Backstage Roles - Venues around the UK - including Chichester Festival Theatre and the Lyric Theatre Belfast - are partnering to offer a total of 20 people full-time backstage roles as part of a scheme that aims to stem the exodus of talent in the sector during the pandemic. It is part of a £1.5m two-year pilot programme, previously announced by Sam Mendes in 2021, as part of the Theatre Artists Fund. Mendes said at the time that Theatre Artists Fund was to be developed into a two-year pilot bursary programme to provide long-term support to theatre freelancers.
It has been created to address the shifts in the creative workforce after the pandemic and will investigate support for mid-career artists by creating full-time positions in arts organisations across the UK.
Twenty people will be offered full-time two-year positions in backstage roles in the industry, with up to 15 organisations hosting these positions. The organisations signed up so far are Theatre Royal Plymouth, York Theatre Royal with Wise Children, Leeds Playhouse, Chichester Festival Theatre, Lyric Theatre Belfast, Nottingham Playhouse (with Rocket and Glitter Productions), Unicorn Theatre, Kiln Theatre, National Theatre with National Theatre Productions, National Theatre of Scotland and Theatr Clwyd.
Participants will take on roles in production management, design, company management, lighting, automation and rigging, costume, props, draughting and scenic art.
Planning Update - Plans for a Las Vegas-style ‘Sphere’ entertainment venue on the edge of the Olympic Park in East London have been rejected by the mayor. Sadiq Khan decided on Monday to block the giant eyeball-shaped dome proposed by Madison Square Garden Entertainment Company (MSG) on three key grounds, including light pollution. The company said it was "disappointed in London's decision". The final decision will go to Communities Secretary, Michael Gove.
Khan rejected the development, citing the amount of light pollution that it would cause for Stratford residents, its huge electricity bill and associated lack of "green" credentials, and the impact it would have on heritage sites in the area. A spokesperson for the mayor said: "London is open to investment from around the world and Sadiq wants to see more world-class, ambitious, innovative entertainment venues in our city.
"But as part of looking at the planning application for the MSG Sphere, the mayor has seen independent evidence that shows the current proposals would result in an unacceptable negative impact on local residents."
Sold Out - Tickets for next year's Glastonbury Festival sold out in just under an hour. In a post on X, formerly Twitter, the festival said: "Our thanks to everyone who bought one and we're sorry to those of you who missed out, on a morning when demand greatly exceeded supply." There will be a re-sale of any cancelled or returned tickets in spring 2024.
Organiser Emily Eavis has hinted that a "really big American artist" will be among the headliners, and Madonna has been rumoured to be one of the performers being lined up. Eavis, who faced criticism for 2023's all-male headliners, also hinted that two female headliners could perform at the Pyramid Stage next year, with another booked for the legends slot. In an Instagram post, she thanked everyone who tried to get a ticket. "We're blown away that so many people want to come (we all still remember the years when they didn't!) and I'm sorry that many of you missed out," she said.
In The Saleroom - Dire Straits star Mark Knopfler is to auction more than 120 of his guitars and amps, with 25% of the proceeds going to charity. The sale includes the 1983 Les Paul that Knopfler used to record the hits Money For Nothing and Brothers In Arms, and which he played on stage at Live Aid in 1985.
The singer-songwriter said, "I hope they all get played. I don't think they do too well living in a case all their lives." The collection, which will be auctioned at Christie's in London next January, spans the entirety of Knopfler's 50-year career. Among the lots is a 1959 Gibson Les Paul with a sunburst finish, known as the "Holy Grail of electric guitars", which has an estimate of £300,000 to £500,000.
(Jim Evans)
21 November 2023

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