Feature | A Day with Oily Cart

Jovana Backovic, Robyn Steward, Mark Foster, Aaron Diaz, Griff Fender, Daniel Gouly in JAMBOREE. Design by Flavio Graff Photo credit Suzi Corker

by Laura Kressly

“Welcome to the glitter zone!”

I’m greeted exuberantly by one of the actors, who are mid-yoga warmup when I arrive. Though I try my best to quietly enter their rehearsal space, I’m flustered by a series of train and tube delays that mean I arrived nearly half an hour after I intended and it’s impossible for me to not be noticed. I self-consciously wave, smile, and settle into the chair that’s closest to the door. There are musical instruments, costume, sound equipment and lots of ‘stuff’ everywhere in their Tooting rehearsal room overlook a school’s playground. And indeed, glitter.

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Feature |The Whitewashing of La Mancha

Windmills in Consuegra.

by Tony Diaz

The English National Opera’s upcoming concert performance of Man of La Mancha, a musical inspired by the Spanish classic novel Don Quixote, takes place in Spain where, coincidentally, all of the characters are Spanish. However, this production seems to include no performers of Spanish or Latinx descent.

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Feature | Top Ten Shows of 2018

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by Laura Kressly

Growing global discontent has been the hallmark of 2018, and 2019 is looking even worse. The last few years have marked a rise of the far-right, but theatremakers in opposition are letting audiences know it from the stage. Some of the best shows of this year show anger, fear, uncertainty or simply let the world know that enough is enough – it’s time for a fairer, more peaceful society that pays homage to all of its people.

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Report | Mousetrap Theatre Projects’ Anniversary Gala

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by guest critic Susannah Martin

On Sunday, the West End’s Prince of Wales Theatre saw some of theatre’s biggest stars  host and perform in the Mousetrap Theatre Projects’ Anniversary Gala, which nodded
to the 21 years that the charity has provided disadvantaged families and young people with the opportunity to experience live theatre. It’s a cause that is celebrated throughout the industry, and the night’s entertainment proved its importance for not only the recipients, but for the performers who have benefited from the scheme.

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Feature | Addiction and the Audience in People, Places & Things

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by guest critic Steven Strauss

Heaps of deserved praise has been showered on Jeremy Herrin’s production of Duncan Macmillan’s People, Places & Things, with much directed at Denise Gough’s thrillingly committed performance of a struggling actor in rehab. Yet after seeing it at Wyndham’s Theatre in mid-2016 then its New York City run this year, it’s easy to see there’s more to it than Gough. A second, transatlantic viewing proves just how thoroughly the production theatricalises addicts’ experiences in order to generate audience empathy with the struggle to overcome addiction.

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Feature | ‘No More #Notallmen’: an open letter from men in theatre

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In light of recent reports of abuse, it has become apparent that many of us have failed to engage with the dark truths that hide beneath the surface of of the theatre industry. Action needs to be taken regarding the treatment of our female colleagues. Men in our industry need to listen, build awareness and stop trying to define others’ experience. We need to learn how our behaviour and language can affect women negatively. We must respect their perspective rather than getting defensive and telling our female colleagues that they are wrong.

This is on all men, and up to all men, to actively stop abuse and harassment. No woman should feel that the male gaze defines her talent and potential to succeed, but it is not enough to simply think this. It is time for all of us to make this happen at all levels.

No more #notallmen.

It’s time for those responsible to face the consequences of abusing their position. We will fully support anyone wishing to come forward and ask for help, allow them to tell their story, and help them take any action possible to stop it from happening again, both to themselves and to others.

We are asking for the creation of an independent, unbiased HR for the creative industries via The Arts Council (or similar body) to help those employers and employees without these resources and provide a vital source of support and recourse for those who desperately need it.

We won’t accept or excuse the behaviour of ‘characters’ regardless of status. We will end the fear of exclusion that has for so long propped up and protected the abusers. That ends now.

Claims that inappropriate language and behaviour are just ‘banter’ is harmful. It is this mindset that allows problems to fester and grow. They must be tackled by all of us head on, whenever and wherever we come across them.

We will work to ensure a safe, welcoming environment of expression. We will listen and not talk over, not justify, and not ignore rumours. Instead, we will reach out to those affected and offer our support.

We are now in the process of creating a living policy document, a link to which we will send out in the next few weeks. In addition to this document, the website that it sits on will also include links to sites and resources that may be useful in whatever capacity. They may include confidential advice services, legal support for anyone who wishes to speak out, or policy and avenues that can be taken regarding HR to seek further information.

We acknowledge our ignorance in this area. We need, request and would greatly appreciate any input, ideas and guidance to help create a charter of principles. These will create the impetus for us all to take meaningful, tangible actions that can be adopted by us all so that we can effect real change.

This is not perfect; it’s a start, not a conclusion, to the problem – let’s talk, listen, learn and together build a new industry that is all the things we imagined the arts were when started out.

Let us be kind, let us be human.

Signed:

Daniel Perks, Tommo Fowler, Will Adolphy, Martin Derbyshire, Leon Fleming, Andrew Darren Elkins, Luke Barnes, John Donnelly, Hector Moyes, Tim Cook, Niall Phillips, Alistair Wilkinson, Alex Dowding, Carl Woodward, Adam Morley, John Byrne, Roberto Iandi, Matthew Dunster, Paul Chesterton

The Play’s the Thing UK is committed to covering fringe and progressive theatre in London and beyond. It is run entirely voluntarily and needs regular support to ensure its survival. For more information and to help The Play’s the Thing UK provide coverage of the theatre that needs reviews the most, visit its patreon.

Feature | ‘I was abused at drama school.’

by an anonymous female actor

Do you know the man who has charm, and wit, and a presence unlike any other in the room? Do you know his charismatic one-liners? His banter that fits in well with whichever group of people he’s entertaining today? His ability to relate to you specifically, to make you feel special, important?

That man was one of my drama school tutors and he abused me.

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