tue 20/08/2019

Theatre Features

Václav Havel, 1936-2011

Jasper Rees

In Rock’n’Roll, the play by Tom Stoppard, two characters haunt the stage without actually appearing on it. One of them, Syd Barrett, absconded from Pink Floyd to lead the life of a hermit. The other, Václav Havel, gave up the life of an internationally acclaimed, domestically banned playwright to become a head of state. Only one of them was in the audience for the premiere at the Royal Court. And it wasn’t the hermit.

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Interview: Pantomime Dame Berwick Kaler

Jasper Rees

To just about everyone, the name will mean absolutely nothing. "I'm a jobbing actor," he says, and for most of the year it is true. He does little bits of telly, the odd tiny film role, a certain amount of provincial theatre. Every Christmas, though, Berwick Kaler strides forward into the spotlight of the ravishing, intimate York Theatre Royal and bids welcome to a fanatical army of devotees.

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Jamila Gavin: Writing Coram Boy

Jamila Gavin

Someone told me that the highways and byways of England were littered with the bones of little children. It was a shocking statement and of course I asked, “What do you mean?” I was told that abandoned children were a common feature of the past, but that in the 18th century someone called a “Coram Man” used to wander about from village to village and town to town – a bit like a tinker – picking up unwanted children.

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Opinion: There's more to children's theatre than panto

Mike Kenny

So, Christmas again then. Ho ho ho. It comes around every year. Cards, crackers, baubles, TV specials. And panto. I am a playwright. I write mostly for children and their families. I tend not to say I'm a children's writer because it's rare that a child has made the decision to come to one of my plays. A parent, teacher or loving adult has made that decision and forked out the money. Children can't access my work by turning on the telly or going to the library.

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Gillian Slovo: Writing The Riots

Gillian Slovo

I was shocked by the riots. I think everybody was shocked by the riots. It’s not just the scale of the rioting that was shocking. It’s the failure of the police and the fire services to take control of the situation. During my research for The Riots I interviewed a man who had his flat burned down and he told me that he couldn’t believe this could happen in a democracy.

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theartsdesk Debate: The Art of Performance

ismene Brown

To celebrate theartsdesk's second birthday on Friday, we held a panel discussion on The Art of Performance at Kings Place, London, in the Kings Place Festival.

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theartsdesk MOT: The Lion King, Lyceum Theatre

Veronica Lee

When The Lion King first opened in London in October 1999, there were cries from some quarters that it was merely following in a long line of stage shows that had been lifted lazily from films.

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The Lion King's West End Reign

Hilary Whitney Andile Gumbi as Simba in 'The Lion King'

The stage musical The Lion King has been seen by nearly 10 million people in the UK - almost 60 million worldwide – and Lord only knows how many must have seen Walt Disney’s animation. I have a friend who reckons he has seen it at least 26 times and a...

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theartsdesk in Kuala Lumpur: Culture as a Weapon

Terry Friel

As hot, sweaty tourists dangle their feet in pools for Thai Nibble Fish to eat the dead skin from their feet at Kuala Lumpur’s quirky Art Deco Central Market, a small theatre upstairs is packed for a play about racial divisions and the myth of social unity here.

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theartsdesk in Flanders: Return to Journey's End

Alice Vincent

The battlefields of the First World War are frequented most by secondary school groups and military history enthusiasts. And by David Grindley: a man for whom the play Journey’s End is an obsession, and his direction of it award-winning. RC Sherriff's play follows a group of British officers preparing for battle in frontline trench warfare, and which places “ordinary men into extraordinary circumstances”. This month sees Grindley’s production returning to the West End.

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