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Manchester International Festival 2021 / Bloody Elle – A Gig Musical

On reading the words ‘Manchester International Festival’, you know you’re in for quite the experience. I mean, it’s not everyday you get the opportunity to attend a biennial international arts festival, during a pandemic, with a specific focus on original new work.

There is more free, outdoor public art than ever before and the city is alive with accessible, vibrant and exciting art. So with some degree of excitement, I made my way to Manchester last week, and here are some things I experienced.

First up, an impressive 42m (138ft) sculpture replica of Big Ben has crash landed in Piccadily Gardens. ‘Big Ben Lying Down With Books’ – the UK’s biggest participatory art spectacle in years – has been created by Argentine artist Marta Minujin and is covered in 12,000 politically-themed books. I fully immersed myself in this impressive and quirky statement on Brexit, disillusionment and democracy. Brilliant – and – free.

Marta Minujin’s sculpture is called Big Ben Lying Down With Political Books

The Arndale shopping centre, meanwhile, has been turned into a makeshift art gallery for Cephas Williams’ Portraits of Black Britain, which features giant banners showing high-achieving black Britons. Powerful stuff.

Playing to a socially distanced, masked audience may not be every singer’s dream but Arlo Parks gig at the cavernous Manchester Central was a performance of stunning tenderness.

Arlo Parks at Manchester Central

For the last six songs, Royal Northern College of Music string players joined Parks on stage to enrich the songs and add layers of heartfelt nuance. Parks – a 20-year old London singer-songwriter-poet bagged the Brit award this year for best new artist. She expresses herself with a rare lightness of touch on her remarkable debut album, Collapsed in Sunbeams. Pure joy.

Elsewhere, Cloud Studies at the seriously trendy Whitworth Art Gallery just out of town features clouds being considered by Forensic Architecture as toxic. This gripping exhibition explores the various ways in which the air – far from being neutral or free – is witness to a lopsided world.

Another highlight of the exhibition is the first phase of an investigation on environmental racism in an area known as ‘Cancer Alley’. In a US region heavily populated with petrochemical facilities, majority-Black communities, the descendants were historically enslaved on those very lands, today contain the most toxic air in the country.

Forensic Architecture’s Cloud Studies at the Whitworth Art Gallery.

MIF has also commissioned choreographer Akram Khan to produce a stylish and moving 17 minute short film. Breathless Puppets is a 17-minute animation co-created by Khan and animator, writer and director Naaman Azhari.

This brilliant animation utilises retroscope technology; basically whereby a live action is sketched over to give a constantly moving, line-drawn aesthetic. Breathless Puppets tells the story of a young man called Nicholas who wants to be a dancer, despite his family urging him to go into medicine. 

Manchester’s beautifully restored Central Library played host to ‘I Love You Too,” This project featured Eleven Manchester-based writers that collaborated with participants, putting their words to page and composing love letters that reflected and reinterpreted the individuals. Furthermore, together with the publication, the stunning domed Reading Room played host an exhibition of Wa Lehulere’s new sculpture, created especially for the space.

Conceived with the intention of creating a global love library, “I Love You Too” marked the beginning of a new series – one that’s set to become an international encyclopaedia of devotion.

Bloody Elle – A Gig Musical

I was delighted to snag a ticket to the raggedly charming “Bloody Elle” at the Royal Exchange. It has reopened with Lauryn Redding’s emotional, wild and honest ‘gig musical’. This gauche kitchen-sink theatre is smart in its portrayal of a queer love story. Right on.

Bryony Shanahan’s supple solo production makes the most of the in-the round setting of the main space – it feels like a epic late-night show at Roundabout at Summerhall during Edinburgh Fringe Festival. The songs are spry and melodic with a forthrightness that is refreshing.

Bloody Elle is a ‘semi autobiographical’ show that is simultaneously confessional, sprawling and occasionally indulgent.

It moves in the course of the evening from noise to quietness, from non-stop crassness to moments of musical tenderness and expressive gesture. Admittedly, it is all a bit drawn out, and could do with losing 30 minutes, but it is often a perky evening and during these Difficult Times, well worth the effort.

A very pleasant surprise. 

Manchester International Festival runs until Sunday 18 July

Bloody Elle – A Gig Musical runs until 17 July

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Guest Blog – The Mono Box: “Our industry cannot and will not evolve without investment in new talent.”

