fri 20/07/2018

First Person

Charlotte Jones: ‘Plays come from your scar tissue’

I think it’s always a dangerous sport to try and consciously unravel where your ideas come from. Lest you break the spell and inadvertently silence yourself…There’s always the superficial reasons, of course: the geography and the history of a play....

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Michael Chance on continuing opera in Hampshire: 'good people like to work with good people'

Out of the blue comes a phone call. A freelance career is based on those to a certain extent. Certainly mine has been. But this one was a bit different. “Would you come and talk to us about the way forward?”. I soon learnt that what this actually...

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Helaine Blumenfeld: Britain’s most successful sculptor you’ve never heard of

Sexy is an overused word in the arts but it’s an adjective you can’t help applying to some of Helaine Blumenfeld’s voluptuous marble sculptures as you run your fingers over their surfaces. These abstract bodily forms, often in the purest icing-white...

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'There's a poetry in painting that gives endless possibilities'

It was always my dream to be an artist but I never expected to be a curator. Graduates considering vocations in critical and curatorial practice went to the Royal College of Art or studied art history at university. Not me: I trained at Chelsea...

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Antony Sher: Year of the Mad King - extract

In 1982 Antony Sher played the Fool to Michael Gambon’s King in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of King Lear. Shortly after, he came back to Stratford to play Richard III, for which he won the Olivierand Evening Standard Awards for Best...

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'In order to write my book I had to kill Jane Austen'

My heroine would not have appeared in a Jane Austen novel. Brilliant, arch and incisive though Austen was – as deft in dissecting the economics of romance as in laying bare the lies told by the human heart – for better or worse, she still sent all...

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Rhidian Brook on The Killing of Butterfly Joe

When I was 23 I had a job selling butterflies in glass cases in America. I worked for a guy who, as well as being a butterfly salesman, had ambitions to be America’s first Pope (an ambition he ditched on account of him wanting to marry). I drove all...

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'The greatest play ever written': translating The Cherry Orchard

“The Cherry Orchard is the greatest play ever written,” I declared, confidently, aged 16, to my mother, having just read The Cherry Orchard for the first time. She responded to my claim with a non-committal snort – remembering, perhaps, the...

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'These star-crossed lovers are so young': adapting Brighton Rock

I never have the idea of adapting anything at all myself. The suggestions always come from directors or theatre companies. Someone calls me to say, Would I be interested in adapting this book… and I say… "Let me read it and get back to you”, then I...

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Having a Verdi ball: conductor Richard Farnes on Opera North's upcoming production

Commentators have, over the years, variously described Un ballo in maschera (A Masked Ball) as all things to all people: Verdi’s Tristan und Isolde, Verdi’s masterpiece, Verdi’s Don Giovanni, a pure love poem, and much more. It seems to me to be one...

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David Edgar: 'Ebenezer Scrooge is alive and well'

Since mid-August, I’ve been doing something I swore I’d never do again. I’ve been rehearsing a new adaptation of a novel by Charles Dickens. Sometime in the autumn of 1979, I received a phone call from Trevor Nunn, artistic director of the Royal...

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Radically different: Horn player Anneke Scott on The Prince Regent's Band

The Prince Regent’s Band was formed in 2013 and, like very many chamber ensembles, was created when a group of us found that we shared a number of interests in common. The musicians that make up the ensemble are all specialist historic brass players...

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