So it isn’t press night – because you were at another show then. You arrive at the box office and say politely: “Hello. My name’s Susan Elkin. There should be a press comp for me for this performance. And a programme, I hope, because I’m reviewing it for Magazine X or Y?”
Susan Elkin chats to Justin Cooke, CEO of Digital Theatre. Digital Theatre offers access to films of live theatre, ballet, opera and classical concerts to individual subscribers and educational institutions.
I stand by everything I write in any review and will not make changes just because someone’s feelings may be a bit bruised. In fact I’m not prepared even to discuss it. We’re all grown up. If you invite a critic then criticism is what you’ll get. Accept it with grace.
The RSC provide resources, support, workshops and more to help children to start Shakespeare earlier, do it on their feet and see it live as set out in the RSC’s 2006 Manifesto, Stand Up For Shakespeare.
In a vibrant, growing but overcrowded industry, which is also swamped with good young people desperate to be part of it, the ability to create work independently has never mattered more.
Last Thursday [while much of the UK was still on holiday], I attended the press conference at which Michelle Terry revealed her first season at The Globe. And the dynamics in the room were fascinating.
Children – for the most part, don’t find filth and innuendo funny even if they understand it. Actually, neither do I if it’s there simply because it’s smutty. A joke has to be really clever to work for me and clichéd sex/lavatorial gags rarely are. Filth for its own sake is a turn-off.
If you’re looking for a present, bound to make your beloved theatre person giggle all Christmas morning, then West End Producer’s shiny new book is the obvious 2017 choice.
The world’s largest Shakespeare Festival ends this week after 292 performance nights in theatres all over the country. I refer, of course, to Shakespeare Schools Foundation which, every year gets 30,000 or so school students on their feet performing Shakespeare.
I have followed the success of Fourth Monkey Training Company, which launched in 2010, almost since before it was a twinkle in Steve Green’s eye.
Best of all though, are the articles. This time there’s a new one by Bruce Wall (wonderful man who changes lives every day) about his pioneering work in prisons and one by Anthony Holmes on creating good showreels – among others.
“Pray you, undo this button: thank you Sir” is probably not the most memorable line in the play although it’s a neat example of Shakespeare tucking his stage directions into the script as usual. Lear is at the very end of his life and physically weak. So he asks Kent and Edgar for a tiny bit of practical assistance.
Few bits of theatre news have delighted me more this year than hearing that Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury, has taken possession of the Poor Priests Hospital in Stour Street – a large, iconic history-filled 14th century (in parts) building which until recently housed the rather lacklustre Canterbury Heritage Museum.
Things and times change and there are plenty of newer schools doing things differently but worth considering even though they don’t yet qualify for funding so students have to be self-financing.
The problem is that there’s a very fine line between enthusiastic engagement and disruptive behaviour. And if one person’s enjoyment of a show spoils someone else’s by, for instance, making so much noise that neighbouring audience members can’t hear the actors, then that’s not on.
A Day by the Sea is beautifully written, nicely observed, often witty and very compelling in the hands of director, Tricia Thorns and her cast.
It’s time to sing the praises of Theatre Centre – the new writing company specialising in young audience work, based in Shoreditch Town Hall.
Last week I attended an event at Royal Opera House. In effect, it was a press briefing to introduce the new season and raise awareness of the range of ROH’s other work. So I was mildly amused that there was a lounge suit dress code.
In his 1903 play Man and Superman, George Bernard Shaw famously observed that ‘He, who can, does. He, who cannot, teaches’. And it still hits the nail on the head.
If you really want to perform, or become a theatre technician, then you almost certainly need the hands-on approach of a drama school with at least 30 hours tuition a week, people with proper industry experience to teach you, lots of opportunities to perform and all the rest of it. It must be practical if it’s to be vocational.