Theatrevoice archive, list of recordings 2009

4th February 2012

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Recordings from January 2009

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 4

564 NEW YORK SPECIAL Jim Houghton, founder of the Off-Broadway Signature Theatre, talks to Philip Fisher about his new writing venue, which has also staged rare work by playwrights such as Arthur Miller and August Wilson, as well as the current season featuring the Negro Ensemble Company.  “When you look at all the writers we have staged, it’s a cross-section of the entire American theatrical landscape.”Recording Date: 09-Jan-2009

565 FRINGE FOCUS Director and playwright Gene David Kirk, programming director of Theatre 503 and the new head of the Jermyn Street Theatre, tells Aleks Sierz about his work on theatreVOICE’s innovative Urban Scrawl project, and about life on London’s fringe. “The plays are bite-sized; they exist only in the mind, in your own head – and the strongest play just one trick.”Recording Date: 13-Jan-2009

566 REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2008 Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) joins David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) to assess the highs and lows of the theatregoing year. Recorded at the National Theatre.“Next year is going to be a testing year – part of the problem is that there aren’t a lot of people out there to invest in shows.”Recording Date: 14-Jan-2009

567 FOCUS ON DIRECTING Top director Katie Mitchell talks to Aleks Sierz about her book, The Director’s Craft: A Handbook for the Theatre (Routledge, 2008), which explains all aspects of directing for the stage, from choosing the play to surviving the press night.“When I was starting out, there was no friendly, warm handbook that would help me get out of some of the nasty corners I found myself in.”Recording Date: 20-Jan-2009

Recordings from February 2009

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 6
568 INTERVIEW: FRASER GRACE The playwright speaks to Aleks Sierz about his latest, The Lifesavers (Theatre 503), as well as about his previous hit, Breakfast with Mugabe (RSC, 2005) and his work with Menagerie, the Cambridge-based new writing company. Recorded at Dewynters, London.“It’s relatively easy to invest financially in the technology to ‘keep us safe’, but it’s much harder to build community.”Recording Date: 06-Feb-2009

569 WEST END REVIEW (1/2) Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) asks critics David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) to assess Spring Awakening (Lyric Hammersmith), Three Days of Rain (Apollo Shaftesbury), A View from The Bridge (Duke of York’s Theatre) & Complicit (Old Vic). Recorded at Dewynters, London.“Spring Awakening is a show that’s really breaking new ground for the musical – I think it’s a landmark. ”Recording Date: 13-Feb-2009

570 WEST END REVIEW (2/2) Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) asks critics David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) to assess Joe Orton’s Entertaining Mr Sloane (Trafalgar Studios), Alan Bennett’s Enjoy (Gielgud Theatre), Alan Ayckbourn’s Woman in Mind (Vaudeville Theatre) and Richard Bean’s contentious new play about immigration: England People Very Nice (National Theatre). Recorded at Dewynters, London.“Is this the sort of play the National should be doing? It’s absolutely the play the National should be doing…”Recording Date: 13-Feb-2009

571 FOCUS ON MUSICAL THEATRE Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) joins a panel of guests at the Jermyn Street Theatre, London, in a seminar, Small World, Isn’t It?, to assess the state of the UK fringe musical. Speakers: Tom Littler, director of the Jermyn Street production of Sondheim’s Saturday Night; Sasha Regan, artistic director of the Union; Caroline Humphries, musical supervisor for the Menier’s A Little Night Music; Chris Grady, the Chair of Musical Theatre Matters; and composer Catherine Jayes. Sound quality: variable.“What is really exciting now is the Young Vic is doing new writing, the Bush has just commissioned its first musical, the Traverse has commissioned a musical. Things are beginning to move…”Recording Date: 21-Feb-2009

572 SHAKESPEARE SPECIAL: SOUTH AFRICA Jeremy Adams, RSC producer, explains to Dominic Cavendish about how the company’s latest international collaboration – The Tempest, co-produced with the Baxter Theatre, Cape Town; now on tour – came about. And the challenges of his job. “Sometimes people are quite surprised when we step off the plane that we’re there for the project. It’s not to stamp the RSC brand on it.”Recording Date: 23-Feb-2009

573 SHAKESPEARE SPECIAL: SOUTH AFRICA Legendary actor John Kani talks to Dominic Cavendish about playing Caliban in the African version of The Tempest (RSC-Baxter Theatre, Cape Town), which has been greeted with rave reviews by the British press. Excerpt. “For me, immediately, the first introduction between Prospero and Caliban is violent, using the words as weapons.”Recording Date: 23-Feb-2009

Recordings from March 2009

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 5

574 INTERVIEW: ADAM BRACE The playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about his debut, Stovepipe (West 12), which is currently being performed as a promenade production under a shopping centre in Shepherd’s Bush, after being part of the HighTide festival last year.“The soldiers get paid fantastically well, and they know it. When they complain about their pay, it’s a typical soldier’s joke.”Recording Date: 13-Mar-2009

575 INTERVIEW: MATTHEW DUNSTER The playwright, director and actor talks to Philip Fisher about the return to the Young Vic of his 2008 play, You Can See the Hills (Royal Exchange, Manchester), and his Globe productions of Troilus and Cressida and Che Walker’s The Frontline (which also returns this summer).“I wanted to write about sex and violence, but it was really an emotional response to the way young people get written off.”Recording Date: 24-Mar-2009