The Mono Box has always prided itself on supporting freelancers creatively – providing opportunities that are lacking or less accessible in the industry. For 8 years, we have run workshops and events for actors, directors and writers as well as, more recently, designers and movement directors. Training never stops but we also prioritise the importance of community in an industry that can feel incredibly lonely and inaccessible. 

This became more crucial than ever from March 2020 as we watched our industry fall to its knees. We were forced to re-evaluate our careers and our lives, to step back and notice all the gaping problems we’d let slide for so long. Tweets, articles and blog posts were thrown around about a utopian post-pandemic vision for theatre. Promises were made that have yet to come to fruition…

photo credit Helen Murray  

We have always championed new voices and formalised this through a new writing scheme called PLAYSTART which has run for 3 successive years (2017-2019). After the events of last summer, and in response to the lack of opportunities for emerging talent during Covid-19, we got to work. We invested in 7 ethnically diverse writers from PLAYSTART, offering them what we knew was crucial in building a career: a commission, mentorship and a platform for their work. It is notoriously hard to crack that ceiling without someone paying you to do what you do best, and someone else who is several steps ahead of you career-wise providing a guiding light. Our industry cannot and will not evolve without investment in new talent. 

We were keen to not only keen to put our money where our mouth is in terms of supporting emerging creatives, but also to discover a way to adapt theatre-making to the current global restrictions and advancing marriage of theatre and film. As we were locked in our homes, theatre had to adapt and enter people’s living rooms and kitchens. Amidst the “it’s not the same” grumbles, we also quickly realised that this format was providing access to audience numbers we only dream of. 

And so RESET THE STAGE was born. A collection of 7 filmed monologues responding boldly to where we are as an industry and where we could be, if we committed to platforming – nationally and internationally – more diverse voices, bodies and stories.

In addition to the mentorship from leading playwrights including Duncan Macmillan, Alice Birch, Lucy Prebble and Theresa Ikoko, we provided the writers with actors, a theatre and a film crew to help realise their vision. All in lockdown, when the theatres were empty.

The pieces have been directed by Roberta Zuric (part of The Mono Box’s PLAYSTART 2018) and was mentored by Ned Bennett

CYNTHIA by Vivian Xie Stills ; Starring Isabella Laughland ; Directed by Roberta Zuric ; Director of Photography: Fẹ́mi Awójídé ; First Camera Assist: Stephen Ofori ; Sound Recordist: Luise Guertler ; Stills Photographer: Helen Murray ; Gaffer: TC Thomas ; Producer: Joan Iyiola & Alison Holder ; Co-Producer: Miles Sloman Reset The Stage ; Monobox ; Soho Theatre ; London, UK ; 30th March 2021 ; Credit and copyright: Helen Murray

7 stellar actors jumped on board with all guns blazing and delivered mesmerising and incredibly nuanced performances: Shane Zaza, Ken Nwosu, Thalissa Teixeira, Danny Kirrane, Isabella Laughland, Sharon Duncan-Brewster and our own co-AD Joan Iyiola. We paired them up with one of our partner venues – Arcola, Almeida, Bush, Lyric Hammersmith Theatre, Soho Theatre, Southwark Playhouse, Young Vic – all who passionately committed to the project’s ethos and offered invaluable support.

The films within RESET THE STAGE have been achieved to an exceptionally high standard, by a small but mighty team. We are so excited to share them with the world and to show what can happen when new voices are given a platform to showcase their work.

The films launched on 17th June to outstanding feedback and a brilliant 4* review from WhatsOnStage lauding the project’s beautiful outcome and bold response to our industry’s perilous state. 

Screening repeated 1 to 3 July and tickets are on sale now

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From staplers to potatoes – it’s monster producer Scott Rudin

To Kill a Mockingbird focuses on that gut instinct of right and wrong, it is a timeless classic.

By way of a recap, Broadway producer Scott Rudin is accused of assaulting employees in a devastating new Hollywood Reporter exposé.

One of the most harrowing accounts involved Rudin, 62, smashing an Apple computer monitor on an assistant’s hand. Yup.

Scott Rudin

Scott Rudin

Meanwhile, to the audible shock of those who work in theatre, Rudin is also accused of throwing a glass bowl at someone from his HR department. It missed and shattered against the wall. Thank goodness.

For context, Rudin’s theatre projects extend into Broadway reopening, with a revival of The Music Man starring Hugh Jackman.

