We think that The Merchant of Venice was written between 1596 and 1599 – in the twilight years of Elizabeth’s reign. It was printed in 1600 and so had, one assumes, already been performed by then.
Locking down & taking a break from theatre blogging
So what am I doing instead? Trying to write a play. An act of faith? Maybe. You’ll hear more about it if it works. I also have a book project or two in mind which may or may not firm up.
More apprenticeships please
If more resources are not put into more apprenticeships, it will be a great pity for both for the creative industries & the many young people who simply don’t get the opportunity to make the best of their talents.
Reviewing Proms & other theatre
I have been attending classical music concerts since my early teens. And as this year’s Proms season ends I’m struck that I’ve been here, as it were, for a very long time. The Royal Albert Hall feels almost as familiar as my own sitting room.
Do we really need quotas to achieve casting inclusivity?
The point – and it’s a major one – is that the actor, irrespective of all other considerations, must be the best possible interpreter of the role for the work in question.
Lots of writing careers in theatre
Why aren’t we telling young people about the writing and writing-related careers which drive our industry?
‘You have the information. Just get on with it’: Play writing books
I am gradually amassing quite a pile of books about writing plays. Collecting and reading them is probably a displacement/procrastination activity. One of these days I really am (or so I keep telling myself) going to write a play. Just don’t ask me when.
Work on your weaknesses to become that complete package
My advice to the next generation of men and women applying for colleges is perhaps avoid the college that excels in your strength.
‘We’re relaxed but not that relaxed’: Hearing the show
So by all means let’s go on running relaxed performances for people who need them but at the same time we shouldn’t lose sight of the need to promote co-operative, compliant, appropriate behaviour from most audience members at most performances, please.
Honoured to watch the build up of careers
One of the greatest pleasures of being an education journalist with a foot in the performing arts camp is meeting young actors at the start of their careers and then watching them develop.
‘Cheerful, unpatronising kindness’: Disability access in a brave new world
I’ve always known that theatres are nice places and that most theatre people are wonderful but I’m currently seeing that confirmed in a completely new way.
When the programme is also the playtext
As a theatre critic/interested person, I really like it when the theatre programme I’m issued with is also the text of the new play I’m seeing.
Suspension of the Guildford Two
Guildford School of Acting has just axed (“not recruiting for 2019/20”) two courses: BA Hons Theatre and Performance and BA Hons Dance. Many students and alumni who think highly of these courses have expressed dismay.
‘Can you have too much of a good thing?’: Sex, plays and casting
Anything which makes me think about these plays in a new way is a bonus. I also want actors – irrespective of their sex – to have maximum opportunities.
Make student loans more inclusive
Why can’t independent training providers, who can show that they deliver the goods, be registered as bona fide organisations whose students are entitled to student loans?
‘It’s probably a case of nothing ventured nothing gained’: How about Susan Elkin as playwright?
For a start you need dramatic talent, flair and an ear for dialogue as well as ideas and a good vocabulary to write a play. And I’m still not sure. But, as always it’s probably a case of nothing ventured nothing gained. Perhaps later this year…
The diversity of diversity
Making theatre as diverse as possible is, I think, a work in progress. And progress is the operative word. I’m not advocating complacency. Of course there’s still much to be done but don’t let’s belittle the enormous amount which has already happened.
No queue: The loos at Above the Stag are a thing of a beauty
Above The Stag – which began as a pub theatre – is now housed in a new purpose-built venue in a railway arch. It moved into its new home last year. And when I got to the intelligent loos I was both amazed and delighted.
Audition fees: it’s scandalous discrimination
Drama school audition fees are a scandal. They are immoral and unfair. Drama aspirants should not be punished for their passion.
Open air theatre: mad but delightful
The open air season will soon be upon us. “If winter comes, can spring be far behind? as Shelley puts it. And no one does open air theatre with more hopeful enthusiasm than the lovably daft British.