Rank #1: Susannah Flood talks about playing Sylvia in Nina Raine's Tribes in New York
Susannah Flood stars in Nina Raine’s Tribes—originally produced at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 2010—at Barrow Street Theatre, New York and talks about the difficulties of playing a character losing her hearing and learning sign language in three weeks.
Jan 06 2013
Rank #2: Three years of actors' honesty with Jonathan Harden
The Honest Actors’ Podcast was founded by Belfast-born actor Jonathan Harden in 2015 and is currently launching its third and final series, featuring long, frank discussions with experienced actors about the joys and torments of their chosen career.
As he was in the midst of launching new episodes in the days leading up to Christmas 2018, BTG Editor David Chadderton turned the tables on Jonathan, asking him about his life and career as an actor, as well as what he has learned from the last three years of interviews with other actors.
The Honest Actors’ Podcast is available for free on Apple Podcasts, Acast, Stitcher, Spotify and other podcast directories and aggregators.
(Photo: Jonathan Harden in Children of the Sun at the National Theatre, directed by Howard Davies. Image: Richard Hubert Smyth)
Dec 23 2018
Rank #3: Director Lily Sykes on bringing Genet's Maids to Manchester Home
The first in-house production in HOME Manchester’s autumn and winter season for 2018 is a new production of French writer Jean Genet’s 1947 play The Maids, in an English version by Martin Crimp.
The play will be directed in-the-round at HOME by Lily Sykes, an English-born director who has lived and worked in Germany for the last ten years and has recently become a German citizen.
In a break during rehearsals, BTG Editor David Chadderton spoke to Lily about the play, existentialism, polarisation of society, the differences between directing for British and German theatres and a great deal more.
The Maids will run at HOME Manchester from 16 November to 1 December 2018. For more information, see homemcr.org.
(Photo of Lily Sykes by Magnus Reed)
Nov 03 2018
Rank #4: Jodie Prenger on returning to Blackpool in One Man Two Guvnors
Jodie Prenger, who won the part of Nancy in Oliver! in TV reality show I'd Do Anything, is currently starring as Dolly in Richard Bean's One Man, Two Guvnors, the multi-award-winning comedy from the National Theatre based on Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters directed by Nicholas Hytner, at the Theatre Royal Haymarket in London.
Jodie will join the current tour of the production for a couple of its northern dates. David Chadderton talks to her about bringing the production to her home town of Blackpool.
Nov 12 2012
Rank #5: Stella Duffy: bringing Joan Littlewood's idea of fun to a palace near to you
The Fun Palace was an idea conceived originally by influential theatre maker Joan Littlewood with architect Cedric Price in the early 1960s.
Their building-based idea was never built, but writer and actor Stella Duffy OBE came up with the idea to resurrect it in a different way for Littlewood’s centenary in 2014. This has become a fast-growing annual event co-directed by Stella with Sarah-Jane Rawlings and is about to celebrate its fifth anniversary.
In this episode, David Chadderton talks to Stella about her realisation of the Fun Palace idea for the twenty-first century on a countrywide scale, and she also makes some provocative suggestions about theatre, culture, outreach projects and diversity.
The fifth Fun Palaces event will be on 6 and 7 October 2018. For information on fun palaces near to you or details of how to create a fun palace of your own, see the Fun Palaces web site.
Aug 12 2018
Rank #6: Hansel and Gretel follow the trail to Derby for Christmas
Derby Theatre's Christmas show for 2018 is Mike Kenny's adaptation of Hansel and Gretel from the tales collected by the Brothers Grimm.
BTG Midlands Editor Steve Orme talks about the show to Derby Theatre Artistic Director Sarah Brigham, who is directing the production, and actors Craig Anderson and Yana Penrose, who play the title roles of Hansel and Gretel.
Hansel and Gretel runs at Derby Theatre from Friday 30 November 2018 to Saturday 5 January 2019.
Nov 24 2018
Rank #7: "Follow your dream"—to the Marlowe's Cinderella
2018 marks the second time Evolution Productions has produced Cinderella at the Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury after the venue re-opened in 2011.
Simon Sladen speaks to the theatre's resident Dame Ben Roddy and Marlowe regulars Lloyd Hollett and Phil Gallagher as they star in their fourth panto together.
Simon, Ben, Lloyd and Phil discuss this year's show, their approach to playing the Ugly Sisters and Buttons, the trio's affinity with the Marlowe as well as some top tips for those starting out in the industry.
