Breaking into the Boy’s Club
A feature-length documentary featuring actors such as Christopher Eccleston, Maxine Peak, Julie Hesmondhalgh and Tom Stocks has been nominated for Best Research Film of the Year at the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Research in Film Awards 2017. The documentary (titled The Acting Class) highlights the increasing difficulties faced by working-class actors trying to break into the business. Professor Michael Wayne (who teaches film and TV at Brunel University London) has said that the actors ‘brought great insights and a really important historical perspective about how things have changed’ and that each actor has said that ‘they would not make it under current conditions’. Winners of the award will be announced on November 9th.
A National Theatre Update – What’s on in 2018
Translations by Brian Friel (directed by Ian Rickson) set in rural Donegal and featuring actor Colin Morgan will open in the Olivier Theatre in May 2018. Patrick Marber will adapt and direct Ionesco’s dark comedy Exit the King will open two months later in July 2018. Following that is Simon Godwin’s Anthony and Cleopatra featuring Ralph Fiennes and Sophie Okonedo which will be broadcast live in September 2018. Further Shakespeare will then appear in August in the form of Chris Bush’s adaptation of Pericles directed by Emily Lim. The Lyttelton Theatre will first present Absolute Hell (directed by Joe Hill-Gibbins) in April, then Polly Stenham’s Julie (an update of Strindberg’s Miss Julie) will open in June. A new English adaptation of The Lehman Trilogy will be directed by Sam Mendes (a co-production with Neal Street Productions) in July closely followed by David Hare’s new play I’m Not Running directed by Neil Armfield. In the Dorfman Theatre The Great Wave (a co-production with The Tricycle Theatre) will be followed by Nine Night (Natasha Gordon’s debut play) and then An Octoroon will transfer from the Orange Tree Theatre. Home, I’m Darling will transfer from Theatr Clwyd and Justin Audibert will direct a new production of The Winter’s Tale for primary schools. Find out more here.
Girl From the North Country Transfers to the West End
Following a sell out run at The Old Vic, Girl From the North Country will transfer to the West End on December 29th of this year. Having received many five star reviews, the production by award-winning playwright Conor McPherson featuring the iconic songs of Bob Dylan will play at the Noël Coward theatre for a limited run of 12 weeks. Tickets can be purchased here.
Pinocchio Rehearsal Photos Released
Rehearsal photos for the National Theatre’s production of Pinocchio by have been released. Utilising the creative talents of John Tiffany who directed Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and Dennis Kelly (playwright mastermind behind Matilda the Musical). This will be the first time that timeless Disney classics such as I’ve Got No Strings and When You Wish Upon a Star are performed live on stage. Pinocchio will open for preview performances in the Lyttelton Theatre on December 1st 2017 and tickets can be purchased here. Image Credit: Manuel Harlan
The Snowman Celebrates 20 Years of West End Performances
The Birmingham Repertory Theatre’s production will celebrate 20 years since it first twinkled onto the stage of the Peacock Theatre in London at Christmas. Based on the popular children’s book by Raymond Briggs and the even more well known film directed by Diane Jackson, this magical spectacle will be touring the UK this winter bringing the beautiful and much loved tune of Walking in the Air to Manchester, Glasgow, Southampton, Milton Keynes and Brighton. Tickets and more information about the production can be found here.
Short Films Released of the Hijabi Monologues
The Hijabi Monologues were hugely successful in their run at London’s Bush Theatre in September of this year. Originally founded in the USA the project aims to create a space in modern theatre for the experiences of Muslim women and so each production across the globe has featured a mixture of local and international stories so the London programme included three new monologues by British female writers (such as first-time writer Amal Abdi) alongside the work of head writer and founder Sahar Ishtiaque Ullah. All nine of the UK monologues have been recorded by Bush Theatre and the first four are now available to view online (here). The second set of monologues will be released on October 12th.
Image Credit: Helen Murray
Stellar Cast Announced for BBC’s King Lear
Although not technically theatre news, the incredible cast of the BBC’s next Shakespeare adaptation is most definitely worthy of attention. The co-production with Amazon Studios, directed by Richard Eyre, starts filming this month and will be broadcast on BBC 2 in 2018. The all-star cast is headed by Anthony Hopkins in the title role and Emma Thompson as his eldest daughter Goneril. Jim Broadbent will play the Earl of Gloucester and Andrew Scott is set to play his loyal son Edgar. The cast also includes Jim Carter as Kent, Christopher Eccleston as Oswald, Emily Watson as Regan and Florence Pugh as Cordelia.
Harold Pinter Theatre Hosts Gala to Raise Money for UN Refugee Agency
Initial casting has been announced for a one-off gala event at the Harold Pinter theatre on October 22nd entitled Whither Would You Go. The cast currently includes Martin Freeman, Lee Evans, Bertie Carvel, James Norton, Wunmi Mosaku, Jack Whitehall, Kobna Holdbrook-Smith and Olivia Williams. Inspired by the only known manuscript in Shakespeare’s hand (a portion of ‘The Book of Sir Thomas More’) which pleas for tolerance during the London riots of 1517, the evening’s entertainment will be composed of scenes from Shakespeare’s canon alongside true stories from refugees from around the world. The production (created by Ella Smith and Emma West) was first performed in Los Angeles in March of this year. All the profit from ticket sales will go straight to UNHCR.