thu 22/02/2018

First Person

'These star-crossed lovers are so young': adapting Brighton Rock

I never have the idea of adapting anything at all myself. The suggestions always come from directors or theatre companies. Someone calls me to say, Would I be interested in adapting this book… and I say… "Let me read it and get back to you”, then I...

Read more...

Having a Verdi ball: conductor Richard Farnes on Opera North's upcoming production

Commentators have, over the years, variously described Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) as all things to all people: Verdi’s Tristan und Isolde, Verdi’s masterpiece, Verdi’s Don Giovanni, a pure love poem, and much more. It seems to me to be one...

Read more...

David Edgar: 'Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well'

Since mid-August, I’ve been doing something I swore I’d never do again. I’ve been rehearsing a new adaptation of a novel by Charles Dickens. Sometime in the autumn of 1979, I received a phone call from Trevor Nunn, artistic director of the Royal...

Read more...

Radically different: Horn player Anneke Scott on The Prince Regent's Band

The Prince Regent’s Band was formed in 2013 and, like very many chamber ensembles, was created when a group of us found that we shared a number of interests in common. The musicians that make up the ensemble are all specialist historic brass players...

Read more...

Out from the Darkness: painting out prison

When I was sent to an adult high security prison aged 14 all the normal colour, shapes and movement that I saw around me each and every day as a child disappeared. It wasn’t there. Prison does that; it’s all straight lines, hard on the eye, hard to...

Read more...

'Singers must act better than ever before'

"Vary the song, O London, change!" sings Tom Rakewell as he tires of the great metropolis. WH Auden and Chester Kallman's libretto for Stravinsky's The Rake's Progress strikes a chord with me too. London has magnificent opera but, at the top end, it...

Read more...

Soldier On: a theatrical treatment of PTSD

I was invalided out of the army in 1986. I’d been an army scholar through school and had a bursary at university. I went on to drama school then became an actor, and subsequently a writer and director. But I’ve always been passionately interested in...

Read more...

'Their DNA is forever ingrained in the keys' - Roman Rabinovich on playing composers' own pianos

I was recently in the UK for some solo recitals and to make my debut with the Royal Scottish National Orchestra. One of the highlights of the trip was playing a similar programme in two very different settings: first on some magnificent period...

Read more...

'This is how it happened': Tom MacRae on writing Everybody's Talking About Jamie

I’d always wanted to write a musical, but I didn’t start actually trying until four years ago. Now four years on, my first show, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie, is about to hit the West End –  that’s four years to go from no show, no idea and...

Read more...

Fierce: the Birmingham festival which reaches out to Europe and beyond

Since its inception in 1997 Fierce, Birmingham’s International Festival of Live Art & Performance, has championed the work of performance makers not often seen in Britain. The pantheon of body artists under Mark Ball’s era as director included...

Read more...

'I come from there': how the Royal Court brought home plays from Ukraine, Chile and Syria

The autumn season of plays at the Royal Court leads with international work. B by Guillermo Calderón (from Chile), Bad Roads by Natal'ya Vorozhbit (from Ukraine) and Goats by Liwaa Yazji (from Syria) have a long history with our international...

Read more...

'First read-throughs have magic': Simon Stephens on Heisenberg: The Uncertainty Principle

All theatre workers have a day that they dread. For actors there is a particular terror about a first preview that can fuel those performances with adrenaline. For playwrights - well, for me at least - it is the first time a play is ever read out...

Read more...
Subscribe to First Person