Tuesday, 9 April 2019
Company Stars - A revival of the Stephen Sondheim musical Company was among the big winners at Sunday night's Olivier Awards. It won four prizes at the ceremony. The West End revival of the 1970 musical saw the lead character, Robert, re-imagined as a woman.
Accepting the award for best musical revival, the show's director Marianne Elliott explained her company's "main goal was to put female stories front and centre on our stages".
Two other shows took home four prizes from the ceremony - The Inheritance and Come From Away. Other winners included: Best set design - Bunny Christie (Company), Best lighting - Jon Clark (The Inheritance), Best sound design - Gareth Owen (Come From Away)
Mamma Mia! - Abba's Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus made a surprise appearance as hit musical Mamma Mia! celebrated its 20th anniversary in London's West End. Huge applause welcomed the pair onto the stage as the show ended at the Novello Theatre. Ulvaeus told the crowd it felt "both strange and wonderful" to be there. They have appeared at previous anniversary performances and this time were joined at the Novello Theatre by producer Judy Craymer, director Phyllida Lloyd and writer Catherine Johnson, who Ulvaeus described as "three angels".
Smart Glasses - Smart caption glasses developed and trialled at the National Theatre for hearing-impaired audiences are being rolled out across the UK, with Leeds Playhouse the first regional theatre to use the technology. The glasses are aimed at D/deaf audiences, and offer personal captioning – flashing the production’s dialogue in front of the wearer’s eyes as the actors say it.
They were developed by the NT with Leeds Beckett University professor Andrew Lambourne, and were unveiled by the NT in 2017, before being introduced in 2018. Now, the Leeds Playhouse will begin an audience trial of the glasses. Executive director Robin Hawkes said: “It is brilliant to be the first theatre to work in partnership with the National Theatre on trialling these groundbreaking glasses with our audiences. At Leeds Playhouse we are continually exploring innovative ways to make theatre and performance more accessible. I look forward to seeing the impact these glasses will have.”
Going Dutch - Plans have been announced for a new 1,100-seat theatre at London’s Royal Docks, which will house a Dutch musical set during the Second World War. The venue is being purpose built by Dutch production company NEW Productions, which is behind Soldier of Orange – The Musical. Subject to planning permission, NEW Productions aims to start building the theatre by the end of 2019, ahead of a planned UK opening in 2020.
The theatre will use “revolutionary theatre technology”, which will see 1,100-seat audience seated on a revolving platform surrounded by a “360-degree set”, on which the actors will perform. NEW productions said the staging, called SceneAround, had been created especially for this production and has not been seen in the UK before.
On The Mend - Sir Mick Jagger has successfully undergone heart valve replacement surgery for a medical condition that led to the Rolling Stones postponed gigs in North America. In a statement, a representative for the 75-year-old rocker said he is "doing very well and is expected to make a full recovery".
9 April 2019