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New video released of the four performers playing Matilda in the RSC’s multi award-winning musical which reopens in the West End on 16 September

L-R Alex, Zoe, Elliot, Alyssa and Imogen from RSCs Matilda The Musical

Images and a brand-new video have been released today of the four young performers who will share the title role in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Matilda The Musical when it reopens on 16 September at the Cambridge Theatre in the West End. In the video, Imogen Cole, Alyssa D’Souza, Alex Munden and Zoe Simon can be seen getting to grips with their gymnastic ribbon skills under the watchful eye of Elliot Harper (Miss Trunchbull).

https://youtu.be/H80Jt-S3Uu8

Celebrating 10 years since the multi award-winning show opened in London, this iconic British musical has won 99 international awards including 24 for Best Musical and has been seen by more than 10 million people across more than 90 cities worldwide. Matilda The Musical is now booking through to 13 February 2022. For further information visit www.matildathemusical.com.

A tonic for audiences of all ages, this anarchic production about a strong and determined heroine with a vivid imagination has welcomed almost 4 million audience members in London. Matilda The Musical will also visit the Netherlands for the first time, translated into Dutch for a run at the Oude Luxor Theater Rotterdam. The theatre hopes that the musical will bring visitors to the city as it emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic. It has also announced plans to work with partners in Rotterdam to develop an education programme around the show. Tickets are now on sale for Matilda De Musical in Rotterdam visit matilda-demusical.nl

Adapted from Roald Dahl’s much loved 1988 book and commissioned by the Royal Shakespeare Company, the musical premiered at the RSC’s Stratford-upon-Avon home in 2010, before transferring to the West End in October 2011, where it opened to rave reviews.

Matilda The Musical swept the board at the 2012 Olivier Awards, with a record-breaking seven awards, and won four Tony Awards and a Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theater for the four girls sharing the title role on Broadway. It has since toured North America, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, South Africa and China and played its first non-English language production in Seoul, South Korea in 2018/19.

With the upcoming film adaptation from the same core creative team as the theatre production (direction by Matthew Warchus, adapted for the screen by Dennis Kelly, with the music and lyrics of Tim Minchin), Dahl’s themes of bravery and standing up for what you believe in will continue to inspire young audiences all over the world. Produced by Tim Bevan and Eric Fellner of Working Title, Jon Finn, and Luke Kelly of The Roald Dahl Story Company. Sony Pictures U.K. and Tristar Pictures will release Matilda across the U.K. and Ireland exclusively in cinemas on 2nd December 2022 for Christmas. Netflix will release the film in the rest of the world in December 2022.

Written by Dennis Kelly, with music and lyrics by Tim Minchin and developed and directed by Matthew Warchus, the theatre production is designed by Rob Howell, with choreography by Peter Darling, orchestrations, additional music and musical supervision by Christopher Nightingale, lighting by Hugh Vanstone, sound by Simon Baker and the special effects and illusions are by Paul Kieve.

Matilda The Musical is the story of an extraordinary little girl who, armed with a vivid imagination and a sharp mind, dares to take a stand and change her own destiny.

Matilda The Musical is produced by Executive Producers Denise Wood and Griselda Yorke for the Royal Shakespeare Company.  The production was developed with the support of Jeanie O’Hare and the RSC Literary Department.

André Ptaszynski had worked as one of the Executive Producers of the production from 2011 until his untimely death in 2020.  He is much missed by all of his colleagues.

Join stars of the West End stage at West End Wonderland

Westend Wonderland
Join stars of the West End stage for festive fun galore at West End Wonderland, a week of unique performances with plenty of stardust. All right in the heart of theatreland at the Welsh Chapel, Charing Cross Road.

·    Running 18-23 December, West End Wonderland is a star-filled line-up of intimate West End concerts
·    Featuring West End stars including Joe Stilgoe, Sarah-Louise Young, George Maguire, Rachael Wooding & many more
·    Cutting edge opera from the renowned Kings Head Theatre
·    Enjoy a night out for all the family, in our Covid-secure venue

West End Wonderland is a packed programme of shows featuring the stars of opera and the West End. Join us for a line-up that will transport you to a Christmas Wonderland.

