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Playground Theatre, Peter Tate Interview: “Established and emerging artists will always be free to come here and try out new ideas.”

Back in 2001 Playground Theatre, London was founded as a space for artists to explore creative ideas, without being a fully-fledged venue. After restoration, with a budget of £270,000, the Playground Theatre is opening as a venue with a seating capacity of up to 200 with a flexible stage. This new dynamic theatre is in Ladbroke Grove and just ten minutes from Latimer Road tube station and it was recently announced that the Playground has been nominated for Peter Brook/Royal Court Theatre Support Award 2017.

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Peter Tate in rehearsals.

Peter Tate, who originally found the space, is co-director alongside Anthony Biggs, former artistic director of the Jermyn Street Theatre. The Playground’s premiere production, Picasso, stars Tate. He has had an extensive career as both an actor and businessman. Previously seen regularly at the National Theatre in leading roles whilst, at the same time, running successful commercial businesses.

The softly spoken 66-year-old explains that everything is on track. “Rehearsals are going well – one never wants to say too much at this stage,” he says. “It’s coming together really well. We are currently in technical rehearsals – it’s fine –  the actresses are great. Fingers crossed.”

What are the biggest trials of realising this ambitious venture? “The biggest challenge – and it is completely self-imposed: opening a new venue and this production at *about* the same time,” he says, laughing. “The fit out of the theatre has converged with the opening of the venue. Whilst rehearsing for Picasso I have been involved in helping to create the theatre at the same time. So, it is all hands-on deck!”

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As an industry, it is a miserable time and it seems potent that the inaugural production focusses on the life of Pablo Picasso, arguably the greatest artist of the 20th century but one who has been characterised as a misogynist. Tate is all too aware of the timing whilst working with a female heavy cast. “We have this Harvey Weinstein thing coming out of the closet and of course Picasso had a reputation for that kind behaviour… We are not sanitising what it is but we are very conscious that the situation is happening. Some of the material is challenging but the cast and creative team are all committed and responsive.”

He is, though, justly proud of what he has achieved. “Although we had a lot of success with the projects we developed here, there were many projects that were worthy of going into the public arena were left on the shop floor,” he says, “so now we can get that work off the ground and in front of audiences.”

How is The Playground different from other off-west end spaces? “We are very artist driven – we are not producer driven. I really want this place to be a home for artists to come here to use the space and knock an idea around. We take a fairly unique place in the London scene; an unconditional approach to collaborating. The reason for this theatre really is to create a place without pre-judgement and nowhere really has this ethos.”

The Playground will seek no charitable or government funding: investors paid for the building and initial production costs, but from now on it is meant to run on its revenues. Tate has a firm handle on proceedings. “Obviously now there is a huge amount of money going out now,” he admits, “there are five potential income streams’ and one of the aims is to be absolutely self-sufficient. We have a vibrant café bar, ticket sales, space rentals, one-off events that we are pushing and we will eventually have classical music concerts and a cinema.”

What sets this venture apart is the inclusive and ambitious plans for artist development, theatrical experiment and how deeply it’s plans are rooted in the local community. “I’d love the word to be out there that we are establishing this as a home for artists,” says Tate.

“There is a sense of home here. I’d like to say established and emerging artists will always be free to come and try out new ideas here.”

Picasso runs at The Playground from 5 November to 25 November, with previews from 1 November.

London Devised Theatre Intensive -15-27 October 2017

London Devised Theatre Intensive
London Devised Theatre Intensive

London Devised Theatre Intensive

The London Devised Theatre Intensive is a new two-week workshop for theatre makers to share and expand their practice of devising theatre. With masterclasses from guest artists including Bryony Kimmings, Kristine Landon-Smith (L’Ecole Philippe Gaulier; Tamasha Theatre), Tom Mansfield (Upstart Theatre), Nir Paldi (Theatre Ad Infinitum), and Lee Simpson (artistic director of Improbable), peer-to-peer practice exchange sessions, and creating performance, the Intensive aims to inspire theatre makers, raise the profile of devised theatre, and foster international connections.

