TD attends relaxed performance of MATILDA THE MUSICAL

Attendees of Matilda The Musical's relaxed performance

Attendees of Matilda The Musical’s relaxed performance

By Ruth McPherson

On 15 June, the Royal Shakespeare Company presented the inaugural ‘relaxed’ performance of Matilda The Musical at Cambridge Theatre, building on the programme of relaxed performances that the RSC has been running in Stratford-upon-Avon since 2013, when it was among the first to adopt and promote the concept. The National Autistic Society worked closely with the RSC on this special performance offering full access to the theatre for people with autism and learning disabilities.

The performance provided a relaxed environment, with elements of the production adapted to reduce anxiety or stress. Lighting and sound levels were adjusted to soften their impact and there was a relaxed attitude to noise and moving around the auditorium during the performance.  Designated ‘chill-out’ areas were provided outside the auditorium with soft seating and activities for people to use if being in the auditorium became overwhelming for them. All audience members were also sent a visual story to help them familiarise themselves with the plot, characters and the setting before they arrived at the theatre.

Tickets for the show were offered at the reduced rate of £20 and it was a sell-out performance. Catherine Mallyon, executive director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, said ‘Relaxed performances are a fantastic way of offering a warm and inclusive welcome to those families, giving them the chance to experience high quality, live theatre, often for the first time. We are delighted to be part of the growing number of theatres across the UK helping to make relaxed performances a standard feature of British theatre-going.’

The cast of Matilda The Musical. (Credit: Manuel Harlan)

The cast of Matilda The Musical (Credit: Manuel Harlan)

Several other major London shows have also presented successful ‘relaxed’ performances recently, including The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Romeo and Juliet, The Elephantom, Mamma Mia! and The Lion King.  The National Theatre has recently announced that they will be putting on a relaxed performance of War Horse in September.

Take children to London shows for free this August with Kids Week

Bodyguard workshop 2013 (photo credit Pamela Raith)

A workshop from The Bodyguard last summer (Credit: Pamela Raith)

The Society of London Theatre’s Kids Week returns this summer. The initiative offers free tickets to young people under the age of 16 to over 35 shows in London. Kids Week takes place throughout August (1–31) and is available to young people who are accompanied by a full-paying adult.

Shows on offer for those aged three to five and above are The Elephantom, The Tiger Who Came to Tea, What The Ladybird Heard, The 39 Steps, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory, The Lion King, Hetty Feather, Horrible Histories – Barmy Britain Part 2, MAMMA MIA!, Matilda The Musical, The Pajama Game, Stomp, Thriller Live, Top Hat, Wicked and many others.

For slightly older audiences, there’s also plenty of London favourites, from shows for those needing parental guidance through to audiences of young people aged 15+: Billy Elliot The Musical, The Bodyguard, The Commitments, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time, The Importance Of Being Earnest, Jeeves And Wooster In Perfect Nonsense, The Mousetrap, Shakespeare In Love, War Horse,The Woman In Black, Avenue Q, Ghost Stories,Jersey Boys, Let The Right One In and Once.

The month-long scheme also offers a vast selection of free activities and events for young people to participate in: fans of The Elephantom can make their own Elephantom at a practical craft-based workshop; talk to the cast and creative team of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory at a post-show Q&A session; learn more about the theatre of Shakespeare’s era in a workshop with Shakespeare In Love‘s associate director; and discover how The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time translated from page to stage.   

All tickets, on sale now, for Kids Week shows and activities are subject to availability. For information on how to book tickets for shows and workshops, as well as more information about all the offerings this August, visit www.kidsweek.co.uk.

Free West End performances in Trafalgar Square from West End LIVE

West End LIVE, a free annual event, returns in June with performances of leading theatre productions in the West End performed live in Trafalgar Square. In 2012, the West End LIVE weekend saw over 500,000 visitors attend. The two-day festival is run by the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), Westminster City Council and Mastercard.

Performances at this year’s event will include a mix of West End favourites and newcomers, including Billy Elliot the Musical, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, Matilda The Musical, The Sound Of Music, Top Hat, The Bodyguard, A Chorus Line, Once: A New Musical and many more.