West End Wonderland is the perfect family experience, designed to bring theatre lovers closer to their favourite West End stars. With just 100 seats, this is a beautifully intimate concert space where every seat feels close to the stage and everyone has the perfect view of West End superstars performing their favourite songs. All in a venue that will blow your socks off – the gorgeous 19th Century Welsh Chapel.

The safety of our audiences, performers and staff is our utmost priority. We have put in place a number of Covid-secure measures to ensure that social distancing is at a maximum, including reduced capacity, one way systems, separate entry/exit points, and audience bubbles.

Highlights Include:

Cabaret Whores, Sarah-Louise Young’s brilliant musical character comedy is packed with hilarious original songs, bitingly funny stories and lightning quick changes. Named as one of Time Out’s Top Ten Cabaret Acts of the Year, Sarah-Louise has appeared in the West End with Fascinating Aida, Julie Madly Deeply, La Soirée and Showstopper! The Improvised Musical.

Yes Queens is the West End’s first female-led improvised comedy night, featuring top UK improv talent from Olivier Award-winning productions such as Showstopper! The Improvised Musical, Austentatious and Mischief Theatre. Interactive Theatre at its best.

Joe Stilgoe is an internationally acclaimed singer, pianist and songwriter. With 3 chart-topping albums, Joe has appeared in High Society (Old Vic), Guys and Dolls (Albert Hall) and performed at the Olivier Awards. He is the composer & lyricist of The Jungle Book and The Midnight Gang.

Join West End stars Rachael Wooding and George Maguire in Anyone for Christmas, an intimate evening of cool covers, fresh original music and possibly a Christmas tune or two. Rachael Wooding has played leading roles in some of The West End’s biggest shows including starting in Pretty Woman at the Piccadilly Theatre. George Maguire won the Olivier award for his performance as Dave Davies in Sunny Afternoon.

Join The Kings Head’s Olivier Award nominated singers, as they present radically distilled and reimagined opera classics in Opera Undone. These beautiful voices will share their favourite sumptuous and sultry arias, a mix of well known and loved classics; it’s a wintry treat that’s sure to thrill. Featuring Honey Rouhani, Robert Barbaro and Hugo Herman-Wilson.

Relive the magic of Frankie Valli & the Four Seasons with The Other Guys, a remarkable tribute to the most successful band in music history. Charisma, choreography and classic hits – come find out why these boys get standing ovations every night. Featuring Danny Whitehead (Les Misérables, Wicked, Sweeney Todd, Phantom of the Opera), Ashley Stillburn (Les Misérables, The Woman in White, Phantom of the Opera), Joey Bishop (Jersey Boys, Doctor Doolittle) and Louis Maskell (Doctor Faustus, West Side Story).

About the Venue
The Welsh Chapel is a truly unique space, ideally located in the heart of the West End on Shaftesbury Avenue. The Grade II listed former chapel, formerly the infamous Limelight Nightclub, is a stunning venue which retains many of its 19th century architectural features, including a beautiful galleried central space with arched windows and an umbrella dome ceiling.
Full Listings information
Show: Joe Stilgoe: Live at Christmas
Dates/Time: 19:00 & 21:00, 18 December, 2020 (1h15m)

Show: The Other Guys: A Tribute to Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
Dates/Time: 19:00, 19 December, 2020 (1h15m)

Show: Cabaret Whore
Dates/Time: 21:00, 19 December, 2020 (1h15m)

Show: Anyone for Christmas? George Maguire & Rachael Wooding
Dates/Time: 21:00, 20 December, 2020 (1h15m)

Show: Opera Undone
Dates/Time: 19:00 & 21:00, 21 December, 2020 (1h15m)

Show: Yes Queens
Dates/Time: 19:00, 23 December, 2020 (1h15m)

Tickets from £15. To purchase tickets, go to www.westendwonderland.com

 New dates announced for the West End transfer of The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

National Theatre

Due to the ongoing impact of COVID-19, The Ocean at the End of the Lane, which was scheduled to begin performances this autumn, has been postponed. The acclaimed production will now open at the Duke of York’s Theatre in 2021, with previews beginning from 23 October 2021, playing for a limited run, with a press night on 4 November 2021.