The Intensive is created by Amy Clare Tasker Performance Lab (artistic director Amy Clare Tasker, executive director Susie Italiano), in partnership with Blue Panther Productions (executive producer Laura Lundy). With a diverse and cross-platform background, the creators want to use their experience of similar events in the US to bring the excitement, energy and enthusiasm of a 2 week intensive course in devising theatre to London.

London Devised Theatre Intensive – An Introduction

They welcome applications from theatre makers in any discipline: directors, writers, performers, choreographers, composers, and designers. Each attending theatre maker will have the opportunity to share their favourite devising techniques, and add new ones to their creative toolbox. Over the course of two weeks, small groups will devise short pieces to be shared in an informal setting at the end of the programme.

The London Devised Theatre Intensive will run using Open Space Technology. A radical alternative to the traditional theatre model, Open Space creates an anti-hierarchical environment for rapid generation of ideas and shared ownership of the work. Amy Clare Tasker Performance Lab uses Open Space as a practical way to match their method to their values: equality, inclusivity, presence, surprise, and possibility.

The Intensive has only 18 places available and discount offers available to promote accessibility – please download an application form from http://www.devisedtheatre.com/.

The London Devised Theatre Intensive

October 15th – 27th 2017

May 15th – June 30th 2017

Amy Clare Tasker Performance Lab Ltd. (Amy Clare Tasker, Susie Italiano) in partnership with Blue Panther Productions (Laura Lundy)

Website (devisedtheatre.com)
Twitter (@WeDeviseTheatre)
Facebook (facebook.com/amyclaretaskerperformancelab)

Email ([email protected])

Great initiative by Team Paines Plough: Open auditions in London and Luton

OPEN AUDITION DATES
Monday 03 April, 1-4pm @ The Hat Factory, Luton LU1 2EY
Wednesday 05 April, 10am-5pm @ Orange Tree Theatre, Richmond TW9 2SA

Team Paines Plough have announced the  next round of open auditions in collaboration with  Revoluton Arts and the Orange Tree Theatre.

They’re looking to meet actors previously unknown to Paines Plough with a passion for new writing. You can apply in pairs for one of the dates from now until 10 am on 21 March and then they will randomly select 15 duos to see in Luton and 30 duos for Richmond. This is to ensure that everyone who wants to apply is able to, and that the selection process is fair to everyone.

In Luton, they are  only looking for actors who are originally from – or currently live – in Luton or wider Bedfordshire. If you’re not from Bedfordshire please do not apply for these open auditions.

Anyone is welcome to apply for the open auditions in Richmond.

This is how to apply:

– Find yourself a partner – they’re auditioning people in pairs.
– Pick your venue – they only want to meet Bedfordshire actors on 03 April so make sure you apply for the Orange Tree date if you’re not from or based in the area.
– Register by filling in this form by 10am on Tuesday 21 March. There’s no need to send in anything else in advance.
– If you are selected to audition, they will  get in touch with you by Friday 24 March with an audition time – make sure you let them know if you can make it or not.
– If you’re not selected to audition this time, you will be kept on a waiting list and may be offered an audition if a slot becomes available.
– Once everything’s confirmed, please prepare a three-minute duologue from a play written in the last 15 years.
– On the day, all you need is your Spotlight or CV printout and your partner.

Some things to bear in mind:

– If you have auditioned for Paines Plough before, you won’t be eligible to audition this time round.
– To give everyone a fair shot, agent or not, they will  only accept applications from actors so, if you have an agent, please apply using your own email address.
– Places are all allocated in advance. Due to high demand they normally can’t accommodate requests for a different time, and they will be unable to see people on a walk-up basis.
– If for any reason you can’t make your audition please let us them know  ASAP by emailing [email protected]. If you don’t turn up to your audition without letting them know in advance, you won’t be able to apply for future Paines Plough Open Auditions.
– They can only accept applications made with this form before the deadline.
– Due to the large volume of people they will be seeing, they won’t be able to offer feedback.
– They aren’t casting for a particular show at the moment – they just want to meet some new actors so that they can bear you in mind for future productions. So don’t be disheartened if you don’t hear back from them after your audition.
– Check out our FAQs for more information about the application process and what to expect on the day, or ping them an email at [email protected] if you’re not sure about anything.
– Don’t worry if you don’t live in the area –they try to hold as many Open Auditions as they can throughout the year all around the UK. Join their  mailing list or keep an eye on Paines Plough social media for details of the next ones…

