Two weeks ago I had the wonderful opportunity to go to Berlin with some of my course mates and see a few shows at the annual Theatertreffen, a festival that brings theatre companies from different countries together in one programme. It was a great experience, not in the least because the performances were radically different from the stuff you generally encounter on the London stages. For starters, two of the four shows we saw weren’t actually about anything at all. And I don’t mean that in a Beckett, ‘I can see some meaning if I squint really hard’ kind of way. They really, really were outright nonsense. And, to my great surprise, I absolutely loved them.
Written for Everything Theatre
The UK has a long history and strong traditions when it comes to theatre, and those still make their mark on London theatre today. On the other hand, London is a metropolis with a wide variety of international influences, so it's not surprising that this too is reflected in the theatre on offer. From the steady influx of Broadway hits to the less familiar productions LIFT will put on in June, the capital is constantly buzzing with theatre from all over the globe. An important role in this international ecosystem is played by London's many drama schools, that attract future actors, directors, playwrights and researchers from all over the world. To find out what drives them to come here, I spoke to a few MA students at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
It has been some time in coming, but the NSA has arrived in the West End. Or at least, on stage (in real life they have probably been there for ages…). I’m referring of course to James Graham’s new play Privacy, which is currently showing at the Donmar Warehouse. Where Privacy sees a big crowd come under the scrutiny of a select few, the Royal Court has the exact opposite on offer: Simon Stephens’ Birdland shows the effects international superstardom can have on one person. Two ends of the scale, but one question: how does the knowledge that we’re being watched change us?
‘In the nineteen-seventies, when I was a teen-ager and had fantasies of growing up to be a writer, I didn’t dream of being a novelist or a poet. I wanted to be a critic.’ With these words art critic Daniel Mendelsohn opens an article in the New Yorker titled A Critic’s Manifesto. Finding teens with similar ambitions these days is quite unimaginable, especially when looking at the role of the much-beleaguered theatre critic. The critic-as-consumer-adviser has had an especially rough time of it lately, but there’s more to theatre criticism than snappy one-liners and star ratings, which the current debate does not reflect.