Whilst government recently made the welcome announcement that performances can resume indoors, they can do so only with social distancing. Performances of The Ocean at the End of the Lane from 31 October 2020 – 6 February 2021 have been cancelled. All existing ticket holders will be contacted by their original point of sale regarding their booking.

Tickets for the newly announced 2021 performance dates will go on sale to the public at 12pm on Friday 2 October 2020.

The National Theatre’s critically acclaimed production of The Ocean at the End of the Lane, based on the best-selling novel by Neil Gaiman (American GodsCoralineStardust and the Sandman series), adapted by Joel Horwood and directed by Katy Rudd, transfers following its sold-out world premiere at the Dorfman Theatre in 2019.

The set designer is Fly Davis, with costume and puppet design by Samuel Wyer, movement direction by Steven Hoggett, composition by Jherek Bischoff, lighting design by Paule Constable (Olivier Award Nominee), sound design by Ian Dickinson, magic and illusions direction and design by Jamie Harrison and puppetry direction by Finn Caldwell.  Casting to be confirmed.

Suitable for ages 12+.

Budding young presenter Charlie Kristensen interviews the stars of stage and screen for his YouTube chat show Musical Chairs with #CheerUpCharlie!

(L-R) Sam Retford with Charlie Kristensen

Ten-year-old Charlie Kristensen, from Wokingham in Berkshire, won over the hearts of the West End theatre industry and the British public last year when he launched his #CheerUpCharlie campaign, channelling his own traumatic experiences of being bullied, and the support he received afterwards, to help others. Charlie has now taken a step towards his dream of being a television presenter by launching a series of lockdown interviews with high-profile entertainment industry guests on his YouTube channel – Musical Chairs with #CheerUpCharlie!The chat show is supported by The Theatre Café, and it is hoped that most interviews will be recorded there when it becomes possible.

 As well as chatting to his guests about their own experiences of being bullied, in Charlie’s own words he also asks a mix of “fun, interesting and serious questions” about their life and work. He has set up a steady stream of interviews with actors, musicians and visual artists from the UK and USA, and his recent chat with actress Amanda Henderson (star of Casualty) has already hit nearly 6,000 views.  Others in the Musical Chairs line-up include Iain Armitage, Luke Bayer, Daniel Boys, Kerry Ellis, Dominic Ferris, Jacqueline Hughes, Irvine Iqbal, Nathaniel Morrison, Nadim Naaman, Will Poulter, Sam Retford, Gaby Roslin, Nina West, Nathan Wyburn and Michael Xavier, with many more planned. Actor Matt Lucas not only recorded a Musical Chairs interview but also, to Charlie’s delight, invited him to duet together singing The Baked Potato Song in support of NHS workers, in a video which has also received 100k views on Twitter.

Sam Retford, star of television show Ackley Bridge, said: “I first met Charlie last year when the campaign was just starting after his bullying came to light. It was such an honour to be Charlie’s interview guinea pig.  Not only did we laugh and get to know each other better, but I was also able to get a better perspective and see just how far this incredible young man has already gone.  His Cheer Up chats are going to be something very special and have grown with such enormity already. I truly cannot wait to see what 2020 has in store for this special young man and feel truly grateful to be watching it unfold. He is one of the most intelligent, charismatic and talented people I have ever met.”

Charlie said: “I love speaking to people and I know that by sharing their experiences of bullying and how they overcome it we can start to make a change. I want everyone to associate #CheerUpCharlie with acceptance and feel confident in just being themselves. The world is full of different people, with different talents and in my eyes that is what makes the world an exciting place. If me talking to people helps just one person then we are doing the right thing. I want to talk to everybody as talking makes it all okay.”