 

You can download our FAQs here: Open Audition FAQs

Extra Performance Added to JERSEY BOYS London

JERSEY BOYS London Cast 2016

JERSEY BOYS
London Cast 2016

Due to overwhelming public demand, there will be an extra performance of the West End smash hit musical JERSEY BOYS in its final week at the Piccadilly Theatre on Thursday 23 March at 3.00pm. This week – week commencing 13 February 2017 – JERSEY BOYS has broken the house record for ticket sales in the history of the Piccadilly Theatre.

JERSEY BOYS will close on Sunday 26 March 2017 following nine amazing years in London. The show is currently the sixth longest musical running in the West End.

JERSEY BOYS first opened in London at the Prince Edward Theatre on 18 March 2008 and moved to the Piccadilly Theatre in March 2014.  The first UK and Irish Tour of JERSEY BOYS was a record-breaking success and ran for 18 months, from 4 September 2014 to 5 March 2016. The second national tour will open at the New Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham in December 2017.

The London cast of JERSEY BOYS is led by Matt Corner as Frankie Valli, Simon Bailey as Tommy DeVito, Declan Egan as Bob Gaudio and Matt Hunt as Nick Massi.  Dayle Hodge plays the role of Frankie Valli at certain performances.  Also in the cast are Amelia Adams-Pearce, Nicola Brazil, Stuart Dawes, Mark Dugdale, Leanne Garretty, Lucinda Gill, Nicky Griffiths, Will Haswell, Mark Heenehan, Mark Isherwood, Ben Jennings, Joe Maxwell, Nathaniel Morrison, Dan O’Brien, Chris Stoddart, Helen Ternent and Ben Wheeler.

JERSEY BOYS is the remarkable true story of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons and their rise to stardom from the wrong side of the tracks.  These four boys from New Jersey became one of the most successful bands in pop history, were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and sold 175 million records worldwide, all before they turned 30.  The show is packed with their hits, including Beggin’SherryWalk Like A ManDecember, 1963 (Oh What a Night)Big Girls Don’t CryMy Eyes Adored YouLet’s Hang On (To What We’ve Got)Bye Bye BabyCan’t Take My Eyes Off YouWorking My Way Back to YouFallen AngelRag Doll and Who Loves You.

Winner of Broadway’s Tony, London’s Olivier and Australia’s Helpmann Awards for Best New Musical, JERSEY BOYS is the winner of 57 major awards worldwide and has been seen by over 24 million people worldwide.  As well as running in the West End, JERSEY BOYS can be seen across the United States on its US National Tour and has just completed record-breaking runs on Broadway and in Las Vegas. A second National Tour of the UK and Ireland will open in Birmingham in December 2017.

JERSEY BOYS is written by Marshall Brickman and Rick Elice, with music by Bob Gaudio and lyrics by Bob Crewe.  The London production is staged by the entire original Broadway creative team, led by director Des McAnuff and choreographer Sergio Trujillo, with scenic design by Klara Zieglerova, costume design by Jess Goldstein, lighting by Howell Binkley, sound by Steve Canyon Kennedy and projection design by Michael Clark.  The orchestrations are by Steve Orich and the music supervision and vocal arrangements by Ron Melrose.

JERSEY BOYS is produced in London by the Dodgers, with Joseph J. Grano, Tamara and Kevin Kinsella, Pelican Group, in association with Latitude Link, Rick Steiner, and a small clutch of UK colleagues.