576 INTERVIEW: RICHARD CORDERY The classical actor talks to Philip Fisher about his role in the West-End transfer of the teen-punk musical, Spring Awakening (Novello), which was a massive Broadway hit and is based on Frank Wedekind’s 1891 stage play.“The financial thing that people say about televison is bollocks: on sitcoms, the money is poor. But the RSC look after you very well.”Recording Date: 25-Mar-2009

577 WEST END REVIEW Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) joins David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) to assess Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (Palace Theatre); Plague over England (Duchess Theatre); Dancing at Lughnasa (Old Vic) and Burnt by the Sun (National Theatre); plus a tribute to the late Natasha Richardson. Recorded at the National Theatre. “We are writing speaking and living in an era when critics are under threat – I don’t think it looks well that we collectively, as a group, applaud our friends’ endeavours.”

578 INTERVIEW: KATE DORNEY The V&A’s curator of modern and contemporary performance talks to Aleks Sierz about the newly opened Theatre and Performance Galleries at the museum, which display all things theatrical from historical posters to recent video recordings, and from Dame Edna Everage’s costume to Mick Jagger’s jumpsuit. “Theatre is always seen as some kind of poor, illegitimate relation, but it’s actually the most successful creative industry by a long way.”Recording Date: 30-Mar-2009

Recordings from April 2009

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 1

579 THEATRE BOOK PRIZE 2008 Howard Loxton, administrator and chair of the Society for Theatre Research book prize, introduces this year’s judges, choreographer Omar Okai, Prof Kate Newey and Financial Times critic Ian Shuttleworth, plus presenter Steven Berkoff, who talk about the books.“Patrick Lonergan’s book on Theatre and Globalization is so important because it tells us what is going on in Ireland – it is overwhelming to read.”Recording Date: 07-Apr-2009

Recordings from May 2009

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 12

580 BLACK VOICES: TYRONE HUGGINS The actor, director and writer talks to Steve Luckie about his varied career, as well as about the Sustained Theatre, and its aims to transform the theatre scene.  “There are things that have happened in the 1960s in terms of black theatre that I don’t know. No one ever wrote it down.”Recording Date: 02-May-2009

581 INTERVIEW: FELIX CROSS The Artistic Director of NITRO (formerly the Black Theatre Co-operative) talks to Suman Bhuchar about composing the score for Tamasha’s new Bollywood version of Wuthering Heights. “What’s coming in are musical adaptations of big movies – it is natural that people are looking to the popular movie industry for stories.”Recording Date: 02-May-2009

582 ASIAN VOICES: SUDHA BHUCHAR The artistic director of Tamasha, actor and playwright talks to her sister Suman Bhuchar about her company’s new version of Wuthering Heights – a Bollywood Bronte. “In terms of the specifics of the transposition it’s been amazing: the arid desert of Rajasthan, the harsh moors of Yorkshire and the passionate love that transcends death.”Recording Date: 02-May-2009

583 INTERVIEW: ISAAC ROBERT HURWITZ The Executive Director and Producer of the New York Festival of Musical Theatre talks to Peter Huntley about the event, which since 2004 has resulted in some 100 new stagings, such as Next to Normal, The Great American Trailer Park Musical, Shout! and Austentatious, and discovered much new talent. Recorded in New York. “If we put all of our heads together to create one large event we could make a real splash, and get more media attention.”Recording Date: 08-May-2009

584 SHAKESPEARE: AS YOU LIKE IT Heather Neill talks to director Thea Sharrock about the play, her Shakespearean debut, during a busy and sometimes noisy workshop at Shakespeare’s Globe.“In my view Orlando gets closer and closer to Ganymede and flirts with this interesting creature but for me he never loses sight of his Rosalind and why he has chosen to play this game.”Recording Date: 18-May-2009

585 OSBORNE SPECIAL Jamie Andrews, Head of Modern Literary Manuscripts at the British Library, tells Aleks Sierz about his discovery of two 1950s plays by John Osborne, both of which were written in collaboration and pre-date Look Back in Anger. Published for the first time as Two Early Plays: The Devil Inside Him and Personal Enemy (Oberon), they cast a fascinating light on both Osborne and the history of postwar British theatre. “His letters at the time are 80 per cent despairing, but it is also very clear that he loves this theatrical milieu.”Recording Date: 21-May-2009

586 WEST END REVIEW (1/2)Mark Shenton invites David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) to consider: Waiting for Godot (Theatre Royal Haymarket); Time and the Conways (National Theatre); A Doll’s House (Donmar Warehouse) and Rookery Nook (Menier Chocolate Factory). Recorded at Dewynters.“Godot is about the pain of living – I felt that this production was wrecked by being in the Theatre Royal Haymarket – they’ve got two of the biggest acting stars in the world, they know the audience they’re going to get. So God forbid that they should get bored… let’s entertain them.”Recording Date: 22-May-2009

