sat 23/03/2019

Theatre Interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Playwright Simon Stephens

Jasper Rees

Simon Stephens (b 1971) is the most prolific British playwright of his generation. Born and brought up in Stockport, he began writing as a student in York University and had produced seven plays before his Bluebird was produced at the Royal Court in 1998.

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theartsdesk Q&A: Playwright Martin Crimp

aleks Sierz

Playwright Martin Crimp is one of British theatre’s best-kept secrets. Although his neon-lit name appears in the theatre capitals of Europe, with his work a big hit at festivals all over the continent, here he is better known to students - who love his 1997 masterpiece Attempts on Her Life - than to ordinary theatregoers.

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Interview: Director Peter Gill

Dylan Moore

There is a simple explanation to why Cardiff-born Peter Gill has never directed in his home city, despite the fact that many of his own plays are set in the Catholic, working-class Cardiff of his youth. “I’d never been asked,” states Gill matter-of-factly; “it’s just a trade; it’s not a magical world. You have to ask me to do things.”

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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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