Nicola Walker in discussion from the National Theatre- for free* (*donations welcome – if you can afford to)

Nicola Walker, photo courtesy National Theatre website

On Monday 23rd May at 4.00pm you can hear actors Nicola Walker and Iwan Davies reflect on the rewards and challenges of performing in Emlyn Williams’ THE CORN IS GREEN, currently at the National Theatre, in a 60-minute discussion chaired by Fiona Mountford. 

If you wish to attend in person you can book here . Tickets are £10/£5 concessions.

However, there is also the option to join the discussion online for free.

You can book your free online ticket here

And if you miss the live talk, or can’t make it at that time, you can catch up using the same link you will receive when you register online for the talk.

The National says “We have made the live-stream of this NT talk free so it can be enjoyed by as many people as possible. If you can, please make a donation to keep our events open and accessible to all. Together we can shape a bright, creative future.
To donate, please visit https://tickets.nationaltheatre.org.uk/donate/q/talks-and-events
or text:
EVENT 3 to 70580 to donate £3
EVENT 5 to 70580 to donate £5
EVENT 10 to 70580 to donate £10
Texts cost your donation amount plus one standard rate message. UK networks only.”

THE CORN IS GREEN by Emlyn Williams runs at the National Theatre until 11 June 2022. For more information visit https://www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/shows/the-corn-is-green


Bush’s five-star RED PITCH streams globally in May

From 9 to 14 May, the Bush Theatre’s critically-acclaimed story of football, brotherhood and gentrification returns, filmed live at the Bush Theatre and available to stream to your living room.

Watch the trailer here

The way they’re changing endz is nuts.’

Red Pitch. South London. Three lifelong friends Omz, Bilal and Joey are playing football. Like they always have. Living out dreams of football stardom. Beyond their football pitch, local shops are closing, old flats are being demolished as new flats shoot up, some residents struggle to stay while others rush to leave. When a small football pitch has been a home from home, a place where you’ve laughed, fought and forged friendships, what happens when it’s under threat?

★★★★★ “Remarkable. A next-level coming-of-age story.” The Stage

Tyrell Williams’ play tells a powerful story about gentrification versus regeneration and the impact of this relentless change upon London’s communities.

Kedar Williams-Stirling (Sex Education), Emeka Sesay (Top Boy) and Francis Lovehall (Small Axe), star in director Daniel Bailey’s production.

You can book tickets from £10. Shows start at 7.45pm evenings (9-14) and 2.45pm for matinee on Sat 14. Shows on 11 (eve) and 14 (mat) are Audio Described.

Please note that the show is streaming worldwide, so you can watch it from anywhere, just check the start time in your time zone. The performances will begin promptly at 2:45pm or 7:45pm. During the broadcast, the show cannot be paused, but after the performance has finished, the film will be available to you to watch on demand for 48 hours from the date and time selected.

For more information, and to book, please click here


Time Travel Theatre Talk: Studs Terkel talks with Lorraine Hansberry

Here’s another in my series of happy discoveries whilst browsing around the endless charity shop that is the internet.

Louis “Studs” Terkel (1912-2008) was a broadcasting institution – author-radio host-actor-activist and Chicago icon.

In his 45 years on radio station WFMT, Terkel interviewed the most interesting people of the 20th century, in his own frank, direct, authentic style.

While rummaging in the wonderful archive of his 2000-plus recordings recently, I came across this interview with notable writer Lorraine Hansberry, the creator of the ground-breaking play A RAISIN IN THE SUN.

A RAISIN IN THE SUN, which highlights the lives of Black Americans living under racial segregation in Chicago, opened on March 11, 1959 (after touring), becoming the first play by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway. The play ran a total of 530 performances on Broadway. The 29-year-old author became the youngest American playwright (and only the fifth woman) to receive the New York Drama Critics Circle Award for Best Play. The play was also nominated for the Tony Award for Best Play, among the four Tony Awards that the play was nominated for in 1960. The play was translated into 35 languages and was being performed all over the world over the next two years.

Sidney Poitier, the star of the play, and the rest of the original cast repeated their roles in the film adaptation of the play in the Columbia Pictures production of 1961.

A later, musical version of the play, RAISIN, opened on Broadway in 1973 and ran for 847 performances

Tragically, Hansberry died of pancreatic cancer aged just 34 , in 1965.

Thanks to the Studs Terkel Archive we can listen to Hansberry in her own words, just a couple of months after the Broadways opening of RAISIN.