Along with co-producers Sonia Friedman and Barry Diller, Rudin is due to bring To Kill a Mockingbird to the Gielgud Theatre in the West End in March 2022.

Admittedly, Rudin joins the long list of high profile industry figures who believe it is their right to abuse their power.

Some revelations to the story, though, have really bothered me.

Worse was to come: one of those who has spoken out is the brother of a former assistant to Rudin who tragically committed suicide. 

Just awful.

“Every day was exhausting and horrific,” a former assistant, who worked for Rudin from 2018–2019, recalled.

“Not even the way he abused me, but watching the way he abused the people around me who started to become my very close friends. You’re spending 14 hours a day with the same people, enduring the same abuse. It became this collective bond with these people.”

Bullying is a repeated pattern of abuse of power designed to dominate those perceived as inferior, as weaker. Side affects include depression, anxiety, panic attacks – it’s a major risk factor for mental health.

Also, a former assistant claims that Rudin “relished in the cruelty” and “hundreds and hundreds of people have suffered” from his behaviour.

Other details? He fired someone for having diabetes, threw potatoes at someone’s head and reportedly assaulted staff, sending colleagues to the hospital twice.

Needless to say, leading figures are betraying their status by not making a stronger stand against these shocking revelations.

Ultimately, this is not restricted or confined to Scott. This happens everywhere.

I have been through this kind of experience myself; as a child, I was assaulted, and it is one of the things that motivated me to speak out when things are not right. Unfortunately, my own career has never been short of abusers, monsters and egomaniacs.

As for the wider implications of this scandal for Broadway and beyond, it would be easy to get carried away. On the other hand, you certainly wouldn’t rule him out making some sort of return in due course.

In 2014, Page Six ran an article about Rudin: “The Man Known as Hollywood’s Biggest A-hole,”that alleged that Rudin had pushed assistants out of moving cars and fired assistants for bringing him the wrong muffin, mispronouncing names, and, at least in one instance, having to attend a funeral.

Unfortunately, Rudin is still today boosted by enablers who looked the other way or ignored these rumours, allowing accusations to remain an “open secret” for years.

In 2018, he was making history with Aaron Sorkin’s To Kill A Mocking Bird, which shattered an 118 year record by earning more than $1.5 million in one week.

For those wondering when things will die down, I spoke to a made-up theatre scientist who calculated that moment will come at the precise second that anti-Rudin coverage stops grossing more than Rudin productions in 2022.

To Kill a Mockingbird

To Kill a Mockingbird

Like Kevin Spacey before him, it will be hard to believe the frightful bollocks about those “not knowing” spouted by rich and powerful colleagues. 

The industry silence about this alleged physical abuse and personality faults of Rudin are unforgivable, yet easily explained. They depend on him for their income. 

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Guest Blog – Laptops For Vulnerable Children – Emma Baggott: ‘Every day that passes is yet another day when the inequality gap is widening.’

Emma Baggott is a theatre-maker, theatre director and teacher originally from Wales now based in London. She has launched an inspiring appeal to buy laptops for children struggling to do their lessons at home during the pandemic.

On January 4th like many people I’m sat, with my family, waiting for Boris Johnson to grace us with his presence. To hear his briefing. I had given up on the press briefings. Initially, they felt like events, when the vernacular was new, but I had grown tired of the incessant drivel.

Emma Baggott

But January 4th felt different. It felt big and heavy. We waited, we watched, we listened and then we cried. This time around, although devastated for the theatre industry, Johnson had dropped a bomb that hit me to my core. He cancelled the summer 2021 GCSEs. I have a child who has spent her whole school career working towards this seminal milestone.

I was angry and full of rage on behalf of all the young people, not just those no longer sitting their GCSEs. I started to think about all the other young people trying to weather this storm in very different boats.

Ofcom estimates that there are up to 1.7 million children in the UK who do not have home access to a laptop, desktop or a tablet. Through my research it has become apparent that even if families do have the required devices there might not be enough money to pay for all the extra data / Wi-Fi that is needed to be on a Zoom call or access the online lessons.

The government promised one million laptops for remote learning

The government is holding Schools accountable to get all pupils online. Those who can afford devices can stay at home. Those who cannot have to sacrifice their health and go to school.

Forcing children whose parents do not have the disposable income to buy a laptop / tablet to attend school during a pandemic is hideous.