LISTINGS INFORMATION

Piccadilly Theatre

16 Denman Street

London W1D 7DY

Booking until Sunday 26 March 2017

Performances:  Tuesdays – Saturdays at 7.30pmTuesday & Saturday matinees at 3.00pm, Sundays at 5.00pm – N.B. Extra 3.00pm matinee Thursday 23 March

Tickets from £24.50

Box Office:  0844 871 7630

Website:  www.jerseyboyslondon.com

Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/JerseyBoysLondon

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/JerseyBoysUK

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Sign up to win a copy of CURTAIN CALL: A YEAR BACKSTAGE IN LONDON THEATRE

In this beautiful and groundbreaking book the reader is invited to go backstage with photographer Matt Humphrey and actor John Schwab as they present a side to London theatre that’s never before been portrayed. It is – quite frankly – truly remarkable to get a peek behind the scenes at some of our greatest performers doing their thing at our most treasured venues.

Here’s your chance to win a copy of this exquisite book. Sign up in the form below to take part in our lucky draw to choose the winner. Winner announcement on 25 January 2017

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“It’s genuinely the most captivating photography of theatre as an art form I have even seen.” – Huffington Post, UK.

“Any theatre lover, anybody that goes to the theatre would love to have this book.” – David Suchet CBE, Actor

“These photographs capture the life of a show much more than pictures of the show itself.” Juliet Stevenson, Actress

“You really get a sense of theatre in all its beauty, glamour – but all its hard work.” Noma Dumezweni, Actress

Containing exclusive photography of Nicole Kidman, Benedict Cumberbatch, Imelda Staunton, Mark Rylance, Kristin Scott Thomas, Mark Strong and many more stars of the West End stage. There are numerous exclusive features of shows including interviews, such as Billy Elliot the MusicalHamletCharlie and the Chocolate FactoryGypsyA View From The Bridge and other award-winning productions.

With unparalleled access throughout the year, take a journey behind the scenes via Humphrey’s striking reportage-style imagery and Schwab’s revealing, insightful interviews. A visually stunning celebration of almost sixty productions, from innovative new works to time-tested family favourites, Curtain Call’s inaugural book presents a vivid record of an extraordinary year in London theatre.

New Cast Announced for Third Westend Run of 1984

An entirely new cast has started rehearsals for Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan’s adaptation of 1984. The cast for the hit West End production of George Orwell’s dystopian masterpiece will be: Rosie Ede, Andrew Gower, Joshua Higgott, Richard Katz, Anthony O’Donnell, Daniel Rabin, Catrin Stewart and Angus Wright alongside Eve Benioff Salama, Cleopatra Dickens, Amber Fernee and India Fowler who will alternate the role of Child. Also making up the company, as understudies: Ingrid Schiller, Gerard Gilroy and Thom Petty.

Previous company of 1984 at Playhouse Theatre. Credit Manuel Harlan.

Previous company of 1984 at Playhouse Theatre. Credit Manuel Harlan.

Following a sell-out international tour, the critically and publicly acclaimed production of 1984 will return to the Playhouse Theatre in London’s West End this summer. George Orwell’s canonical work, adapted by Olivier Award-winner Robert Icke and Olivier Award-nominee Duncan Macmillan, will preview from 14 June 2016, with the press night on 28 June 2016.

Now seen by over a quarter of a million people, this Headlong, Nottingham Playhouse and Almeida Theatre production premiered at Nottingham Playhouse in September 2013. Since opening, 1984 has played to packed houses at the Almeida Theatre, as well as throughout its two West End runs and in performances across the globe during national and international tours.

April, 1984.13:00. Comrade 6079, Winston Smith, thinks a thought, starts a diary and falls in love. But Big Brother is always watching.

The definitive book of the 20th century is re-examined in a radical, award-winning adaptation exploring surveillance, identity and why Orwell’s vision of the future is as relevant now as ever.

1984 is directed by Robert Icke and Duncan Macmillan with Daniel Raggett, set and costume is designed by Chloe Lamford, with lighting designed by Natasha Chivers, sound designed by Tom Gibbons and video designed by Tim Reid.

George Orwell’s 1984, published in 1949, is one of the most influential novels in recent history, with its chilling depiction of perpetual war, pervasive government surveillance and incessant public mind-control.  Its ideas have become our ideas, and Orwell’s fiction is often said to be our reality.