Charlie has come a long way since this time last year. Then, having been mentally and physically bullied severely for over 18 months, in part due to his love of performing, Charlie couldn’t take any more and for a long time his parents ‘lost’ the cheerful boy they recognised. Charlie continued with his singing lessons, and when he opened up to his singing teacher West End actress Jacqueline Hughes and broke down, she comforted him but also rallied support from performers in the theatre industry. She put out a Tweet about the heart-breaking situation and straight away West End performers inundated Charlie with video messages of support, love and solidarity including exciting backstage invitations. This led to national media interviews including live chats on the BBC Breakfast sofa and Michael Ball’s BBC Radio 2 show. It took months for the smile to return to Charlie’s eyes but he is now fighting for others, and keen to see where his presenting talents might lead along the way.

Charlie’s mother, Kat Kristensen, said: “Charlie is the most selfless, kind, caring and funny boy you will ever meet, and this kid can certainly talk! When The Diana Award invited him to write and deliver a five-minute speech for Anti-Bullying Week last November, he reduced a room of 5,000 to absolute silence and tears. It is something we did not know Charlie could do and he continues to amaze us daily, including now with his chat shows! We have been blown away by the entertainment industry and public support, and would like to thank them for helping him achieve his dreams.”

Future plans which are currently in the pipeline for Charlie and his #CheerUpCharlie campaign, with the support of his West End friends, include a special fundraising show and a musical theatre video – watch this space!

Update for West End theatre audiences

London’s West End looks forward to welcoming audiences back into theatres as soon as performances can safely resume.

To give our customers some clarity, we have been cancelling performances across the West End on a rolling basis, in line with the latest advice from the Government.

We are now extending those cancellations until Sunday 28 June.

This does not mean theatres will reopen on 29 June; if further cancellations are necessary they will continue to be announced on a rolling basis. Different theatres and productions are likely to reopen at different times.

Ticketholders for affected performances do not need to do anything. They will be contacted by the organisation from which they bought their tickets to arrange a refund, credit note or exchange for a later date.

We are grateful to customers for the patience they are showing during this challenging time for our industry. With 300,000 people visiting West End theatres in a normal week, it’s a major undertaking to process refunds, exchanges and credit notes, particularly when many staff are working remotely. Please rest assured that we are all working as quickly as we can and we appreciate the on-going support of our audiences.

Agreement reached between Equity and SOLT to support West End

SOLT

Society of London Theatre (SOLT) and Equity have  announced that they have come to an agreement to support actors during the current suspension of West End shows due to the COVID-19 crisis.

The new agreement provides the best possible framework for the long-term job security of performers and recovery of the West End during these unprecedented circumstances, and is strongly supported by all involved as the best way forward for the industry. It covers every eventuality and perspective, from long-running musicals to plays with limited runs, productions yet to open and shows still in rehearsal when the shutdown began.

Julian Bird, Chief Executive of the Society of London Theatre, said:

‘Equity and ourselves have worked tirelessly since the shutdown to protect jobs and address the needs of our West End workforce during this crisis. We all need to work together to ensure that we can get through this as an industry, and are ready to welcome audiences back into our theatres as soon as possible.’

Hilary Hadley, Head of Equity’s Live Performance Department, said:

‘It is only by our closely working together that we have managed to develop this Agreement, which provides a route map for our West End producers, performers and stage management. It is our joint hope that this new Agreement will see the West End Theatre industry through this bleakest period and enable the smooth resumption of the rehearsals and performances which were so abruptly stopped by COVID-19.’

Under the new agreement, casts currently under contract are able to continue on that contract, and have the opportunity to re-commence rehearsals or performances with revised dates once the shutdown ends. This demonstrates the industry’s commitment to ensuring actors and performers still have a job once theatres reopen.

In addition, SOLT and Equity have been lobbying DCMS and the Treasury since the shutdown began, ensuring the voice of the theatre industry is heard, and joining other organisations lobbying for support for the freelancers and self-employed who make up a significant proportion of the theatre workforce. The government’s resulting Self-Employment Income Support Scheme will provide financial protection for many actors and creatives. SOLT and Equity will continue to lobby for those who the scheme does not support.

