5th May, 2002
West End Hit by May
The by now almost traditional May Day anti-capitalist protest rally,
after being for the most part good humoured during the day, turned sour
at night and fights broke out in Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus
and Shaftesbury Avenue. At one point protesters repeatedly charged police
in skirmishes up and down Shatesbury Avenue until finally they were
driven into Soho and surrounded. Windows in Shaftesbury Avenue were
smashed and the sreets were closed to traffic and pedestrians for some
Theatregoers arrriving for evening performances were told, incorrectly,
by police that theatres were closed for the evening and so many productions
played to almost empty houses.
Over 6000 people joined in the day of protest but only a few hundred
were involved in the riots of the evening. Over 4000 police were on
duty, six were injured and around forty arrests were made.
Culture in Scottish Schools
The Scottish Parliament is to give £1.75m to schools in Scotland
over the next two years to develop Cultural Coordinators, especially
in schools in areas whith "less privileged backgrounds".
:"This exciting new programme will help maximise the contribution
that culture and cultural activities can make to young people's education,"
said Culture Minister Mike Watson. "In particular, it looks for
opportunities to widen the range of experiences available to school
children of all ages across the country."
He went on to say, "All local authorities are invited to apply
but we consider that the programme can bring significant benefits to
children from less privileged backgrounds. In identifying schools to
participate authorities are being asked to give priority to schools
serving these areas.
"I want to use arts and culture to give today's young people a
broader set of skills and opportunities that will develop their potential
and also their ability to live life to the full."
It is expected that around 200 schools, both primary and secondary,
will benefit from the scheme. The programme will be adminstered by the
Scottish Arts Council. Local Authorities will be expected to provide
Now It's Dafoe
Yet another Hollywood star is to appear on the London stage. The Riverside
Studios will be the venue for the Wooster Group's To You, The Birdie,
a version of Racine's Phaedra, in which Dafoe will star as part
of the London International Festival of Theatre from 9th to 23rd May.
The Wooster Group is considered a radical company and it has appeared
in London before with Brace Up! - a reworking of Chekhov's Three
Sisters - in the early 90s.
in Drama Desk Awards
British interest in the New York Drama Desk Awards this year will be
high, with a number of British shiows and actors receiving nominations.
The National Theatre's porduction of Oklahoma! is nominated in
nine categories, including a nomination for Trevor Nunn in Outstanding
Director of a Musical. Nominated in the same category is Nicholas Hytner,
soon to replace Nunn at the RNT, for his production of Sweet Smell
Another National production, Noises Off, is nominated fior Best
Revival, whilst Nunn's predecessor at the RNT, Richard Eyre, is nominated
for Outstanding Director of a Play for The Crucible. Also nominated
in the same category is Howard Davies for Private Lives.
Actors nominated are Alan Rickman, Lindsay Duncan, Simon Callow, Alan
Bates, as well as comedian Dave Gorman.
There were no nominations for the Broadway version of Mamma Mia!
which has been a popular but not a critical success.
A New Theatre Venue
Later this month London will have a new theatre venue when the Almeida
presents Lorenzo DeStefano's Camera Obscura, directed by Jonathan
Miller, in its rehearsal room, which can seat fifty. The play runs from
13th May to 8th June and then goes on a short tour.
to the West End
In June Maria Aitken will join the cast of Humble Boy at the
Gielgud, replacing Felicity Kendall. William Gaunt takes over the role
of her would-be husband, as Dennis Quilley will be leaving at the same
time as Kendall. Adrian Scarborough plays her son, currently played
by Simon Russell Beale.
The Barbican's annual BITE (Barbican International Theatre Event) festival
is to be delayed this year to allow for maintenance work to be done
on the Theatre and The Pit after the final departure of the RSC on 11th
May. Although the festival will go ahead, no plans for it have yet been
A Good Night Out
A Good Night Out, a celebration of the life and work of John
McGrath who died earlier this year, will be held at the Assembly Rooms,
George Street, Edinburgh, on 19th May. Tickets are £10 (£5
concessions). The evening is named after his seminal book on theatre
and popular culture.
There are rumours of the new production of Alan Bennett's Single
Spies sometime this summer. The word is that Robert Powell and Liza
Goddard will star.
Eccleston to Play
Christopher Eccleston is to appear as Hamlet in a West Yorkshire Playhouse
production from 25th October to 30th November. This will be his first
stage appearance in a Shakespeare play.
Yasmina Reza's Art, now in its sixth year, has announced an extension
to 4th January, 2002.
So Does The Full
The Full Monty at the Prince of Wales has announced a new booking
period to 8th March, 2003.
Cooney Farce to Close
Ray Cooney's farce, Caught in the Net, playing at the Vaudeville
with Eric Sykes and Russ Abbot, is to close on 29th June, the end of
its current booking period. There are plans for it to go on a national
tour after the West End closure.
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