News Archive

29th December 2000
Elsewhere, it is customary at this time to look back over the year, and review triumphs and failures. Well we don't do that because we're more interested in the future than the past, so the tradition here is to look forward to what will happen in the West End - all based on hard, ...
22nd December 2000
The sell out National Theatre production of Michael Frayn's Noises Off will transfer to the Piccadilly Theatre on 3rd May following a short regional tour. It shows the onstage and backstage travails of a group of actors performing a farce. The all star cast includes Christopher Benjamin...
15th December 2000
Shockheaded Peter, which created a stir both in its previous London appearances the Lyric Hammersmith and on UK and world tours, will finally reach the West End at the Piccadilly Theatre from 14th February to 28th April. Based on Heinrich Hoffmann's gothic children's cautionary tale...
1st December 2000
Following its success winning Best Play award this week, it is confirmed that Joe Penhall's Blue/Orange will retain its original cast of Bill Nighy, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Andrew Lincoln when it transfers to the Duchess Theatre on 30th April. The play is about medical ethics and racism...
24th November 2000
Confirming last week's report, Fiona Shaw returns to the West End as Euripides Medea at the Queens Theatre on 30th January. The play explores the psychological complexities surrounding people in extreme situations, as Medea avenges her husband's betrayal by killing all around her...
17th November 2000
The Theatre Royal Bath production of Joe Orton's Entertaining Mr Sloane, which has been touring, will open at the Arts Theatre on 15th January. It stars Alison Steadman, Clive Francis and Bryan Pringle and is directed by Terry Johnson. The play was Orton's his first produced work...
10th November 2000
Dr Livingstone… I Presume? is a new musical which is a unique collaboration of contemporary British musical theatre talent, and traditional African dance and ritual, as performed by the National Dance Theatre of Malawi & Tanzania. The premiere season runs at Riverside Studios from...
3rd November 2000
Following their recent return to television, Thunderbirds are go on stage again, as Thunderbirds F.A.B, the show which was seen in the West End in the mid 90's, is also back. The entertainment which apes the famous puppets, created by and featuring Andrew Dawson and Gavin Robertson...
27th October 2000
Producer Duncan Weldon has confirmed earlier reports that Calista Flockhart will make her London debut in "a major American classic" at the Savoy Theatre during the Ally McBeal haitus next summer. If the Hollywood writers strike delays the start of production of the TV show's next...
20th October 2000
Another Edinburgh Festival Fringe hit is heading for London. Molly Bloom: The Earth And The Music will play at the Jermyn Street Theatre from 9th November to 2nd December. Anna Zapparoli performs a musical based on Molly Bloom's monologue from Ulysses, using a grand piano as a bed...
13th October 2000
Competition between the three West End theatre owning chains sharpened this week with the acquisition of David Ian Productions by SFX (owners of Apollo Theatres) to create a new production unit with Ian as managing director. This follows the appointment of Andre Ptaszynsky at Really...
6th October 2000
Simon Callow is to take a week out of his run of The Mystery Of Charles Dickens at the Comedy Theatre. Sitting in from 16th to 21st October will be Perrier Award finalist Dave Gorman with Are You Dave Gorman? Japes, a new play by Simon Gray, opens at the Mercury Colchester in November...
22nd September 2000
The 16th Vivian Ellis Prize Gala Showcase at the London Palladium produced an outstanding clutch of contenders for its expanded list of prizes, all of which were original stories. Going Once!, about three chancers running a confidence trick selling forged paintings through their ...
15th September 2000
An unpublished play by novelist Graham Greene, in which he advocated the legalisation of brothels, is finally to receive its premiere nearly fifty years after it was written. There will be a reading of A House Of Reputation as part of the Graham Greene Festival at Berkhampsted on...
8th September 2000
It is now confirmed that former child film star Macaulay Culkin is to make his West End stage debut. He will star with French actress Irene Jacob in Richard Nelson's play Madame Melville, opening on 18th October at the Vaudeville Theatre. It is the "Graduate clone-ish" story of an...
1st September 2000
The first wave of London bound hits from the Edinburgh Fringe is on the way. The Donkey Show - A Midsummer Night's Disco, the Off Broadway blend of Shakespeare and 70's hits, opens a twelve week season at the Hanover Grand night-club in September. SpyMonkey will transfer Stiff - ...