Rosie Ede (Mrs Parsons) previously appeared in When We Are Married and Side by Side by Sondheim (both Bristol Old Vic), Crime At Blossoms (Brewhouse Theatre Taunton), Aladdin (Greenwich Theatre), The Bacchae and Blood Wedding (both for Royal & Derngate Northampton). Ede’s television and film credits include Doc Martin (Sky), My Family (BBC), Peak Practice (Carlton), Call The Midwife (BBC) and Finding Neverland (Miramax).

Andrew Gower (Winston) will make his West End debut in 1984, his previous stage work includes The Conquest of the South Pole (Rose Kingston) and Terror Tales (Hampstead Theatre). Gower is best known for his roles as Dr Andrew Mullery in Monroe, Gilbert in The Village and further on screen appearances in Outlander and Capital.

Joshua Higgott (Syme) has previously been directed by Robert Icke in Oresteia (Almeida/ West End), The Alchemist (Liverpool Everyman) and Romeo and Juliet (ADC Theatre). Higgott’s other theatre work includes Shakespeare in Love (West End), Regeneration (Royal & Derngate Theatre), Birdsong (UK Tour), Twelfth Night (Cambridge Arts Theatre), Two Gentlemen of Verona (US Tour/ ADC Theatre) and Julius Caesar (European Tour/ ADC Theatre). His film credits include The Machine (Red & Black Films), which won Best UK Feature at the Raindance Film Festival in 2013.

Richard Katz (Charrington) has been an integral member of both the Royal Shakespeare Company and Complicité. He has performed in and devised many shows for these companies including Romeo and Juliet, As You Like It, The Comedy of Errors and The Winter’s Tale, and The Master and Margarita, Measure for Measure and The Noise of Time respectively. Katz’s other numerous theatre credits include Richard II and Nell Gwynn (both Shakespeare’s Globe), War Horse (National Theatre), Faustus (Royal & Derngate Northampton) and The Hanging Man (Improbable). His work for television includes The Honourable Woman, Privates, Blessed (all BBC), The Passion (BBC/HBO) and Black Books (both Channel4).

Anthony O’Donnell’s (Parsons) rich career boasts an impressive range of work at the National Theatre includes The Captain of Kopenick, The Shaughraun, Bartholomew Fair, Ghetto, The Miser, The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, Under the Milk Wood, The Way of the World, The London Cuckolds and President of an Empty Room. He has also worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Donmar Warehouse.

Daniel Rabin (Martin) has worked extensively with Shakespeare’s Globe, appearing in Pericles, The Winter’s Tale, King John, Tis Pity She’s a Whore, Anthony and Cleopatra and Holy Warriors. Other stage work includes Oedipus (Nottingham Playhouse/Spoleto Festival), Ignorance (Hampstead Theatre) and Blue Remembered Hills (Chichester Festival Theatre).  His television credits include Game of Thrones (HBO), The Royals (E!) and Holby City (BBC).

Catrin Stewart (Julia) returns to work with Headlong, having played Juliet in Romeo and Juliet (UK Tour), directed by Robert Icke. Recent stage credits include Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Clywd Theatre Cymru), The Jew of Malta and Love’s Sacrifice (both Royal Shakespeare Company), The Cherry Orchard (Young Vic) and Mametz (National Theatre Wales). On screen Stewart is known for the recurrent role of Jenny Flint in Doctor Who (BBC), Emma Morris in Stella (Sky) and appearing in Misfits (Channel 4).

Angus Wright (O’Brien) previously worked with Robert Icke in Oresteia (Almeida/ West End). Wright’s vast body of theatre work includes The Cherry Orchard (Young Vic), in Twelfth Night/ Richard III (Globe Theatre/ West End/ Broadway), Privates on Parade (West End), The Master and Margarita (Old Vic), The Cat in the Hat (Young Vic/ National Theatre) and The Seagull, A Dream Play and Three Sisters (all National Theatre).  For television, he recently played Angus in Peep Show (Channel4) and further credits include Jekyll and Hyde (ITV), and Being Human, Waking the Dead and Hotel Babylon (BBC). His film credits include Jack Ryan (Paramount), Maleficent (Disney) and The Iron Lady (Pathé/ Film4).

