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After a record-breaking year in 2019, with more than 600,000 attendees, Brighton Fringe had to cancel its 2020 festival at fairly short notice due to the first lockdown of the coronavirus pandemic in England. However, the Fringe is back for 2021, slightly later in the year than usual, with a hybrid live and online programme of events. BTG Editor Da…
 
#WeMakeEvents was launched in April 2020, soon after the first coronavirus lockdown, by PLASA, the Professional Lighting and Sound Association, to highlight the plight of its membership, the majority of whom are freelance workers and therefore not eligible for government furlough payments. The campaign has grown to include other industry bodies and…
 
Hear Me Out is a new theatre podcast produced and presented by Lucy Eaton, the both real and on-screen sister of Simon Evans, creator of BBC lockdown comedy Staged starring David Tennant and Michael Sheen. Hear Me Out features interviews with leading theatre actors in which they discuss and then perform a speech from a play in which they have appea…
 
At the beginning of each year, The Theatres Trust produces a document known as the Theatres At Risk Register, which lists the theatre buildings in the UK which are at the most risk of being lost forever. Just after the 2021 Register was released, BTG Editor David Chadderton spoke to Theatres Trust Director Jon Morgan about this year’s list, the wor…
 
In January 2020, BTG Editor David Chadderton spoke to Elizabeth Newman, Artistic Director of Pitlochry Festival Theatre in Scotland, about her plans for the coming year. Less than two months later, the country shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. The season was cancelled and the future of this theatre, amongst many others around the country, …
 
Leading black British theatre company Talawa, which will celebrate its 35th birthday in 2021, is releasing a series of short online films titled Tales from the Frontline that examine the experiences of black frontline workers during the coronavirus pandemic through monologues compiled from the words of real people through interviews. BTG Editor Dav…
 
Peter Polycarpou, an actor with a long and distinguished history in musical theatre, was about to revive a production that he had written called Falling Stars at London’s Union Theatre when the second coronavirus lockdown was announced. Rather than cancelling entirely, the production, performed by Peter with Sally Ann Triplett and directed by Micha…
 
Pursued by a Bear, a theatre company based at Trestle Arts Base in St Albans, Hertfordshire, was preparing a tour of a new project, Nothing on Earth written by Anna Reynolds, before the coronavirus lockdown. As the tour couldn’t go ahead as planned, it was used as the inspiration for a series of short web films called Nothing on Earth: Shorts. BTG …
 
As some theatre performances are starting to open in the UK after more than five months of lockdown due to the 2020 coronavirus pandemic, the people in charge of UK theatres have had to make some very difficult decisions in order to survive. To get the perspective of theatre management on the current situation, BTG Editor David Chadderton spoke to …
 
Cornwall’s Kneehigh theatre company was due to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to postpone any celebrations. After five months of lockdown, the company has released a strategy document, Strike Out!, focussing on its plans for creating art and performance in a post-pandemic world. Just after its release, B…
 
Theatre company Told by an Idiot will be one of the first theatre companies to resume performances to live audiences after the coronavirus lockdown when it takes part in the Greenwich+Docklands International Festival with a revival of its family show Get Happy at outdoor venues. BTG Editor David Chadderton spoke to Told by an Idiot founder Paul Hun…
 
Tara Arts is a London-based multicultural theatre company which has only had one artistic director, Jatinder Verma MBE, since it was formed in 1977 until he stepped down earlier this year. He will be replaced by Abdul Shayek, a director originally from East London who has spent the last nine years based in Cardiff, initially working with National T…
 
Stephen Schwartz and John-Michael Tebelak’s musical Godspell, based on the Gospel of St Matthew, is about to celebrate its 50th anniversary. To commemorate this, Thomas Hopkins & Michael Quinn for Ginger Quiff Media in association with Manchester’s Hope Mill Theatre are to stream an online concert version of the musical in August 2020 with a cast h…
 
No Milk for the Foxes was a one-act play written and performed by Conrad Murray and Paul Cree for Beats & Elements at Camden People’s Theatre in 2015 that looked in on the lives of two young, working-class lads, Marx and Sparx, working as security guards on zero-hours contracts and which used beatboxing and live looping between dialogue scenes. An …
 
New Perspectives Theatre Company has teamed up with writer David Rudkin to produce a ten-part audio series called PlacePrints. Rudkin has written stories set in different locations around the British Isles and they’ve been recorded over the past four years. The cast includes Michael Pennington, Toby Jones, Juliet Stevenson and Stephen Rea. In this …
 
Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield is producing a star-studded multi-cast audio play, The Understudy, an adaptation by Henry Filloux-Bennett of a novel by David Nicholls about an actor who is failing in most aspects of his life. The cast includes Stephen Fry, Russell Tovey, Emily Atack, Sheila Atim, Layton Williams, Sarah Hadland, Mina Anwar, …
 
Slung Low, a theatre company founded in 2000 and currently based in the oldest social club in Britain in Holbeck, Leeds, programmes work in its own performance spaces but also creates large-scale works in non-theatre spaces, often involving large community casts. During the coronavirus lockdown, Slung Low is releasing a short film, The Good Book, w…
 
In common with most of the UK’s theatres and other arts venues, HOME Manchester announced it would close soon after Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s statement on 16 March 2020 appealing to the public to stay away from public places to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. A week later, HOME announced a series of commissions, titled Homemakers, from a…
 
For the second successive year, Derby Theatre is producing a major show featuring fully integrated British Sign Language and captioning. In 2019, the theatre presented Neil Duffield’s adaptation of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book; in 2020 Treasure Island will get similar treatment. For this episode, BTG Midlands editor Steve Orme chats to Derby T…
 
Amy Leach is a theatre director and Associate Director at Leeds Playhouse, currently working on a new version of Oliver Twist. This new adaption is by Bryony Lavery, and it’s being staged by Leeds Playhouse in collaboration with the Ramps on the Moon consortium, a partnership between six National Portfolio Organisation theatres and Graeae Theatre. …
 
Ben Brantley is the co-chief theatre critic for The New York Times. He has been a staff critic since 1996, filing reviews regularly from London as well as New York. In this episode, BTG’s London Editor Philip Fisher speaks with Ben about his career, as well as about plays in London and New York, past, present and future. (Photo credit: Tony Cenicol…
 
Laurie Sansom has been Artistic Director at the National Theatre of Scotland and Royal and Derngate in Northampton, but he has more recently taken over at Northern Broadsides in Halifax. His first production there as director is a revival of Quality Street by J M Barrie, the title of which has a special connection with the company’s home town. BTG …
 
Pitlochry Festival Theatre in Perthshire, Scotland announced its summer rep season for 2020 in December. In 2018, Elizabeth Newman joined the theatre as Artistic Director from the Octagon Theatre in Bolton. BTG Editor David Chadderton spoke to Elizabeth in January about the new season and about how she had developed the theatre’s programme over the…
 
Pilot Theatre is to tour the UK with Crongton Knights by Alex Wheatle in an adaptation by Emteaz Hussain co-directed by Pilot’s Artistic Director, Esther Richardson, and Corey Campbell, Artistic Director of Strictly Arts Theatre Company, with music by beatbox champion Conrad Murray. BTG Editor David Chadderton spoke to Esther and Corey during rehea…
 
imitating the dog has been making theatre work fusing live performance with digital technology and projection for 21 years. Their past productions have included original devised work as well as adaptations from other forms, such as A Farewell to Arms and Heart of Darkness. Their new show, Night of The Living Dead™ – Remix, is being co-produced with…
 
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