News Archive

Backstage Whispers overheard by Richard Andrews

Last updated : 2nd March 2018

The summer season at the Southwark Playhouse, at the Elephant and Castle, will include David Wood's Goodnight Mister Tom, adapted from Michelle Magorian's novel about a boy evacuated from London during the Second World War who is put in the care of an elderly recluse, opening on 31st July; the musical Bring It On, book by Jeff Whitty, music and lyrics by Lin-Manuel Miranda, additional music by Tom Kitt and lyrics by Amanda Green, set in the world of competitive cheerleading and cutthroat high school politics, directed and choreographed by Ewan Jones, opening on 7th August; and the Les Enfants Terribles production of Oliver Lansley's The Trench, inspired by the true story of a miner who was entombed in a tunnel during the First World War, and is lost in a tormented and surreal world beneath the mud, directed by Oliver Lansley and James Seager, opening on 16th October.

Figures released by the Society Of London Theatre reveal that West End theatre enjoyed another record breaking year in 2017. Attendances were the highest ever at 15,094,573, up 5.35% on 2016, with musicals up 8% to 8,744,590, and plays up 7% to 4,468,105, resulting in 77% of seats available being filled, the highest ever. Box office revenue totaled an all time high of 705,006,928, achieving 69% of potential revenue, again a record, generating 117,501,155 in VAT for the Treasury.

Glyndebourne Festival Opera's 2018 season, running from 19th May to 26th August, will comprise new productions of Debussy's Pelleas et Melisande, directed by Stefan Herheim; and Barber's Vanessa, directed by Keith Warner; plus revivals of Annilese Miskimmon's production of Puccini's Madama Butterfly; Richard Jones's production of Strauss's Der Rosenkavalier; David McVicar's production of Handel's Giulio Cesare; and Barrie Kosky's production of Handel's Saul. There are study events at Glyndebourne giving historical background and musical analysis of the new productions, and pre performance talks on each of the productions. Further information can be found on the Glyndebourne web site via the link from Dance & Opera in the Links section of TheatreNet.

Bruce Norris's Downstate, set in Illinois where four sex offenders share a home, when a man arrive to confront the person who abused him as a child for either closure, or revenge, with K Todd Freeman, Francis Guinan and Tim Hopper, directed by Pam MacKinnon, will premiere at the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago in September, and transfer to the National Theatre next spring.

Forthcoming productions at the Jermyn Street Theatre, off Piccadilly, will include a complete staging of Noel Coward's Tonight At 8.30, 9 one act plays embracing music-hall pastiche, light comedies and serious drama, performed in triple bills, directed by Tom Littler, from 10th April; Tomorrow At Noon, a triple bill of new one act plays by Jenny Ayres, Emma Harding and Morna Young, in response to the Noel Coward plays, directed by Stella Powell-Jones, from 24th April; the premiere of Esther Freud's Stitchers, about the life of Lady Anne Tree, who tried to teach needlecraft to prisoners, directed by Gaby Dellal, from 30th May; Boo Killebrew's The Play About My Dad, looking at a father-daughter relationship in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, directed by Stella Powell-Jones, from 27th June; and Hymn To Love, devised by Annie Castledine, Steve Trafford, and Elizabeth Mansfield, a new biomusical about Edith Piaf, performed by Elizabeth Mansfield, directed by Damien Cruden, from 25th July.