Another Theatre Merger in the Offing
Newcastle-upon-Tyne councillors are considering merging the city's flagship theatre, the Theatre Royal, with arch-rival the New Tyne. The Royal's losses have been a constant drain on the city's purse and the council sees this as a possible way of saving money whilst still keeping both theatres open.
Maddie to close
The musical Maddie is to close on 8th November, after losing a claimed half a million pounds in its short run. Cameron Macintosh blames the critics who, he says, do not understand musicals.
Star cast for National's Peter Pan
Peter Pan, which opens at the Olivier on 8th December, will star Jenny Agutter as Mrs Darling, Ian McKellan as Captain Hook, Clive Rowe as Smee, and Alec McGowan as the Storyteller.
D'Oyley Carte in danger
The D'Oyley Carte Company is under threat of closure unless it receives a "significant" funding boost next year. Its wages bill is £2m a year but its ACE grant amounts to just £250,000. However Karl Watkins, owner of the New Tyne Theatre in Newcastle, believes they should not be given another penny of public money. His offer of residency at the theatre, rejected by the company, is still open, and he feels that more public money should not be spent on the company whilst it is refusing to take up such a money-saving offer.
Perry turns producer
Dad's Army and Hi-Di-Hi writer Jimmy Perry writer is turning producer, showcasing his new musical That's Showbiz (book and lyrics by Perry, music by Roy Moore) at the Wimbledon Theatre this week. The show stars Ted Rogers, Carmen Silvera and Su Pollard. The show, which will not see full-scale production uintil next year even if it is a hit, is about the life of a fading comic.
Stepping Out - The Musical opened at the Albery last Tuesday (28th Oct.) and The Boys in the Band opened the following day at the Aldwych.
Less for top companies
The Stage reports that reduced grants for top companies such as the Royal Court, the RSC and the National are being considered by ACE in order to free up cash for the regions. A spokeswoman denied that any such discussions ahd taken place, bt Stephen Daldry, artistic director of the Royal Court, insists that the drama panel has been considering the idea.
Old Vic redundancies likely
More than 100 Old Vic staff have been given redundancy notices, which will come into effect before Christmas if a buyer is not found for the theatre. The Save London's Theatres campaign has written to Culture Secretary Chris Smith, urging the government to buy the freehold. The National is bidding to buy the annexe, but the main theatre is still on the market, with an asking price of around £4.6m.
National pay deals under threat
At its annual conference the TMA has been advised to scrap national pay deals and replace them with locally negotiations. The suggestion attracted considerable support, in spite of the probably massive confrontation with the unions that would certainly occur, but it is thought unlikely that this will be a short-term aim.
Also at the TMA conference, ACE's drama director Anna Stapleton pointed out that one in four people in the UK go to the theatre twice a year, a very healthy situation.
Barclay's Theatre Awards
The winners of the Barclay's Theatre Awards have been announced:
Writers' Guild Awards
Theatre-related Writers' Guild Awards for this year are: