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17th November, 2002
Children's Play Wins
For the first time since since it began in 1967, a children's play has
won the annual John Whiting Award. Jumping On My Shadow by Peter
Rumney is aimed at children between eight and twelve and deals with
finding one's place in the world in a multi-ethnic society.
The award, which is administered by the Arts Council of England in
memory of playwright John Whiting, is worth £6,000.
The Agatha Christie thriller, The Mousetrap, now a London theatre
tradition, is fifty this year, and to celebrate the play's golden anniversary,
the Queen (who is celebrating her Golden Jubilee), along with Prince
Philip, will attend a performance on Monday 25th November. Also in the
audience will be as many members of previous casts as can be assembled
for the occasion. The current cast has been playing for six months.
Casts normally play for a year.
The play has been at the St Martin's Theatre since March 1074, when
it moved from the Ambassador's (now the New Ambassador's). The play,
originally called Three Blind Mice, was written in 1947 as a
radio play, written and broadcast in honour of Queen Mary's 80th birthday.
The Newcastle Playhouse, home of the Northern Stage Ensemble, is to
have a £6m redevelopment into a European centre for the performing
arts. The design will be unveiled in the spring of next year and the
project is due to be completed in 2005.
This is the third major arts project for Tyneside. Earlier this year
the Baltic in Gateshead (Newcastle's partner in the bid to become European
Capital of Culture in 2008) opened, and, just yards away from the Baltic,
a new Music Centre is being built.
The Swan Will Close
In spite of an attempt by Labour councillors to raise an extra £137,000
grant for the theatre, Worcester's Swan will close on 1st February,
2003. In reply to the motion, the Conservative leader of the council
agreed that the proposal should be considered at a budget meeting at
the end of the month but that, said Jenny Stephens, the theatre's artistic
director, is too late as redundancies have already begun.
Members of the cast of the National Theatre's successful production
of Tennessee Williams' A Streetcar Named Desire, including Glen
Close and Iain Glen, will talk about the production and answer questions
at a special Platforms at the South Bank venue on Friday, 22nd November,
at 5.30 in the Lyttelton.
National Tour for Noises
The RNT's revival of Michael Frayn's Noises Off is to tour the
UK for six months next year. The cast includes Paul Bradley, Cheryl
Campbell, Philip Franks and Sylvester McCoy. The tour will open at the
Churchhill, Bromley, on 27th January, and will then go on to Salford,
Oxford, Newcastle, Stratford, Darlington, Brighton, Stoke, Woking, Cardiff,
Richmond, Glasgow, Aberdeen and Milton Keynes. Another eleven dates
are due to be added and the tour will end on 26th July.
Kelly Gets NESTA
Jude Kelly has been awarded a £61,000 grant from NESTA (the national
Endowment for Science. Technology and the Arts). The former artistic
director of the West Yorkshire Playhouse is to receive a Dreamtiem fellowship
which will allow her to develop her Metal Studio in West Hampstead,
where she intends to produce a film, a programme of lectures and an
New Wilson Play for
The latest play by African-American writer August Wilson, King Hedley
II, receives its London premiere at Kilburn's Tricycle Theatre next
month. It opens on 11th December and runs until 8th February, 2003 (preview
on 10th December).
McCutcheon Book Planned
Matine McCutchoen, who won an Olivier for her performance as Eliza Doolittle
in the National Theatre's My Fair Lady, has signed a book deal
with HarperCollins. The book she is to write is, it is reported, a diary
of her acting career. Miss McCutcheon, of course, missed more performances
than she played in the musical's run.
to Tour in '03
Saturday Night Fever, based on the 1970's hit musical film, is
to embark on a national tour in 2003. Like Noises Off, it will
open at Bromley's Churchill Theatre (on 3rd March) and will continue
until January 2004, visiting High Wycombe, Southampton, Bradford, Glasgow,
Stoke, Woking, Manchester, Oxford, Bristol, Plymouth, Aberdeen, Southend-on-Sea,
Sheffield, Nottingham, Norwich, Darlington, Edinburgh, Dartford, Leeds,
Swansea, Sunderland and Leicester.
First London Staged
Production for Sondheim Musical
The Bridewell is to produce the first staged production in London of
Sondheim's Anyone Can Whistle next year. Written in 1964, its
Broadway run, starring Angela Lansbury and Lee Remick, lasted for just
nine performances. It runs from 8th January to 15th February (previews
from 2nd January).
New Tour Dates Announced
The touring production of Calamity Jane, starring Toyah Wilcox,
has announced visits to a further eleven venues, starting at Glasgow
on 20th January, going on to Edinburgh, Canterbury, Darlington, Southend,
Eastbourne, Leeds, Dartford, Norwich, Nottingham and, finally, Liverpool,
where it finishes on 3rd May.
BECTU/TMA Pay Deal
Bachstage union BECTU and the Theatrrical management Association have
reached agreement on a pay deal for the lowest paid technical theatre
staff in the regions. Spread over eighteen months, there will be increases
of up to 9.6%, paid immediately and backdated to 1st October, for Grade
4 staff. This is a little lower than the £5 an hour claimed by
the union, but the staff will receive the £5 an hour when they
move up to Grade 3 after six month's training.
The following shows have announced extended runs:
- 125th Street (Shaftesbury) : until 26th April, 2003
- The Woman in Black (Fortune) : to 30th August, 2003
- Umoja (New London) : to 20th December, 2003 (this is the
second extension in as many weeks)
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