Olivier Awards - A stage adaptation of Life of Pi and a revival of the musical Cabaret were the big winners at last Sunday's Olivier Awards. It was a celebratory night for theatre at the Royal Albert Hall as the stage industry celebrated a year in which performances resumed after lockdown.
Cabaret stars Eddie Redmayne and Jessie Buckley won acting prizes while the show was named best musical revival. Life of Pi, based on the Booker Prize-winning novel, was named best new play and scooped several technical prizes. Cabaret's success at the first Olivier ceremony since 2020 follows a sell-out run for the show which saw London's Playhouse Theatre transformed into the Kit Kat Club.
Best set design went to Tim Hatley for Design and Nick Barnes & Finn Caldwell for the puppets for Life of Pi; Best lighting design was awarded to Tim Lutkin and Andrzej Goulding for Life of Pi and Nick Lidster Best took sound design for Cabaret.
Global Rankings - The Royal College of Music has been ranked the top institution in the world for performing arts, according to a new listing that includes four British colleges in the top 10. London’s Royal College of Music was placed second in the QS World University Rankings last year, with New York’s Juilliard School taking the top spot for performing arts. It has now risen to number one, which it described as a measure of the strength and quality of its teaching and its international reputation.
The college’s director, Colin Lawson, said: "To be ranked as the global number one institution for performing arts reflects the dedicated work by the teaching staff, professors and professional services staff, all of whom work tirelessly to ensure that RCM students receive the best possible opportunities in an environment that closely mirrors the professional world.”
Also in the top 10 this year are the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland, Guildhall School of Music and Drama and the Royal Academy of Music, which take fifth, sixth and seventh spots, respectively.
Relaxed Performance - London’s Donmar Warehouse is to host its first ever relaxed performance as part of the UK premiere of Jackie Sibblies Drury’s Marys Seacole. The relaxed performance, which forms part of a wider commitment to improving accessibility at the Donmar, will be held on 26 May at 11.30am.
During the performance, audience members will be encouraged to feel comfortable to make noise and to move around if they need to, and babies-in-arms are welcome. The script itself will be unchanged, but loud noises, sound effects and lighting will be turned down or removed. Relaxed performances aim to be more accessible to disabled and neurodiverse audience members.
Pandemic Impact - Andrew Lloyd Webber’s LW Theatres suffered pre-tax losses of £28.1m in 12 months to June 2021, with box office revenues down 97% on the same period the year before.
The company’s annual accounts also show the company’s staffing reduction as a result of the pandemic, with LW Theatres employing a monthly average of 418 people in the year ending June 2020 and 217 in 2021, a reduction of almost half. The company told The Stage that since reopening, it had rebuilt its workforce, and currently has 827 people working for LW Theatres.
The accounts - which cover the period just a few months after venues were forced to close in March 2020 - show the severe impact of the pandemic on the company - which operates six West End venues, including the London Palladium and the Gillian Lynne Theatre.
(Jim Evans)
12 April 2022

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