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John Schwab and Matt Humphrey, “It’s not often that you take time to think about the process of the production.”

 

Royal Court Theatre, Curtain Call, photo by Matt Humphrey

Linda, Royal Court Theatre. © Matt Humphrey – Curtain Call (2016).

Curtain Call: A Year Backstage in London Theatre is the first in a series of photography books by photographer Matt Humphrey and actor/director John Schwab featuring an extraordinary collection of fly-on-the-wall backstage photography from London theatre productions in 2015/16. Coinciding with the 40th anniversary of the Olivier Awards, in addition to exclusive backstage photography, Curtain Call also includes a foreword by renowned actor David Suchet and extended interviews with Chief Executive of The Old Vic Sally Greene, Artistic Director of the Royal Court Vicky Featherstone, casting director Jessica Ronane and actress Kate Fleetwood. The book is now exclusively available to buy from www.curtaincallonline.com

Tell us more about writing ‘Curtain Call’. Where did it come from?
John: Curtain Call was something I had a spark of an idea for when I was showing my sons some old programmes that I had from productions earlier in my career.  They asked if I had any real pictures from productions that I could show them, which I didn’t.  I realised that I also didn’t have any historical document other than the production photographs in those programmes as a testament to my career.  I thought this is something that needed to be addressed.  Theatre is such a visual medium, and there was nothing out there that could be seen once a production had closed.  I also wanted to make a website to service the same need and fill the same gap.  I approached photographer Matt Humphrey with the idea, and thankfully he was 100% up for doing it. It was serendipity that Matt had just finished documenting a year at The Hackney Empire. We started Curtain Call together and we haven’t looked back since.

Is this book for anybody or specifically a theatre audience?
John: I believe that this book is not only for a theatre audience, but also photography enthusiasts as well as anyone who is interested in what it takes to put any project together, be it a play, opera, film, radio show poetry event…you name it.  It envelops all corners of the art world. I think that anyone who enjoys aesthetically pleasing art would admire and get so much out of this book.

Gypsy, Savoy Theatre, photo by Matt Humphrey

Gypsy, Savoy Theatre

Gypsy, Savoy Theatre. © Matt Humphrey – Curtain Call (2016). (2)

How much do you think the general public care about backstage workers?
John: This is why I thought Curtain Call would be such a good idea.  It’s not often that you take time to think about the process of the production.  When we had our visit to “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, the company manager (Wyn Williams) told us that it takes over 150 people to make that show happen every day. 150!  Now an audience member is only going to see 25 or so people on stage and taking their bow.  I wanted to shed light on what it was like backstage – showing that there is more than just the performers on stage that is making the show tick.  I think that with Matt’s photography people are going to have a much better idea of the hard work, passion and dedication which runs through a company to make it the best production possible.  There is a fascination with what goes on backstage in any arena, and we wanted to shed light on the hard work carried out by all the professionals involved in a production

What is your favourite backstage area in the West End? 
John: There are quite a few.  The “hang out” area in ‘Billy Elliot’ was fun.  I do like a Green Room and there are some spectacular ones in the West End – and not for the glamour, but for the space.  The Vaudeville Theatre has a huge Green Room where everyone involved in the production hang out.  It’s such good fun being in there.  The Dressing Rooms 1 & 2 at Theatre Royal Haymarket are absolutely stunning, and something to behold.  But my favourite place of any backstage area is in the wings.  Some theatres have massive wings like Theatre Royal Drury Lane and some non-existent like The Criterion. They are all so unique, which makes them extremely exciting.

Curtain Call contains exclusive photographs, interviews and stories not available anywhere else. What sort of things can a casual reader expect to find?
John: The casual reader would expect to find exactly that.  Exclusive access to the best of London theatre and get an insight into what it takes to make a show run.  The reader will be allowed backstage, the holiest of holies of the theatre, a privilege that most theatre fans rarely get a glimpse of.  The casual reader will also recognise many of the faces and names in the book and will hopefully get a different perspective of that artist.