587 WEST END REVIEW (2/2) Mark Shenton invites David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) to assess: The Observer (National Theatre); When the Rain Stops Falling (Almeida); Grasses of a Thousand Colours (Royal Court). Recorded at Dewynters.“When the Rain Stops Falling is one of the best plays I’ve seen so far this year – it’s about the tyranny of genetic inheritance, about relationships between parents and their children, and sexual damage passed through the generations, all done with rigour and intelligence…”Recording Date: 22-May-2009

588 NT LIVE SPECIAL: NICHOLAS HYTNER The artistic director of the National Theatre talks in depth to Heather Neill about his revival of Phedre ahead of its live satellite broadcast to 70 cinemas in the UK, and 200 round the world on June 25. He outlines the rationale behind this bold new initiative and discusses working on Racine in detail. More details on www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/ntlive.“We aim to be as creative and imaginative as we can about the way we shoot it but what we are going to be conveying is the excitement of the theatre.”Recording Date: 29-May-2009

589 NT LIVE SPECIAL: DAME HELEN MIRREN Heather Neill talks to the award-winning actress about playing Phedre at the National Theatre and the plans to relay her performance live to thousands of people in cinemas across Britain and the world as part of NT LIVE on 25th June. More details: www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/ntlive.“The point of this, it seems to me, is that it’s a live performance of a play – it’s not a film, it’s not a TV show. It’s of that moment and no other. It will never be repeated again.”Recording Date: 29-May-2009

590 NT LIVE SPECIAL: DOMINIC COOPER Heather Neill talks to the rising young actor about playing Hippolytus in Phedre at the National Theatre and what he thinks of the bold new experiment to relay the production live to cinemas around the world for NT LIVE on 25th June. More details: www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/ntlive.“There are so many things going on in his – Hippolytus’s – head. This is also extraordinarily difficult to play because you’ve got wonderful Helen – who I’m meant to be completely disgusted by, which is almost an impossiblity.”Recording Date: 29-May-2009

591 INTERVIEW: APRIL DE ANGELIS The playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about her latest black comedy, Amongst Friends (currently at the Hampstead), set in a gated community, and about her career, which started in acting and in the feminist theatre of the 1980s.“When you have a competitive society what you create is a resentment of other people’s success – and fear.”Recording Date: 29-May-2009

Recordings from June 2009

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 4

592 INTERVIEW: MATT CHARMAN The award-winning playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about his current show, The Observer (National Theatre), which is directed by Richard Eyre and looks at the transition to democracy in a fictional West African state. Recorded at the National. “For me, the entire play is about language – it is about the fine letter of documents. Countries are built on little documents and tiny words.”Recording Date: 04-Jun-2009

593 FOCUS ON SITE-SPECIFIC THEATRE Adam Curtis, documentary-maker, and Felix Barrett, artistic director of Punchdrunk, talk about It Felt Like a Kiss, the story of the American Dream staged in Quay House, a semi-disused building, and already a sell-out at this year’s Manchester International Festival.“We’re both interested in the modern obsession with the self. We’re going to indulge it, we’re going to play with it, but we’re also going to make people reflect and look at it…”Recording Date: 04-Jun-2009

594 ASIAN VOICES Playwright Tanika Gupta gives a career overview to Aleks Sierz, talking about her plays, Voices on the Wind (National, 1998), The Waiting Room (National, 2000), Sanctuary (National, 2002), Gladiator Games (Sheffield, 2005) and Sugar Mummies (Royal Court, 2006). Recorded at Staging Interculturality, the 18th Annual Conference of the German Society for Contemporary Drama in English, held in Vienna. Substantial extract.“All these Indian ladies turned up, hoping just to buy a ticket – the whole of the Embankment was full of saris, and they tried to storm the stage door.”Recording Date: 07-Jun-2009

595 INTERVIEW: CHE WALKER The playwright-turned-lyricist and director talks to Aleks Sierz about his new version of Been So Long, a raunchy play with music by Arthur Darvill (Young Vic), and about his The Frontline, which was the first contemporary story to be staged at Shakespeare’s Globe. “The theme is love, and the chaos that love can bring, and the risks that love puts you in, particularly erotic love: it is quite a horny play.”Recording Date: 24-Jun-2009

Recordings from July 2009

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 8

596 INTERVIEW: CLARE HIGGINS Currently starring as Countess Rossillion in All’s Well That Ends Well at the National, the award-winning actress tells Philip Fisher about her life and work, including Vincent in Brixton, and reveals her designs on Macbeth. Recorded at the National Theatre.“I’m in a state of being really gobsmacked about how fortunate I am. Every time you do a play you think that ‘nobody will ever ask me again’. Judi Dench once told me that she still feels that.”Recording Date: 01-Jul-2009

597 INTERVIEW: DAVID EDGAR The playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about his new book, How Plays Work (Nick Hern), which discusses the role of the audience and the importance of genre, as well as examining the elements that make up a piece of written theatre. Plus: the insider view of the All Together Now? British Theatre after Multiculturalism conference at Warwick University. “Knowledge should never be damaging. The book is like a toolkit – and how you use the tools is up to you.”Recording Date: 06-Jul-2009

