fri 28/07/2017

First Person

'You win in the end!' Deborah Bruce introduces her play 'The House They Grew Up In'

My inspiration for The House They Grew Up In, my new play at Chichester Festival Theatre came about five years ago, in the café of an art gallery near my house. This café had a slightly intimidating air, full of its own importance, as if the art in...

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'Oh, the glamour!' - Roderick Williams weighs up a singer's life

“So, what do you do for a living?” You might think this question, the mainstay of any polite conversation with a new acquaintance, would be just the moment any opera singer would relish. Here is the chance to declare who we are, what we do, and to...

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Matthew Dunster on adapting 'A Tale of Two Cities'

When you are adapting a novel like A Tale of Two Cities, it's a privilege to sit with a great piece of writing for a considerable amount of time. You also feel secure (and a bit cheeky) in the knowledge that another writer has already done most of...

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Eureka: novelist Anthony Quinn on completing his acclaimed trilogy

I am intrigued by those writers who plan their novels with the bristling rigour of a military strategist, drilling their characters like counters on a model battlefield. And impressed that they seem in absolute control of the direction their story...

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'The challenge is to make something of not very much': Iestyn Davies on Britten's Oberon

Tomorrow Britten’s opera A Midsummer Night’s Dream will begin a short run at the Snape Maltings, Suffolk in a new production directed by Netia Jones and conducted by Ryan Wigglesworth. It will mark the high point of the Aldeburgh Festival’s summer...

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A Time to Live: 'I did not want to reveal at the end who was alive or dead'

Do you ever wonder what you’d do if you were given a terminal diagnosis and told you may only have months to live? That question is what my latest film is all about. It may sound maudlin and sad but I can assure you it isn’t. And the reason for that...

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'It was probably the most effective act of resistance in the history of the Third Reich'

“I’ve got a terrible confession to make”, I said to my long-suffering partner who had been away for the weekend with our young daughter. “Oh yes,” I could see her thinking, “what have you done now?” “Well, I’ve written a play about the Nazi...

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'What did you do?' Actors reveal their Shakespearean secrets

Much of the brilliance of Shakespeare lies in the openness, or ambiguity, of his texts. Whereas a novelist will often describe a character, an action or a scene in the most minute detail, Shakespeare knew that his scenarios would only be fully...

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Fracked! Alistair Beaton on his anti-fracking satire

If you’d asked me five years ago whether I might one day write a comedy about fracking, I’d have wondered whether you were entirely in possession of your faculties. Not because fracking sounds dull and boring (although let’s be honest, it does), but...

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There's more to Karen Blixen than Meryl Streep

Karen Blixen (1885-1962), the prolific Danish storyteller, is perhaps most immediately recognised for the portrayal of her and her works on the big screen, above all by Meryl Streep in Out of Africa. But her own story, and her place in the literary...

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'Backstabbing, betrayal and love': Ryan Craig on Filthy Business

The monster has come alive and there’s nothing I can do to stop it. Thirteen actors playing three generations of a very explosive family arrive in full period costume. Towering Dexion shelving units, heaving with foam and cushions and fabrics and...

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Refugees and referendums: Ramin Gray on staging Aeschylus's The Suppliant Women

I’m sitting in a rehearsal room in Manchester preparing an Actors Touring Company’s new version of Aeschylus’ The Suppliant Women, listening to a group of young women raise their voices in praise of “untameable Artemis”. She’s the goddess of...

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