It became very evident that this was not a time for talking but for action. Right now, the government is facing a legal challenge at its lack of action. It has “continually failed” to ensure that disadvantaged students can continue with their education. We all knew that there would be a second wave.

We’ve been in this state for almost a year now there has been such little decisive action from our government. 

On the 4thJanuary I vowed to do something. To make it all a little bit better. Last Thursday I set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to buy laptops / tablets / data for London’s disadvantaged young people and started tweeting. Twitter really has been a fantastic tool for fundraising.

With wonderful support from Lou Lou Mason and some glorious Tweets from Anna Jordan the fundraiser has really taken off.

We’ve been bowled over by the generosity of the theatre industry and from people far and wide. We’ve had some large donations and have been helped by Tweets and Instagram posts from those with large followings.

Within 36 hours we had reached our initial target of £10,000. With this triumph we raised the target to £20,000.

We have identified the three poorest boroughs in London and will work with two schools from each borough to get them the tech that will be the most useful for their students.

Time is precious. Every day that passes is yet another day when the inequality gap is widening.

Emma Baggott  

You can make a donation here: 

https://www.gofundme.com/f/laptops-for-londons-young-people 

if  you have an old laptop / desktop or tablet you can donate that here:

https://www.readytechgo.org/ 

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National Theatre launches NATIONAL THEATRE AT HOME,  a new streaming service

The National Theatre, in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies, has launched National Theatre at Home, a brand-new streaming platform making their much-loved productions available online to watch anytime, anywhere worldwide.

Launching today with productions including the first ever National Theatre Live, Phèdre with Helen Mirren, Othello with Adrian Lester and the Young Vic’s Yerma with Billie Piper, new titles from the NT’s unrivalled catalogue of filmed theatre will be added to the platform every month. In addition to productions previously broadcast to cinemas by National Theatre Live, a selection of plays filmed for the NT’s Archive will be released online for the first time through National Theatre at Home, including Lucy Kirkwood’s Mosquitoes with Olivia Colman and Inua Ellams’ new version of Chekhov’s Three Sisters (a co-production with Fuel).

Viewers can choose a monthly or annual subscription to access the full catalogue and exclusive backstage content, or can opt to rent single plays for a 72-hour window. National Theatre at Home is available for streaming online through any web browser and in Apple (iOS / tvOS), Google (Android / Android TV), Roku TV and Amazon Fire TV.  

Roku digital streaming offer was first made available during the UK’s.

For 16 weeks from the beginning of April until the end of July, productions were made available for free on the National Theatre’s YouTube channel every Thursday at 7pm UK time, which were then available on demand for the following seven days. This resulted in over 15 million views for 16 productions over four months and reached 173 countries around the world.

Following this overwhelming response, the NT today launches a new, lasting and extensive iteration of National Theatre at Home, with the ambition of bringing world-class performances to a global audience. The platform will also provide welcome support for artists and theatres during this unpredictable time.   

The National Theatre

 

Lisa Burger, Executive Director and Joint Chief Executive of the National Theatre, said: “From homemade tickets to interval drinks, NT at Home was a way of making people feel more connected. And so, since the last stream finished in July, we have been determined to find a way to give our audiences access to these stunning filmed productions online once again. With the agreement from artists, we are now able to showcase an extraordinary range of fantastic NT Live productions and, for the first time, some treasured plays from our NT Archive.”

For unlimited access to the catalogue on National Theatre at Home, a subscription will be £9.98 per month or £99.98 per year. For access to a single play in a 72 hour window, it will be £5.99 for an NT Archive title and National Theatre Live titles are available from £7.99. 

 The National Theatre will collaborate with Bloomberg Philanthropies to deliver a programme of free subscriptions and discounts to viewers in the UK and globally, reflecting our shared commitment of ensuring National Theatre at Home is available to all.  

 National Theatre at Home is available now at ntathome.com.

Well done everyone.

 

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Time to Act photographer Simon Annand: “This country’s main strength is culture.”

The cast of Hairspray, Shaftesbury Theatre, 2009

Theatre photographer Simon Annand has been capturing actors backstage for almost forty years. His latest book, Time to Act, is a collection of 234 portrait photographs, taken over the last 10 years, of some of the world’s greatest performers.

All the emotions from the theatre are captured within these pages and remind us what we have all been missing.

