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Look Ahead: Theatre streaming in January

You might say “Carl why haven’t you put a list together of all the shows that are available for virtual viewing, are you having another meltdown” and, yes, fair point but what can you do in The General Circumstances Of A Global Pandemic.

Anyway, below is a list of the best pre-recorded or live shows available to stream during lockdown 3 (you’re welcome)

Lazarus

David Bowie and Enda Walsh’s musical Lazarus – the stage sequel to The Man Who Fell The Earth starring Michael C Hall – is streaming this weekend (8 – 10 Jan) and timed to mark Bowie’s birthday and the fifth anniversary of his death.

Lazarus

Very few people saw it in 2015, due to the shortness of the run, secrecy of the process, and the size of the venues at the New York Theatre Workshop and Kings Cross pop-up production.  I did, and it is really quite terrific.

Disney+

There is a whole area of Disney+ dedicated to musicalsa 160-minute live recording of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s original stage production of musical Hamilton is still on the streaming service. For now…

(Fun fact: if you’re new to O2 or upgrading, you can get 6 months of Disney+ for free – hurrah).

National Theatre at Home

Our Royal National Theatre has launched a pay-for-plays streaming service – it costs £9.98 a month or £5.99-£7.99 per play. The NT’s 2020 panto, Dick Whittington, is available from 11 January for six weeks and new plays are added to the collection each month.

Note: National Theatre at Home would be a lot better with Follies on it. 

Bush Theatre

The Bush’s experimental trans monologue Overflow (Jan 18-23) by Travis Alabanza (Burgerz) streams digitally.

Now you know.

Digital Theatre 

Digital Theatre has more than 100 world class theatre experiences to watch, Funny Girl, starring Sheridan Smith, Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre’s production of Into The Woods and more.

Funny Girl

You can rent productions from £7.99 each or sign up for unlimited streaming for £9.99 a month.

The Shows Must Go On! YouTube Channel

Free weekly shows and concerts: The Shows Must Go On! is still going. Loads of random crap ends up being streamed for free on this channel. However, just occasionally an absolute classic does land. See: 42nd Street just before Christmas.

Don’t forget to donate if you watch too, obviously.

BBC iPlayer

I mean, Matthew Bourne’s The Red Shoes, Uncle Vanya and Northern Ballet are all on the BBC’s free streaming service. Do some digging around and pay your licence fee, citizens.

Bristol Old Vic – at Home

Bristol Old Vic has a live streamed productions and archive productions coming up including ‘Sherlock in Holmes – an online murder mystery’. You can Buy a Season Pass for just £12.99 which features a “rare bootleg capture” of the Bristol production of musical The Grinning Man is available until 28 February.

The Old Vic

The London theatre is re-streaming two productions from its In Camera initiative including Faith Healer (20-22 Jan) starring Michael Sheen and Lungs (27-29 Jan) featuring Matt Smith and Clare Foy. Both shows are available from a tenner.

Sky Arts

Last year, Britain’s only television channel dedicated solely to culture, Sky Arts, became free for everyone. Hurrah.

Rose

To mark Holocaust Memorial Day, Martin Sherman’s Rose, starring Dame Maureen Lipman, will be free to watch on Sky Arts (27 Jan). The channel is available to Sky, Virgin Media and Talk Talk TV customers.

The Case of the Hung Parliament 

This online Sherlock Holmes whodunnit by Les Enfants Terribles and the virtual reality company LIVR, TCOTP is an immersive alternative to traditional boardgames. (27 Jan-17 Feb).

Nottingham Playhouse Christmas shows

After the year we all had, we certainly deserve to keep the Christmas cheer going a little longer.

Alas, you can watch the Playhouse’s panto Cinderella and Jack and the Beanstalk for ages 3-8 for £10 and £20 respectively – on demand until 16 January.

 

Sunset Boulevard 

Leicester Curve’s digital concert production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s version of 1950 film Sunset Boulevard – smartly staged and lavishly produced stream – starring Ria Jones and Danny Mac has been extended by a week and will now be available to stream online until 17 January. It is the best of the bunch of streaming musicals right now.

Shakespeare’s Globe’s digital platform: Globe Player

Twelfth Night

There are more than 130 professionally filmed plays to rent (£5.99) or own (£11.99) from the Globe’s streaming platform. Highlights include Emma Rice’s Midsummer Night’s Dream and a hypnotic Twelfth Night starring Mark Rylance and Stephen Fry.