25th August 2000
The autumn season in the West End is shaping up, with various shows which have been seeking theatres finally securing a venue. First comes confirmation that Noel Coward's Brief Encounter, adapted for the stage by Andrew Taylor, will open a short season at the Lyric Theatre on 11th...
19th August 2000
The stampede from Hollywood to Shaftesbury Avenue continues, with Daryl Hannah in George Axelrod's summer in the city comedy The Seven Year Itch opening on 9th October at the Queens Theatre. The play tells what happens when a middle-aged man whose wife and family are on holiday, ...
11th August 2000
Despite "jam tomorrow" announcements from the Department of Culture, arts funding is under attack yet again. The government has previously filched Lottery money from the arts to pay for health and social spending, by cutting the cake into smaller slices when it created a sixth good...
4th August 2000
The previously mentioned production of Ferenc Molnar's The Guardsman starring Greta Scacchi and Michael Pennington will open at the Albery Theatre on 11th October. It is the story of an obsessive and jealous actor who disguises himself as a guardsman and attempts to test his wife...
28th July 2000
The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has announced a "jam tomorrow" rise in arts funding, with an extra £100m a year from 2003/2004 - by which time many of the regional theatres and companies which are in crisis may have disappeared. The Arts Council of England will receive...
21st July 2000
Despite talk of extending, the run of Enigmatic Variations will end on the original date of 29th July. It will be followed at the Savoy Theatre by a new D'Oyly Carte Opera Company production of Gilbert and Sullivan's The Mikado, directed by Ian Judge, opening a four month run on ...
14th July 2000
There are far reaching moves afoot in the theatre museum world. The Raymond Mander and Joe Mitchenson Theatre Collection of books and ephemera, most of which is currently in storage, is to form a central part of a new £1.2m Jerwood Library of the Performing Arts. The Jerwood Foundation...
7th July 2000
The Arts Theatre, the 344 seater venue near Leicester Square which has only been used sporadically since the Unicorn Children's Theatre moved out last year, is to reopen in the autumn with a new Anglo-American management team. British producers Edward Snape and Paddy Wilson have ...
3rd July 2000
Arts Council of England chairman Gerry Robinson is urging the government to provide an additional £100m annual funding to secure the future of the arts, £25m of which would be earmarked for the theatre. He said this week: "I simply cannot believe that government cannot find a sum...
23rd June 2000
Michael Kaiser has put an end to speculation and confirmed that he will leave his job as executive director of the Royal Opera House next June. Since his arrival from the American Ballet Theatre in November 1998 he has driven through the redevelopment of the ROH which defeated his...
16th June 2000
The next arena opera at the Royal Albert Hall from the Raymond Gubbay stable will be Verdi's Aida, running from 23rd February to 4th March. It reunites the creative team of director David Freeman, designer David Roger, musical director Peter Robinson, lighting designer Andrew Bridge...
9th June 2000
The list of Tony Award winners once again has a strong showing of British names. Tom Stoppard's The Real Thing won Best Revival of a Play, with Jennifer Ehle and Stephen Dillane taking Best Leading Actress and Best Leading Actor. Michael Frayn's Copenhagen was Best Play. Elton John...
2nd June 2000
Paul Elliott, Britain's Pantomime King (Oh yes he is!) has resigned as managing director of E&B Productions, which merged with Nick Thomas and Jon Conway's AMG (Artists Management Group) to form Qdos Entertainment last year. It appears that Elliott's management style did not mesh...
26th May 2000
As if to underline the perilous situation of regional theatre, as recognised last week by the Arts Council of England in its Next Stage strategy, comes a report that the Leicester Haymarket may be converted into a library within the next year. The theatre is part of a shopping centre...
19th May 2000
The Arts Council of England's response to the Boyden Report, which concluded that regional producing theatres can no longer afford to commission new work, take risks or keep creative talent within the industry, has recognised that radical changes are necessary. Even the People's ...
12th May 2000
The Birmingham Repertory Theatre production of Baby Doll, which has just completed a run at the National Theatre, is to transfer to the Albery Theatre on 15th June. Lucy Bailey's staging of the screenplay of 1956 film is the British premiere of Tennessee Williams' steamy Southern...
5th May 2000
Two shows produced by Green and Lenagan which are/have been touring will arrive in the West End in the next few weeks. Mind Game, the first stage play by television writer Anthony Horowitz, will open at the Vaudeville Theatre on 5th June. Richard Baron directs Simon Ward, Christopher...
28th April 2000
The BBC is about to sign a £10m deal with the Really Useful Group for the television rights to the Andrew Lloyd Webber canon. A video of Cats with Elaine Paige and John Mills has been on sale for 2 years, Joseph with Donny Osmond and Joan Collins was released last year, and production...
20th April 2000
Personals, the musical created by the Friends television series writing team of David Crane, Seth Friedman and Marta Kauffman, will open at the Apollo Theatre on 15th June. The show originated in 1975 as a college revue based on the trials and tribulations of six people looking for...
14th April 2000
For the first time ever, over twenty West End shows are presenting a co-ordinated schedule of audio-described and sign language interpreted performances for visually impaired and deaf theatregoers. Sign language interpreted performances include Speed-the-Plow, Passion Play, Cressida...
7th April 2000
Producer Andre Ptaszynski has been appointed chief executive of Really Useful Theatres, which since the Stoll Moss take over, now consists of thirteen venues. Former SM finance director Loretta Tomasi is to become managing director. Ptaszynski's brief will include creating and developing...
31st March 2000
Hard Times, the musical by Christopher Tookey and Hugh Thomas based on the Dickens novel, will open at the Haymarket Theatre on 6th June, following a season at Theatre Royal Windsor. It stars Roy Hudd, Brian Blessed, Patsy Rowlands and Susan Jane Tanner. The show uses a travelling...
17th March 2000
The Soho Theatre Company is developing a practical course for writers as part of the mission in its new £10.6m building. An anonymous donor has provided funds to launch and run the non academic scheme for two years. Each year six writers will attend workshops during three eight week...
3rd March 2000
Andrew Lloyd Webber and Ben Elton's The Beautiful Game will receive its world premiere on 19th September at the Cambridge Theatre, now part of the Really Useful Group empire. The show centres on a Belfast amateur football team, set against the backdrop of the religious conflict. ...
25th February 2000
George Stiles and Anthony Drewe, the winners of the first Vivian Ellis Prize for new musicals in 1985 with Just So, took this year's Olivier Award for Best Musical for Honk! It has the distinction of being the first new British musical to be produced by the National Theatre, and ...
18th February 2000
American actress Kathleen Chalfant will make her West End debut in Wit at the Vaudeville Theatre on 3rd April. Margaret Edson's Pulitzer Prize winning play about an English professor dying of cancer has been a big Off Broadway hit and is still playing at the Union Square Theatre. ...
11th February 2000
The Soho Theatre Company launches its new building, now styled "theatre and writers centre", with a season of four plays in four weeks, from 14th March. These are new work by new writers each rehearsed for a week and staged without decor. The plays are: Station by Jonathan Lichtenstein...
4th February 2000
Lee Hall's Cooking With Elvis, an Edinburgh Festival Fringe success last year, will open at the Whitehall Theatre on 14th March. The premise is the interaction of a food obsessed 14-year-old girl, her paraplegic father (formerly an amateur Elvis impersonator), her sex driven anorexic...
28th January 2000
A survey commissioned by the Arts Council of England has found that most regional producing theatres are trading while insolvent. The majority of the fifty venues contacted had no realistic hope of clearing their accumulated debts by trading their way out of trouble, as thirty returned...
21st January 2000
Strindberg's Miss Julie, in a new version by Frank McGuinness, opens at the Haymarket Theatre on 29th February. It stars Christopher Eccleston, Aisling O'Sullivan and Maxine Peake, and is directed by Michael Boyd. A footman seduces his mistress, and then persuades her to commit suicide...
14th January 2000
Culture Secretary Chris Smith has announced the national roll-out of New Generation Audiences, a £2.5m project to boost access to the arts among young people. All publicly funded arts organisations will now be required to produce an access policy for young people which includes some...
7th January 2000
The 22nd London International Mime Festival runs from 15th to 30th January, and features 15 companies from around the world, spanning the full range of visual theatre, including leading exponents of mime, animation, circus, puppetry, clowning and vaudeville. It begins at the Purcell...