There is currently no clear indication from government when theatres will be allowed to reopen, but it is clear that some productions will need longer than others to regain their foothold. Producers are therefore contingency planning for their individual shows.

Any reopening dates suggested by individual shows and producers at this stage are speculative, and not representative of the industry as a whole. West End performances are currently cancelled until 31 May, and will continue to be cancelled on a rolling basis while we await further guidance from government.

Virtual West End choir performs Do You Hear The People Sing? from Les Misérables

Over 70 performers from top West End shows have come together to record a special version of Do You Hear The People Sing?, reminding us that ‘even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise’.

Watch video here

With an introduction from Christopher Biggins and a voiceover by Lesley Joseph, the video encourages viewers to donate to theatrical charity Acting For Others if they are able, to help provide financial and wellbeing support to theatre workers in these difficult times – or donate to support NHS workers and volunteers.

#HearTheWestEndSing @westendsingsuk

www.officiallondontheatre.com

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Theatre is facing its biggest peacetime threat

I could cry. I have.

Broadway is dark for a month, a closure that is much longer than the few days that shows shut after Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Analysts say that this could cost anywhere from $250 to $500 million – depending on when officials allow for public gatherings again.

Of course, regional theatres are closed “until further notice,” and the number of advance tickets and income has dropped by 92%. Last month one medium scale venue shifted £4,000. This week the total box office takings were £30.

The theatre world shifted overnight.

BECTU have stated that more than 70% of freelance workers are worried that they will not be able to pay bills. Furthermore, a staggering 47% of freelancers have confirmed that 100% of their work has been cancelled.

Thankfully, today the Government announced that they are setting up a back-of-a-fag-packet coronavirus job retention scheme. Grants will cover 80% of the salary or retained workers, up to a total of £2,500 a month,

The West End shut down has now been extended to April 26, “whilst we wait for further clarity from government,” says the Society of London Theatre.

As venues across the nation cancelled performances and locked the doors in the wake of coronavirus, organisations have asked audiences to donate and book advance tickets, following the government’s warning this week to avoid theatres and public gatherings.

Ticket holders should wait to be contacted by their point of purchase, rather than attempt to contact customer service teams, who are systematically working to contact all affected customers.

The size of this is staggering.

Elsewhere, Lambert Jackson productions have come up with a way to keep theatre lovers entertained as coronavirus brings things to a halt. They have teamed up with Theatre Café for a live-streamed series of concerts, Leave a Light On beginning on March 23, with 3, 45-minute concerts performed each day. Viewers will be charged £7.50 per performance.

Surely those with little to no income should be able to access a free concert?

Theatre Cafe’s Chief Operating Officer, Ryan Woods assures me that as soon as they have got a few under their belt they will look at implementing this.

What irks me about Leave a Light On, though, is that even if compassion fatigue has never been more of a problem, why are organisers prepared to break social distancing recommendations to earn money? I’m not sure west end stars need the exposure or income; it seems like a quick buck for everyone.

Which I hope doesn’t sound like I’m diminishing the efforts of all involved.

Bryony Kimmings - I’m a Pheonix ... Bitch!

Bryony Kimmings – I’m a Pheonix … Bitch!

There are moments when generosity and humanity from the industry simply overwhelms me. See: Bryony Kimmings, who has called on fellow theatre-makers to donate money to those who are in need and playwright Luke Barnes who has set up the Liverpool Artists Coronavirus Fund.

So, in circumstances as bleak as these, we need laughter, compassion and entertainment. It’s become clear to me that we must make fundamental changes to absolutely everything we do.

Mind you, theatre’s greatest strength is also its biggest medium; the emphasis is as much on evocation as experience. And, of course, a communal experience.

What can I personally do to make this all more bearable?

I have written to Rufus Norris to ask him to consider unlocking the National Theatre Collection so we can all safely watch the watch the very best of British theatre during this difficult time.

I’ve included some links and theatre resources below. (you’re welcome).

Listen, we will find a way through this ongoing crisis.

Stay well.

Theatre Helpline: 0800 915 4617advice@theatrehelpline.org

ArtsMinds: artsminds.co.uk

Theatre Resources For Isolation

Compiled by Ollie Jones (oliver.jones@york.ac.uk) – with thanks to too many people to mention for suggestions and links!