West End LIVE, now in its ninth year, was proposed by deputy leader of Westminster City Council Robert Davis to support and rejuvenate the West End, and to showcase the entertainment available in the area. Of the visitors to last year’s event, 85% said that it would be likely that they would attend a West End show having seen the performances as part of West End LIVE.

Councillor Robert Davis said of this year’s event: ‘This will be the largest West End LIVE we have ever produced with more shows taking part than ever before. From humble beginnings in Leicester Square nine years ago, our event now attracts hundreds of thousands of people. We cannot wait to get the weekend started and showcase exactly what the West End of London has to offer – the best art, musicals and theatre in the world.’

West End LIVE takes place on 22-23 June 2013, for more information visit www.westendlive.co.uk.

Line up for Kids Week 2013 revealed

kids-week-logoThe West End shows taking part in Kids Week 2013 have been revealed. Throughout August, young people will be able to attend performances, workshops and free activities as part of Kids Week – an initiative run by Official London Theatre and the Society of London Theatre.

The Kids Week scheme, now in its 16th year, offers free tickets to children aged under 16 for every adult ticket purchased. There is a range of 34 productions available to see, including Olivier Award winning productions of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, A Chorus Line, Top Hat and Matilda The Musical.

Long-running musicals also feature, with free tickets for children available for Billy Elliot the Musical, Les Misérables, The Lion King, Mamma Mia!, West Side Story, We Will Rock You and Wicked.

In 2012, Kids Week won Best Cultural Attraction at the London Lifestyle Awards, beating out  The London Eye, Shakespeare’s Globe and London Zoo to the prize.

Kids Week 2013 runs from 1 to 31 August. Tickets go on sale on 18 June. For more information, visit www.kidsweek.co.uk.

Kids Week sells record number of tickets in 24 hours

Over 42,000 tickets have been sold in the first 24 hours of Kids Week. Edwin Shaw, theatre consultant at See Tickets said: ‘In my memory, no other theatre promotion has sold as many tickets in a 24 hour period, so this is really very remarkable.’

Kids Week is in its 15th year and will run (contrary to its title) throughout August. The scheme allows young people under the age of 16 to see theatre performances in London free, when attending with a paying adult. Kids Week 2012 was officially launched in London on 11th June with a showcase attended by 1,000 students from 33 schools at Theatre Royal Drury Lane, comprising extracts from performances all of which are on offer as part of Kids Week. Showcase performances from Shrek The Musical, Horrible Histories and The Tiger Who Came To Tea gave the audience a taste of what to look forward to in August.

Among this year’s selection of shows on offer are Billy Elliot the MusicalBlood Brothers, Chicago, War Horse, The Lion King, The Wizard of Oz and many more. Tickets went on sale on 12th June and saw popular show Matilda The Musical sell out within hours.

(c) James Carnegie Photography

 

Kids Week and West End Live make theatre accessible this summer

While this summer looks to be dominated by sport, those with an appetite for theatre won’t be disappointed. It was predicted by theatre bigwigs such as Andrew Lloyd Webber 2012 would see theatre’s struggle against the tide of Olympic tourists. However, there are a couple of initiatives which are making London’s biggest theatre hits more available to everyone.

One scheme which will keep children happy throughout the summer holidays is Kids Week. The project, in its 15th year, will run throughout the whole of August – providing parents and children with a respite from the Olympic Games.

The scheme allows young people under the age of 16 to see a theatre performance in London for free, when attending with a paying adult. Amongst this year’s selection of performances are Billy Elliot the MusicalBlood Brothers, Chicago, War Horse, The Lion King, The Wizard of Oz and many more. Tickets went on sale on 12th June and saw popular show Matilda The Musical sell out within hours.

Young people who have bought a ticket through Kids Week also have the chance to take part in a workshop from their chosen play. Those attending Singin’ in the Rain can opt to have a go at a vocal and dance workshop for free. Visitors to The Woman in Black can participate in an interactive ghostly workshop and many other productions are offering Q&A sessions with Kids Week audiences. For more information about Kids Week, visit www.kidsweek.co.uk. Tickets and workshops are subject to availability, so book soon to avoid disappointment.

