Archive for the ‘Everything else’ Category


Sonata Movements – Drama and Music at the Blue Elephant until May 5

Monday, 23 April, 2012

Sonata Movements is a combination of drama and music put together by AT Concert Theatre. Four short pieces of theatre make up the programme. Three are ‘proper’ scripts, and one is an accompanied reading of TS Eliot’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’. In counterpoint to them is the music – piano playing of great style and intensity performed by An-Ting Chang.

If you went along solely for the music, I don’t think you’d be disappointed. An-Ting Chang, currently studying for a PhD in music performance at the Royal Academy of Music, plays with a lot of verve and has taken on here some of the monstrously intricate and well-known pieces in the piano repertoire. Pieces by Shubert, Chopin, Prokoviev and Beethoven all feature.

Alongside these are the dramatic performances. First is a two-hander, ‘Abortive’, an early piece by Caryl Churchill in which the piano becomes a part of the presentation. The play describes quite painfully a couple whose assumptions about their relationship have been fractured. Kenneth Emson’s ‘Other People’s Gardens’ follows, a short piece enlivened by the fresh and honest performance of Darren Douglas-Letts. James Northcote is next tasked with delivering TS Eliot’s ‘Portrait of a Lady’ and finally, Jonathan Newth gives us Svetlovidov, the embittered actor whose powers are failing fast, in Chekhov’s ‘Swan Song’.

All are very competently played and it is an interesting programme, but from an audience’s point of view, the question to be answered is whether the music adds to the dramatic presentation. Some of the pieces unquestionably worked better than others, and a familiarity with them would certainly help. Sometimes the music, stylishly played though it was, did seem to fight against the actors’ delivery, rather than enhancing it. Sometimes too, it was impossible not to make a choice of concentration between the music and the drama.

Probably the most effective piece overall was the dramatised TS Eliot poem, which seemed to fit nicely with the Chopin Nocturne, each ‘positioning’ the other in terms of style and character. The others were harder work for this member of the audience certainly, and this is not the kind of production that allows you to drift along under its spell. There are some great moments, when the music really does underscore the text of the plays (in the Chekhov particularly when Svetlovidov redicovers some of his old youthful intensity), but more often the audience is faced with a difficult choice of where to address its concentration, largely because of the quality of both music and dramatic presentation.

More at:

Pianist – An-Ting Chang; Cast – Abortive; Mark Denham, Tiffany Wood; Cast – Other People’s Gardens; Darren Douglas-Letts, Mary Sheen; Cast – Portrait of a Lady; James Northcote, Tiffany Wood, Joyce Greenaway, Mary Sheen; Cast – Swan Song; Jonathan Newth, Joyce Greenaway

Music Designer – An-Ting Chang; Director – Jude Christian; Designer – Louis Carver; Lighting – Sarah Louise Colgan; Associate Designer – Gary Thorne; Executive Producer – Chi Ying (Mandy) Leung; Stage Manager – Hugh Allison


Trevor Nunn at the V&A. Friday 20 April.

Thursday, 19 April, 2012

Ex-artistic director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, Trevor Nunn, discusses different ways of staging and performing Shakespeare with actors Harriet Walter and Michael Pennington. At the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington. Expect an hour’s conversation. Tickets £9/£7. Begins 7pm


In Chicago next Monday…

Wednesday, 18 April, 2012

… people may talk strangely

City of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has proclaimed Monday, April 23, Talk Like Shakespeare Day, an occasion for citizens from Chicago and across the globe to celebrate Shakespeare’s 448th birthday by bringing the spoken words of Shakespeare into their daily lives. The holiday, which originated in Chicago in 2009, became a worldwide sensation garnering extensive national and international media coverage and more than one million hits to


Hightide Festival Symposium: 9 May

Friday, 13 April, 2012

A day of engaged conversation around the state of new plays with theatre makers, academics, arts professionals and writers. The symposium is in partnership with University of East Anglia, Central School of Speech & Drama and the British Theatre Consortium

The annual HighTide Festival in Halesworth, rural Suffolk, has become one of the UK’s important theatre events.

More at


Babel. Cast of 300. Caledonian Park, Islington

Thursday, 12 April, 2012

8-20 May

In a year when the world’s eyes are on London, a forgotten tower steeped in history calls to be rediscovered. The people are gathering and a timeless story continues.

Babel is an immersive theatrical experience of truly epic proportions created especially for Caledonian Park. This spectacular outdoor production, with a cast of 300, combines storytelling, live music, massed choirs and state-of-the-art visual effects to celebrate what it means to be part of a truly global community, and the world city that is London.

Babel is brought to life through a unique creative partnership between WildWorks, renowned for its large scale spectacular productions, and the multi-award winning Battersea Arts Centre, one of London’s most inventive theatres, along with the Lyric Hammersmith, Theatre Royal Stratford East and the Young Vic.

