Helena Jackson is the Artistic Director at Sleepless Theatre Company, an inclusive company that has committed to always having at least 50% of its performers and creatives identify as D/deaf, disabled or neurodiverse and that is currently developing its interaction with access technologies for audiences. At the moment Sleepless Theatre have programmed with Alex Wood’s debut play, Nine Foot Nine at the Bunker Theatre as part of their Breaking Out season in June before heading up to Assembly for the entirety of the Edinburgh Fringe. Helena shares with us the inspiration behind Nine Foot Nine, a sci-fi feminist piece shortlisted for the 2018 LET Award as well as having a showcase at the Royal Court earlier this year, the current climate of inclusive and accessible theatre, and reminds people that disability is an important part of intersectional feminism.
Molly Chesworth is currently at the Vaults Theatre performing the role of Josie in Teddy. Directed by Eleanor Rhode, written by Tristan Bernays with music by Dougal Irvine, the musical play teleports audiences back into 1950s London where the Teddy culture began. With original songs and performances, Teddy brings to life the post-war energy and celebrates the era with a post-show live-gig. I got to speak to Molly about her journey on Teddy‘s UK tour: how she manages to keep up with the fast-pace demands of her role and how special it is to perform in front of originals Teds. (Read my four-star review of the show here.)
London-based composer and violinist Layale Chaker will be performing Inner Rhyme at St Marylebone Church with the Sarafand Ensemble. Here, Layale shares with us: what inspired her to compose Inner Rhyme, how her rich Lebanese heritage influenced her musical style, and her professional experience performing as member of the West-Divan Orchestra.
Twang!! The Musical, originally written by Lionel Bart and Harvey Orkin in 1965 is now showing at the Union Theatre. An adapted version has been rewritten by Julian Woolford and Richard John (my review here.) Its director, Bryan Hodgson, shares his intrigue in Robin Hood and his Merry Men, and the production’s journey so far in the all-singing and all-dancing Sherwood Forest.
John Savournin, artistic director of Charles Court Opera (CCO) and professional opera singer, met me at Rosemary Branch Theatre in the middle of rehearsals (on a chilly Saturday) to discuss CCO’s new and fresh production of The Mikado, which opens this week at the King’s Head Theatre. John talked to me about Gilbert & Sullivan’s inspiration behind the comic work and his optimistic outlook of the opera landscape for Off-West End companies and productions.
Dublin-born actor Rory Keenan has entertained audiences on TV, film and theatre, from the BBC’s War & Peace, Peaky Blinders and Donmar Warehouse’s Saint Joan to the National Theatre’s production of Liola. Currently performing the role of James (Jamie) Tyrone Jr. in Richard Eyre’s revived production of Eugene O’Neill’s Tony award-winning play, Long Day’s Journey into Night, alongside Jeremy Irons and Lesley Manville, Rory tells me what it is like to perform the inebriate and enigmatic role of Jamie – son of a dysfunctional family. He also tells me how he manages to remember all his lines and his fondness for south London and sport — all kinds of sport!
Showing from the 13 and 25 March at the Omnibus Theatre, Clapham, is The Beyond Borders season, which focuses on Britain and the Middle East. The mini season includes a part theatre and part drag cabaret show, Lipstick: a fairy tale of modern Iran, written and directed by Sarah Chew. In the middle of rehearsals, Chew spoke to me about the challenges she faced writing Lipstick, how cabaret and vaudeville fed into the work and the discourse of telling a story that has political, legal and religious implications.
From the creators of BADD : Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons (Highly Commended at VAULT 2017), comes Hermetic Arts new project, UNBURIED, which is now showing at the Vault Festival. The creators behind Unburied, performer/co-writer Carrie Marx and director Chris Lincé discuss their new work, Unburied, their fascination with 1970s folk horror, the notion of memory and nostalgia as well as their interest in the TV hit series, Doctor Who.
Canadian costume and set designer Michael Levine has worked in a variety of prestigious theatres and opera houses internationally for more than three decades. He created the original set designs for Robert Carsen’s production of Benjamin Britten’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which is currently being revived at the English National Opera (ENO), London Coliseum. I spoke to Michael (on the first day of Spring) to discuss the inspiration behind his work; the usage of the green and blue colours, the symbolic relationship between the world, Tytania and Oberon, as well as the floating beds on the ENO set. He also shared his experience of a dramatic transition within design over the course of his career and gave an in-depth account of the role of a set designer.
Bampton Classical Opera’s 25th anniversary season opens with a concert this week (Wednesday 7th) to mark the bicentenary of Anglo-Italian soprano Nancy Storace (1765–1817). The concert includes significant works composed by Mozart, Haydn, Stephen Storace, Sarti and Salieri, which were associated with her, and arias that will be sung by American soprano Jacquelyn Stucker. Here, Jaquelyn, a Jette Parker Young Artist at the Royal Opera House, shares her insight and admiration for Nancy Storace and the works she shall be performing at the concert, as well as her love for cooking a hearty Sunday roast.
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Here's my insightful Q & A w/ artistic director @JacksonHelenam. Saying it how it is! "We've been told so many times that the priority is making the show good, and accessibility comes after that - we think this is utter bollocks" #NineFootNine https://t.co/KTmehIbFrv @SleeplessTC pic.twitter.com/PDdlnVFBIp— Trendfem.com🌸🎶 (@MaryGNguyen) May 21, 2018
Here's my insightful Q & A w/ artistic director @JacksonHelenam. Saying it how it is! "We've been told so many times that the priority is making the show good, and accessibility comes after that - we think this is utter bollocks" #NineFootNine trendfem.com/2018/05/q-a-he… @SleeplessTC
#OneMinutePlay marks the directorial debut of AD @IwyLewis, who takes a fresh look at this portrait of 5 lives changed by a child's disappearance. How has #socialmedia changed @missingpeople stories since the play was written in 2002? mytheatremates.com/oneminute_cast… #advertiser Pls RT! Retweeted by Trendfem.com🌸🎶