598 FOCUS ON YOUTH THEATRE Heather Neill talks to three contributors to this year’s NT Connections series, the National Theatre’s annual festival of new writing devoted to young people: Nick Drake (Success), Georgia Fitch (Dirty Dirty Princess) and Lisa McGee (The Heights) compare notes. “Writing for this age group is both liberating and also a challenge – there can sometimes be difficulties about language too.”Recording Date: 07-Jul-2009

599 FOCUS ON THEATRE BUILDINGS Mhora Samuel, Director of the Theatres Trust, talks to Aleks Sierz about this organisation’s work in promoting the value of theatre buildings and championing their future. Recorded at Dewynters, London. “Barbara Follett, the culture minister, raised awareness about facilities in the West End, although some theatres have recently improved.”Recording Date: 24-Jul-2009

600 WEST END REVIEW (1/2) Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) and guests David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) discuss Phedre (National), The Cherry Orchard and The Winter Tale’s (Old Vic) and Hamlet (Wyndhams). Recorded at Dewynters, London. “Phedre is a play that I hitherto admired rather than enjoyed, and yet I loved this magisterial production by Nick Hytner.”Recording Date: 24-Jul-2009

601 WEST END REVIEW (2/2) Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) and guests David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph) and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) discuss Jerusalem (Royal Court), The Mountaintop (Trafalgar Studios) and Sister Act (Palladium). Recorded at Dewynters, London. “Mark Rylance should get the best actor award for Jerusalem and, if not, it will only be because Sam West gets it for Enron.”Recording Date: 24-Jul-2009

602 INTERVIEW: STELLA FEEHILY (1/2) The playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about her current play, Dreams of Violence (Out of Joint/Soho), a comedy about family life and the politics of the banking crisis, directed by Max Stafford-Clark. Recorded at Out of Joint, London. “The only thing that I think about when I am writing is that I want to surprise myself as much as I want to surprise the audience.”Recording Date: 29-Jul-2009

603 INTERVIEW: STELLA FEEHILY (2/2) The playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about her 2003 debut, Duck (Out of Joint/Royal Court), a play about two teenagers in Dublin, and about her plans for the future. Recorded at Out of Joint, London. “It is about young women finding their power in the world, whether through education or through sex.”Recording Date: 29-Jul-2009

Recordings from August 2009

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 10

604 SHAKESPEARE: ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL Director Marianne Elliott talks to Heather Neill about her magical National Theatre production of Shakespeare’s play about the love of Helena for Bertram, and its background of sex, snobbery and inter-generational conflict. Recorded at the National. “The fairytale structure is there from the beginning but because it is Shakespeare, he does flesh out its truthful psychology.”Recording Date: 12-Aug-2009

605 INTERNATIONAL THEATRE Actor Jon-Koldo Vazquez of the Spanish physical-theatre company Markeline talks to Ziortza Fernandez about its UK-debut show, Carbon Club (National Theatre Square 2), a tale of Basque miners told using mime, music, dance and pyrotechnics. Recorded at the National Theatre. “Markeline started by making street theatre. The first show involved dressing as policemen and evacuating a beach, but we got arrested.”Recording Date: 16-Aug-2009

606 INTERVIEW: RICHARD JORDAN (1/2) The producer talks to Philip Fisher about Edinburgh 2009, including his two Fringe First Winners, one of which, Internal (Traverse), is the most talked about show in town, and his other favourites, including musicals. “Edinburgh looked exciting and forbidden and dangerous. So I bent the ears of my poor parents and they let me come at the age of 15.”Recording Date: 17-Aug-2009

607 INTERVIEW: RICHARD JORDAN (2/2) The producer tells Philip Fisher how he fulfilled a childhood ambition to become a theatre impresario and talks through a career in the regions, the West End, at the National, and nowadays touring his own productions around the globe. “My philosophy is simple. If you do not feel passionate about what you are doing, then it is never going to work.”Recording Date: 17-Aug-2009

608 EDINBURGH FRINGE 2009 The cast – Hilda Fay, Sarah Greene and Anita Reeves – perform extracts from Elaine Murphy’s hit debut Little Gem (Traverse), a triple monologue by three generations of Dublin women, and then Philip Fisher talks to them about the play. “One critic has already compared Elaine Murphy to Sean O’Casey and Brian Friel, which is great for a 30-year-old playwright.”Recording Date: 19-Aug-2009

609 WHITE WORKING-CLASS SPECIAL Playwrights Roy Williams and Ashmeed Sohoye talk to Aleks Sierz about two plays – Williams’s Days of Significance (RSC) and Sohoye’s Rigged (Theatre Centre) – both of which examine the condition of white working-class youth in contemporary Britain. Recorded at Theatre Centre. “A lot of people in white working-class communities are looking for a way out, and education is one option.”Recording Date: 21-Aug-2009

610 EDINBURGH FRINGE 2009 Actor and producer David Calvitto performs an extract from John Clancy’s comic monologue about stage acting, The Event (Assembly Rooms), which won a Fringe First, and then talks to Philip Fisher about the show, which is a metaphor for theatre. “To get a Fringe First by the first weekend means everything – it’s early acclaim, it’s fantastic, and it sells seats.”Recording Date: 21-Aug-2009

611 EDINBURGH 2009 REVIEW Philip Fisher joins the Guardian’s Lyn Gardner and Scottish critic Mark Fisher to assess the highs and lows of the Edinburgh Fringe 2009 and International Festival including Internal (Traverse), The Event (Assembly Rooms) and Faust (EIF). “You can easily see five plays in a single day and you begin to spot the preoccupations of playwrights and so you start getting a real sense of the mood of the times.”Recording Date: 22-Aug-2009

612 INTERVIEW: ALAN CUMMING The award-winning actor talks to Carrie Dunn about his new one-man musical show, I Bought a Blue Car Today (Vaudeville), a collaboration with Lance Horne, following acclaim in New York and Sydney. He also gives insights into his career. Recording quality: poor. “I got the list of songs together first, and then the stories came along – all of them actually happened to me.”Recording Date: 26-Aug-2009

613 FOCUS ON KANE Graham Saunders of Reading University talks to Aleks Sierz about his latest book, About Kane: The Playwright and the Work (Faber), which examines the output of Sarah Kane in the context of 1990s British theatre, and of her growing reputation. Recorded at Dewynters, London. “One of the things that has recently emerged in Kane studies is a re-evaluation of her as a female playwright.”Recording Date: 27-Aug-2009

Recordings from September 2009

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 10

614 ASIAN THEATRE SPECIAL The novelist Hanif Kureishi and Jatinder Verma, artistic director of Tara Arts, talk to Suman Bhuchar about taking The Black Album from page to stage at the National Theatre – and about multicultural relations during the 20-year period since the Salman Rushdie affair. “White writers are terrified of the subject of race… And it’s a real failing… The theatre is really reactionary in terms of being able to write about what’s happening in the post-war period in terms of race.”Recording Date: 01-Sep-2009

615 INTERVIEW: MAX STAFFORD-CLARK The artistic director of Out of Joint theatre company talks to Suman Bhuchar about his latest project, Mixed Up North, which explores the difficulties of uniting divided racial communities in the Lancashire mill town of Burnley. Recorded at the Bolton Octagon. “I think education is a word we’re scared of in the theatre. ‘Education’ is a bad word, and ‘entertainment’ is a good word. I think part of the function of theatre is to bring us other worlds that we don’t necessarily know about.”Recording Date: 12-Sep-2009

616 ASIAN VOICES: MUZZ KHAN The actor talks to Suman Bhuchar about his involvement with the Out of Joint project, Mixed Up North, which examines the difficulties of uniting divided racial communities in the Lancashire mill town of Burnley. Recorded at the Bolton Octagon. “I said – you don’t know who I am, this is unsolicited but I have to do this play, I have to be seen for it… please let me talk to you about my home town.”Recording Date: 12-Sep-2009

617 INTERNATIONAL THEATRE German academic Alex Mangold talks to Norwegian director Christopher Sivertsen about his Awake project, a devised piece by artists from Australia, Japan, Europe and the UK. A former member of the Teatr Piesn Kozla (Song of the Goat), Sivertsen has recently directed a physical theatre version of Antigone at RADA in London, and his Awake youth project has been developed in Glasgow and Sweden. Recorded at CuLTUREN theatre in Vasteras, Sweden. “You’re probably never as awake as you are when you feel you are going to die – which is a contradiction in itself.”Recording Date: 13-Sep-2009

618 INTERVIEW: DECYPHER Steven Luckie wraps up his Black Voices special, recorded at the 2009 Decibel showcase in Manchester, by chatting to the Decypher Collective, spoken-word artists who officially opened the event: Evoke, RT, LCB and the Nutty Professor are currently working at the Birmingham Rep. “It comes down to having a professional mind – ‘I’m here to do what I love and get paid for it’ – you’re not just going in there to start jumping about the place. You have to be professional with it as well.”Recording Date: 16-Sep-2009

619 BLACK VOICES: DECIBEL SPECIAL Steven Luckie visits Manchester and talks to Nike Jonah, the Project Manager of Decibel, the biennial cross-arts showcase that displays the ‘best work from artists with diverse practice, including those who may have had limited opportunities to participate in the arts’. “We’re in a recession and we’ve had over 416 delegates registered to come and showcase. It has taken us eight years to get to this stage.” Recording Date: 16-Sep-2009

620 INTERVIEW: BENJI REID As part of Steven Luckie’s Black Voices special, recorded at the 2009 Decibel showcase in Manchester, acclaimed cross-arts performer Benji Reid explains how he got into physical theatre and discusses key projects, including his attempt to stage A Clockwork Orange at the National Theatre. “Whenever you work as an artist, if you’re not engaged with the artform, then eventually that artform will kill you, because you’re selling your soul.”Recording Date: 17-Sep-2009

621 INTERVIEW: OSCAR WATSON Continuing his Black Voices special, recorded at the 2009 Decibel showcase in Manchester, Steven Luckie talks to Oscar Watson about the Sustained Theatre network, aimed at ‘keeping issues relating to Black, Asian and minority ethnic theatre artists and practitioners alive and in the national debate’. “One of the things I’m very keen to do is open the door to venues that want to get involved in what we want to do. A lot of venues understand they need to diversify their audiences.”Recording Date: 17-Sep-2009

