fri 01/07/2016

Features & Interviews

Brian Friel, the private playwright of Ballybeg

Jasper Rees

Brian Friel, who died in the autumn of 2015 at the age of 86, was a shy man who shunned interviews, keeping his powder dry for the work and shrouding his personal life in mystique. Not that he never opened his mouth at all. When Dancing at Lughnasa (1990) was winning Tony Awards in New York, he got into trouble for saying that a good stage manager is preferable to a director who disobeys the script. One or two American directors may have smirked when in 1993 Wonderful Tennessee closed on...

Opinion: Post-Brexit, we need theatre more than ever

Marianka Swain

In seeking to understand the historic, divisive and to some bewildering Brexit vote, I will turn to theatre. Through my regular exposure to it, I can number among my ever-widening acquaintance a young king, a whistleblower, a minimum-wage movie usher, a recovering alcoholic, a passionate teacher, a grieving parent, a struggling miner, an evangelical preacher, an underpaid social worker, a dementia sufferer, and a pair of star-crossed lovers.Theatre is empathy incarnate. It is one of the...

theartsdesk in Reykjavík: Nocturnes for Midsummer

David Nice

After a grey start, there was a spectacular sunset around midnight on the second of my two days in Reykjavik. It's what brings one of Iceland's most...

First Person: Boys Will Be Boys

Melissa Bubnic

In the opening scene of Boys Will Be Boys, the lead character, Astrid, talks about how there’s a boys’ world and a girls’ world. Boys’ world is where...

theartsdesk at the Edinburgh International Film...

David Kettle

Even without any particular pomp or focus for celebration, the 70th Edinburgh International Film Festival has felt like a particularly strong and...

Edinburgh celebrates British films

Demetrios Matheou

Timothy Spall is amongst a host of talent lining up in two very different British films

The Mighty Walzer: ping-pong in the round

Simon Bent

Howard Jacobson's much-loved novel is coming to the stage. Simon Bent explains how he adapted it

theartsdesk at the Holland Festival

James Woodall

Dutchness, audio-jungle, dirty minds and Dunsinane at one of Europe's premier arts festivals

The Edinburgh International Film Festival tees off with golfing drama

Demetrios Matheou

Film festival celebrates its 70th anniversary and Trainspotting's 20th

Alberto Remedios: 'his natural instrument obeyed his inner thoughts with ease'

Linda Esther Gray

A great Isolde remembers a great Tristan, who has died aged 81

A salute to Dave Swarbrick's singing

Graham Fuller

The legendary Fairport Convention fiddler also had a voice to reckon with

theartsdesk at the Istanbul Music Festival: classics alla Turca

David Nice

A top Turkish orchestra and a legendary native pianist do their great city proud

First Light: the story of the Tommies shot at dawn

Mark Hayhurst

Mark Hayhurst introduces his play about the shell-shocked British soldiers executed in the Great War

Seasick Steve – A Myth Unravels

Matthew Wright

The author of the hobo-bluesman's new biography scrapes his chin from the floor

Dream On: Surprises in the Athenian Wood

Simon Evans

There are Dreams aplenty in Shakespeare's anniversary year. Southwark Playhouse will go for different, says director Simon Evans

theartsdesk in Prague: Czech Spring with Smetana and Martinů

David Nice

The native greats illuminated in their homeland's glorious capital

The wisdom and wit of Carla Lane

Jasper Rees

The creator of 'The Liver Birds', 'Bread' and 'Butterflies' recalled in her own words

Is Wales really the land of song?

Professor Gareth Williams

As Festival of Voice opens in Cardiff with Bryn Terfel, Charlotte Church and John Cale, a historian explains Wales's choral roots

theartsdesk in Warsaw: Moniuszko Vocal Competition 2016

Gavin Dixon

Rising stars of opera shine at major Polish-based international event

Alistair Beaton: 'If you’re bored, it’ll be my fault'

Alistair Beaton

The author of 'The Accidental Leader', one of five short plays at the Arts Theatre, admits his difficulty in distinguishing between comedy and tragedy

Antonia Bird: 'I get lumped together with Ken Loach'

Jasper Rees

The uncompromising director to whom a new feature-length documentary pays tribute

theartsdesk in Göttingen: HandelFest 2016

David Nice

Two big concert successes atone for one frigid staging in German Arcadia

First Person: Tackling FGM

Charlene James

In 'Cuttin' It' the Young Vic confronts female genital mutilation. Playwright Charlene James explains her approach

'We played to the Queen of Denmark. We did a turn for Barack Obama'

Matthew Romain

After two years with the Globe's 'Hamlet' world tour, a company member attempts to sum up an experience like no other

theartsdesk at Tectonics Glasgow 2016

David Kettle

Hits and misses amid the weekend's genre-colliding exuberance

First Person: 'I am one of only three percent'

Susanna White

Female film directors are an industry minority. With her second film out this week, Susanna White argues it's time for a change

2016 Parliamentary Jazz Awards

Peter Quinn

Freesheets to free jazz celebrated at the House of Commons

Who was St Clair Bayfield?

Jasper Rees

Florence Foster Jenkins's biographer tells the true story of her common-law husband, played by Hugh Grant in Stephen Frears's new film

Daniel Kramer for ENO Artistic Director: cause for cautious optimism?

David Nice

Can the new incumbent hold out against the company's impoverishment?

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