Friday, 4 May 2012

The Week in Performing Arts - 4/5/12

The Brighton Fringe is soon to start on the 5th May until the 27th. The three weeks are packed with 681 acts across 193 venues. The biggest arts festival in England is known for its unusual performance spaces – from public lavatories to prisons and churches, the festival is a haven for site-specific performers. More information can be found here.

York’s very own TakeOver Festival at York Theatre Royal is getting underway. Starting on the 21st May until the 9th June, this Festival has a kids half-term festival, a comedy night, ex-Poet Laureate Andrew Motion, and a whole variety of touring shows that have sold out their previous venues. The ‘Best play of 2011’, Philip Ridley’s Tender Napalm, and performance poet Kate Tempest’sWasted, in association with renowned theatre company Paines Plough, are just some of the exciting events coming to the city. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter for more details.

©Tender Napalm at TakeOver Festival

This writer spotted Alan Cumming taking a stroll (surrounded by security guards) in London the other week. However, that has little to do with the announcement that the Scot will be returning to his roots by performing Macbeth… all of it. National Theatre of Scotland are doing Macbeth with a twist: set in a psychiatric hospital, Cumming speaks all of the lines himself through his character reliving the story of Macbeth. It’s transferring to New York, and already American critics are getting overexcited.

Bret Easton Ellis’ cult classic, American Psycho, is set to be turned into a musical. The score will be “completely electronic”, and promises to rival another West End gore-fest, Sweeney Todd. Music and lyrics were written by Duncan Sheik, who also wrote for the West End hit Spring Awakening. The production does not yet have a confirmed venue or opening date. Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa wrote the adaptation, and says that there definitely will be murders on stage. Suffice to say, “There’s going to be a lot of blood”.

The National Youth Theatre had to be thrown a lifeline by the Arts Council – a fund of £200,000 to help it meet its financial obligations. The organization that kick-started the careers of the likes of Dame Helen Mirren, Orlando Bloom, Rosamund Pike and Daniel Craig is under financial threat due to ‘human wrongdoing’. Cutbacks will take the form of production closures and job losses after the organization “overstretched itself”. It is understood that it is not in danger any more and is working hard to get back on track.
Carol Ann Duffy, ex-Poet Laureate, will retell several folk tales for the stage. Rats Tales is set to be shown at the Manchester Royal Exchange this Christmas. Duffy is collaborating with designer, choreographer and director Melly Still, who has worked with both the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company in the past.

The Tony Awards 2012 nominations have been announced. Predictable results include Nicholas Hytner’s direction of One Man, Two Guvnors, and James Corden’s nomination for best performance by an actor in a leading role in the same play. Clybourne ParkNewsiesOnce and Death of A Salesman crop up several times throughout the nominations list.

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