*starred items require institutional log in – usually there is a log in [by institution] option which takes you to the York Shibboleth system (or equivalent if at another institution)

Comment permissions are set to open for all. Please feel free to add suggestions!

Read:

Watch:

Full shows:

  • The Show Must Go Online – The actor Robert Myles has set up a reading group for professional and amateur actors to perform Shakespeare’s complete plays in the order they’re believed to have been written. The first livestreamed reading, on YouTube, will be The Two Gentleman of Verona on Thursday (19 March).
  • Showstopper! The Improvised Musical – After more than 1,000 productions, the Showstoppers improv crew are some of the quickest wits in the biz. So it’s no surprise that when they were faced with a West End closure they live-streamed a performance. Watch their custom-made, never-to-be-repeated impro musical on Facebook.
  • Viral Monologues – Twenty actors perform new monologues written just for them in this initiative. The performances will be shared online every 15 minutes on Tuesday night (17 March) and there’s some top talent involved, including comedian David Cross, actors Rachel Dratch and Andre Royo, and writers David Lindsay-Abaire, Stephen Adly Guirgis and Monique Moses.
  • Since U Been Gone – Teddy Lamb was due to present a Trans Take Over at London’s Bunker theatre this week as part of its now suspended Power Share season. So they have uploaded a version of their musical fringe hit about losing loved ones and finding your own voice.
  • Bubble – Is this the short-term future of theatremaking? Bubble, a play set entirely on Facebook, uses a cast of European actors who never met in person, rehearsed over Skype and filmed on their cameras. Theatre Uncut release the production, written by Beats playwright Kieran Hurley, on 23 March. Theatre Uncut — Events
  • 5 Soldiers – Rosie Kay’s extraordinary 5 Soldiers: The Body is the Frontline was staged in army drill halls around the UK but since its live stream is still available online you can watch it from the comfort of your own sofa. Performing in close quarters to a score that mixes punk and opera, Kay’s phenomenal company bring home the horror of combat and disarm audiences.
  • Girls Like That – London’s Unicorn theatre has a world-class reputation for theatre for young audiences and its production of Evan Placey’s Girls Like That gripped the roomful of teenagers I watched it with in 2014. It’s online in full and offers a raw account of adolescent anxiety, slut-shaming and self-belief. In-your-face theatre that stays in your mind.
  • Le Patin Libre – Think dance on ice and you’d imagine sequins and staggering TV celebrities but the Canadian troupe Le Patin Libre has taken the artform into a new dimension. In their double bill Vertical Influences, the skaters turned the rink into a mesmerising stage slowly decorated by the patterns cut by their blades.
  • Woke – LIVR is a subscription service that enables you to catch up on theatre in 360-degree virtual reality. Pop your smartphone into the headset they send you and experience a range of shows including Apphia Campbell’s Fringe First award-winning show Woke, which interweaves the stories of Black Panther Assata Shakur and the 2014 Ferguson riots.
  • John Leguizamo’s Latin History for Morons – Self-isolation may mean that many of us will use living rooms to both teach children and watch theatre. An opportunity to combine the two can be found courtesy of the super-charismatic John Leguizamo – an inspirational tutor if ever there was – whose one-man Broadway show Latin History for Morons is on Netflix.
  • My Left Nut – This is cheating as it’s a TV series but BBC3’s superb comedy drama is based on one ofthe most uproarious and affecting fringe theatre shows of recent years. It’s based on Michael Patrick’s own teenage experience of a medical condition that left his testicle “so big you could play it like a bongo”. Wince.
  • Rosas Danst Rosas – Love dance? Need to exercise at home? Then join the queen of Belgian avant-garde performance Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker as she talks you through how to perform her 1983 classic Rosas Danst Rosas. All you need is a chair, a bit of legroom and enough space to swing your hair.
  • Dead Centre have released the recording of ‘Lippy’ (2013ish) – link here: https://vimeo.com/253790281 and password is context
  • For Katie Mitchell/opera fans, the Bayerische Staatsoper in Munich is streaming her recent production of ‘Judith’ until 26 March. Link here: https://operlive.de/judith/