622 INTERVIEW: JEANIE O’HARE The Royal Shakespeare Company Dramaturg gives a quick curtain-raiser overview of the new Revolutions season at the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon. Dominic Cavendish quizzes, with a competing chorus of swans, ducks and geese in attendance by the waterside too. “There is a big debate on all sorts of levels about writing big plays, about ensemble aesthetics, about international politics.”Recording Date: 20-Sep-2009

623 REGIONAL THEATRE: SHEFFIELD Actor manager Daniel Evans, new artistic director of Sheffield Theatres, talks to Heather Neill about his upcoming first season at the venue, which opens with his own production of Ibsen’s An Enemy of the People, plus plays about Muslims, football and Alice, as well as revivals. “Ibsen’s play gives us the tension between the need for public accountability, and how public money is spent, versus a dark, mercenary, profit-seeking drive.”Recording Date: 28-Sep-2009

Recordings from October 2009

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 18

624 FOCUS ON DESIGN (1/2) Award-winning designer Bob Crowley, one of this year’s judges, talks to Heather Neill about the prestigious Linbury Biennial Prize for theatre design. Recorded at the National Theatre. “The most remarkable thing about this award is that, as well as one winner, four finalists also get jobs.” Recording Date: 02-Oct-2009

625 FOCUS ON DESIGN (2/2) Award-winning designer Vicki Mortimer, who has designed the National Theatre Linbury exhibition, joins the discussion between Bob Crowley and Heather Neill about this year’s prestigious Linbury Biennial Prize for theatre design. Recorded at the National Theatre. “It’s not about getting in an exhibitions designer; it’s about using the National’s staff and welcoming new talent into a theatre family.”Recording Date: 02-Oct-2009

626 INTERVIEW: TREVOR GRIFFITHS (1/2) The political playwright tells Aleks Sierz about his latest play, A New World (currently at Shakespeare’s Globe), which portrays the life and tumultuous times of the 18th-century radical Tom Paine. Recorded at Shakespeare’s Globe. “Paine’s Common Sense sold 150,000 copies – that’s a whack. But there was a formidable machine that was selling it.” Recording Date: 03-Oct-2009

627 INTERVIEW: TREVOR GRIFFITHS (2/2) The political playwright tells Aleks Sierz about the revival of his 1975 play, Comedians (currently at the Lyric, Hammersmith), which is about an evening class of working lads who are learning to be comics. Recorded at Shakespeare’s Globe. “When I first conceived of the play I didn’t reckon with the emergence of this strange, anarchic, graceful, witty, damaged person: Gethin Price!”Recording Date: 03-Oct-2009

628 INTERVIEW: JAMES ROOSE-EVANS (1/2) The director, writer and actor talks to Aleks Sierz about his memoirs, Opening Doors and Windows (History Press) and Finding Silence (a volume of meditations), with anecdotes about the founding of Hampstead Theatre, and the avant-garde of the 1950s and 1960s. Recorded at Chalk Farm Library, London. “Hampstead Theatre was founded on a vision of a theatre for local people, and created with passion and conviction.”Recording Date: 05-Oct-2009

629 INTERVIEW: JAMES ROOSE-EVANS (2/2) The director, writer and actor continues his reminiscences of his long career, with anecdotes about his greatest hit, 84 Charing Cross Road, Martha Graham, Kenneth Williams, the Bleddfa Centre, and his interest in psychotherapy and spirituality. Recorded at Chalk Farm Library, London. “Theatre directors, unless they happen to be Trevor Nunn, don’t make very much money, and there have been many occasions when I was broke.”Recording Date: 05-Oct-2009

630 INTERVIEW: RUPERT GOOLD (1/2) The director and chief of Headlong theatre company talks to Aleks Sierz about Lucy Prebble’s Enron (Royal Court), the mega-hit show about the collapse of the American energy giant, and about plans for its West End and Broadway transfers. Recorded at Headlong, London. “There’s nothing worse than a script being script-doctored to death, but with Enron we were more interested in stimulating feedback.”Recording Date: 09-Oct-2009

631 INTERVIEW: RUPERT GOOLD (2/2) The director and chief of Headlong theatre company talks to Aleks Sierz about his programme of shows for next year, which include new plays from Anthony Neilson and Mike Bartlett, plus new versions of Brecht and Swift. Recorded at Headlong, London. “I’ve really enjoyed collaborating with Ben Power – Faustus and Six Characters in Search of an Author are two of the things I’m proudest of.”Recording Date: 09-Oct-2009

632 WEST END REVIEW (1/2) Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) and guests Kate Bassett (Independent on Sunday), David Benedict (Variety) and Patrick Marmion (Daily Mail) discuss Enron (Royal Court), The Power of Yes (National), Punk Rock (Lyric, Hammersmith), Prick Up Your Ears (Comedy), Breakfast at Tiffany’s (Haymarket) and Speaking in Tongues (Duke of York’s). Recorded at Dewynters, London. “As PowerPoint presentations go, if this is the slur being put on it (The Power of Yes), this is one of the best I’ve seen. I felt that Hare had so much he wanted to say.”Recording Date: 09-Oct-2009

