BECTU and National Clash
Backstage union BECTU has drawn up a long list of compalints about the treatment of its members by the National Theatre, including disputes about overtime not being paid to part-time staff, suspensions and dismissals, and "creeping casualisation". BECTU is to hold a general meeting in the Cottesloe on 24th June to air their twelve grievances.
Westminster Theatre to be Demolished
London's Westminster Theatre is to be demolished so that its new owners, Pinecraven (South West) Ltd., can redevelop the site. The company is considering what it calls a "residential route" for the site, but, by law, the demolition of a theatre require developers to replace it with another public entertainment venue.
World Cup to Affect Theatres
There will be no new show opening nights in the West End when England has world cup matches. Openings have been rescheduled to avoid these nights as producers worry that the games will dominate the following days' newspapers. Many theatres have scheduled football-related shows for the World Cup period and the South Bank Centre has erected giant TV screens in its bars. The Society of London Theatre, hoowever, expects attendance to increase as people with no interest in football seek alternative entertainment.
The Gate is Closing!
Chester's Gateway Theatre is to close at the end of the summer for four months as a result of a major financial crisis. Redundancies are expected.
Tyne Theatre for Sale
Karl Watkins, Newcastle-based millionaire entrepreneur and owner of the New Tyne Theatre and Opera House, is understood to be putting the theatre on the market, according to local theatre insiders. This follows a furious and bitter attack in The Stage on the D'Oyly Carte company and its chairman Sir Michael Bishop for their refusal to accept his offer of the theatre as a base. He claims that he had only bought the theatre to put it into a trust for D'Oyly Carte and now he is "left with a theatre to run". The thatre is also home to the English Shakespeare Company's Education departmment.
Spotlight for Playwrights
The New Playwrights Trust is to establish a Spotlight for writers in radio, television and theatre. This will be an online facility which will be free to writers but would-be users will have to subscribe. A lottery bid for £100,000 has been submitted and partnership funding is in place. The idea has the support of the Writers' Guild of Great Britain and the Association for Business Sponsorship of the Arts.
Edinburgh Fringe Programme to be Announced This Week
The programme for the 1998 Edinburgh Fringe will be announced on Thusrday both in print and on the Web.
Be a Barclays Awards Judge
The Barclays Theatre Awards organisers are looking for 100 theatregoers throughout the country to be on their panel of judges for 1998-99. Free tickets for all shows will be provided and panelists must commit themselves to as many shows as they can during the year and send a written report to headquarters. Anyone interested should ring 0171 557 6777.
The Lion King is Coming
The Lion King is liely to open in the West End in June 1999, probably at the Lyceum. It will be directed by Julie Traynor, who was director of the sell-out Broadway version.