forced the industry to unite in calling for short term government support. Thankfully the narrative from the theatres is they’re not asking for a bailout, and instead calling for significant investment in a key part of our nation’s cultural offer that normally generates billions in tax revenues. Friedman points out that more than 1000 of our theatres of varying sizes may permanently close their doors as it may be this time next year before they c...
Streaming shows is no substitute for the real thing
Blogs

Streaming shows is no substitute for the real thing

Our Yorkshire Editor Paul Clarke applauds the streaming of shows but decides it an unsatisfying experience compared to the real thing. As I sat in my home office watching the free steam of M6 Theatre Company’s A Tiger’s Tale it struck me that it was absolutely no substitute for the real thing. It makes total sense that companies have closed their doors rather than incubate the virus and are sharing their greatest hits online. They need to make some much needed cash, or just keep their work in the public consciousness, for when they return to the stage. I support streaming work as a concept, but watching three top class performers on my laptop got me thinking there’s a number of reasons that makes it such an unsatisfying experience, and here’s why: Anticipation There is some...
Theatres need government support to survive
Blogs

Theatres need government support to survive

The news that Nuffield Southampton Theatres has gone into administration could be the harbinger of many more to come as venues and companies grimly hang on as the lockdown decimates their income. After 50 years Nuffield are the second venue to go under after Halifax’s Square Chapel, who shut their doors just as the full scale of the pandemic was becoming clear forcing theatres to close their doors to keep punters and creatives alike safe. Like most theatres Nuffield was faced with the double whammy of having no customers as well having to refund tickets with no significant income to replace it. But the virus closedown has only revealed the struggle our big and small theatres have been having before COVID-19 to keep going, especially if they’re putting on new or challenging work. ...
Lockdown Interviews – Peter Egan
Interviews

Lockdown Interviews – Peter Egan

Peter Egan has been appearing on stage and screen for over 50 years. He is probably most well-known for his roles as Paul in the television sitcom Ever Decreasing Circles with Richard Briers and as Hugh “Shrimpie” MacClare, Marquess of Flintshire in Downton Abbey. Despite being known for his numerous roles in TV and film he is an award winning stage actor and has acted with both the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) and The National. I started by asking what inspired him to become an actor. “I left school at 15 with no qualifications. My prospects were pretty dismal. I did a series of jobs all of which I hated. “When I was 16, I stumbled into acting by joining an amateur group in Ladbroke Grove, West London. “I became fascinated by the process of acting by watching this group...