First broadcast on May 12th, 1959, their discussion is wide-ranging and always fascinating. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Find the interview here


RETHINK visits Poole

Acclaimed theatre company Ardent Theatre have taken their most recent, five-star reviewed show on the road. Co-devised by playwright Andrew Muir and the Ardent 8 actors, this show is about them – their hopes and dreams as young people emerging into the world, and their wants and needs. It speaks to all those aspiring to have a career they love and to find meaning in their contribution to the world.

The show, which had a London run in October 2021, now visits Poole this Friday February 4th and subsequently plays private performances for students in Leicester and Manchester.

Ardent Theatre Company presents RETHINK, a brand new production created and performed by Ardent8, a group of emerging young actors from outside London who face barriers to pursuing a career in theatre. Written with and directed by award-winning playwright Andrew Muir (Joint Creative Director of Ardent Theatre Company) the play highlights inequality of opportunities to break into a career in theatre, intensified by the global pandemic.

RETHINK is set in the aftermath of that sunny July 2020, when six graduates from a performing arts course on the south coast of England are encouraged to reconsider their careers, in the wake of theatre closures and lack of opportunity. According to a government-backed advertising campaign, their next job could be in cyber, they just don’t know if yet. What choice do they have?

RETHINK is created and staged by the Ardent8 Ensemble, a group of Dorset-based young people brought together through Ardent Theatre Company’s scheme to rebalance inequality of access to a career in theatre. The project was born of a recognition that often the most talented of actors will have given up before they’ve even realised their full potential because they are unable to access other cities that provide greater employment and development opportunities.

Ardent8 was launched in Dorset in 2016 and the inaugural group’s production Sacrificewas staged to acclaim at Soho Theatre and Jellicoe Theatre, Poole in 2018. The programme is being expanded across the country with partners currently including Manchester Metropolitan University and Leicester De Montfort University.

The aim of Ardent8 is to provide a taste of life as an actor in London and benefit from opportunities within the industry from which they have otherwise been alienated but which Ardent Theatre Company believe is no more than an equal opportunity. In doing so, they will develop their skills further in a professional context that also introduces them to key industry practitioners. The programme includes acting workshops led by industry professionals, ongoing advice and mentorship, a week’s professional performance at a London theatre (paid at Equity rates), and all travel, subsistence and accommodation costs.

Andrew Muir, playwright/director, Joint Creative Director of Ardent Theatre Company:
It has been a joy to create RETHINK with such a talented and generous group of young people. The play gets to the heart of their own frustrations – feeling powerless confronted by a lack of opportunity to follow their dreams due to a lack of funds, knowledge, networks and stuck distanced from meaningful cultural offerings. From working class backgrounds, these young people are passionate about acting yet even considering a career in theatre was alien to them – even before Covid grounded them entirely. Through Ardent8 we hope to shift things in their favour, so that our theatre ecology can benefit from their talent and perspectives.”

RETHINK can be seen at The Lighthouse, Poole, Dorset on Friday 4th February at 8.00pm. Tickets here


Orange Tree’s RICE available online for limited time

RICE at the Orange Tree (photo courtesy Helen Murray)

The Orange Tree Theatre is giving you a chance to see Michele Lee’s powerful new play on demand from 16 to 19 November.

Nisha is a young hotshot executive working for Golden Fields, Australia’s largest producer of rice. Ambitious and headstrong, she’s determined to become the first female Indian CEO in Australia. She’s close to sealing a contract with the Indian government, which would see her company take over India’s national rice distribution system. A secret deal worth billions.

Working late nights in the office she encounters Yvette, an older Chinese migrant, who cleans up her mess. Yvette has her own entrepreneurial ambitions, but her daughter faces court after participating in a protest against the unethical practices of a national supermarket chain. The two form a powerful – if unlikely – bond as they navigate the complexities of their lives and the world at large.

Brimming with wickedly humorous observations on globalisation, politics and family, this is the UK premiere of a powerful new play from Asian-Australian writer Michele Lee, which has won numerous awards including the Australian Writers’ Guild Award for Best Original Stage Play.

RICE is a co-production with Actors Touring Company, whose Artistic Director Matthew Xia also directs.

The show runs approximately 95 minutes and tickets are available from £15.

This streamed performance will be available to watch online on demand from 16 November at 7.30pm GMT to 19 November at 11.59pm GMT. BOOK HERE

RICE will also go out on tour in early 2022.