Annand’s point of view remains constant, his camera capturing the slightest shifts in mood and expression from dressing room to dressing room.

Speaking on Zoom from his home Annand tells me where the idea for Time To Act came from. “This book is out there to support artists and to encourage people to remember what it was like, and what we hope it will continue to be like again in the future,” he says.

Cate Blanchett, The Present, Ethel Barrymore theater, New York, 2017

He is chatty and philosophical company, some of these photos make up a virtual exhibition. This will be re-hung to show a changing selection of photographs from the collection together with a commentary on the images.

“I have three strands of my work, one is production photography, one is dressing room stuff and the other is headshots,” he says.

“The headshots are very different as they are a tool to give the actor to get the attention of casting directors, which reflect the allowance of key scenes and good scripts. So, they have to have the authority in their face to tell the story.”

With Time to Act, Annand explores the fascinating notion of vulnerability. An intimate and meditative, but never intrusive series of portraits of stars backstage.

“Each actor has their own unique way of spending time before curtain-up. It varies from inhabiting the character at all times, to the opposite, holding the fictional character back and releasing it at the last minute before entering the stage.”

A deceptively simple photobook that comprises of over 200 performers, Annand’s portraits have a sense of suspended time, as if the subtext of the subjects remain somehow elusive despite the deep fascination, he feels for them.

James Earl Jones, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Novello Theatre, 2010

“I’m not trying to catch them out. A photographer only finds what he or she is looking for,” Annand explains.

One close-up snap in Time to Act sees James Earl Jones before taking to the stage in the 2010 revival of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof at the Novello Theatre.

“I walked into that dressing room and that is what he was doing. He has size 16 feet, so when I came through the door, all I saw was those feet and he was flat out with a big fat cigar between his teeth and he said to me, “Whatever you do, don’t tell my doctor.”

In another close-up picture, David Suchet checks the mirror as he prepares to mesmerise audiences as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest at the Vaudeville Theatre in 2015.

“You know, it was a bold and brave choice for David to go from Poirot to Lady Bracknell,” he says, smiling.

David Suchet, The Importance of Being Earnest, Vaudeville Theatre, 2015

“That role was completely on his level. The photo really conveys him in his own terms; it is his agenda – I waited until he had his makeup and costume almost complete but he’s still in the dressing room so there’s still this unique element of him being David Suchet.”

“I suppose I am looking for the relationship that performers have with themselves, and their fictional characters,” Annand says.

Theatres from Shetland to the West End closed in March to slow the spread of Covid-19 with no date set for when venues can fully reopen as England continues to endure a second national lockdown.

“This country’s main strength is culture,” he says, exasperated.

Simon Annand, (credit: Snežana Popović)

“The problem is that the government is not sufficiently helping the thousands and thousands of freelance workers that our precious creative culture depends on,” says Annand, who is making a donation from the sale of every book in the UK to The Theatre Artists Fund.

What does he feel makes a great photograph? “It goes back to being strong and open – what I’m trying to avoid is fancy lenses or a fancy composition. A good photograph allows the viewer to hang their own story onto it.”

Time to Act is out now and the Time to Act: a virtual exhibition will run until Christmas. 

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Olivier Award winners 2020

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.

The winners of this year’s Olivier Awards have been announced.

The 2020 Oliviers featured performances from nominees Sam Tutty (Dear Evan Hansen) and Miriam-Teak Lee (& Juliet). It was an honouring of the best west end performances and productions of 2019.

Which feels like a lifetime ago.

The majority of the show was pre-filmed in and around the London Palladium, featuring a mixture of the winner’s announcements, performances, interviews, and more.

An audience was non-existent, Jason Manford and the winners were hardly in the same postcode, or popped up on a flat screen and a handful of nominees inexplicably performed at the bottom of a staircase.

Indeed, the fact it was on at all is a bit of a production miracle, even if it looked slightly bereft, on TV.

Also, a shame that Amélie went home empty handed. But here we are.

God, I miss theatre.

Elsewhere, three time Olivier winner Sharon D. Clarke honoured Sunset Boulevard and legendary lyricist Don Black, who received the Olivier Special Award for contribution to theatre. Black was presented his award by Andrew Lloyd Webber and HRH The Duchess of Cornwall.

HRH Camilla went on to make a heartfelt speech, thanking theatre workers for their ‘determination and flexibility.”

She added: “Please remain resilient. We need you and have missed you.”