Dec 02 2018
Rank #8: From Shore To Shore: migrant stories come to your local Chinese restaurant
From Shore to Shore is a play written by British playwright Mary Cooper in collaboration with M W Sun based on real migration stories from Chinese communities throughout the UK that will tour nationally to Chinese restaurants and Chinese community centres rather than theatres.
For this episode, BTG Editor David Chadderton spoke to the play’s director, David Tse, and veteran British Chinese actor Ozzie Yue, who leads the cast, about the play, the process of collecting stories, their own family connections with Chinese migrant stories and also how opportunities have changed for British Chinese actors over the last few decades.
From Shore to Shore, directed by David K S Tse for On the Wire and starring Ozzie Yue, will open at the Yang Sing Restaurant in Manchester from 9 to 16 March and will then tour until 6 April, with performances in Liverpool, Lancaster, Morecambe, Newcastle upon Tyne and Birmingham.
Feb 26 2019
Rank #9: MIF launch 2019
Highlights of the launch event for the Manchester International Festival 2019, held in Manchester on 7 March 2019.
Introduced by MIF artistic director John McGrath, this episode also features announcements from festival participants including Phelim McDermott of Improbable Theatre, Kwame Kwei-Armah of Young Vic Theatre, actors Maxine Peake and Juliet Stevenson, Leo Warner of 59 Productions, writer Lolita Chakrabarti, choreographer Claire Cunningham, Mary Anne Hobbs of BBC 6 Music and grime artist Skepta.
Other artists appearing at the festival include Philip Glass, Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson and David Lynch.
Image from MIF launch: Michael Symmons Roberts, Emily Howard, John McGrath, Maxine Peake, Grainne Flynn, Wesley Thistlewaite, Adam Ali, Kirsty Housley, Claire Cunningham, Leo Warner, Kwame Kwei-Armah, Isaiah Hull, Young identity poet, Reggie Gray, Animals of Manchester child-curators, Sibylle Peters, Karl Hyde, Lois Keidan, Adam Thirlwell, Danny Collins, Adania Shibli, Juliet Stevenson, Lolita Chakrabarti, Benoit Swan Pouffer, Christine Cort, Mark Ball
Mar 09 2019
Rank #10: Much Ado About Benedick at Northern Broadsides
Conrad Nelson’s production of Shakespeare’s comedy Much Ado About Nothing for Northern Broadsides Theatre Company had a cast change on the first day of rehearsals when Reece Dinsdale had to drop out of the key role of Benedick due to a family illness and Robin Simpson took over the role.
BTG Editor David Chadderton spoke to Robin during the second week of rehearsals about the additional pressure that may have put on him and also about the production as a whole, playing Shakespeare, performing comedy and even a bit of panto.
The Northern Broadsides production of Much Ado About Nothing runs at the New Vic Theatre in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire from 8 February to 2 March 2019, before embarking on a national tour until the end of May to The Dukes Lancaster, Stephen Joseph Theatre in Scarborough, Salisbury Playhouse, Derby Theatre, Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds, Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield, Viaduct Theatre in Halifax, The Lowry in Salford, York Theatre Royal and Harrogate Theatre.
Feb 01 2019
Rank #11: Anya Reiss on the Library Theatre revival of her adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull
Playwright Anya Reiss, whose first play was produced by London's Royal Court Theatre less than four years ago, talks about her adaptation of Chekhov's The Seagull, written for Southwark Playhouse and currently being revived by Manchester's Library Theatre Company.
Anya talks about her original works—Spur of the Moment and The Acid Test at the Royal Court, Forty-Five Minutes for National Theatre Connections and a monologue for the Bush Theatre's Sixty-Six Books—plus her adaptations, with new versions of Chekhov's Three Sisters for Southwark and Wedekind's Spring Awakening for Headlong both about to go into rehearsal.
The Seagull will be the last play directed by Chris Honer as artistic director of the Library Theatre Company. It will be performed in the Quays Theatre at The Lowry in Salford from 21 February to 8 March 2014.
(Photo of Anya Reiss by Emma Bullivant)
Jan 30 2014
Rank #12: Christmas Crimes in Lichfield
Lichfield Garrick is presenting an alternative show as well as its panto this Christmas as New Old Friends will be staging the latest in its "Crimes of..." series: Crimes of the Christmas Pudding.
BTG Midlands editor Steve Orme speaks to director Nel Crouch and Jill Myers who plays Belgian detective Artemis Arinae.
Crimes of the Christmas Pudding runs at Lichfield Garrick from Wednesday 5 December 2018 until Saturday 5 January 2019.
