Art


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Rebellion and redemption: how the Slits gave a voice to female prisoners

Playwright Morgan Lloyd Malcolm on how the groundbreaking female punk band helped her tell the story of women suffocating in the prison systemIt was a bit of a “pinch me” moment, to be honest. Earlier this month I sat in the rehearsal room for Typical Girls and watched our incredible cast play the music of the Slits to Tessa Pollitt, an original member of the band.When I first started writing this show, never in my wildest dreams could I have imagined we would get to this point. This absolute le...
Tags: Music, Law, Theatre, Society, Culture, UK criminal justice, Stage, Prisons and probation, Morgan Lloyd Malcolm, Tessa Pollitt


Mugabe, My Dad & Me review – a powerful personal tale of celebration and healing

York Theatre RoyalTonderai Munyevu’s semi-autographical show addresses Zimbabwe’s traumatic history with honesty and humourClothes hang in broken rows above the bare stage (Nicolai Hart-Hansen’s design). Dresses, suits, uniforms – they are presences that suggest absences, the “ghosts” of the people in the stories that Tonderai Munyevu and Millie Chapanda are bringing to life through words and music.The text of Mugabe, My Dad & Me, written by Munyevu, is an assemblage of the events that have shap...
Tags: UK, Africa, Theatre, Culture, Stage, Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, Tonderai Munyevu, Mugabe My Dad, RoyalTonderai Munyevu, Munyevu, Nicolai Hart Hansen, Millie Chapanda


Mugabe, My Dad and Me review – a personal lesson on empire and identity

York Theatre RoyalTonderai Munyevu reflects on the men who have loomed large in his life in a thought-provoking show‘Where are you from?” It’s a question that writer and actor Tonderai Munyevu gets a lot. In the opening moments of Mugabe, My Dad and Me, he recalls it being asked by a white man he was serving in a bar, who went on to offer strong, ill-informed opinions about Munyevu’s native Zimbabwe. This show is Munyevu’s response.As the title suggests, it revolves around two men who have loome...
Tags: UK, Africa, Theatre, World news, Culture, Stage, Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, Tonderai Munyevu, Mugabe My Dad, RoyalTonderai Munyevu, Munyevu


‘It’s the balm we need right now’: how Broadway fought its way back

The long theatre shutdown in New York has taken its toll on the industry but a renewed and reinvigorated outlook towards diversity could have a major impactWhen Ruben Santiago-Hudson walks on stage at the Manhattan Theatre Club on Tuesday night, the electric charge between actor and audience will spark back to life. Then the healing will begin.“It is the balm that we all need right now, not just on stage, but in our city,” says Santiago-Hudson, writer, performer and director of Lackawanna Blues,...
Tags: New York, Theatre, Culture, Stage, Broadway, US theater, Manhattan Theatre Club, Ruben Santiago Hudson, Lackawanna Blues, Santiago Hudson


Back to the Future: The Musical review – the car’s the star

Adelphi theatre, LondonThis is a splashy theatre-film mashup, with gravity-defying effects, cute quirks and offbeat gagsHow does a car speed at 88mph on stage? That must have been the biggest challenge for this musical adaptation of the hit 1985 film about Marty, Doc and the time-travelling DeLorean, which has to achieve that ferocious velocity to tear back across the decades to 1955. Kudos to the production for pulling off the effect so spectacularly.It really does seem as if the DeLorean is de...
Tags: Musicals, Film, Theatre, Culture, Stage, Back To The Future, West End, Delorean, Adelphi, Marty Doc, Finn Ross, Tim Lutkin


Homebody or hellraiser: Our autumn arts preview has you covered

From online comedy to cinema’s new blockbusters to all-night rave festivals, a look at the cultural highlights for all levels of commitmentNew streaming gems to enjoy from within the comfort of your own four walls. Continue reading...
Tags: Art, Music, Film, Theatre, Culture, Art and design, Stage