The 39 steps, Criterion Theatre, photo by Matt Humphrey

The 39 Steps, Criterion Theatre. © Matt Humphrey – Curtain Call (2016). (1)

Bearing in mind that obviously all photographers folk say “well I just do what I do” and so on, do you keep an eye on the movements of others you perceive to be your competitors?
Matt: Naturally I am interested in what other photographers are doing, and I would actually be very interested to collaborate with them – potentially through Curtain Call. I don’t really see other theatre photographers as competitors – we all have a distinct way of shooting and do different things. I have been fortunate to combine my experience of working backstage with my reportage and portraiture photography, which I think is quite unique, and people like that.

Thanks, lads! 

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Masterclass Launch ‘In Your Hands’ Campaign

Masterclass want you to write your passion/profession on your hand and upload it to Facebook/Twitter/Instagram using the hashtag #InYourHands

Right then. Here’s a Q&A with Josh Brown (Press and Marketing Manager at Masterclass and Theatre Royal Haymarket).
To kick things off I asked Josh some questions. Josh is good at talking about Masterclass’ place in the Theatre cosmos, and how the ‘industry’ works in 2016.

Here’s how the chat went.

Hello! What are you doing at the moment?

Well, it’s been pretty hectic. We’ve just launched our new In Your Hands campaign and have been redesigning all of our marketing material to fit in with the rebrand!

Please tell me a bit about the #InYourHands Campaign.

Creating career opportunities in theatre is challenging, but I think a far greater challenge is instilling the confidence and self-belief in young people to actually put themselves forward for such opportunities. In a nutshell, that’s exactly what Masterclass’ In Your Hands campaign aims to address. We want to empower emerging theatre makers and to foreground the diverse range of career routes available within the Arts.

HI YA! Josh Brown, ladies and gentlemen.

Whether you’re working as an Actor, Stage Manager, Journalist, Director, Technician, Producer, Reviewer, Marketer etc (the list is endless!), be proud of what you do and never shy away from an opportunity because you feel under qualified or intimidated by the sheer volume of other creatives out there. Instead, rest safely in the knowledge that everything you work to achieve, really is the future of our industry.

So basically you’ve rebranded Masterclass, launched a campaign and continue to schedule some brilliant schemes and opportunities for young people and it’s not even March?

Haha! Well the rebrand has been in the pipeline for about a year now and I think all of us knew we were going to hit the ground running for 2016! It’s a really exciting time to be involved with Masterclass. The whole team work incredibly hard to ensure that the programme can offer these unique opportunities to people aged 16 – 30. This year alone we’ve offered out 3 paid apprenticeships in Design, Directing and Stage Management to work on Breakfast at Tiffany’s and, as you say, we’re just launched a new campaign – It’s relentless! I love it.

Photo credit Alex Rumford

Do you feel that too much power in the industry is held by people with little to no taste in Theatre?

Well, I think that’s probably dependant on the definition of taste. There are some wonderfully original, thought-provoking pieces of theatre being created, particularly in fringe venues, and it’s just a case of shining a spotlight onto this work for a mainstream audience.  Ultimately, it’s the responsibility of those working in theatre today to empower and inspire emerging theatre makers of tomorrow. The future of our industry really is in their hands!

 And what else do you have coming up?

On Tuesday 9th Feb, we’ve got a Masterclass with Indhu Rubasingham, Artistic Director at the Tricycle Theatre, and she’ll focus on new writing, which should be really exciting! Then on 1st March we have Ruth Sheen coming in to work on characterisation and improvisation – again, another really exciting session to be involved with!

Indhu Rubasingham (above)

We also have some really big announcements and plans for later on in the year so make sure you keep an eye on our website across the next few weeks and sign up to our mailing list!

One thing is for sure, the future of Theatre is definitely safe in the hands of these people.

N.B. Please use a solvent free and non-toxic pen!