And so to my nearest CDS drama school, the East15 Acting School, and their lovely, cosy Corbett Theatre at Loughton. My colleague and friend William Sun, vice-President of the Shanghai Theatre Academy (where I spent seven extraordinary weeks at the end of 2010, directing an Ayckbourn comedy in Mandarin) has brought a company of STA actors to these shores.
They are specialist performers, graduates of the Chinese Opera training, a discipline which takes as long to learn as it takes to train a brain-surgeon – literally. They are performing an adaptation by William and Faye Chunfan Fei of Strindberg’s “Miss Julie”, in traditional costume, and with specially composed music, which draws on traditional sources. However the composer has added a modern zest and pace to the delivery, and it isn’t loud and repetitive, as is often the case in this style of theatre. The show is crisp, light and FUNNY.
The performers are all utterly charming – Zhao Qun as Julie, with Qin Hao as Jean, and Yu Bowen doing a sharp female-impersonation as Kristin.
If you live in reach of Guilford, go at see them – they’re at the University of Surrey Theatre on Thursday – don’t think about it – just go!
There’s a blog – in English and Chinese – to be found if you click here:
The wondrous 2012 Shakespearefest continues. St Mary’s Moorfields would have been his parish church when he lived on Silver Street, and so Nicholas Fogg chose it as the venue to launch his new book, HIDDEN SHAKESPEARE, which uncorks the biography bottle one more time, and unleashes some new and provoking thoughts about Will’s life and loves.
I made a modest contribution to a very convivial evening, by giving readings of sonnets 20 and 130. You will be familiar with one, but not the other – so, go on, look them up… and when you’ve bought Nick’s book, you will see why we chose them…
I expect you’re all already hooked on “The Hollow Crown”? Yet more RADAgrads from my time coming to the fore. The quite remarkable Ben Whishaw has rightly had wonderful reviews as “Richard the Second” – and stand back, no sooner has Jamie Parker delivered Henry the Fifth down at the Globe, when along comes Tom Hiddleston, due to glue us all to our BBC2 screens next Saturday night in “Henry the Fourth” as Prince Hal, who of course will become his version of the hero of Agincourt.
I was with Nick Barter at the Chinese piece this evening, the former RADA Principal whose deputy I was for a decade or so, and we constantly reflect on how privileged we were to steer so many significant actors through their training. (I directed Tom in “A Chorus of Disapproval” where he brought nimble charm to the part of a sweet old man – somewhat different to the steely hunk pictured here.) The difference now is that we can offer training through www.teachyourselfacting.com and we don’t have to worry about running a building!
Talking of buildings, does anyone have any recent information as to the Theatre Royal Margate? I spent a couple of exhilarating days visiting Jay and Paul Norris on the Kent coast last week, and during a lively tour of the cinque ports came across one of the three oldest theatres in the UK, built in 1789.
I know it has a stunning interior, and is reputed to be far and away the most haunted theatre in the country, so I was sad to find it locked up and forlorn. There were some current posters outside, so perhaps, like so many of us, it still comes alive in the evening. If you know what’s happening there, could you please drop me an email via firstname.lastname@example.org?
Meanwhile, back at RADA a new era dawns. The Academy’s survival in recent years has in no small part been due to the success of the RADA Enterprises company under the leadership of the wise and witty Antonia Gillum-Webb, who’s moving on. She will be much missed and her team gave her a great send-off in the cabaret space in the Malet St bar. Not a natural cabaret performer, AGW joined in with gusto…
She’s marking the next stage of her life by tramping the hills of southern England in search of answers to life’s great issues…she has with her, we trust, some decent Welly boots…