Demon twins and sci-fi raves at Galway’s gobsmacking arts fest

With theatre for an audience of one, a whirlwind set of Kevin Barry stories and sparky songs, the Irish festival is in fine formAdapting to Covid-19 restrictions with ingenuity, Galway international arts festival has embraced hybrid forms of performance: live in theatres, streamed, filmed, recorded for headsets or available for a single audience member to encounter alone. In the case of Attic Projects’ arresting Volcano (★★★★☆), presented in four 45-minute parts, viewers have the intense experie...
Tags: Europe, Books, Family, Music, Comedy, Theatre, Dance, Culture, Ireland, Stage, Festivals, Enda Walsh, Galway, Kevin Barry, Luke Murphy, Will Thompson


Sarah Harding, singer with Girls Aloud, dies aged 39 from breast cancer

Bringing charisma to the hugely successful band, Harding was diagnosed in August 2020 and wrote a memoir during her illnessThe pop singer and TV personality Sarah Harding, who had 21 UK Top 10 singles as a member of Girls Aloud, has died aged 39 from breast cancer.In a post on Instagram, Harding’s mother Marie said: “It’s with deep heartbreak that today I’m sharing the news that my beautiful daughter Sarah has sadly passed away. Continue reading...
Tags: Music, Reality TV, UK, Television, Musicals, Theatre, UK News, Culture, Pop and rock, Television & radio, Stage, Sarah, Harding, Marie, Sarah Harding, Girls Aloud


‘I felt completely lost’: the actors navigating an arts crisis and long Covid

Three performers – among the one million people suffering from long Covid – explain the painful process of getting back on stageIn 2019, the actor and director Helen Oakleigh was hired to stage a number of shows in China that would be playing throughout 2020. They flew from London to Wuhan on 1 January last year and then on to Chengdu but, soon after arriving, began to feel unwell with a virus that would later be diagnosed as Covid-19. Although able to return to work soon afterwards, they strugg...
Tags: UK, London, China, Theatre, Culture, Stage, Harry Potter, Acting, Shakespeare, Wuhan, Chengdu, Coronavirus, Helen Oakleigh, Covid Oakleigh


Rise of the robo-drama: Young Vic creates new play using artificial intelligence

Inspired by a Guardian article, the theatre’s surreal and spellbinding show AI is a collaboration between humans and the system GPT-3Last autumn, a deep-learning computer programme wrote an essay for the Guardian. The GPT-3 system argued that humans had nothing to fear from robots. Kwame Kwei-Armah, artistic director of the Young Vic, read it and felt inspired. Could there be a future in creative collaboration between AI and humans? If AI could write an article, could it create a play too, in re...
Tags: Science, Technology, Theatre, Culture, Stage, Computing, Consciousness, Young Vic, Vic, Kwame Kwei Armah, GPT, Artificial intelligence (AI


'I came close to death’: David Harewood on racism and psychosis

Thirty years ago, fresh out of drama school, the Homeland star found himself in the midst of a breakdown, ending up in a locked hospital ward. He recalls the years of racial abuse that had pulled him apartWaking up in a mental institution is a strange experience made slightly more bearable by the drugs administered the night before arrival. It’s an odd sensation to come round on a ward – in my case, one at the Hollymoor psychiatric hospital in Birmingham – and not recognise your own body. It too...
Tags: Health, Books, London, Race, Theatre, Homeland, Society, World news, Mental Health, Culture, Stage, Birmingham, David Harewood, Hollymoor


‘My theatre went dark’: Amanda Kloots on loving and losing actor Nick Cordero

The Broadway favourite, who died of complications from Covid last summer, is remembered by his wife and co-starWhen you’re on Broadway and suddenly find out that your show is closing, you feel this wave of sadness. As a cast member, there was nothing you could have done to save it. You didn’t write the script; you didn’t call the shots. You just had to show up, and smile, and dance, and perform, and give it your all every day. Your cast has become like your family, the theatre like your home, an...
Tags: Theatre, Culture, Stage, Death and dying, Broadway, Nick Cordero, Amanda Kloots, COVID