633 WEST END REVIEW (2/2) Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) and guests Kate Bassett (Independent on Sunday), David Benedict (Variety) and Patrick Marmion (Daily Mail) discuss Mother Courage and Her Children (National), An Inspector Calls (Novello), Judgment Day (Almeida), Inherit the Wind (Old Vic) and Lenny Henry’s Othello (Trafalgar Studios). Recorded at Dewynters, London. “The idea that if you do something in a Yorkshire accent it somehow makes it more valid and it will speak more strongly to people is unbelievably patronising.”Recording Date: 09-Oct-2009

634 INTERVIEW: SIR RICHARD EYRE (1/2) The director talks to journalist Al Senter about his new book, Talking Theatre (Nick Hern), made up of interviews with theatre-makers, gathered during the making of his Changing Stages BBC television series. Introduced by Jo Banham, Head of Adult Learning at the V&A. Recorded at the V&A. “Having thought that transcribing and editing interviews was money for old rope, it turned out that it was a lot of hard work, but very enjoyable.”Recording Date: 16-Oct-2009

635 INTERVIEW: SIR RICHARD EYRE (2/2) The director talks to journalist Al Senter about his book, Talking Theatre (Nick Hern), made up of interviews with significant theatre-makers, gathered during the making of his Changing Stages BBC television series. Recorded at the V&A. “I’ve always been interested in the strong division between the Brechtians and the Beckettians: both had a profound influence on theatre today.”Recording Date: 16-Oct-2009

636 INTERNATIONAL THEATRE Director Teunkie van der Sluijs tells Aleks Sierz about his production of Abdelkader Benali’s Yasser (Arcola), a monologue about a Palestinian actor who is performing Shakespeare’s Shylock. It is staged by Double Agent, an Anglo-Dutch theatre company. Recorded at the Arcola Theatre, London. “The real task was to translate a piece that was originally written in a very beautiful way, in a heightened stream-of-consciousness style.”Recording Date: 21-Oct-2009

637 INTERVIEW: DAVID TROUGHTON The actor chats to Philip Fisher about his starring role, opposite Kevin Spacey, in Trevor Nunn’s production of Jerome Lawrence and Robert E Lee’s courtroom drama, Inherit the Wind (Old Vic), which revisits the Scopes Monkey Trial of 1925, and about how acting runs in the blood. Recorded at the Old Vic, London. “My character is a larger-than-life figure who had attempted to become President three times, and this was his last attempt to galvanise the public.”Recording Date: 21-Oct-2009

638 INTERVIEW: THELMA RUBY The 84-year-old actress, current appearing in Stewart Permutt’s Many Roads to Paradise at the Jermyn Street Theatre, talks to the show’s director Anthony Biggs about a glorious career that has spanned seven decades. “Perhaps another exciting one was Orson Welles, because I played Mistress Quickly to his Falstaff in Chimes at Midnight. He disappeared for two weeks of the three weeks rehearsal…”Recording Date: 22-Oct-2009

639 ASIAN VOICES: KULVINDER GHIR The actor talks to Suman Bhuchar about his current role in Trevor Griffiths’s Comedians (Lyric, Hammersmith) and about his career in comedy, which culminated in BBC’s Goodness Gracious Me, as well as his other roles in Griffiths’s plays. Recorded at the Lyric, Hammersmith. “I was more of an impressionist than a teller of gags. I told a few jokes and did an impersonation of Elvis.”Recording Date: 23-Oct-2009

640 ASIAN VOICES: ATIHA SEN GUPTA The young playwright talks to Suman Bhuchar about What Fatima Did… (Hampstead), her debut play about a 17-year-old Muslim who decides to start wearing the hijab, raising issues of identity and freedom. Expletives not deleted. “I’m always interested in women, not just the hijabis, and how women dress – ideas of control, identity and freedom.”Recording Date: 29-Oct-2009

641 FOCUS ON DIGITAL THEATRE Producer Tom Shaw and director Robert Delamere tell Philip Fisher about Digital Theatre, a new venture to film and webcast live performance, in partnership with the Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Court, Young Vic, Almeida and English Touring Theatre, designed to bring theatre into the living room in High Definition. “What we tried to do with these creative partners was look for a variety of work so you’d go for a big cast play and then try and find a play with one person in it and then maybe a chamber piece and a comedy.”Recording Date: 30-Oct-2009

Recordings from November 2009

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 7

642 FEMINIST THEATRE SPECIAL (1/2) Susan Croft, archivist and co-founder with Jessica Higgs of the Unfinished Histories project, leads the panel discussion about Jane Arden’s legendary play, Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven, first staged at Jim Haynes’s Arts Lab in 1969. Speakers: original cast members Sheila Allen and Victor Spinetti, plus original director Jack Bond. Recording courtesy of the British Library. “It was amazing: visually it was stunning and it had this quality of people speaking for themselves.”Recording Date: 08-Nov-2009

643 FEMINIST THEATRE SPECIAL (2/2) Susan Croft, archivist and co-founder with Jessica Higgs of the Unfinished Histories project, continues the panel discussion about Jane Arden’s legendary play, Vagina Rex and the Gas Oven, first staged at Jim Haynes’s Arts Lab in 1969. Speakers: original cast members Sheila Allen and Victor Spinetti, plus original director Jack Bond. Recording courtesy of the British Library. “It was only six months before this that we got rid of the Lord Chamberlain and all that crap, who had prevented us discussing anything grown-up.”Recording Date: 08-Nov-2009