There we have it.

If you are streaming a show or have any other recommendations please get in touch.

E: mrcarlwoodward@gmail.com

I will be publishing these blogs regularly, so.

Cheers!

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Bat Out of Hell, 42nd St & Everybody’s Talking About Jamie all won at the 2018 WhatsOnStage Awards – The Ferryman won too, obviously.

The winners of the 18th Annual WhatsOnStage Awards were announced this evening, celebrating the best of UK theatre.

In a move that some people are referring to as a real wake-up call for the industry, oft-ignored award winner Sonia Friedman Productions ‘scooped’ seven ‘gongs’ including Best New Play for The Ferryman (James Graham’s Ink was robbed), Best Direction for Sam Mendes, Best Supporting Actor in a Play went to Fra Fee and Best Play Revival Award went to Robert Icke’s Hamlet. The Harry Potter play: Cursed Child won two awards as well.

Friedman herself walked off with the Equity Award for Services to Theatre Award, which is nice.

Other winners included Lucie Shorthouse who scooped the Best Supporting Actress in a Musical for Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, Sunset Boulevard won the Best Regional Production Award and Hair which took the Best Off-West End Production Award.

Sadly, The Band didn’t win Best New Musical – that went to Everybody’s Talking About Jamie. The awards are the only major theatre prizes to be voted for entirely by the audience, which explains everything.

You can see the full list of winners below if you like

BEST ACTOR IN A PLAY SPONSORED BY RADISSON BLU EDWARDIAN                              • David Tennant, Don Juan in Soho

BEST ACTRESS IN A PLAY • Olivia Colman, Mosquitoes

BEST ACTOR IN A MUSICAL SPONSORED BY THE UMBRELLA ROOMS                               • John McCrea, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

BEST ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL SPONSORED BY 100 WARDOUR ST                                      • Carrie Hope Fletcher, The Addams Family

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A PLAY                                                                                           • Fra Fee, The Ferryman

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A PLAY SPONSORED BY TONIC THEATRE                     • Juliet Stevenson, Hamlet

BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR IN A MUSICAL • Ross Noble, Young Frankenstein

BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS IN A MUSICAL SPONSORED BY NEWMAN DISPLAYS        • Lucie Shorthouse, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

BEST NEW PLAY SPONSORED BY JHI MARKETINGThe Ferryman

BEST NEW MUSICAL SPONSORED BY SHINE CREATIVE SOLUTIONS                                   • Everybody’s Talking About Jamie

BEST PLAY REVIVALHamlet

BEST MUSICAL REVIVAL SPONSORED BY R&H THEATRICALS42nd Street

BEST DIRECTION • Sam Mendes, The Ferryman

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY • Randy Skinner, 42nd Street

BEST LIGHTING DESIGN SPONSORED BY WHITE LIGHT
• Patrick Woodroffe, Bat Out of Hell

BEST VIDEO DESIGN SPONSORED BY PRG XL VIDEO • 59 Productions, An American in Paris

BEST COSTUME DESIGN
• Roger Kirk, 42nd Street

BEST OFF-WEST END PRODUCTION SPONSORED BY LES MISERABLESHair

BEST REGIONAL PRODUCTION SPONSORED BY MTI EUROPESunset Boulevard

BEST ORIGINAL CAST RECORDING SPONSORED BY ENCORE RADIOLes Miserables

BEST SHOW POSTERHarry Potter and the Cursed Child

BEST WEST END SHOW SPONSORED BY JOE ALLENHarry Potter and the Cursed Child

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Amy Rosenthal, Playwright Interview: “I’d be surprised if any playwright felt a constant coasting satisfaction; in any freelance career there’s always an element of fear.”

The other day I had a bit of chinwag with Amy Rosenthal who just happens to have two new plays on the verge of coming out. Amy is a playwright who is a very obliging woman so she answered all the questions, and some other ones too.