However, if your budget is too tight to shell out for full price adult tickets, West End Live are offering a free weekend of London theatre performances for visitors to enjoy. The event, organised by Westminster City Council and the Society of London Theatre (SOLT), will see live showcase performances of London’s biggest theatre shows.

There will be performances from Shrek, Wicked, Ghost The Musical, Stomp and Phantom of the Opera. If you’ve missed out on tickets for Kids Week for shows like Matilda the Musical and Billy Elliot they will also be in attendance. The weekend will also see musical performances take place from acts such as the National Youth Music Theatre and Ghost The Musical star Mark Evans.

West End Live will take place on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th July. All performances will take place in Trafalgar Square and entry is free. To find out more, visit www.westendlive.co.uk.

Make sure you make the most of all that the West End has to offer this summer!

Olivier Awards 2012 – The nominations


Teaching Drama 
was invited to The Mayfair Hotel by The Olivier Awards to hear them reveal this year’s nominees. 2011 winners, Nancy Carroll and Roger Allam, were in attendance to announce this year’s shortlist.

The RSC’s Matilda The Musical is this year’s frontrunner having secured ten nominations in categories for sound design, lighting, costume, set and choreography. Bertie Carvel, who has been starring as Miss Trunchbull, has been nominated for best actor in a musical and the Matildas were also nominated for best actress in a musical.

Ghost The Musical received five nods for categories in design and for best new musical. Singin’ In The Rain also came away with nods for best actress in a musical for Scarlett Strallen and best musical revival, where it will have to beat out Crazy for you, South Pacific and The Wizard of Oz. 

James Cordon was nominated for best actor for The National’s One Man, Two Guvnors. He will have to battle it out for the title against big screen stars, Jonny Lee Miller for Frankenstein and Jude Law for Anna Christie. Celia Imrie, from Noises Off , has been nominated for best actress along with Kristin Scott Thomas for her role in Betrayal.  

The Olivier Awards will take place on Sunday 15 April at the Royal Opera House. The ceremony will be available to watch through the BBC’s red button service and also broadcast on BBC Radio 2. The Olivier Awards have also organised a Covent Garden Piazza event. The public will be able to see performances from some of London’s shows and watch the ceremony unfold live on a big screen relay.

To watch the nominations, visit the webcast here.
For more information visit www.olivierawards.com

Teaching Drama Spring 2 out NOW!

The latest issue of Teaching Drama is out now!

This issue:

We speak to our cover star, Matilda the Musical‘s Miss Trunchbull – Bertie Carvel

We find out about Republic of Ireland’s brand new drama school – The Lir

And we review hit productions – Noises Off and Propeller’s Henry V

 

Along with all this, we have all the latest drama news, book reviews and Schemes of Work to help you this term.

To subscribe click here.

For our computer savvy readers, get your digital copy from www.pocketmags.com by searching ‘Teaching Drama’ or buy it from www.rhinegold.co.uk/tddigital.

 

Theatre Awards UK 2011

Bertie Carvel in Matilda the Musical - winner of Best Performance in a Musical

Yesterday saw the Theatrical Management Association’s 2011 Theatre Awards UK take place at the Banqueting House, Whitehall. The awards, which were relaunched this year, honoured all aspects of the theatre world, from those on stage to the people excelling in the management and promotion of the theatres themselves.

The Stage Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre was awarded to Sir Peter Hall in recognition of his remarkable and immeasurable influence upon the shape of modern British theatre. The RSC’s Matilda the Musical – just about to start its run in London’s West End – received two awards – that of Best Performance in a Musical for Bertie Carvel playing Miss Trunchbull (pictured) and Best Musical Production.

Other successes included Edward Hall’s Propeller Productions, who were awarded Best Touring Production for Richard III and The Comedy of Errors, and Michael Sheen (currently starring as Hamlet at the Young Vic) who won the category of Best Director jointly with Bill Mitchell for their work on National Theatre Wales’ production of The Passion.

The award for Best Show for Children and Young People went to White, a Catherine Wheels production, which showed at Theatre Royal, Bath. The production is currently being performed in New York.

The Lyric, Hammersmith were recognised for the Achievement in Marketing, and the Theatre Royal, Stratford East were named Most Welcoming Theatre.