Anyway, Ian McKellen was celebrated for his solo show, Ian McKellen On Stage, which toured over 80 venues, raising funds for different charities. 

Originally planned for April, this ceremony was moved online featuring an initial bout of awards, plus an inexplicable late night Sunday slot on ITV.

It was a personal highlight to see Miriam Teak Lee win Best Actress in a Musical for & Juliet; the show belongs to her.

Theatre plays a role in all our lives.

Read the full list of winners (in bold) below

Best Supporting Actor in a Musical

David Bedella, & Juliet, Shaftesbury Theatre
Stewart Clarke, Fiddler on the Roof, Playhouse Theatre
Jack Loxton, Dear Evan Hansen, Noël Coward Theatre
Rupert Young, Dear Evan Hansen, Noël Coward Theatre

Best Supporting Actress in a Musical

Lucy Anderson, Dear Evan Hansen, Noël Coward Theatre
Petula Clark, Mary Poppins, Prince Edward Theatre
Cassidy Janson, & Juliet, Shaftesbury Theatre
Lauren Ward, Dear Evan Hansen, Noël Coward Theatre

Original Original Score or New Orchestration

Bill Sherman and Dominic Fallacaro, & Juliet, Shaftesbury Theatre
Musical supervisor and arrangements by Barnaby Race, Amélie the Musical, The Other Palace
Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, orchestration by Alex Lacamoire, Dear Evan Hansen, Noël Coward Theatre
New orchestrations by Jason Carr, Fiddler on the Roof, Playhouse Theatre
Music and lyrics by Sara Bareilles, Waitress, Adelphi Theatre

Best New Dance Production

La Fiesta by Israel Galván at Sadler’s Wells
Ingoma by Mthuthuzeli November for Ballet Black at Royal Opera House – Linbury Theatre
Mám by Michael Keegan-Dolan for Teaċ Daṁsa at Sadler’s Wells
Vessel by Damien Jalet & Kohei Nawa at Sadler’s Wells

Outstanding Achievement in Dance

Sara Baras for her choreography and performance in Ballet Flamenco – Sombras at Sadler’s Wells
Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker for her performance in Mitten Wir Im Leben Sind/Bach6Cellosuiten at Sadler’s Wells
Gisèle Vienne for her choreography of Crowd, presented by Dance Umbrella at Sadler’s Wells

Best Entertainment or Comedy Play

Emilia, Vaudeville Theatre
Fleabag, Wyndham’s Theatre
Magic Goes Wrong, Vaudeville Theatre
The Upstart Crow, Gielgud Theatre

Best Theatre Choreographer

Fabian Aloise for Evita at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Matthew Bourne and Stephen Mear for Mary Poppins at Prince Edward Theatre
Jerome Robbins and Matt Cole for Fiddler On The Roof at Playhouse Theatre
Jennifer Weber for & Juliet at Shaftesbury Theatre

Best Musical Revival

Evita, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Fiddler on the Roof, Playhouse Theatre
Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The London Palladium
Mary Poppins, Prince Edward Theatre

Best Actor in a Musical

Andy Nyman, Fiddler on the Roof, Playhouse Theatre
Charlie Stemp, Mary Poppins, Prince Edward Theatre
Sam Tutty, Dear Evan Hansen, Noël Coward Theatre
Jac Yarrow, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, The London Palladium

Best Actress in a Musical

Audrey Brisson, Amélie the Musical, The Other Palace
Judy Kuhn, Fiddler on the Roof, Playhouse Theatre
Miriam-Teak Lee, & Juliet, Shaftesbury Theatre
Zizi Strallen, Mary Poppins, Prince Edward Theatre

Best Play Revival

Cyrano de Bergerac, Playhouse Theatre
Death of a Salesman, Young Vic and Piccadilly Theatre
Present Laughter, The Old Vic
Rosmersholm, Duke of York’s Theatre

Best Family Show

Mr Gum And The Dancing Bear – The Musical!, National Theatre – Dorfman
Oi Frog & Friends!, Lyric Theatre
To The Moon And Back, Barbican Theatre
The Worst Witch at Vaudeville Theatre

Outstanding Achievement in an Affiliate Theatre

Baby Reindeer, Bush Theatre
Blues in the Night, Kiln Theatre
Our Lady of Kibeho, Theatre Royal Stratford East
Seven Methods of Killing Kylie Jenner, Jerwood Theatre Upstairs at the Royal Court
Warheads, Park Theatre

Best Lighting Design

Neil Austin, Rosmersholm, Duke of York’s Theatre
Paule Constable, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, National Theatre – Dorfman
Howard Hudson, & Juliet, Shaftesbury Theatre
Bruno Poet, Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre

Best Sound Design

Gregory Clarke, Rosmersholm, Duke of York’s Theatre
Emma Laxton, Emilia, Vaudeville Theatre
Ben and Max Ringham, ANNA, National Theatre – Dorfman
Ben and Max Ringham, Cyrano de Bergerac, Playhouse Theatre

Best Costume Design

Hugh Durrant, Goldilocks And The Three Bears, The London Palladium
Jonathan Lipman, Fiddler On The Roof, Playhouse Theatre
Joanna Scotcher, Emilia, Vaudeville Theatre
Paloma Young, & Juliet, Shaftesbury Theatre

Best Set Design

Bob Crowley, Mary Poppins, Prince Edward Theatre
Soutra Gilmour, & Juliet, Shaftesbury Theatre
Rae Smith, Rosmersholm, Duke of York’s Theatre
Rae Smith, Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre

Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Play

Arinzé Kene, Death Of A Salesman, Young Vic
Colin Morgan, All My Sons, The Old Vic
Adrian Scarborough, Leopoldstadt, Wyndham’s Theatre
Reece Shearsmith, A Very Expensive Poison, The Old Vic

Best Actress in a Supporting Role in a Play

Michele Austin, Cyrano de Bergerac, Playhouse Theatre
Sophie Thompson, Present Laughter, The Old Vic
Indira Varma, Present Laughter, The Old Vic
Josie Walker, The Ocean At The End Of The Lane, National Theatre – Dorfman

Best New Opera Production

Berenice, Royal Opera House – Linbury Theatre
Billy Budd, Royal Opera House
Hansel and Gretel, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Noye’s Fludde, Theatre Royal Stratford East

Outstanding Achievement in Opera

Jette Parker Young Artists for their performances in Berenice, Death In Venice and Phaedra at Royal Opera House
The Children’s Ensemble for their performance in Noye’s Fludde at Theatre Royal Stratford East
Martyn Brabbins and James Henshaw for their conducting of The Mask Of Orpheus for English National Opera at London Coliseum

Best Actor in a Play

Toby Jones, Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre
James McAvoy, Cyrano de Bergerac, Playhouse Theatre
Wendell Pierce, Death Of A Salesman, Young Vic and Piccadilly Theatre
Andrew Scott, Present Laughter, The Old Vic

Best Actress in a Play

Hayley Atwell, Rosmersholm, Duke of York’s Theatre
Sharon D Clarke, Death Of A Salesman, Young Vic and Piccadilly Theatre
Juliet Stevenson, The Doctor, Almeida Theatre
Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag, Wyndham’s Theatre

Best Director

Miranda Cromwell and Marianne Elliott, Death Of A Salesman, Young Vic and Piccadilly Theatre
Jamie Lloyd, Cyrano De Bergerac, Playhouse Theatre
Trevor Nunn, Fiddler On The Roof, Playhouse Theatre
Ian Rickson, Uncle Vanya, Harold Pinter Theatre

Best New Play

A Very Expensive Poison, The Old Vic
The Doctor, Almeida Theatre
Leopoldstadt, Wyndham’s Theatre
The Ocean At The End Of The Lane at National Theatre – Dorfman

Best New Musical

& Juliet, Shaftesbury Theatre
Amélie the Musical, The Other Palace
Dear Evan Hansen, Noël Coward Theatre
Waitress, Adelphi Theatre

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Black British Theatre Awards: Winners

The 2020 Black British Theatre Awards were presented at a ceremony at London’s Young Vic and shown on Sky Arts.