In Defense of Charlie Brown

I've always had a love-hate relationship with the word deceptively. For example, suppose a musical is actually very complex, but it seems very simple. Is that show "deceptively complex" or "deceptively simple"? Yeah, me either. It's a valuable idea to have a word for, but no one is sure which way it works. Look it up in the dictionary, and it'll tell you it means either.The Oxford English Dictionary website says, "Deceptively belongs to a very small set of words whose meaning is genuinely ambig...
Tags: New York, Boston, Theatre, America, Live, New York Times, Performing Arts, Stage, Broadway, Theater, Annie, Charles Schultz, Musical, Times, Charlie Brown, Kristin Chenoweth


Una Stubbs: a life in pictures

Una Stubbs – the actor whose long career took in Summer Holiday, Worzel Gummidge, Till Death Us Do Part and most recently Steven Moffat’s Sherlock – has died aged 84.Una Stubbs, actor in Sherlock and Till Death Us Do Part, dies aged 84Una Stubbs obituary Continue reading...
Tags: Television, Film, Theatre, UK News, Culture, Television & radio, Stage, Sherlock, Steven Moffat, Una Stubbs


Peaceophobia: Muslim men who love their modified motors

Mistaken for drug dealers? Monitored by police? A new play staged in a Bradford car park weaves stories of everyday racism, faith and petrolheads“I don’t go out, I don’t really go clubbing, I don’t drink, I don’t do none of that,” says Sohail Hussain, who is explaining how all encompassing his hobby is. “All my money goes on cars – for me it’s an investment.”Hussain is one of three actors starring in Peaceophobia, a piece from collaborative theatre company Common Wealth that interweaves stories ...
Tags: Religion, Theatre, UK News, World news, Culture, Islam, Stage, Bradford, Hussain, Sohail Hussain, Peaceophobia, Ahmed Mohammad Ali Yunis


Edinburgh Fringe returns with mix of in-person and online shows

Festival is part of world’s largest annual arts season which has been forced to curtail events due to CovidThe Edinburgh festival Fringe returns this weekend with a hybrid programme of nearly 800 in-person and online shows after its cancellation last year because of the coronavirus pandemic.The Fringe makes up part of the world’s largest annual arts season, alongside the Edinburgh international festival and the book and film festivals, which open later this month, and all have been forced to sig...
Tags: Comedy, Scotland, Theatre, UK News, Culture, Stage, Festivals, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Fringe, Edinburgh Festival


‘The best summer of my life’ – Kae Tempest takes Sophocles on a gender odyssey

The writer has turned a Greek tragedy about a marooned soldier into an all-women play for the Covid era. They reveal how its creation mirrored their own journey‘These stories can be intimidating for so many reasons,” Kae Tempest says of the classical Greek tragedies. “But more than that, they are galvanising. They give you something that was important thousands of years ago that lands you more fully in the now. They have this roaring effect, where we’ve brought the past with us.”Tempest, who use...
Tags: Books, Gender, Theatre, Culture, Stage, Classics, National Theatre, Sophocles, Ian Rickson, Lesley Sharp, Kae Tempest, Tiresias Continue


Lily Allen: from chart-topping handbag kid to the heart of London’s West End

The singer is back in front of a live audience this week, playing ‘a woman with a real point of view’ in a spooky new play, 2:22 – A Ghost StoryThere, in the background, wearing drop pearl earrings, is 13-year-old Lily Allen dressed up as a little lady-in-waiting. Cinema audiences watching Cate Blanchett as Elizabeth when the film of that name came out in 1998 might have been concentrating on the queen’s courtly dancing in the middle of the frame, but yes, it really was Allen playing a mini roya...
Tags: Music, London, Celebrity, Theatre, UK News, Culture, Stage, West End, Lily Allen, Cate Blanchett, Elizabeth, Allen, Shekhar Kapur


The shows must go on: the best of Edinburgh fringe, in person and online

From a play in a car park to an online event from a shed, this year’s festival is finding new ways to entertainThe Edinburgh festival fringe, at its height, was a magnificent monster. The largest arts festival in the world, it was exhilaratingly, dizzyingly, dauntingly huge and – like a city-consuming ooze from a 1950s B-movie – it kept growing, year after year. In 2019, the fringe featured more than 3,500 shows in over 300 venues. And that’s without taking into account its less chaotic sibling,...
Tags: Comedy, Theatre, Culture, Stage, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Festival


Blasphemy, violence and live turtles: 10 plays that shocked the world

A history of theatre’s most controversial moments, from Jerry Springer: The Opera to Sarah Kane’s ‘unrelenting’ BlastedSensationally vulgar, this musical take on the TV host was taken to court for blasphemy. Featuring tap-dancing members of the Ku Klux Klan and Jesus dressed as a baby, it was designed to distress. “For all its shock and schlock tactics,” wrote Michael Billington at the time, “the show implies that TV has a moral responsibility.” The BBC received 63,000 complaints after airing th...
Tags: Theatre, Bbc, Culture, Stage, Jesus, Ku Klux Klan, Jerry Springer, Michael Billington, Sarah Kane


‘A long-form pilgrimage’: Coventry hosts 24-hour interfaith celebration

The RSC and City of Culture’s free events include promenade performances and an installation by Tower of London poppy artistIn a celebration of one of the most religiously diverse cities in the UK, Coventry is to host 24 hours of art, theatre, music, food and debate aimed at exploring belief and promoting the connections between faiths.The Royal Shakespeare Company and Coventry City of Culture have teamed up to produce Faith, a series of free live events in September, including four promenade pe...
Tags: Music, London, Religion, Theatre, UK News, Culture, Art and design, Stage, Royal Shakespeare Company, Coventry, Coventry City of Culture, UK Coventry


‘I have a scene to do, run!’: backstage at Minack Theatre

Our photojournalist explores the famed outdoor venue in Cornwall as it welcomes back full houses“I knew of it from pictures I’d seen online and I thought it looked pretty, but when you arrive and see it yourself, it’s like, ‘Oh wow, this is insane,’” says actor Guido Garcia Lueches about the Minack Theatre. “It’s probably the best theatre I’ve ever performed in.”Carved largely by hand into a craggy, granite cliff-face, the dizzying outdoor venue on the south coast of Cornwall looks magnificent i...
Tags: Theatre, UK News, Culture, Stage, Cornwall, Stagecraft, Guido Garcia Lueches


Experience: I was stabbed while playing Hamlet

The audience thought it was part of the play and gave us a round of applause. I remember thinking I was about to dieWhen I was cast in a travelling production of Hamlet in 2011, I was very nervous – Hamlet has an awful lot of lines. But I was 24 at the time, and having a leading role was a big deal.We performed the show for six weeks without a hitch in a Dublin theatre. Then it transferred to Cork. Time was tight, which meant we didn’t get to finish our technical rehearsal before opening night, ...
Tags: Theatre, Life and style, Culture, Stage, William Shakespeare, Acting, Dublin, Hamlet, Cork Time


Meet Little Amal, the puppet girl refugee about to walk 8,000km

Later this month, in one of the most ambitious live artworks ever staged, a giant puppet will trek from the Syria-Turkey border to Manchester, in a moving-theatre show of solidarity with asylum seekersOn the last Tuesday of July, a big little girl will step out into a Turkish city, a few miles from the Syrian border, to begin an 8,000km trek to Manchester. Little Amal is nine years old and is searching for her mother, who went off to find food and never returned. She is the central, and only, c...
Tags: Theatre, Syria, Culture, Stage, Manchester, Refugees, Stephen Daldry, Performance art, Puppetry, Syria Turkey, Little Amal, Manchester Little Amal


