Women’s Prize for Playwriting opens April 7th!

Budding women playwrights resident in the UK and Ireland will be cheered to know that the Women’s Prize for Playwriting opens for submissions on April 7th.

The award, the first of its kind, has celebrated and supported much female talent, and last year announced joint winners. One of the two 2020 winners, Amy Trigg’s REASONS WHY YOU SHOULDNT LOVE ME has been chosen to be the play which reopens the Kiln Theatre in Kilburn, in May.

To find out more information, visit their website here


PRELUDES to be livestreamed from Southwark Playhouse

One of the top ten best shows of 2019, Dave Malloy’s mesmerising PRELUDES returns to the Southwark Playhouse for a short run of streamed concert performances in May.

The story deals with legendary composer Rachmaninoff and his struggle with writers block which lead to him being treated by a hypnotherapist in the late nineteenth century.

Nominated for two Stage Debut Awards 2020 for actor Tom Noyes and director Alex Sutton, PRELUDES is an elegantly, intriguingly constructed work which grips the viewer as few other shows have done. Its often sublime musicality makes its a must-see show. The superb 2019 cast have been reassembled which will ensure the incredibly high quality of this streamed production.

You can read my four star review of PRELUDES here

Read what a clinical hypnotherapist thought of PRELUDES here

Book for PRELUDES here


Watch Donmar’s ASSEMBLY online for a limited period

After its live debut on Saturday 20th March, the Donmar’s ASSEMBLY is now available online for a while through their YouTube channel.

Imagine the future. However you choose to imagine it. Now imagine it in your hands.
What does community mean in a time of division and separation?
Mixing live performance, animation and sound, ASSEMBLY looks at the impact of humans on nature and what we might build together for a better future. It’s about trying, failing, and trying again. In times of emergency, it is about hope.

Created by writer Nina Segal (In the Nighttime (Before the Sun Rises), Gate), director Joseph Hancock ((This Isn’t) A True Story, Almeida Young Company) and the Donmar Local Company, ASSEMBLY is a live digital performance created in collaboration with video designer and director of photography Andrzej Goulding (Teenage Dick, Donmar), set and costume designer Frankie Bradshaw (Sweat, Donmar and West End), composer and sound designer Max Pappenheim (The Way of the World, Donmar) and lighting designer Sam House (#HashtagLightie, Arcola). This is the first production from the Donmar Local Company – members of the community who live and work in the Donmar’s home boroughs of Camden and Westminster.

The running time is approximately one hour.
An audio introduction is available to listen to or download from the VocalEyes website and a captioned version will also be available.
ASSEMBLY is presented in line with all current Government guidelines.

The Domnar says: “Although this production is free to watch, if you are able to, please consider how you can support us at this time to ensure we can reopen in the best possible shape when it’s safe do so, while continuing to safeguard our staff and artists, and share our art form digitally in the meantime.

You can make a donation online or over the phone by calling us on +44 (0)20 7845 5815, join as a Friend, or text using the details below. You can also donate via YouTube giving when you watch the production.

Text DONMAR 5 to 70470 to donate £5
Text DONMAR 10 to 70470 to donate £10
Text DONMAR 20 to 70470 to donate £20

UK networks only. Texts cost your donation amount plus one standard rate message.”

Watch ASSEMBLY here.


Take a look inside the V&A’s Theatre and Performance archive which is under threat

Since the appalling decision to greatly reduce access to the V&A’s Theatre and Performance collection and fire two-thirds of the specialist staff and curators, there has been a justifiable outcry from academic institutions and the general public.

While this is to be expected, many of this blog’s readers have contacted me to ask about the archive as they have never personally visited it themselves, and so find it hard to fully appreciate what treasure lies within its parameters.

And so now you can go inside the collection, thanks to a short film called ENCOUNTERS IN THE ARCHIVE which takes you inside the collection, to look at some of the costumes, with expert curators discussing the works and their significance.

The film lasts 17 minutes. ENCOUNTERS IN THE ARCHIVE was conceived and produced by Donatella Barbieri and filmed and edited by filmmaker Netia Jones.

I am confident that after just a few minutes of this fascinating viewing, you’ll want to ask all your friends and colleagues to sign the petition to save the collection from being locked away from public sight potentially forever.

Watch ENCOUNTERS IN THE ARCHIVE here

Please sign the petition to save the V&A collection and its staff here


LATE ADDITION – Lord Smith has tabled a question in the House of Lords, which you can find here . While useful for drawing attention to this attempted cultural vandalism, if you share my wary opinion of our corrupt parliamentary system you may well agree with me that this has very little real value.


UPDATE

Statement upon the proposed restructuring & job losses at the V&A Theatre & Performance Department. 30 March

Statement

The V&A internal consultation process with its staff is concluding at the end of March.  To my knowledge there has been no consultation with the industry or related bodies in the SIBMAS community. This is very disappointing for a museum with the reputation of the V&A, who say they value their performing arts collections, which are internationally so important.
 
SIBMAS continues to have concerns about what is going on as suddenly the Theatre & Performance Department, which are part of a distinct unit/department are now tied into the National Art Library review, when there is no obvious connection between National Art Library and Theatre & Performance Department.  Indeed, National Art Library does not collect performing arts library materials. It is the Theatre & Performance team of experts that cover it within their remit in a different location & departmental structure. This is evident through V&A annual reports and museum’s collection policy. SIBMAS finds this confusing, and we ask for clarification, over potential jobs losses or furloughing of Theatre & Performance staff.  We continue to ask for the V&A to have a consultation with SIBMAS & the industry it serves. In such a consultation we would emphasize once again that the V&A should make sure the Theatre & Performance Department is saved as an actual specialist entity within its restructuring.
 
The V&A management and Board of Trustees have been appointed well after the Theatre Museum closure in 2007 to save money.  They may not be aware of the great uproar at that time. It was seen then that the Theatre Museum closure was the sacrificial cow to save the V&A money. Theatre & Performance should not take disproportionate cuts in any reorganisation.  I believe that they have forgotten that performing arts collections needs a different approach to the decorative arts and crafts, to keep their unique character, as recognised by UNESCO.

Alan R. Jones ( President of SIBMAS )


Catch the Finborough Theatre’s new show available free for one week only

The winner of the 2020 ETPEP Award, PLAYFIGHT by Julia Grogan, will be available to watch on the Finborough Theatre’s YouTube channel from April 1-8.

Kiera, Zainab and Lucy are smart, outrageous and savvy. They’ve figured out that there are some things school sex ed lessons don’t cover. Now, as they grow from girls into women, they’re going to find the answers…

Directed by acclaimed director Blanche McIntyre, the show will stream FOR FREE from April 1-8.

A subtitled version is available from Scenesaver website.

Although this production is free to watch, if you are able to, please strongly consider making a donation to Finborough Theatre to enable it to reopen after this crisis has passed.

Watch PLAYFIGHT via The Finborough’s YouTube channel here

Just a reminder that the 2021 ETPEP competition is still open, so if you’re an aspiring UK-based playwright who works in theatre, submit your play to the ETPEP Award by Friday, 30 April for the chance to win £6000, a development relationship with and a staged reading of your play at the Finborough Theatre.

Find more details about the ETPEP Award here