wed 17/10/2018

Theatre Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Actor Zach Braff

Jasper Rees

Zach Braff (b 1975) is overwhelmingly known as the star of Scrubs, the hugely popular American hospital comedy which came with a side order of surrealism. But fans of low-budget indie cinema will also cherish fond memories of Garden State, which he wrote, directed and starred in alongside Natalie Portman.

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The King's Speech: From Screen to Stage

David Seidler

George VI had been my hero since childhood because I was such a terrible stutterer. We had been evacuated from England to the US and during the war, particularly the latter stages, my parents would encourage me to listen to the King’s speeches on the wireless. “Listen, David,” they’d say, “he was a far worse stutterer than you, and listen to him now. He’s not perfect but he can give these magnificent stirring speeches that really work.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Barrie Rutter

Hilary Whitney

In 1992 Northern Broadsides, the Halifax-based theatre company founded by Barrie Rutter, staged its first production, Richard III. Rutter (b 1946), an established actor who had worked with some of the most distinguished names in theatre such as Jonathan Miller, Terry Hands, Peter Hall and Trevor Nunn, directed the show and also played the title role.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Actress Siân Phillips

Jasper Rees

Siân Phillips (b 1933) belongs to a remarkable generation of British actresses. They include Maggie Smith, Judi Dench, Eileen Atkins, Vanessa Redgrave, Joan Plowright and Sheila Hancock. Although just as indomitable a presence on stage and screen, Phillips is set apart from them not only by dint of her Welshness – Welsh was her mother language as a child – but also by the curious shape of her career.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Dramatist Lee Hall

Hilary Whitney

Like his most famous creation, Billy Elliot, Lee Hall left his native North East to pursue what turned out to be a glittering career in the arts. Although I can’t speak for the fictitious Billy, Hall has certainly never forgotten his working-class roots, which continue to inform and inspire his work.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Mike Leigh

Jasper Rees

There is somewhere called Leighland, where people may be ineffably sad or existentially cheerful, old or young, live in a high rise or a semi. But they are all recognisably inhabitants of the world famously conjured up over a long period of clandestine development in the now time-honoured fashion. Nothing and everything changes in the work of Mike Leigh (b 1943).

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Q&A Special: On Recreating South Pacific

Jasper Rees

It was early in 1949. South Pacific, the follow-up to Rodgers and Hammerstein’s huge wartime hit Carousel, had entered the try-out phase before hitting New York.

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Q&A Special: Magician Paul Kieve

Jasper Rees 'You are flying by the seat of your pants': Paul Kieve on stage illusion

Hollywood has turned the special effect into a birthright for a generation of movie-goers. “How did they do that?” is no longer a question you hear in the multiplex. In the theatre it’s another thing entirely. Whatever the reception for the show in its entirety, the musical version of The Lord of the Rings did contain one remarkable illusion in which Bilbo Baggins vanished before the audience’s eyes. Even...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Director Emma Rice

Hilary Whitney

Based in a collection of barns on a cliff top near Mevagissey on the south Cornish coast, Kneehigh theatre company has always looked defiantly away from London and out towards the sea and the wider world. This streak of independence runs right through the heart of the company, which produces extraordinarily inventive, highly visual and sometimes surreal work that has been seen all over the world, from Australia to Colombia to Broadway and, yes, the West End.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Writer/Director David Leland

Hilary Whitney David Leland: 'There was a lot of me in Trevor. I was getting rid of a lot of anger in my system about what I went through in terms of education - or lack of it'

David Leland (b 1947) has worked extensively both sides of the Atlantic but he is best known, both as a writer and a director, for his shrewd observations of ordinary people struggling against the constraints and hypocrisy of the accepted social mores of English life in films such as Mona Lisa (1986), Personal Services (1987) and Wish You Were Here (1987). However, it was Made in Britain (1982), a television play written by Leland for Channel 4 and...

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