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Winners of Jerwood Film and Video Umbrella Awards Announced

Wednesday, 4 April, 2012

Film and Video Umbrella and Jerwood Visual Arts have announced that Ed Atkins and Naheed Raza have been chosen to receive commissions of £20,000 each in the next phase of the new Jerwood/Film and Video Umbrella Awards. Chosen from four shortlisted artists, both will now work with Film and Video Umbrella on major new moving image projects, which will premiere at Jerwood Visual Arts, London in 2013, before opening in Glasgow at CCA (Centre for Contemporary Art).

This significant new opportunity for moving image artists has so far supported four of the most exciting new talents to emerge on the contemporary art scene, providing each with a development fund and exhibition opportunity. Those shortlisted artists -Ed Atkins, Emma Hart, Naheed Raza and Corin Sworn – were selected by a panel of judges from a nominated long-list of more than 50 proposals from across the UK. Each artist was awarded a bursary of £4,000 to develop pre-production proposals which are currently on show in the group exhibition Tomorrow Never Knows at JVA at Jerwood Space, London, until 22 April 2012.


The Robinson Institute at Tate Britain

Tuesday, 3 April, 2012

The Robinson Institute is an exhibition that considers the origins of the current economic crisis. Throughout The Robinson Institute, images of landmarks and locations in the English landscape are employed to illustrate the development of capitalism.

A fictional, unseen scholar – Robinson – undertakes exploratory journeys around England. Robinson’s chance encounters with various locations. The site of an 1830 meteorite fall and nearby scenes of local rebellion, prompt him to reflect on the significance of each to greater global themes.

The Robinson Institute’s researchers have revisited Robinson’s last known journey, presenting his findings and film footage as an exhibition that features works by artists, mainly from Tate’s Collection; writers, historians, geographers, cartographers and geologists; and a variety of other objects.

Audiences are invited to retrace Robinson’s steps and consider the connections that he makes. For example, the 1795 amendment to the Settlement Act, which enabled the rural poor to migrate more easily to industrial towns and cities, is shown alongside an unusually large meteorite that fell the same year. Robinson’s discovery of the Boyle-Hooke commemoration plaque on Oxford’s High Street, which celebrates two of England’s most important scientists, triggers further consideration of the historical events that led to the Industrial Revolution.

There are more than 120 works on display in The Robinson Institute from historical paintings, prints and drawings, works of film and literature as well as photographs that include Northumbrian rock art, a close up of lichen on an Oxford road sign in the direction of Newbury and a Ministry of Defence sign banning photography of the Atomic Weapons Establishment at Aldermaston.


Theatre Book Prize: Shortlist Announced

Sunday, 1 April, 2012

The Society for Theatre Research has announced its Short List for the Theatre Book Prize, selected by this year’s judging panel from books published in 2011, submitted by publishers for their consideration.

A Dancer in Wartime by Gillian Lynne
(Chatto & Windus)

The Heaviest of Swells: A Life and Times in the Music Halls by Christopher Beeching
(DCG Publications)

Covering McKellen:  An Understudy’s Tale by David Weston
(Rickshaw Publishing)

Black and Asian Theatre in Britain: A History by Colin Chambers

Ira Aldridge: the Early Years 1807-1833 and The Vagabond Years 1833-1852 by Bernth Lindfors
(University of Rochester Press/Boydell & Brewer)

The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 Volume 3 The Fifties by Steve Nicholson
(University of Exeter Press)

The Golden Generation: New Light on Post-war British Theatre Edited by Dominic Shellard
(British Library)

The winner will be announced at a reception at Theatre Royal Drury Lane on the morning of Wednesday 25th April 2012.

More at:


Greenwich and Docklands Festival – Seriously Spectacular Theatre

Friday, 30 March, 2012

21 – 30 June 2012

Greenwich and Docklands Festival this year is promising some seriously spectacular theatre.

Feel the earth move and the sky explode in Prometheus Awakes; experience the true reality of nature and existence in Ted Hughes’ mythic Crow poems brought to life by the world renowned Handspring Puppet Company and follow Motor Show‘s wild and fragile dance spectacle of young love.

Greenwich Fair is part of the Festival

There is a packed programme of free outdoor arts too at Greenwich Fair and Dancing City.

Tower Hamlets and Woolwich will host beautiful and surprising night-time spectaculars promising unforgettable audience experiences.

More at:



Call for Entries – 20th Raindance Film Festival

Wednesday, 28 March, 2012

London, 26 September – 7 October 2012

The Raindance Film Festival is listed by Variety as one of the world’s top 50 ‘unmissable film festivals’.

Raindance aims to nurture, support and promote independent films and filmmakers from the UK and around the world.

Submit your film to the 20th Raindance Film Festival (26 September-7 October 2012).  You have until 24th June 2012 to submit. Rules and Information at the Raindance web site: