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Maggie Smith and Judi Dench 80th birthday celebrations

September 29, 2014 

Celebrating the 80th birthdays of Britain’s most famous acting Dames, Dame Judi Dench and Dame Maggie Smith.

Celebrating the 80th birthdays of Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Judi Dench

 

This December sees the birthdays of two very importance actresses.

Dame Maggie Smith and Dame Judi Dench both turn 80 years old this December, and WestEndTheatre.com will be building up a collection of features on these two great West End ladies as we approach their 80th birthdays.

We suspect that both ladies will hate all of the fuss, but fuss there will be as the world celebrates their long, accomplished careers on stage and screen.

Judi Dench was born in Heworth, York on 9 December 1934 and Maggie Smith was born a few weeks later in Ilford, Essex on 28 December 1934.

Over the next few months we will focus on their stage careers, particularly their London stage work, plus their movie roles, awards and their lives.

To kick off, here’s a quick look at their current projects.

Current Projects

  • Dame Maggie is about to start filming The Lady in the Van, based on Alan Bennett’s play and directed by Nicholas Hytner. Alex Jennings, who is currently starring as Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, will play Bennett, with Dame Maggie as Miss Shepherd.
  • Filming has completed on the sequel to the hugely successful The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, with The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel set for a 2015 release. Maggie Smith returns to the role of Muriel Donnelly in the movie, with Judi Dench as Evelyn Greenslade.
  • Judi Dench has completed work on Tulip Fever, which has finished filming and is now in post-production. Produced by the Weinstein Company and directed by Justin Chadwick, the film has a screenplay by Tom Stoppard, which means that Harvey Weinstein, Tom Stoppard and Judi Dench are all reuniting following the huge success of Shakespeare in Love. The cast of Tulip Fever includes Holliday Grainger, Matthew Morrison, Cara Delevingne and Cressida Bonas. Dench plays The Abbess of St. Ursula.
  • Judi also filmed a TV movie version of Roald Dahl’s Esio Trot earlier this year, for an expected Christmas run on the BBC. She plays Mrs. Silver alongside Dustin Hoffman as Mr. Hoppy.
  • The fifth series of Downton Abbey, where Maggie Smith plays Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, is currently on air on ITV1 in the UK.
  • Forthcoming movie My Old Lady, released in the UK on 21 November 2014, stars Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline and Kristin Scott Thomas.

Dame Joan Plowright retires from acting

May 14, 2014 

Award winning actress Dame Joan Plowright has announced that she has retired from acting.

Sad to hear that Joan Plowright, who is a much-loved actress by anyone’s standard but also happens to be theatrical royalty as the widow of Lord Olivier, has had to retire from acting (Telegraph, 13 May 2014).

Joan Plowright (right) and Liza Tarbuck in Absolutely! (Perhaps) in London in 2003

Joan Plowright (right) and Liza Tarbuck in Absolutely! (Perhaps) in London in 2003

The 84 year old is now completely blind from a macular degeneration, which means that over the last decade she has slowly lost her eye sight.

Her agents at Independent Talent Group confirmed the news this week.

Her extraordinary stage career included performing with the English Stage Company at the Royal Court Theatre in 1956 cast as Margery Pinchwife in The Country Wife, and co-starring with her future husband Laurence Olivier in 1957 in John Osborne’s The Entertainer. She won a Tony Award in 1961 for A Taste of Honey on Broadway.

But it’s her film and TV work that has introduced her to each new generation, from The Entertainer in 1960, to a Golden Globe for Enchanted April in 1992, Tea With Mussolini with Maggie Smith, Judi Dench and Cher in 1999, and another Golden Globe for her performance in HBO film Stalin in 1992.

The news comes following Dame Judi Dench’s revelation earlier this year that she also has failing eyesight due to age-related macular degeneration, and is no longer able to read scripts. Dame Judi will celebrate her 80th birthday on 9 December 2014.

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Peter And Alice casting update

January 18, 2013 

Michael Grandage has announced the final casting for his production of Peter and Alice, a new play by John Logan that forms part of his season of plays at the Noel Coward Theatre.

As previously announced, the play will star Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw in the title roles of Alice Liddell Hargreaves and Peter Llewelyn Davies, the real-life inspiration behind Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland and JM Barrie’s Peter Pan.

Joining Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw in Peter and Alice, which runs at the Noel Coward Theatre from 9 March to 1 June 2013,will be Olly Alexander, Ruby Bentall, Stefano Braschi, Nicholas Farrell and Derek Riddell.

The play will be directed by Michael Grandage, with design by Christopher Oram.

Privates on Parade starring Simon Russell Beale continues its successful run at the Noel Coward Theatre as part of Michael Grandage’s season.

LINKS

Book tickets to Peter and Alice at the Noel Coward Theatre

Books tickets to Privates on Parade at the Noel Coward Theatre

The Michael Grandage Season at the Noel Coward Theatre

CREDITS

Olly Alexander

Olly Alexander

Olly Alexander plays Peter Pan. His theatre work includes Mercury Fur (Old Red Lion Theatre) and The Aliens (Bush Theatre). For television, his credits include Skins, The Fades and Summerhill; and for film, Le Weekend, God Help the Girl, Great Expectations, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, The Dish and The Spoon, Gulliver’s Travels, Dust, Tormented, Bright Star and Enter the Void.

Ruby Bentall

Ruby Bentall

Ruby Bentall plays Alice in Wonderland. For theatre, her credits include Hansel and Gretel, Grief, The Miracle, DNA, Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat (National Theatre), Blue Heart Afternoon (Hampstead Theatre), and Alice (Sheffield Crucible). Her television work includes The Paradise, Larkrise to Candelford, New Tricks, Lost in Austen and Oliver Twist; and for film, Robin Hood, The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler and Tormented.

Stefano Braschi

Stefano Braschi

Stefano Braschi plays Arthur Davies/Reggie Hargreaves/Michael Davies. His theatre work for Michael Grandage at the Donmar includes Richard II and King Lear (also national tour and Brooklyn Academy of Music. His other theatre work includes The Guinea Pig Club (York Theatre Royal), Danton’s Death (National Theatre), Warm (Nordland Theatre, Norway) and This Much is True (Theatre 503). His television credits include Miranda, The Best Possible Taste, Conviction, Benidorm, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Come Fly With Me, Sherlock: The Great Game and The Persuasionists.

Judi Dench

Judi Dench

Judi Dench plays Alice Liddell Hargreaves. Dench’s theatre credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Madame de Sade (Donmar West End), Hay Fever, The Breath of Life (Haymarket Theatre), Merry Wives of Windsor, All’s Well That Ends Well (RSC), Amy’s View (National Theatre and Broadway) and A Little Night Music (National Theatre). For television, her credits include Cranford, As Time Goes By and Last of the Blonde Bombshells; and for film, Skyfall, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, J.Edgar, My Week With Marilyn, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Jane Eyre, The Quantum of Solace, Notes on a Scandal, Casino Royale, Mrs Henderson Presents, Pride and Prejudice, Iris, Chocolat, Shakespeare in Love (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress) and Mrs Brown.

Nicholas Farrell

Nicholas Farrell

Nicholas Farrell plays Lewis Carroll. For theatre his work includes South Downs/ Browning Version (Chichester Festival Theatre & Harold Pinter Theatre), Stuff Happens, Dinner (National Theatre), The Lady in the Van (Queen’s Theatre), The Strip (Royal Court), Walpurgis Night (Gate Theatre), Kean (Old Vic) and The Cherry Orchard (Aldwych Theatre). For television, his credits include The Special Relationship, Torchwood, Collision, Rebus, Talk to Me, The Roman Mysteries, Persuasion, Suburban Shootout, Jericho, Trial and Retribution, Bedtime Stories, Absolute Power, The Jury, Lipstick on Your Collar and The Jewel in the Crown; and for film, Amazing Grace, Driving Lessons, The Third Wave, Charlotte Gray, Bloody Sunday, Pearl Harbour and Beautiful People.

Derek Riddell

Derek Riddell

Derek Riddell plays JM Barrie. For theatre his credits include Knives in Hens (Royal Exchange), Victoria (RSC), The Cosmonaut (Tron Theatre), The Juji Girl (Traverse Theatre) and Anna Karenina (Shared Experience). His television work includes Frankie, DCI Banks, Ripper Street, Bob Servant Independent, More Than Words: Mightier than the Sword, Bad Sugar, Garrow’s Law, Death in Paradise, Field of Blood, Five Days, Trust Me, Ugly Betty, State of Mind, Forgiven, No Angels, The Book Group, Clocking Off and The Project; and for film, Twenty 8K, The Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, To Hell With Love and Best Laid Plans.

Ben Whishaw

Ben Whishaw

Ben Whishaw plays Peter Llewelyn Davies. His theatre work includes The Pride (Lucille Lortel Theatre), Cock (Royal Court Theatre), Some Trace of Her, The Seagull (National Theatre), Leaves of Glass (Soho Theatre), Mercury Fur (Paines Plough) and Hamlet (Old Vic). For television, his credits include Richard II, The Hour, All Signs of Death, Criminal Justice – International Emmy Award for Best Actor, Nathan Barley and Other People’s Children; and for film, For Viola And Piano, Skyfall, Cloud Atlas, The Tempest, Bright Star, Brideshead Revisited, I’m Not There and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.

Full Casting Announced For The World Première Of John Logan’s New Play Peter And Alice

January 18, 2013 

Michael Grandage Company presents World première PETER AND ALICE A new play by John Logan

9 March – 1 June

Director: Michael Grandage; Set and Costume Designer: Christopher Oram
Lighting Designer: Paule Constable; Composer and Sound Designer: Adam Cork

Today full casting is announced for Peter and Alice – John Logan’s new play which continues the Michael Grandage Company Season at the Noel Coward Theatre. Joining Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw are Olly Alexander, Ruby Bentall, Stefano Braschi, Nicholas Farrell and Derek Riddell. The production follows the critically acclaimed Privates on Parade, and opens on 25 March, with previews from 9 March, and runs until 1 June 2013.

“Of course that’s how it begins: a harmless fairy tale to pass the hours”

When Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932, the original Alice in Wonderland came face to face with the original Peter Pan. In John Logan’s remarkable new play, enchantment and reality collide as this brief encounter lays bare the lives of these two extraordinary characters.

Judi Dench plays Alice, and Ben Whishaw plays Peter in Logan’s first new play since Red, which won six Tony Awards in 2010.

John Logan is a playwright and screenwriter. His numerous plays include the Tony Award-winning Red, which Michael Grandage directed for the Donmar as well as Never the Sinner and Hauptmann. His next play I’ll East You Last: A Chat with Sue Mengers opens on Broadway this April. A three-time Academy Award nominated screenwriter, his film work includes Skyfall, Hugo, Rango, Coriolanus, Sweeney Todd, The Aviator, Gladiator, The Last Samurai and Any Given Sunday.

Olly Alexander plays Peter Pan. His theatre work includes Mercury Fur (Old Red Lion Theatre) and The Aliens (Bush Theatre). For television, his credits include Skins, The Fades and Summerhill; and for film, Le Weekend, God Help the Girl, Great Expectations, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, The Dish and The Spoon, Gulliver’s Travels, Dust, Tormented, Bright Star and Enter the Void.

Ruby Bentall plays Alice in Wonderland. For theatre, her credits include Hansel and Gretel, Grief, The Miracle, DNA, Shoot/Get Treasure/Repeat (National Theatre), Blue Heart Afternoon (Hampstead Theatre), and Alice (Sheffield Crucible). Her television work includes The Paradise, Larkrise to Candelford, New Tricks, Lost in Austen and Oliver Twist; and for film, Robin Hood, The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler and Tormented.

Stefano Braschi plays Arthur Davies/Reggie Hargreaves/Michael Davies. His theatre work for Michael Grandage at the Donmar includes Richard II and King Lear (also national tour and Brooklyn Academy of Music. His other theatre work includes The Guinea Pig Club (York Theatre Royal), Danton’s Death (National Theatre), Warm (Nordland Theatre, Norway) and This Much is True (Theatre 503). His television credits include Miranda, The Best Possible Taste, Conviction, Benidorm, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Come Fly With Me, Sherlock: The Great Game and The Persuasionists.

Judi Dench plays Alice Liddell Hargreaves. Dench’s theatre credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Madame de Sade (Donmar West End), Hay Fever, The Breath of Life (Haymarket Theatre), Merry Wives of Windsor, All’s Well That Ends Well (RSC), Amy’s View (National Theatre and Broadway) and A Little Night Music (National Theatre). For television, her credits include Cranford, As Time Goes By and Last of the Blonde Bombshells; and for film, Skyfall, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, J.Edgar, My Week With Marilyn, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Jane Eyre, The Quantum of Solace, Notes on a Scandal, Casino Royale, Mrs Henderson Presents, Pride and Prejudice, Iris, Chocolat, Shakespeare in Love (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress) and Mrs Brown.

Nicholas Farrell plays Lewis Carroll. For theatre his work includes South Downs/ Browning Version (Chichester Festival Theatre & Harold Pinter Theatre), Stuff Happens, Dinner (National Theatre), The Lady in the Van (Queen’s Theatre), The Strip (Royal Court), Walpurgis Night (Gate Theatre), Kean (Old Vic) and The Cherry Orchard (Aldwych Theatre). For television, his credits include The Special Relationship, Torchwood, Collision, Rebus, Talk to Me, The Roman Mysteries, Persuasion, Suburban Shootout, Jericho, Trial and Retribution, Bedtime Stories, Absolute Power, The Jury, Lipstick on Your Collar and The Jewel in the Crown; and for film, Amazing Grace, Driving Lessons, The Third Wave, Charlotte Gray, Bloody Sunday, Pearl Harbour and Beautiful People.

Derek Riddell plays JM Barrie. For theatre his credits include Knives in Hens (Royal Exchange), Victoria (RSC), The Cosmonaut (Tron Theatre), The Juji Girl (Traverse Theatre) and Anna Karenina (Shared Experience). His television work includes Frankie, DCI Banks, Ripper Street, Bob Servant Independent, More Than Words: Mightier than the Sword, Bad Sugar, Garrow’s Law, Death in Paradise, Field of Blood, Five Days, Trust Me, Ugly Betty, State of Mind, Forgiven, No Angels, The Book Group, Clocking Off and The Project; and for film, Twenty 8K, The Miracle of Jonathan Toomey, To Hell With Love and Best Laid Plans.

Ben Whishaw plays Peter Llewelyn Davies. His theatre work includes The Pride (Lucille Lortel Theatre), Cock (Royal Court Theatre), Some Trace of Her, The Seagull (National Theatre), Leaves of Glass (Soho Theatre), Mercury Fur (Paines Plough) and Hamlet (Old Vic). For television, his credits include Richard II, The Hour, All Signs of Death, Criminal Justice – International Emmy Award for Best Actor, Nathan Barley and Other People’s Children; and for film, For Viola And Piano, Skyfall, Cloud Atlas, The Tempest, Bright Star, Brideshead Revisited, I’m Not There and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.

Michael Grandage is Artistic Director of the Michael Grandage Company in London. For the company he directed Privates on Parade opening the season at the Noel Coward Theatre. He was Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse (2002–2012) and Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres (2000–05). He is the recipient of Tony, Drama Desk, Olivier, Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and South Bank Awards. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by both Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University and is President of Central School of Speech and Drama. He was appointed CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2011. His book A Decade At The Donmar, was published by Constable & Robins in 2012.

His work for the Donmar Warehouse included Richard II, Luise Miller, King Lear, Red (also New York, Tony and Drama Desk Awards Best Director), Jude Law in Hamlet (also Elsinore and New York), Ivanov (Evening Standard and Critics Circle Award Best Director), Madame de Sade, Twelfth Night, The Chalk Garden (Evening Standard and Critics Circle Awards Best Director), Don Juan in Soho, Frost/Nixon (also Gielgud, New York, USA tour, Tony Nomination Award for Best Director), Othello (Evening Standard and Critic’s Circle Awards for Best Director), The Wild Duck (Critic’s Circle Award Best Director), Guys and Dolls (Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production), Grand Hotel (Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production and Evening Standard Award Best Director), The Cut, After Miss Julie, Caligula (Olivier Award Best Director), Merrily We Roll Along (Evening Standard Award Best Director), Passion Play (Evening Standard Award and Critics Circle Award for Best Director). For Sheffield Theatres he directed many productions including Don Carlos (Evening Standard Award Best Director).

Peter and Alice continues a season of five plays at the Noel Coward Theatre in London’s West End. The fifteen month long season opened with Privates on Parade, and continues with Martin McDonagh’s comedy The Cripple of Inishmaan with Daniel Radcliffe; A Midsummer Night’s Dream with Sheridan Smith and David Walliams; and completing the season is Jude Law in the title role of Shakespeare’s Henry V. At the heart of the season, a commitment to access and building the next generation of theatregoers, with over 100,000 tickets across the season at just £10, a full education programme alongside schools’ performances, access performances and job opportunities.

A WEST END SEASON LIKE NO OTHER…
This season of five plays will be presented with over 100,000 tickets at £10, free performances for selected schools, a full education programme, captioned performances, audio-described performances, job opportunities for rising young directors and designers and much more. As well as offering audiences a diverse range of plays, the Michael Grandage Company is also reaching out to people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with the work they are presenting in the West End.

FREE EDUCATION PERFORMANCES
Every production in this season will have at least one free performance for schools and colleges from selected areas across London focusing on first-time theatregoers. This will launch MGC Futures, a scheme designed to introduce young people to the theatre.

MGC will also be engaging in a full education programme and reaching out to as many people as possible over the 15 months. There will be a Schools’ group rate offering access to all productions and a range of activities including a post-show talk, in-school workshops and online study guides free of charge.

In addition to this, MGC will undertake an ambitious intergenerational project focused around
Henry V – the final production in the season. This will culminate in MGC Education Week, which will see a performance of this work on the stage of the Noel Coward theatre, plus an exhibition of set and costume designs by local primary school children.

JOB OPPORTUNITIES – ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR/ ASSOCIATE DESIGNER
MGC will be seeking young directors and designers for each production as part of a training scheme to seek out the next generation of creative artists working in the theatre. Full details of how to apply for these roles will be available via www.michaelgrandagecompany.com

AUDIO DESCRIBED PERFORMANCES
Each show will have audio described performances that include touch-tours and other activities.

CAPTIONED PERFORMANCES
In association with Stagetext, MGC are proud to offer all five West End shows with captioned performances.

Press release issued by: Kate Morley PR

LINKS

Book tickets to Peter & Alice at the Noel Coward Theatre in London

Book tickets to the Michael Grandage Company season at the Noel Coward Theatre in London

Evening Standard Theatre Awards winners announced

November 26, 2012 

At a starry ceremony last night at the Savoy Hotel in London, the Evening Standard presented the winners of its annual theatre awards, hosted by James Corden.

Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall in Constellations - winner of Best New Play at this year's Evening Standard Theatre Awards

Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall in Constellations – winner of Best New Play at this year’s Evening Standard Theatre Awards

The Royal Court enjoyed a timely success as its West End transfer of Constellations starring Sally Hawkins and Rafe Spall scooped a Best New Play award for Nick Payne. Currently playing at the Duke of York’s Theatre, Payne, at 29, is the youngest playwright to win the award.

Royal Court associate director Simon Godwin also won a new award, the Burberry award for emerging director, after being nominated last year for best newcomer for Nick Payne’s Wanderlust at the Royal Court. His recent Royal Court productions include The Acid Test, Goodbye To All That and The Witness.

This year’s ceremony felt dominated by the world of fashion, including a star-turn by American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who is daughter of the late Standard editor Charles Wintour, and sponsorship by Burberry, with their chief creative officer Christopher Bailey co-hosting the awards.

Charles Wintour’s name is associated with the most promising playwright award, which this year went to Lolita Chakrabarti for her sell-out play Red Velvet starring Adrian Lester at the Tricycle.

The creativity of the London Olympics opening ceremony was honoured as Danny Boyle and his team took home the Beyond Theatre award, with Boyle using his acceptance speech to argue for the inclusion of arts subjects in the English Baccalaureate. Creative director of the Olympic ceremonies Stephen Daldry was also presented with a special award at the end of the evening by Stephen Fry.

Dame Judi Dench received an award for her contribution to world theatre, saying that she loved making movies such as recent James Bond film Skyfall but that her “absolute passion is the theatre”. She will star alongside Skyfall’s Ben Wishaw this March in Peter and Alice, part of Michael Grandage’s new season of plays at the Noel Coward Theatre.

First up in the Grandage season is Privates on Parade starring Simon Russell Beale, who took home the best actor award last night for his performance as Stalin in Collaborators at the National Theatre.

It was a good night for the National with the National Theatre’s artistic director Nicholas Hytner winning the best director gong for his production of Timon of Athens – which also starred Simon Russell Beale – and the Lebedev special award for Hytner’s dynamic directorship of the National Theatre. David Hare, who has had a long and successful association with the National Theatre, was awarded the Editor’s award for his contribution to theatre.

Nicholas Hytner joined the protests about Arts cuts saying that they made no economic sense and calling for Culture Secretary Maria Miller to fund theatres to stimulate philanthropic giving.

The Donmar Warehouse’s first season under the stewardship of Josie Rourke saw the best design award go to Soutra Gilmour for Inadmissible Evidence plus design of Antigone at the National, and much talked-about young British actor Matthew Tennyson won a Milton Shulman award for outstanding newcomer for the Donmar’s Making Noise Quietly.

In other categories, Hattie Morahan won the best actress prize for her performance as Nora in Ibsen’s A Doll’s House at the Young Vic and best musical went to Jonathan Kent’s production of Sondheim’s Sweeney Todd starring Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, which transferred from Chichester to the Adelphi Theatre.

Hosts of the awards included Homeland’s Damian Lewis and Tinie Tempah, with guests including Colin Firth, Sir Ian McKellen, Ruth Wilson, Bill Nighy and Ralph Fiennes.

LINKS

See a full list of winners of the Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2012

Book tickets to Constellations at the Duke of York’s Theatre

PHOTOS

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Evening Standard Theatre Awards – Winners 2012

November 26, 2012 

Winners announced: Savoy Hotel, 25 November 2012

Best Play
Constellations, By Nick Payne (Royal Court Upstairs)

Best Director
Nicholas Hytner, Timon of Athens (National’s Olivier)

Best Actor
Simon Russell Beale, Collaborators (National’s Cottesloe)

Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress
Hattie Morahan, A Doll’s House (Young Vic)

Ned Sherrin Award For Best Musical
Sweeney Todd. Chichester Festival and Adelphi

Best Design
Soutra Gilmour, Inadmissible Evidence (Donmar Warehouse) and Antigone (National’s Olivier)

Charles Wintour Award For Most Promising Playwright
Lolita Chakrabarti, Red Velvet (Tricycle)

Milton Shulman Award For Outstanding Newcomer
Matthew Tennyson, Making Noise Quietly (Donmar Warehouse)

Beyond Theatre Award
Danny Boyle and his creative team, For the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympics

Lebedev Special Award
Nicholas Hytner, For his dynamic directorship of the National Theatre

Editor’s Award
David Hare, For his contribution to theatre

Burberry Award for Emerging Director
Simon Godwin

Moscow Art Theatre’s Golden Seagull Award
Judi Dench, For her contribution to world theatre

 

LINKS

Book tickets to Constellations at the Duke of York’s Theatre

Michael Grandage Company at the Noel Coward Theatre starring Jude Law, Judi Dench, Simon Russell-Beale and Sheridan Smith

July 20, 2012 

Following his hugely successful 10 year reign at the Donmar Warehouse in London, award-winning director Michael Grandage is setting up shop at the Noel Coward Theatre in the West End for a 15 month run of plays, starring some of the biggest names in British theatre.

An extraordinary season of plays starts this December with Simon Russell Beale starring in Peter Nichols’ award-winning comedy Privates on Parade. In March 2013, Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw star in John Logan’s remarkable new play Peter and Alice. June 2013 sees Daniel Radcliffe return to the West End in Martin McDonagh’s comic masterpiece The Cripple of Inishmaan and in September Grandage’s new production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream premieres starring Sheridan Smith as Titania and David Walliams as Bottom. Finally in November 2013 Michael Grandage teams up again with Hollywood star Jude Law for Shakespeare’s Henry V.

 

Privates On Parade | Michael Grandage Company at the Noel Coward Theatre

Privates On Parade

1 December 2012 – 2 March 2013

Simon Russell Beale plays the cross-dressing Captain Dennis whose performances of Marlene Dietrich, Vera Lynn and Carmen Miranda form the centrepiece of Peter Nichols’ award-winning comedy set against the murderous backdrop of the Malaysian campaign at the end of the Second World War.

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Theatre: Noel Coward Theatre

 

Peter and Alice | Michael Grandage Company at the Noel Coward Theatre

Peter and Alice

9 March 2013 – 1 June 2013

Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw star in John Logan’s remarkable new play about the moment when Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932, as the original Alice in Wonderland came face to face with the original Peter Pan. Part of the Michael Grandage Company season at the Noel Coward Theatre.

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Theatre: Noel Coward Theatre

 

The Cripple of Inishmaan | Michael Grandage Company at the Noel Coward Theatre

8 June 2013 – 31 August 2013

Daniel Radcliffe stars in Martin McDonagh’s comic masterpiece set in rural Ireland, directed by Michael Grandage as part of his new season at the Noel Coward Theatre.

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Theatre: Noel Coward Theatre

 

A Midsummer Nights Dream | Michael Grandage Company at the Noel Coward Theatre

7 September 2013 – 16 November 2013

Michael Grandage directs Sheridan Smith as Titania and David Walliams as Bottom in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Nights Dream, at the Noel Coward Theatre as part of the Michael Grandage Company season.

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Theatre: Noel Coward Theatre

 

Henry V | Michael Grandage Company at the Noel Coward Theatre

23 November 2013 – 15 February 2014

Award-winning actor Jude Law and acclaimed director Michael Grandage continue their collaboration following Hamlet and Anna Christie with Law playing Shakespeare’s Henry V in a brand new production at the Noel Coward Theatre as part of the Michael Grandage Company season.

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Theatre: Noel Coward Theatre

 

Peter and Alice | Michael Grandage Company at the Noel Coward Theatre starring Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw

July 20, 2012 

Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw star in John Logan’s remarkable new play about the moment when Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932, as the original Alice in Wonderland came face to face with the original Peter Pan. Part of the Michael Grandage Company season at the Noel Coward Theatre.

Judi Dench plays Alice, and Ben Whishaw plays Peter in Logan’s first new play since Red, which went on to win six Tony Awards in 2010.

Director Michael Grandage
Set and Costume Designer Christopher Oram

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Theatre: Noel Coward Theatre

Peter and Alice | Michael Grandage Company at the Noel Coward Theatre starring Judi Dench and Ben Whishaw

 

Michael Grandage Company Announces West End Season Of Five Plays With Over 100,000 Tickets At £10

June 15, 2012 

James Bierman and Michael Grandage launch their new company with a season of plays at the Noel Coward Theatre spanning 15 months from December 2012 to February 2014

• Over 200 tickets per performance at £10, with over 100,000 across the entire season
• Full education programme including schools’ performances, access and job opportunities
• New work alongside classical and twentieth century plays directed by Michael Grandage
• Privates On Parade play by Peter Nichols, music by Denis King
• Peter and Alice a new play by John Logan
• The Cripple of Inishmaan by Martin McDonagh
• A Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare
• Henry V by William Shakespeare
• Seven actors join company for new initiative in the West End
• Simon Russell Beale
• Judi Dench
• Jude Law
• Daniel Radcliffe
• Sheridan Smith
• David Walliams
• Ben Whishaw

James Bierman and Michael Grandage said today, “We are delighted to announce the inaugural season of work for the Michael Grandage Company – a programme comprised of new writing alongside the classical and twentieth century repertoire. At its heart is a commitment to reach out to as wide an audience as possible with over 200 tickets for each performance at £10 -over 100,000 across the season and through our schools’ and access work we aim to appeal to new theatregoers and help build audiences for the future. This unique West End season brings together writers, actors and other artists in a single venture over fifteen months dedicated to presenting work of the highest quality at affordable prices.”

A WEST END SEASON LIKE NO OTHER…
This season of five plays will be presented with over 100,000 tickets at £10, free performances for selected schools, a full education programme, captioned performances, audio-described performances, job opportunities for rising young directors and designers and much more. As well as offering audiences a diverse range of plays, the Michael Grandage Company is also reaching out to people of all ages and backgrounds to engage with the work they are presenting in the West End.
£10 SEATS
Over 100,000 tickets have been put aside at £10 – over 200 per performance. The majority of these tickets are bookable in advance, with 24 per performance held as day seats enabling access to every production throughout the run. These £10 tickets are across every level in the auditorium.
FREE EDUCATION PERFORMANCES
Every production in this season will have at least one free performance for schools and colleges from selected areas across London focusing on first-time theatregoers. This will launch MGC Futures, a scheme designed to introduce young people to the theatre.
MGC will also be engaging in a full education programme and reaching out to as many people as possible over the 15 months. There will be a Schools’ group rate offering access to all productions and a range of activities including a post-show talk, in-school workshops and on¬line study guides free of charge.
In addition to this, MGC will undertake an ambitious intergenerational project focused around Henry V – the final production in the season. This will culminate in MGC Education Week, which will see a performance of this work on the stage of the Noel Coward theatre, plus an exhibition of set and costume designs by local primary school children.
JOB OPPORTUNITIES -ASSOCIATE DIRECTOR/ ASSOCIATE DESIGNER
MGC will be seeking young directors and designers for each production as part of a training scheme to seek out the next generation of creative artists working in the theatre. Full details of how to apply for these roles will be available via www.michaelgrandagecompany.com
AUDIO DESCRIBED PERFORMANCES
Each show will have audio described performances that include touch-tours and other activities.
CAPTIONED PERFORMANCES
In association with Stagetext, MGC are proud to offer all five West End shows with captioned performances.

Michael Grandage Company (MGC) is a new non-building based production company set up by James Bierman and Michael Grandage to produce theatre, film and television. Its theatre work will be seen predominantly in London and New York where it aims to reach out to new audiences through competitive ticket pricing and access. The company is currently developing film projects and commissioning new work beyond 2014.

MICHAEL GRANDAGE is Artistic Director of the Michael Grandage Company in London. He was Artistic Director of the Donmar Warehouse (2002–2012) and Artistic Director of Sheffield Theatres (2000–05). He is the recipient of Tony, Drama Desk, Olivier, Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and South Bank Awards. He has been awarded Honorary Doctorates by both Sheffield University and Sheffield Hallam University and is President of Central School of Speech and Drama. He was appointed CBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2011. Later this month, his book A Decade At The Donmar, is published by Constable & Robins.
His work for the Donmar Warehouse included Richard II, Luise Miller, King Lear, Red (also New York, Tony and Drama Desk Awards Best Director), Jude Law in Hamlet (also Elsinore and New York), Ivanov (Evening Standard and Critics Circle Award Best Director), Madame de Sade, Twelfth Night, The Chalk Garden (Evening Standard and Critics Circle Awards Best Director), Don Juan in Soho, Frost/Nixon (also Gielgud, New York, USA tour, Tony Nomination Award for Best Director), Othello (Evening Standard and Critic’s Circle Awards for Best Director), The Wild Duck (Critic’s Circle Award Best Director), Guys and Dolls (Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production), Grand Hotel (Olivier Award for Outstanding Musical Production and Evening Standard Award Best Director), The Cut, After Miss Julie, Caligula (Olivier Award Best Director), Merrily We Roll Along (Evening Standard Award Best Director), Passion Play (Evening Standard Award and Critics Circle Award for Best Director). For Sheffield Theatres he directed many productions including Don Carlos (Evening Standard Award Best Director).

JAMES BIERMAN is Executive Producer of the Michael Grandage Company in London. A Tony Award-winning producer for Red, Bierman has worked in professional theatre since 1992 enjoying success in both the commercial and subsidised sectors. During his tenure at the Donmar Warehouse (2006 -11) he was involved in over 45 productions, which won numerous awards including Tony, Drama Desk, Olivier, Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and South Bank Awards. Alongside Michael Grandage he produced the Donmar West End Season at the Wyndham’s Theatre season, to both critical acclaim, and financial success. He produced a further two West End, and four Broadway transfers of the company’s work. With Grandage he took the Donmar’s portfolio to a wider audience, touring nationally and internationally, with radio broadcasts of The Chalk Garden and Othello (both BBC Radio 3), as well as the cast recording of Parade, and the NT Live transmission of King Lear in 2011 to over 350 cinemas worldwide. The culmination of their work together at the Donmar came with the purchase of two properties: the theatre in Earlham Street; and a rehearsal, education and office space in Dryden Street. Prior to this, Bierman spent 8 years at the Aldwych Theatre working alongside producer Michael Codron. The Aldwych saw 9 productions during his time and he was responsible for overseeing a £¾million refit of the Grade II listed theatre.

PRIVATES ON PARADE
Play by Peter Nichols Music by Denis King
1 December 2012 – 2 March 2013
Press night: 10 December
Cast includes: Simon Russell Beale
Director: Michael Grandage; Set and Costume Designer: Christopher Oram Lighting Designer: Paule Constable; Choreographer: Ben Wright
“Come see the privates on parade You’ll say: how proudly they’re displayed”
Private Steven Flowers is posted to the Song and Dance Unit in South East Asia where serving under the flamboyant Captain Terri Dennis he discovers it takes more than just a uniform to become a man.
Simon Russell Beale plays the cross-dressing Captain Dennis whose performances of Marlene Dietrich, Vera Lynn and Carmen Miranda form the centrepiece of Peter Nichols‘ award-winning comedy set against the murderous backdrop of the Malaysian campaign at the end of the Second World War.
Bristol-born playwright Peter Nichols’ principal works include The Hooded Terror, A day in the Death of Joe Egg, The National Health, Born in the Gardens, Passion Play, Poppy, A Piece of My Mind, Blue Murder and Lingua Franca.
Composer Denis King’s theatre credits include Worzel Gummidge, A Saint She Ain’t, Bashville, Stepping Out -The Musical and The Wind in the Willows. Television work includes The Adventures of Black Beauty, Lovejoy, Hannay, We’ll Meet Again, Dick Turpin and over 100 others.
Simon Russell Beale plays Captain Terri Dennis. His extensive theatre credits include for the National Theatre: Timon of Athens, Collaborators, London Assurance, A Slight Ache, Major Barbara, Much Ado About Nothing, The Alchemist, The Life of Galileo, Jumpers, Humble Boy, Hamlet (Evening Standard Award for Best Actor, Critics’ Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance), Candide (Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical), and Volpone (Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actor). Other theatre includes Deathtrap (Noel Coward Theatre), The Cherry Orchard/The Winter’s Tale (Bridge Project – BAM, world tour, Old Vic), Spamalot (Palace Theatre; Schubert Theatre, Broadway), The Philanthropist (Donmar Warehouse – Evening Standard Award for Best Actor) and Uncle Vanya/Twelfth Night (Evening Standard, Critics’ Circle and Olivier Awards for Best Actor). For television, his credits include Henry IV Parts 1 & 2, Spooks, American Experience, Dunkirk, A Dance to the Music of Time (BAFTA and RTS Awards for Best Actor) and Persuasion; and for film, The Deep Blue Sea, My Week With Marilyn, The Gathering, Alice in Wonderland, An Ideal Husband and Hamlet.

World première
PETER AND ALICE
A new play by John Logan
9 March – 1 June
Press night: 25 March 2013
Cast includes: Judi Dench, Ben Whishaw
Director: Michael Grandage; Set and Costume Designer: Christopher Oram Lighting Designer: Paule Constable
“Of course that’s how it begins: a harmless fairy tale to pass the hours”
When Alice Liddell Hargreaves met Peter Llewelyn Davies at the opening of a Lewis Carroll exhibition in 1932, the original Alice in Wonderland came face to face with the original Peter Pan. In John Logan’s remarkable new play, enchantment and reality collide as this brief encounter lays bare the lives of these two extraordinary characters.
Judi Dench plays Alice, and Ben Whishaw plays Peter in Logan’s first new play since Red, which won six Tony Awards in 2010.
John Logan is a playwright and screenwriter. His numerous plays include the Tony Award-winning Red, which Michael Grandage directed for the Donmar as well as Never the Sinner and Hauptmann. A three-time Academy Award nominated screenwriter, his film work includes Skyfall, Hugo, Rango, Coriolanus, Sweeney Todd, The Aviator, Gladiator, The Last Samurai and Any Given Sunday.
Judi Dench plays Alice Liddell Hargreaves. Dench’s theatre credits include A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Rose Theatre, Kingston), Madame de Sade (Donmar West End), Hay Fever, The Breath of Life (Haymarket Theatre), Merry Wives of Windsor, All’s Well That Ends Well (RSC), Amy’s View (National Theatre and Broadway) and A Little Night Music (National Theatre). For television, her credits include Cranford, As Time Goes By and Last of the Blonde Bombshells; and for film, Skyfall, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, J.Edgar, My Week With Marilyn, Pirates of the Caribean: On Stranger Tides, Jane Eyre, The Quantum of Solace, Notes on a Scandal, Casino Royale, Mrs Henderson Presents, Pride and Prejudice, Iris, Chocolat, Shakespeare in Love (Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress) and Mrs Brown.
Ben Whishaw plays Peter Llewelyn Davies. His theatre work includes The Pride (Lucille Lortel Theatre), Cock (Royal Court Theatre), Some Trace of Her, The Seagull (National Theatre), Leaves of Glass (Soho Theatre), Mercury Fur (Paines Plough) and Hamlet (Old Vic). For television, his credits include Richard II, The Hour, All Signs of Death, Criminal Justice ¬International Emmy Award for Best Actor, Nathan Barley and Other People’s Children; and for film, For Viola And Piano, Skyfall, Cloud Atlas, The Tempest, Bright Star, Brideshead Revisited, I’m Not There and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer.

THE CRIPPLE OF INISHMAAN
by Martin McDonagh
8 June – 31 August
Press night: 18 June 2013
Cast includes: Daniel Radcliffe
Director: Michael Grandage; Set and Costume Designer: Christopher Oram Lighting Designer: Paule Constable
“I shouldn’t laugh at you Billy … but I will”
Set on the remote island of Inishmaan off the west coast of Ireland, word arrives that a Hollywood film is being made on the neighbouring island of Inishmore. The one person who wants to be in the film more than anybody is young Cripple Billy, if only to break away from the bitter tedium of his daily life. Martin McDonagh’s comic masterpiece examines an ordinary coming of age in extraordinary circumstances and confirms his position as one of the most original Irish voices to emerge in the second half of the twentieth century.
Daniel Radcliffe plays the title role in the first major London revival since its premiere at the National Theatre in 1996.
Martin McDonagh is a multi award-winning Irish playwright, screenwriter and film director. His plays include The Leenane Trilogy: The Beauty Queen of Leenane, A Skull in Connemara and The Lonesome West; The Aran Islands Trilogy: The Cripple of Inishmaan, The Lieutenant of Inishmore and The Banshees of Inisheer (unpublished); The Pillowman and A Behanding in Spokane. His screenplays include Six Shooter (Academy Award), In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths.
Daniel Radcliffe plays Cripple Billy. For theatre, his work includes How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying (Al Hirschfeld Theatre, Broadway) and Equus (Gielgud Theatre, before transferring to Broadway). For television, his work includes the forthcoming A Young Doctor’s Notebook with Jon Hamm to be broadcast on Sky Arts, My Boy Jack, Extras and David Copperfield; and for film, Radcliffe has played the title role in all eight films in the Harry Potter series; The Woman in Black, and the forthcoming Kill Your Darlings in which he plays Allen Ginsberg.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT’S DREAM
by William Shakespeare
7 September – 16 November
Press night: 17 September 2013
Cast includes: Sheridan Smith, David Walliams
Director: Michael Grandage; Set and Costume Designer: Christopher Oram Lighting Designer: Paule Constable
“The course of true love never did run smooth”
Lysander loves Hermia and Hermia loves Lysander. Helena loves Demetrius; Demetrius used to love Helena but now loves Hermia. When Hermia’s father insists she choose Demetrius as a suitor she escapes with Lysander into the surrounding forest where Oberon and Titania, the King and Queen of the Fairies are having their own battle of love. As the human and magical worlds collide mischief and chaos erupt as love at first sight proves a reality for some and makes an ass of others.
Sheridan Smith plays Titania and David Walliams plays Bottom in this new production of one of Shakespeare’s greatest comedies.
Sheridan Smith plays Titania. Her theatre work includes Flare Path (Theatre Royal Haymarket – Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress, Evening Standard and Critics’ Circle Awards for Best Actress), Legally Blonde (Savoy Theatre – Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical), Tinderbox (Bush Theatre), Little Shop of Horrors (Menier Chocolate Factory & Duke of York’s Theatre), The People are Friendly (Royal Court) and Into the Woods (Donmar Warehouse). For television, her credits include Mrs Biggs, Accused, Scapegoat, Little Crackers, Jonathan Creek, Gavin & Stacey, Larkrise to Candleford, Grown Ups, Love Soup, Two Pints of Larger and a Packet of Crisps, The Royale Family and Wives and Daughters; and for film, Quartet, Tower Block and Hysteria.
David Walliams plays Bottom. For theatre, his works includes No Man’s Land (Gate Theatre, Duke of York’s Theatre), Little Britain (international tour). For television, his credits as a writer and performer include Come Fly With Me, the multi award-winning Little Britain and Rock Profile. His other acting credits include Blandings, Doctor Who, Rather You Than Me, Capturing Mary, Attachments, and Spaced for television; and Great Expectations, Dinner for Schmucks and Stardust for film. In addition to his acting work Walliams has also joined the judging panel of Britain’s Got Talent and continued his support of Sport Relief, most recently raising £2.5 million for the charity by swimming the length of the River Thames.

HENRY V
by William Shakespeare
23 November 2013 – 15 February 2014 Press night: 3 December 2013
Cast includes: Jude Law
Director: Michael Grandage; Set and Costume Designer: Christopher Oram Lighting Designer: Neil Austin
“We few, we happy few, we band of brothers”
Can the King of England hold his nerve to embrace his duty, command his men and lead his country to victory in France? Shakespeare’s great play of nationhood investigates the bloody horrors of war and the turbulence of a land in crisis.
Jude Law and Michael Grandage continue their collaboration that began with Hamlet in 2009. Law also appeared in the Donmar’s award-winning production Anna Christie, as part of Grandage’s final season as Artistic Director.
Jude Law plays Henry V. His theatre work includes Anna Christie (Donmar Warehouse), Hamlet (Donmar West End for which he won the Critics’ Circle Award for Best Shakespearean Performance – also Denmark and Broadway), Dr Faustus, ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (Young Vic), Les Parents Terribles (National Theatre and Broadway) and Death of a Salesman (West Yorkshire Playhouse). His film work includes The Bitter Pill, Anna Karenina, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, Hugo, Contagion, Repo Men, Sherlock Holmes, The Imaginarium of Dr Parnassus, Sleuth, My Blueberry Nights, The Holiday, Closer, Alfie, The Aviator, Cold Mountain, Road to Perdition, The Talented Mr Ripley and Wilde.

Release issued by: Kate Morley PR

LINKS

Book tickets to the Michael Grandage Company season at the Noel Coward Theatre

London theatre exhibition provides an intimate portrait of West End stars

March 11, 2012 

Simon Annand exhibition The Half reveals West End stars backstage 

Amanda Holden as Princess Fiona in Shrek, part of The Half exhibition. Photo: Simon Annand

Amanda Holden as Princess Fiona in Shrek, part of The Half exhibition. Photo: Simon Annand

A great deal of mystery surrounds the nightly ritual of a performer preparing to go on stage. The final half-an-hour before curtain up, known as The Half, is when actors spend their last few minutes transforming themselves into someone before going on.

Theatre photographer Simon Annand has captured these intimate moments in a new exhibition in London called The Half, which runs until 8 April 2012 at the Idea Generation gallery in Shoreditch.

The exhibition features portraits from his 2008 book of the same name and a number of new and unseen images of London’s leading theatre performers.

Simon has been building up this project for over 25 years and has gained unprecedented backstage access to a host of big name theatre performers including Anthony Hopkins, Cate Blanchett, Daniel Day Lewis, Judi Dench, John Gielgud, Vanessa Redgrave, Jim Broadbent, Jeremy Irons, Glenda Jackson, Jude Law, Charlotte Rampling, Michael Gambon, Maggie Smith, Martin Sheen, Felicity Kendal, Kevin Spacey and Ralph Fiennes.

New works on show include Amanda Holden in Shrek The Musical, Kelly Brook in Calendar Girls and Danielle Hope as Dorothy.

Simon Annand said: “To photograph actors when they are “getting into character” is to see them at their most photogenic as you can see why they have been attracted to this particular thrill of becoming another…  The performer is very exposed and there is something endlessly romantic and heroic about it.”

A series of events will also be held at the exhibition including a book signing by Simon Annand on Sunday 18 March 2012 from 3pm to 6pm, and  ‘Its Not About The Tits’ with Polly Rae and Simon Annand on 8 April 2012 from 6.30pm, featuring a one off Burlesque performance by the inimitable Miss Rae.

DETAILS

Simon Annand: The Half is open to the public until 8 April 2012 at the Idea Generation Gallery, 11 Chance Street, London E2 7JB. T. +44 (0)20 7749 6850. The gallery is open Monday to Friday 10.00am – 6pm & Sundays 12 – 5pm.

LINKS

Idea Generation Gallery website

Simon Annand website

Amazon: Buy The Half by Simon Annand

GALLERY

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