Backstage Upgrade - The National Theatre has submitted a planning application to bring some of its backstage departments - which have been largely unaltered since the 1970s - up-to-date and ensure they meet current health and safety requirements.
Submitted to Lambeth Council by architects and designers Tom Wilson Studio, the plans outline refurbishments to support the modernisation of the NT’s back-of-house facilities, including its textiles studio, costume and prop workshop, wig, hair and make-up department and laundry room, located on the building’s fifth floor.
According to the planning application, the fifth-floor production facilities have been "largely untouched since the 1970s and no longer support the working requirements and practices expected of a modern theatre, and in some cases are non-compliant with current health and safety executive guidelines for such specialist areas".
The plans state that much of the ventilation equipment across the site is not fit for purpose and needs replacement, and that the lighting in all of these spaces in the grade II*-listed building also needs replacing.
On The Fringe - A musical about the Covid-19 pandemic created by a Surrey actress is heading to the Edinburgh Festival. Natasha Mould, from Walton-on-Thames, wrote the show when she found herself unemployed and taking on a care job during the pandemic.
2020 The Musical includes songs about being on furlough and working with the elderly. Ms Mould went from acting in 9 to 5 The Musical in the West End to a full-time care job in a nursing home. She said: "I was about to go on tour with a Strictly Come Dancing show when we got a group text telling us not to come to rehearsals and that was it. We didn't get paid. I was wondering what I was going to do next." Three days later she began working as a carer for the elderly.
The actress said many of her friends worked in supermarkets during the pandemic, a time when many people changed their lives "to keep afloat". Her musical focuses on how the lives of theatre workers changed, she added. "So much love and community and positivity came from such tragedy, so I am sharing the stories people did not know," she said.
In The Courts - Singer Dua Lipa is facing a multi-million dollar copyright claim over the use of a recording in her hit single Levitating. The legal action was filed by musician Bosko Kante, who claims the star used a recording made with his talk box in remixes of the song without permission. Dua Lipa and her label Warner Music Group have not responded to the claims. Levitating is one of Dua Lipa's most popular tracks from her 2020 album Future Nostalgia. The legal action, which was filed in Los Angeles on Monday, claims Bosko is entitled to more than $20m (£15.6m).
Panto Season - Trafalgar Entertainment is to launch a pantomime division after acquiring producer Imagine Theatre, the UK’s second largest panto producer. The partnership, described as a ‘majority strategic investment’, sees Imagine become part of the TE group. It follows on from a deal completed in 2022, which saw Imagine Theatre partner with the entertainment company to stage productions at five of its venues.
Winter Gardens - A noted entertainment venue on the Kent coast could be sold off, according to a council. Margate Winter Gardens closed in 2022 with no decision made on its future. Thanet District Council (TDC), which owns the venue, has now appointed a marketing agency "to help promote" the venue to "potential new operators and investors". TDC leader Rick Everitt said the aim was to create a "reinvigorated cultural landmark".
The Beatles and Laurel and Hardy are among the artists who have performed at the venue. Commercial real estate firm Colliers will now carry out a marketing exercise, promoting the Winter Gardens to potential partners and gauging interest in the venue.
(Jim Evans)
8 August 2023

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