fri 22/06/2018

Theatre Features

An Open Book: David Lan

Marianka Swain

This year’s Olivier Awards saw the Young Vic trounce its South Bank neighbours, with Ivo van Hove’s revolutionary A View from the Bridge leading 11 nominations and four wins; the production opens on Broadway next week. It reflects an extraordinary period during which the theatre, originally an offshoot of the National, has grown to become one of Britain’s major creative powerhouses – all under the aegis of South African-born David Lan, artistic director since 2000.

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The restoration of Nell Gwynn

Jessica Swale

I never thought I’d be a writer. Writers are people with something to say, big ideas, agendas. I was a director, through and through. I love working with actors, playing with music and text, thinking in three dimensions. The solitary confinement of a writer’s life filled me with dread.

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First Person: Playing Jane

Madeleine Worrall

I am writing this in the sun after many days on the trot spent from morning until 11 at night in Jane Eyre’s wonderful new home at the National Theatre. During previews we work every day, refining, changing, have a quick dinner break and then perform a preview performance. It’s the culmination of over two years of living with this story, since Sally Cookson first contacted me in late spring 2013 to discuss her plan to turn this extraordinary book into a piece of theatre.

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First Person: Dear Lupin

Michael Simkins

When I got the call enquiring whether I’d like to adapt The Sunday Times Humour Book of the Year Dear Lupin for the stage, the first thing I did was to thank my lucky stars. Dear Lupin: Letters to a Wayward Son is a collection of real letters, written over 40 years, by racing correspondent Roger Mortimer to his wayward son Charlie (christened “Lupin” after Mr Pooter’s disreputable son in Diary of a Nobody).

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Extract: The Time Traveller’s Guide to British Theatre

Aleks Sierz And

Theatre is one of the glories of British culture, a melting pot of creativity and innovation. Beginning with the coronation of Elizabeth I and ending with the televised crowning of the current Queen Elizabeth, our The Time Traveller’s Guide to British Theatre tells the compelling story of the movers and shakers, the buildings, the playwrights, the plays and the audiences that make British theatre what it is today.

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Positive: Introducing a comedy about HIV/AIDS

theartsdesk

Of all the art forms, theatre has been most attentive to the story of HIV/AIDS. Leading the way in America there was Larry Kramer’s The Normal Heart (1985) and Tony Kushner’s Angels in America (1991). In the UK the most resonant exploration of the virus’s devastating impact was Kevin Elyot’s My Night with Reg (1994).

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Keeping up with the Joneses

Jasper Rees

Gruff Rhys has called it the Great Welsh Media Gang-Bang. This year everyone who is anyone (who can get funding) has hopped on a plane for Argentina to follow in the footsteps of the 150 Welsh men, women and children who emigrated to Patagonia 150 years ago – broadcasters, musicians, politicians, journalists, comedians.

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Arise, Sir Van, Sir Lenny and Sir Kevin. Dame who?

Jasper Rees

If the honours system is used to award deserving individuals, its other job is to provide an aspirational marker for the country as a whole. This, it tells us twice a year, is who we want to be: inclusive, non-sexist, colour-blind. From the look of the awards dished out in the arts for the Queen’s birthday honours list, in the summer of 2015 it looks very much as if we want to be a society which favours male privilege. Don’t hold the front page.

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'You must accept that muscle is machinery'

theartsdesk

Basketball doesn’t often stray onto the arts pages. Cinema pays the occasional visit. White Men Can’t Jump starred Wesley Snipes and Woody Harrelson as a pair of slamdunking hustlers. Hoop Dreams followed two inner-city college kids in Chicago as they tried to turn pro. The hero of Almodovar’s Live Flesh was a wheelchair-bound basketball player embodied by Javier Bardem. But what about theatre?

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First Person: Learning the lessons

Jonathan Lewis

A Level Playing Field is the first play in my trilogy Education Education Education. The trilogy is my response to the black cloud of exams which has arrived in our household every spring for the last nine years – just as the sun was beginning to shine.

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