18th November, 2001
New RSC Strike Threat
RSC technical staff at the Barbican have voted for strike action over
the threat of redundancies, low pay and the plans to leave the Barbican
completely in May 2002. It is reported that 93% of BECTU members voted
for strike action, which could close the Barbican over the Christmas
RSC in 25 Year Celebration
On Thursday Prince Charles attended a performance of Twelfth Night
at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle, to mark the 25th anniversary of the
Royal Shakespeare Company's annual Newcastle season. This was his second
dose of the play in the one day, as, just before heading off to the
theatre, he had watched a 20-minute workshop performance by 11 and 12
Dud at the Palace
Dudley Moore, who is suffering from a degenerative brain disease, received
his CBE from Prince Charles at a ceremony aat Buckingham Palace on Friday.
The 66-year old actor, comedian and musician is confined to a wheelchair
and is unable to speak, but listened intently as the Prince spoke to
Death of Charlotte
Charlotte Coleman, who played Scarlett in the hit film Four Weddings
and a Funeral, has died suddenly, aged 33. Miss Coleman suffered
a massive asthma attack at her home in Holloway and was found by her
mother, actress Ann Beach. She was rushed to Whittington Hospital but
was pronounced dead on arrival. She had been an asthma sufferer all
her life, but had never had a major attack before.
Actress Peggy Mount, who received the OBE
in 1996, has died at the age of 86. Although best known to the public
for her TV work, she always considered herself first and foremost a
serious stage performer. Between 1983 and 1985 she was a member of the
RSC and appeared in Measure for Measure, The Happiest Days
Of Your Life and The Dillon.
She had been ill for some time and
was in a nursing home in west London. She had recently lost her sight
and suffered a number of strokes.
Playwright Shaffer Dies
Playwright Anthony Shaffer, author of Sleuth, Murderer,
Whodunnit and The Savage Pride, as well as numerous films,
such as The Whicker Man, Frenzy and Death on the Nile,
has died, aged 75. He suffered a heart-attack.
Gill Play Opens This Week
The latest play by Peter Gill, The York Realist, opened on Thursday
at the Lowry, Salford Quays. Directed by Gill, it will then go on a
short national tour, after which it will have a month-long run at the
Royal Court, from 6th January to 9th February, 2002. The play is produced
by the English Touring Theatre company.
Girls for the West End
Caryl Churchill's play Top Girls will have another West End outing
in January when the Oxford Stage Company's touring production finds
a home at the Aldwych from 9th January to 2nd February (previewing on
Riverside Leisure Promotions Ltd., which
runs the Billingham Forum Theatre, has denied rumours that the theatre
is to close soon. On the contrary, it says, the Forum will be "open
for business as usual until at least January 2003, and possibly longer."
Smith Joins the National
Former Secretary of State at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport,
Chris Smith, has joined the Board of the Royal National Theatre. Smith,
who was Culture Secretary throughout the first term of the Labour government
before being replaced earlier this year by Tesss Jowell, uis a great
fan of the National.
"I love the National," he said, "and have
always had the greatest admiration for its consistently high standard
of work - not just in London, but also in its touring and education
RNT Executive Director Genista McIntosh is to leave her post in spring
of 2002, at roughly the same time as Artistic Director Trevor Nunn,
who leaves in April.
A spokesperson for the theatre said there was nothing
significant in her leaving. She had signed a two year contract in 1997,
stayed another two years, and now feels it is time to move on.
to Join Joe Egg
Comedian Eddie Izzard is to replace Clive
Owen in Peter Nichol's A Day in the Death of Joe Egg when it
transfers from the New Ambassadors to the Comedy on 5th December. The
last performance at the New Ambassadors will be on 25th November.
Cast for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Michael Ball is to take the lead in the new musical production of Chitty
Chitty Bang Bang, which is due to open at the London Palladium on 16th
April, 2001. He will play Caractacus Potts, joining Anton Rodgers, Brian
Blessed and Richard O'Brien. Female lead Truly Scrumptious will be played
by an eighteen year old newcomer, Emma Williams.
to Play a Corpse
Stephen Dillane is to play the lead in a new play at the Duchess next
year - a corpse. He plays Peter George in Life After George which
opens in February. George is actually dead, but as much of the play
is in flashback form, he does appear onstage!
Bob Carlton's hit musical, Return to the Forbidden Planet, returns
to the West End in December when it opens at the Savoy for a short season
on 11th December. The show, which won the Olivier Best Musical award
in 1996, has been on an extensive and successful nationwide tour.
From tomorrow (19th November) a new cast takes over in Eve Ensler's
The Vagina Monologues (Arts). Elizabeth McGovern, Nina Wadia
and Lauren Ward replace Suzanne Bertish, Sophie Dahl and Miriam Margolyes.
There will be another change on 17th December when former M*A*S*H star
Loretta Swit joins the production.
Arrives in January
The new musical Taboo, written by eighties pop star Boy George,
is due to open on 29th January, 2002 (previews from 11th) at The Venue.
The show, which deals with the "style revolution" of the eighties,
features sixteen new songs as well as many of the star's hits of the
period, including Do You Really Want to Hurt Me? and Karma
The Venue, a converted church basement
near Leicester Square, is the first new West End venue to open for seventy
years, when the Arts Theatre opened. The Venue is the brainchild of
producer Adam Kenwright and was created especially for this production.
Inspector Goes on Holiday
Stephen Daldry's production of Priestley's An Inspector Calls
(Playhouse) is to have a two-week Christmas holiday. There will be no
performances from 24th December to 5th January.
Breaks Broadway Records
The RNT's production of Michael Frayn's Noises Off has broken
Broadway records by taking the most money ($300,000) in one day of any
non-musical production. Jeremy Sams' production, which has been recast
with mainly American actors (among them Patti LuPone), opened to rave
reviews at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre.
Standard Awards Nominees
You'll find the full list of Evening Standard Awards nominees here.
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