644 STOCKWELL SHOOTING (1/2) Playwrights Paul Unwin and Sarah Beck, authors of This Much Is True (Theatre 503), an imaginative verbatim account of the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station in 2005, talk to Aleks Sierz about the incident and its repercussions. “One of the amazing things that happened in the aftermath of the shooting is the role of chance in bringing people together in the campaign.”Recording Date: 11-Nov-2009

645 STOCKWELL SHOOTING (2/2) Playwrights Paul Unwin and Sarah Beck, authors of This Much Is True (Theatre 503), an imaginative verbatim account of the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes at Stockwell tube station in 2005, talk to Aleks Sierz about the incident and its repercussions. “We were consciously trying to move away from the very respectful earnestness of some verbatim theatre – we wanted a degree of playfulness.”Recording Date: 11-Nov-2009

646 INTERVIEW: MIKE BARTLETT The playwright talks frankly to Aleks Sierz about his new play, Cock (Royal Court). It stars Ben Whishaw, tackles sexual confusion and has been staged in an experimental production by James Macdonald. Recorded at the Royal Court. “We were talking in the bar last night about how few people we knew would label themselves bisexual, compared to gay or straight.”Recording Date: 20-Nov-2009

647 WEST END REVIEW (1/2) Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) and his guests David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph), and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) chew over Alan Bennett’s The Habit of Art (National), Mark Ravenhill’s Nation (National), Mike Bartlett’s Cock (Royal Court) and Michael Wynne’s The Priory (Royal Court). Recorded at Dewynters, London. “My vote went to Alex Jennings because the Britten role is quite seriously underwritten. Auden holds all the cards not least because he’s a wordsmith.”Recording Date: 27-Nov-2009

648 WEST END REVIEW (2/2) Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) and his guests David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph), and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) assess Life is a Dream (Donmar), Pains of Youth (National), Annie Get Your Gun (Young Vic), Mrs Klein (Almeida) and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (Vaudeville). Expletives not deleted. Recorded at Dewynters, London. “One of the great things in the theatre is the Clare Higgins curtain-call, because she’ll snap out of angst into this beaming presence.”Recording Date: 27-Nov-2009

Recordings from December 2009

Total Number of Recordings from this month: 6

649 INTERVIEW: MICHAEL WYNNE The playwright chats to Aleks Sierz about his latest comedy, The Priory (Royal Court), which depicts a group of old friends who gather to celebrate New Year’s Eve, and about one of his previous hits, The People Are Friendly (2002). Recorded at the Royal Court. “It’s about the thirtysomething generation who used to party a lot and who now see themselves as still being very young.”Recording Date: 09-Dec-2009

650 INTERVIEW: MICHAEL PUNTER The playwright talks to Aleks Sierz about his sensational ghost story, Darker Shores (Hampstead), a seasonal Victorian tale featuring spiritualism, seances and haunting, which raises questions about belief and about Darwinism. Recorded at Hampstead Theatre. “There are still 300 spiritualist churches in the UK – it was a bizarre movement sparked off by a pair of sisters in New York state.”Recording Date: 16-Dec-2009

651 FOCUS ON VIDEO Jill Evans, producer of the V&A’s National Video Archive of Performance, and Kate Dorney, curator of Modern and Contemporary Performance, tell Aleks Sierz about the V&A’s extensive collection of video recordings of theatre performances, and discuss the hazards as well as the joys of creating them. “Technology is changing all the time and getting better – as of yesterday, we’ve discovered a way of making excellent quality small-scale recordings.”Recording Date: 17-Dec-2009

652 WEST END REVIEW Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) and his guests David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph), and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) discuss the latest West End and off-West End openings: Red (Donmar Warehouse), The Misanthrope (Comedy Theatre), Rope (Almeida), Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Novello) and Sweet Charity (Menier Chocolate Factory). Recorded at the V&A. “We really haven’t had a theatrical event like this in London in quite a while – where the player is the thing and not the play.”Recording Date: 18-Dec-2009

653 REVIEW OF THE YEAR 2009 Mark Shenton (Sunday Express) and his guests David Benedict (Variety), Charles Spencer (Daily Telegraph), and Matt Wolf (International Herald Tribune) look back over the year in British theatre and select the highs and the lows, the sought-after golden geese and the wringable turkeys. Recorded at the V&A. Expletives not deleted. “Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem is a play out there on its own. It tackles present-day rural England, a subject more or less entirely forgotten by contemporary dramatists.”Recording Date: 24-Dec-2009

654 NEW YORK SPECIAL Scott Morfee, Artistic Director of Off-Broadway’s Barrow Street Theatre, talks to Philip Fisher about his latest long-running hit, Thornton Wilder’s Our Town, running a theatre during the recession and his Chicago connections, including Tracy Letts and David Cromer. “About 65 percent of our audience is actually from the metro New York area and so we don’t rely as heavily on tourists as Broadway does.”Recording Date: 31-Dec-2009

 

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