Other video resources:

Theatre-related programmes and features on streaming services:

Listen:

Search for podcasts using your favourite app…

  • Beyond Shakespeare is broadcasting a series of lunchtime readthroughs of non-Shakespeare early modern plays. Check out their twitter page for updates: https://twitter.com/BeyondShakes
  • Pursued by a Bear – by Exeunt Magazine
  • AdLib – York Theatre Royal’s podcast
  • Pod4Ham –  a song by song examination of Hamilton
  • Hamiltcast – a no-stone-left-unturned exploration of the groundbreaking show Hamilton, its multilayered musical treats and its cultural impact. https://www.thehamilcast.com/
  • Royal Court Playwright’s Podcast – Simon Stephens interviews 40 playwrights
  • David Tennant Does a Podcast With…
  • NT Talks – 10 years of talks with actors, directors and more recorded at the National Theatre
  • Curtain Call Theatre Podcast – spotlights current shows through wide-ranging interviews, which give listeners a detailed sense of what it takes for a show to come together. https://curtaincalltheatre.libsyn.com/
  • “Variety’s Stagecraft” – a deep gold mine of searching interviews with actors and other theater professionals about their Broadway and off-Broadway endeavors. https://broadwaypodcastnetwork.com/podcast/varietys-stagecraft/
  • Playing On Air – contemporary one-act play performed by actors like Adam Driver, Audra McDonald and Michael C. Hall, followed by a conversation with the creative team. https://playingonair.org/?
  • ‘Off Book: The Black Theatre Podcast’ – features conversations between the hosts and a selection of guests from all walks of theatrical life, including actors, costume designers and writers. https://soundcloud.com/off-book-theatre-podcast
  • BBC podcasts: In Our Time, The Life Scientific, Infinite Monkey Cage, Desert Island Discs, From Our Own Correspondent, Friday Night Comedy, You’re Dead to Me, Forest 404
  • Other non-theatre recommendations: Guilty Feminist, Global Pillage, The Best Pick, 99% Invisible, Ologies, Reply All
  • RTE Radio Drama. Radio plays from Ireland’s national broadcaster https://www.rte.ie/drama/radio/
  • BBC 4 Radio Drama https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04xxp0g

Exeunt’s list of Distractions, inspirations, projects and more (http://exeuntmagazine.com/features/covid-19-resources-uk-theatre-freelancers/)

Other resources

For any teachers of drama who have had to hastily convert their teaching to online platforms, this Google Doc has some excellent, drama-specific resources and advice:

Teaching Theatre Online: A Shift in Pedagogy Amidst Coronavirus Outbreak – https://docs.google.com/document/d/1i-keJ_frOOEUa50CLAdz86hq5CxQwBQ2T4hbSI2nYdM/mobilebasic?fbclid=IwAR11cVZdw4DXEZqNCgOwYn_swxIhlHfsWXF9tMu9-7aiKfQljSyecFGkfnI

2019 Box Office figures released by Society of London Theatre

Society of London Theatre

The Society of London Theatre (SOLT) has released 2019 ticket sales data for its member venues, which include all of the commercial West End and London’s major subsidized theatres.

The figures reveal an annual London theatre audience of over 15.3 million – nearly 1 million higher than Broadway – filling a record 80.7% of available seats and generating £799m in box office revenue.

Highlights from the data:

  • Attendances of 15,315,773 (down 1.4% from 2018)
  • Gross revenue of £798,994,920 (up 4.3% from 2018)
  • Average ticket price paid £52.17 (up 5.8% from 2018)
  • VAT generated for the Treasury of £133,165,820
  • 80.7% of available seats filled (up from 77.5% in 2018)
  • 18,364 performances (down 1.8% from 2018)

Plays saw a nearly 3% rise in audience numbers, while musicals dipped by just under 2%. This reflects the fact that four of London’s largest musical houses – the Dominion Theatre, the London Palladium, the Theatre Royal Drury Lane and the newly renamed Sondheim Theatre – were dark for a significant proportion of the year, in some cases to carry out significant renovation projects. A total of 371 dark weeks in 2019, compared to 207 the previous year, explains the small drop in overall attendances.