Dec 08 2018
Rank #13: Jude Christian directs othellomacbeth at HOME Manchester
For its first production of the autumn 2018 season, HOME in Manchester has again teamed up with Lyric Hammersmith for a pairing of two of Shakespeare’s plays, Othello and Macbeth, assembled into one production by director Jude Christian to highlight, in particular, the stories of the female characters in both plays.
A week before the production’s Manchester opening, Jude spoke to BTG editor David Chadderton at HOME about how the production came about and redressing the gender politics in Shakespeare, as well as some thoughts on panto, which she will also be directing later this year at Lyric Hammersmith.
(photo by Helen Murray)
Sep 07 2018
Rank #14: David Chadderton talks to the principal cast members of The Lion King tour in Manchester
On the day of its opening at the Palace Theatre in Manchester, David Chadderton speaks to some of the principal cast members of Disney's The Lion King, currently on its first ever UK tour.
We speak to Carole Stennett who plays Nala, Nicholas Nkuna who plays Simba, Stephen Carlile who plays Scar and Gugwama Dlamini who plays Rafiki.
Dec 05 2012
Rank #15: Kevin Shaw on the long panto tradition at Oldham Coliseum
Kevin Shaw, artistic director of the Coliseum Theatre in Oldham, talks about the long tradition of acclaimed panto at the theatre and the well-known panto performers who honed their craft there.
As director and co-writer (with regular dame Fine Time Fontayne) of the pantos for the last few years, Shaw talks about the writing and production process and the origins of some of the stories and routines that they use.
Dec 01 2012
Rank #16: James Graham - The National Theatre's latest "Big Discovery"
Philip Fisher interviews James Graham ahead of the transfer of his Evening Standard nominated political drama This House to the Olivier Theatre.
In addition to discussing British politics in the second half of the 1970s, the conversation also looks into what it takes for a young writer to make it to the National, the joys of working at the Finborough and James Graham's career to date.
Nov 28 2012
Rank #17: Octagon founder Robin Pemberton Billing: a tribute from David Thacker and recollections from Robert Powell
Bolton Octagon artistic director David Thacker pays tribute to the theatre's founder Robin Pemberton-Billing, who died on 18 November 2012 at the age of 83.
Also included are some memories of working at the theatre in its early days from actor Robert Powell, recorded in July 2011.
Nov 27 2012
Rank #18: Jackie Kay's Red Dust Road runs from Edinburgh to Manchester
Jackie Kay is the current Makar, the Scottish national poet, whose 2010 memoir, Red Dust Road, is to be adapted for the stage by Tanika Gupta for a co-production between the National Theatre of Scotland and HOME Manchester, which will open at the Edinburgh International Festival in August 2019.
BTG Editor David Chadderton spoke to Jackie at HOME Manchester about the subject of her book, her quest to find her birth parents (she was adopted as a baby and brought up in Glasgow), one in Scotland and the other in Nigeria, and what she is hoping for from the adaptation.
Red Dust Road is published by Picador. The production will open at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre from 14 to 18 August 2019 before touring to Macrobert Arts Centre in Stirling, Eden Court Theatre in Inverness and finishing at HOME Manchester from 11 to 21 September.
May 10 2019
Rank #19: Playwright Richard Vergette on American Justice at the Arts Theatre in London
Richard Vergette's play American Justice, set in an American prison against the backdrop of the Obama administration, began life as an hourlong piece called As We Forgive Them as part of Manchester's annual new writing event 24:7 Theatre Festival.
Under its new title and with a cast of three—Peter Tate, Ryan Gage and David Schaal—the play opens for a limited run at the Arts Theatre in London's West End in January 2013.
Vergette talks to David Chadderton about the background to the play's development and the issues that it tries to highlight.
Dec 21 2012
Rank #20: RashDash on what we may find in their (and our) Future Bodies
The latest production from acclaimed theatre company RashDash, Future Bodies, has been produced in collaboration with Unlimited Theatre and HOME Manchester as a trailblazer event for the 2018 Manchester Science Festival.
What does it mean to have and to be a body? As we increasingly fuse our biological brains with technology, at what point do we stop being human? Does it even matter?
During rehearsals at HOME, BTG Editor David Chadderton spoke to RashDash co-founder Helen Goalen, who is co-directing the production, about the show, how it was created and the ideas behind it.
Future Bodies will be at HOME Manchester from 28 September to 13 October 2018 before touring to Northern Stage in Newcastle from 16 to 18 October and the Lawrence Batley Theatre in Huddersfield on 19 October.
(Image: Helen Goalen (R) in rehearsals)
Sep 26 2018