Here’s what happened during the chat.
Greetings! What are you up to currently? 
Hello! I’m currently in rehearsal for my play Pelican Daughters, which is part of the Shakespeare In Shoreditch Festival 2016. I’m one of four playwrights commissioned to write one-act plays inspired by Shakespeare, Shoreditch and storms – to be performed in site-specific locations from 20th-30th April.
Mine’s a modern-day spin on King Lear about three Jewish sisters, focusing on the eldest, Gaby, who’s desperate to please her dad on his eightieth birthday. He’s a naughty old tyrant who once ruled his East London patch and is now prey to redevelopers who want to gentrify the area. It’s about family and roots, and I hope it’s funny. I have a great cast and a terrific director, Kay Michael. It’s lovely to be in a rehearsal room after a period of solitary writing time, and I’m lucky because I then go straight into rehearsal for Fear of Cherry Blossom at the Cheltenham Everyman Theatre.

What can we expect from your new play Fear of Cherry Blossom?
Funnily enough, it also focuses on a Jewish family. Dinah and Abby are unmarried sisters on either side of forty, and Abby, the youngest, has become a committed Buddhist. Dinah and their dad Ronnie are alarmed by Abby’s choices, and Dinah wants to pull her sister back to her values, and what she thinks life ought to be. The play touches on themes I’ve wanted to explore for a long time – it’s about Anti-Semitism, which feels pertinent and (on stage) rarely addressed – about inherited, inter-generational fear – and about faith, in all senses. Judaism, spirituality, and how to keep faith with oneself, especially in the middle patch of one’s life.

Amy rosenthal

Amy Rosenthal.

Will you tell us a secret about yourself?
I’m Jewish.

I didn’t see that coming, Amy… Can you describe your state of mind when you are writing a play?
Tortured? My close friends, especially playwright Phil Porter, get the brunt of it – the fat tears, the self-doubt. The beginning is the worst, it’s as though in order to find my voice, which is essentially light and comic, I have to go through some dark night of the soul that can last – well, considerably more than a night. Once I finally know what I’m doing and the play starts to take shape, I’m very happy. I love my own company, I’m rarely lonely, the play becomes more real than reality. I write from 5.30 a.m. in a joyful state – a bit like the feeling after a migraine. Everything feels light.

What cereal do you like to have in the morning?
I’m not a cereal girl. I like toast and I love eggs. Sometimes I have porridge oats baked in the oven into a flat pancake, buttered, with cucumber, because someone once told my mum it’s good for you.

Is this industry, are there a particular of personality type that rise to the top? 
I don’t know about a personality type, I’d say a lot of playwrights are quite shy, but what you need is staying power. “Rising to the top” can happen fast, or mid-career, or late; most writers rise and descend many times. I’d be surprised if any playwright felt a constant coasting satisfaction; in any freelance career there’s always an element of fear. It’s a solitary profession and there are long periods of writing before productions happen (especially in musical theatre, which can take years to come to fruition because its so collaborative) so you often feel forgotten or as though the world thinks you’re not working. You have to just keep working, keep faith, and take on other jobs too – teach, run workshops, interact with other humans. It’s taken me a stupidly long time to learn crucial lessons about all this and I’m still learning. But I’m very disciplined now, and very committed.

Can you tell us about your Russian Doll painting sideline? 
The great David Edgar, who taught me playwriting at Birmingham University, also inspired my mad sideline. David collects Russian (matryoshka) dolls – mostly political figures. He commissioned me some years ago to paint his family on a set of blank wooden dolls. I loved it and I’ve been doing it ever since – painting families from photographs. A commission often seems to come along at the right moment and it’s a great antidote to writing because you don’t have to think. It’s meditative. It’s not easy to paint an accurate portrait on a curved surface, and the tiniest dolls are a challenge, but if you get it right they can feel uncannily alive.

Russian Dolls ( Dynasty Dolls) by Amy Rosenthal

Dynasty Dolls.

Is your life an open book?
I wonder. I’m not at all secretive and I like making people laugh, but on the whole I’m the listener in a lot of my exchanges.

If I were to hand you a book from the future, and it was the autobiography you wrote when you were 80, would you read it?
I don’t know. I’d be scared. Is there an index?

Anything that you’d like to add?  
Not really, I think I’ve gone on at length.

That’s that then. 

Russian Dolls by Amy Rosenthal

Amazing.

‘Pelican Daughters’  to be performed as part of Shakespeare in Shoreditch Festival 2016, 20-30 Apr, tickets available to purchase at  New Diorama Theatre