Kenny Wax, President of SOLT, said:

‘These figures demonstrate the buoyancy of London’s theatre industry and the city’s status as the world’s leading theatre destination. Our major theatre owners and producers continue to present world class work, while investing in their historic venues to give audiences the best possible experience.

Audiences remain hungry for a quality live experience, evidenced by the unprecedented percentage of seats filled in 2019. The theatre industry is committed to offering a wide range of affordable tickets, alongside discount schemes, school outreach projects and SOLT audience development initiatives like Kids Week and New Year Sale. It is fantastic to see that over 5 million* tickets were available in the commercial West End at £40 and under last year, with only 1.1% at £150 and above.’

SOLT 2019 attendances and revenue by genre (with percentage comparisons to 2018):

GenreAttendanceRevenue
Musicals9,292,940 (-1.77%)

 

£522,692,585 (+3.72%)
Plays4,291,734 (+2.73%)£179,762,530 (+7.47%)

 

Other (opera, dance, performance, entertainment)1,731,099 (-8.43%)£96,539,805 (+2.08%)

Brand-new musical Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Story announced today starring Arinze Kene

Bob Marley
  • Producers today announced the world premiere of a brand-new musical which tells the remarkable story of iconic artist Bob Marley will open at the newly refurbished Lyric Theatre in London’s West End next year. The production will begin previews on Saturday 6 February 2021, what would have been Marley’s 76th birthday
  • Taking inspiration from Marley’s visionary lyrics to tell his extraordinary personal story, and featuring an electrifying mix of his hits played live, Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Story is brought to the stage by the Olivier Award-Winning team of writer Lee Hall and Director Dominic Cooke
  • The Production will star Arinzé Kene as Bob Marley
  • With unprecedented access to Marley’s catalogue, the musical will feature Marley’s greatest songs performed live by the cast including No Woman No CryExodus3 Little BirdsGet Up Stand Up and many more
  • Tickets for the production will go on sale on 21 April 2020. Registration for priority booking is now open at Getupstandupthemusical.Com.

Cedella Marley (Bob Marley’s daughter) said:  “Our father’s music means so much to so many people around the world, we’re beyond thrilled to be able to bring it to both fans and new audiences alike in a new way led by the stellar team of Lee Hall and Dominic Cooke, and starring the fantastic Arinzé.  As a family we feel that our father would be proud to know that his legacy is a source of creative inspiration and continues to bring people together.”

Following a hugely successful workshop in 2019, producers Playful Productions, Stage Play and Trim the Wind are delighted to announce that Get Up, Stand Up! The Bob Marley Story, the definitive new musical featuring Bob Marley’s iconic hits played live on stage, will begin previews in London at the newly refurbished Lyric Theatre on Saturday 6th February 2021.  Brought to the stage by a multi award-winning team, Lee Hall’s (Billy Elliot The MusicalNetwork) book takes direct inspiration from Marley’s visionary lyrics to tell his extraordinary personal story as an artist, the production will be directed by Dominic Cooke (Follies, Clybourne Park) and star Arinzé Kene (MistyGirl from the North Country).

Tickets will go on sale on 21 April 2020 and there is a website (GetUpStandUpTheMusical.com) where people can sign up for priority booking.

Arinzé Kene said: “I feel absolutely honoured to be able to take on this role. It is not only an honour to be able to spread Bob Marley’s message further, but to get to be him for a little while is a lifelong dream come true. I grew up on his music and his mantra and he has been one of my role models since I was a child. I feel as if he’s in my DNA. He’s the man, I love him.

Listing:

GET UP, STAND UP! THE BOB MARLEY STORY
Lyric Theatre
29 Shaftesbury Ave
London
W1D 7ES

First performance Saturday 6th February 2021
GetUpStandUpTheMusical.com
Box Office Number: 0330 333 0088