Best director for a play or musical
Nadia Latif for Fairview, Young Vic

Best producer
Adrian Grant for Thriller Live, Lyric Theatre

Best choreographer
Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy for Redd, Barbican Theatre

Best dance performance in a dance production
Kenrick ‘H2O’ Sandy for Redd, Barbican Theatre 

Best dance production
Ingoma, Ballet Black, Barbican Theatre

Best use of innovation and technology
Nicole Raquel Dennis and Ryan Carter for Turn Up, Cadogan Hall

Light and sound recognition award
Carmen Wright

Costume design recognition award
Natalie Pryce

Book and lyrics recognition award
Arinzé Kene

Musical director recognition award
Ian Oakley

Casting director recognition award
Isabella Odoffin

Best male actor in a play
Valentine Olukoga for The Fishermen

Best female actor in a play
Rakie Ayola for On Bear Ridge 

Best supporting male actor in a play
Nari Blair-Mangat for Cyrano de Bergerac

Best supporting female actor in a play
Cherrelle Skeete for The High Table

Best play
Death of a Salesman, Young Vic

Best male actor in a musical
Noah Thomas for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

Best female actor in a musical
Miriam-Teak Lee for & Juliet

Best supporting male actor in a musical
Nicholas McLean for Wicked

Best supporting female actor in a musical
Nicole Raquel Dennis for Dear Evan Hansen

Best musical
Thriller Live

LGBTQ+ champion award
Layton Williams

Disability champion award
Rachel Nwokoro

Best teacher of a performing arts subject
David Blake, WAC Arts 

Best recent graduate
Tonye Scott-Obene, Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts

Lifetime achievement award
Shirley Thompson OBE

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Shakespeare’s Globe, Royal Exchange in Manchester, the Lady Boys of Bangkok are among the latest recipients of emergency government arts funding.

The Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester, The Mayflower in Southampton and Fabric nightclub in London are among the cultural institutions to receive at least £1m in the latest round of grants from the government’s £1.57bn cultural recovery fund.

In total, £75m will be given to 35 organisations, including theatres, museums, music venues and dance companies, among them Rambert (£1.28m), Sadler’s Wells (£2.9m) and the English National Ballet (£3m).

The arts sector has suffered significantly due to COVID-19 restrictions, with many venues closed and many creatives unable to work.

Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said the “vital funding” would secure the recipients’ futures and “protect jobs right away”.

“These places and organisations are irreplaceable parts of our heritage and what make us the cultural superpower we are,” he said.

The culture secretary visited the Design Museum, another recipient, earlier this week

The government said the grants were being awarded “to places that define culture in all corners of the country”.

Grant recipients in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will be announced separately by their devolved administrations.

More than £500m has now been allocated from the Culture Recovery Fund to almost 2,500 cultural organisations and venues.

But the £1.57bn emergency arts fund has come too late to save hundreds of talented people from losing their jobs.

Full list of performing arts organisations 

Birmingham Hippodrome Theatre Trust – £3,000,000
English National Ballet – £3,000,000
Newcastle Theatre Royal Trust – £3,000,000
Norwich Theatre – £3,000,000
The Mayflower Theatre Trust – £3,000,000
The Old Vic Theatre Trust – £3,000,000
Shakespeare’s Globe – £2,985,707
Sadler’s Wells – £2,975,000
The ACC Liverpool Group Limited – £2,972,659
Royal Exchange Theatre Company Ltd – £2,854,444
Performances Birmingham Limited – £2,534,675
BH Live – £2,499,531
Leeds Theatre Trust Limited (Playhouse) – £2,381,547
Sheffield Theatres Trust Ltd – £2,246,000
Northampton Theatres Trust (Royal and Derngate) – £2,112,891
Theatre Royal (Plymouth) Ltd – £1,896,000
North Music Trust (Sage Gateshead) – £1,800,000
Adlib Audio Limited – £1,650,356
Hull City Council – £1,615,725
Leeds Grand Theatre and Opera House Ltd – £1,545,163
Bill Kenwright Limited – £1,526,028
Fabric Life Ltd – £1,514,262
Birmingham Repertory Theatre – £1,380,023
Rambert – £1,283,835
Wolverhampton Grand Theatre 1982 Ltd – £1,187,530
Exchange Events Ltd (Gandey Productions) – £1,092,503
Lights Control Rigging Productions Ltd – £1,076,179
The Octagon Theatre Trust – £620,232

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My Quiz returns

My Zoom theatre quiz returns…

Wednesday 21 October 

7.30pm 

2020’s been a cavalcade of shit but nights like this make things mar­gin­ally less terrible.

So, let’s laugh, and as we enter more Covid chaos let us celebrate those who’ve strived to create incredible theatre and fought for theatres very survival.

To enter, email me who you think will win the Best Musical at this year’s Tony Awards.

E: mrcarlwoodward@gmail.com 

Love,

Carl x