Michael Ball: ‘My breakdown made me a better performer – and a better person’

As his new show, Hairspray, leads the return to theatres, the singer talks about his mental health struggles, going back to his mining-town roots – and how the government has let down the performing artsIt is only an hour and a half before curtain-up, and if Michael Ball is feeling a rising panic at the idea of spending this time speaking to me through his iPad, rather than on his usual warmup, he is hiding it well. A trouper. It will be only the second performance of Hairspray, in which Ball pl...
Tags: Music, Television, Musicals, Theatre, Culture, Television & radio, Stage, Ball, Edna, Edna Turnblad, Michael Ball, London Coliseum, Oliver Dowden


Bard day’s work: what I learned from eavesdropping on RSC rehearsals

The Royal Shakespeare Company is letting the public watch the usually secret processes towards performance – from clapping games to verse sessionsThe creative process normally takes place behind closed doors. But the RSC has boldly upended that idea by streaming its Open Rehearsal Project for Henry VI Part One. What this means, in practice, is that cameras are admitted for three sessions each day. At 10am we watch a half-hour company warm-up. From noon, for 90 minutes, we get to see either a cla...
Tags: Theatre, Culture, Stage, William Shakespeare, Royal Shakespeare Company, Bard, RSC, Gregory Doran, Owen Horsley


Edinburgh fringe performers feel ‘jilted’ as Covid closes venues again

Only a handful of events will be staged this year as producers complain about ‘dithering’ by council and Scottish governmentCoronavirus – latest updatesSee all our coronavirus coverageAudiences and performers from around the world will once again have no anarchic festival home in the Scottish capital to head for this August. The vast Edinburgh festival fringe – the largest annual concentration of live comedy, drama, cabaret, music and dance – is to be restricted to just a few events and an array...
Tags: Scotland, Theatre, UK News, Culture, Stage, Festivals, Edinburgh, Edinburgh Festival, Fringe theatre, Guy Masterson


Sir Ian McKellen: ‘What does old mean? Quite honestly I feel about 12’

It’s half a century since Sir Ian McKellen first played Hamlet. Now he’s starring as the Dane again – at 82. He talks about his extraordinary life, why he’ll never write his memoir – and his one lasting regretOh, birthdays,” Sir Ian McKellen growls, on the occasion of his 82nd. “At my age I don’t do birthdays.” The wider world has not yet been informed, however, and cheerful cards have come in stacks to McKellen’s London townhouse. Messages chime in on his computer and two landline phones ring o...
Tags: London, Film, Theatre, Life and style, Culture, Stage, Harry Potter, Lord Of The Rings, Ian Mckellen, McKellen


Lloyd Webber says he will risk arrest to reopen his theatres on 21 June

Impresario is determined his production of Cinderella will start this month in London as plannedAndrew Lloyd Webber has said he is determined to open his theatres on 21 June regardless of whether rules are relaxed, and is prepared to be arrested if authorities try to intervene.The composer said he may have to sell his six West End venues if the government does not remove restrictions that have forced venues to run with reduced capacities. Continue reading...
Tags: London, Musicals, Theatre, UK News, Culture, Stage, Cinderella, Andrew Lloyd Webber, Lloyd Webber, Coronavirus


Anna Friel: ‘I thought acting would be a hobby – never a job’

The actor, 44, on learning to relax, the double edge of kindness, and the power of herbsI don’t know which memory came first: falling down the stairs and knocking down our Christmas tree, being bought my first nail varnish and getting it on my Wonder Woman pyjamas, or accidentally setting my brand-new parka on fire the first day I wore it. Each probably reveals something about my soul.Pop stardom was my plan for a while, although briefly. Coming from an Irish family, I’d often walk into the livi...
Tags: Television, Theatre, Life and style, Culture, Television & radio, Stage, Anna Friel



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