Winners of The Mousetraps 2015 announced

The awards

The 2015 awards for The Mousetraps

The fourth annual edition of theatre awards ‘The Mousetraps’ took place on 22 March at the Charing Cross Theatre. The Mousetraps, voted for by young theatregoers aged 15 to 23, are organised by Mousetrap Theatre Projects: a theatre education charity widening access to performance for young people with limited means and support or special needs.

The awards honoured West End favourites such as Wicked, presented with the prize for show I’d sell my soul to be in; Billy Elliot, winning fascinating storyline; STOMP, picking up most dazzling choreography; and Les Misérables, named musical that blew my mind.

Other theatre favourites such as War Horse and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time also came away with prizes, for best play and best design respectively. The Scottsboro Boys was presented with the award for best ensemble and The Book of Mormon won the title for show that split my sides.

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Martin Freeman accepting his award for best male performer at The Mousetraps (Credit: @ZareenWalker)

The Mousetraps’ acting awards went to two major stage and screen stars: Gemma Arterton, who was named best female performer for her lead role in Made in Dagenham, and Martin Freeman, who collected his title for best male performer for Richard III in person.

The ceremony, compered by members of Mousetrap’s Youth Forum, was opened by actor Samuel J Holmes. The presentation of awards was accompanied by performances from young people, featuring street dance, performance poetry, musical improvisation and Shakespearean monologues.

To see more from the 2015 Mousetraps, check out the Twitter hashtag #MousetrapAwards. For more information about Mousetrap Theatre Projects, visit www.mousetrap.org.uk.

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.

Updated: Curious Incident quits Apollo Theatre

Apollo Theatre: home of Curious Incident (Credit: Bikeworldtravel)

Apollo Theatre: home of Curious Incident (Credit: Bikeworldtravel)

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is to depart from the Apollo Theatre following the collapse of the venue’s auditorium celling. The production and the theatre had been due to reopen on 13 January.

Up to 80 people were injured, seven seriously, when plaster from the theatre’s roof and part of the balcony fell during an evening performance of the show on 19 December. More than 700 people were attending that evening’s performance.

National Theatre’s executive director Nick Starr said in a statement: ‘It will be a real wrench to leave that beautiful theatre, but sadly the closure of the gallery to enable its restoration means that the show no longer works economically there.  We look forward to renewing our relationship with Nimax Theatres on another show in the future.’

Nica Burns, CEO of Nimax Theatres, said: ‘This was and is a deeply upsetting incident for everyone. We are sorry to lose such a wonderful production and wish it well.’

The production will transfer to the Gielgud Theatre, running from 24 June 2014 with the official opening night taking place on 8 July. Starr said: ‘We are grateful to Delfont Mackintosh Theatres for providing us with another home on Shaftesbury Avenue for the show’.

The National Theatre has also announced plans for free performances of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time for schools and young people next month during the play’s lay-off period in February. These will be performed by the cast from the Apollo in a rehearsal-room format with minimal settings and lighting. Further details are to be announced by the National Theatre.

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.

Curious Incident wins record-tying seven prizes at Oliver Awards 2013

The National Theatre's production The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time wins seven prizes at Olivier Awards (Credit: Manuel Harlan)

The National Theatre’s production The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time wins seven prizes at Olivier Awards (Credit: Manuel Harlan)

National Theatre production The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time has dominated this year’s Olivier Awards, picking up seven out of the eight prizes it was nominated for – tying with the record amount of wins secured by Matilda The Musical at last year’s ceremony.

Curious Incident picked up awards for its acting, with accolades for Luke Treadaway as best actor and Nicola Walker as best supporting actress, as well as for its technical aspects, coming away with prizes for best sound design, best set design and best lighting design. It also scooped the top prizes of the night, winning best new play and best director for Marianne Elliott.

Other productions awarded at this year’s ceremony included The Audience, with Helen Mirren and Richard McCabe coming away with prizes for best actress and best supporting actor; Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of Sweeney Todd, picking up prizes for best musical revival and best actor and actress in a musical for leads Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton; and Top Hat, which received a hat-trick of accolades for best new musical, best costume design and best theatre choreographer.

For the full list of winners, visit www.olivierawards.com