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New writers at the cutting edge – of course!

Have a look at Mark Lawson’s article on the Guardian website today about the robust good health of British Theatre. It’s an interesting read and it celebrates the work of innovative small pioneering companies who bring forward  the best new writers, fresh ideas and new approaches to making theatre. So up and coming theatre writers are making a great impact on the national theatre scene – including many who have just set off on their creative journey as writers. All the more reason to get writing!

The article refers to London’s thriving and dynamic theatre culture but Rupert Goold (ex director of Royal and Derngate in Northampton) refers to regional theatre (outside London)  as “moribund”.

Our regional theatres are still commissioning new plays. Some of my highlights this year were Denis Kelly’s “Orphans” co-produced by Birmingham Rep and the Traverse Theatre, Amanda Whittington’s ‘Amateur Girl’ produced by Hull Truck and the work of smaller experimental companies like the debut of The Gramophones at Hatch Abroad a site specific showcase in and around Broad Street in Nottingham. Not to mention Royal and Derngate’s recent hit with their Young America season – oh yes and I’m off to see Stan’s Cafe new show on Friday in Birmingham. Moribund? What do you think?

The article.

Kate Chapman

3 Comments

  1. Nicolas d'Eu
    Posted December 3, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    Having seen Stan’s Cafe at Bristol Mayfest I wouldn’t be using it as a counter argument as I didn’t like it. Or Amanda Whittington for that matter. The article angered me more by its more overt than usual London-centric world view although it was nice to see Laurie [Samson, AD NR&D] featured. Where were the likes of Leicester Curve where Paul Kerryson is doing a great job, Dan Evans and the new Crucible or any of the other great regional venues?
    I will agree that Hatch is great for Nottingham and Nathan gets some fantastic acts for the shows but what about events like NottDance and SEAS in Skegness?
    Maybe a bit more on these Kate?
    We are all Victims of Duty,
    Nicholas

  2. Bianca
    Posted December 3, 2009 at 4:48 pm | Permalink

    The guardian made its own counter-example before Mark Lawson’s article was published: http://www.guardian.co.uk/stage/2009/nov/15/sheffield-crucible-bristol-old-vic

    This shows one thing, and that is that different people have different perspectives. Nicholas, I’m not sure it’s fair to say that just because you didn’t like something that it isn’t cutting edge or dynamic. After all, the fact that we can disagree about the merits of a certain production and that we want to engage in a discussion about it is surely a testament to the health of the industry in this region?

  3. Nicolas d'Eu
    Posted December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    I remember the article, thanks for posting it. And good to see Kate getting some recognition too, as she’s has programmed and championed much everything since the BOV went into difficulties.
    The merits of regional theatre are huge, I remember another G2 special edition earlier in the year calling the current state of non-London theatres a Belle Époque! I agree that our disagreement points to a healthy crop of talent producing work that challenges and divided the opinions of audiences. I personally didn’t find Stan’s Cafe cutting edge or dynamic when comparing it with other work I was seeing around it, I saw it at Bristol’s MayFest and had seen the new Tim Etchells the week before – both of which I found more cutting edge.
    But, we must agree that the East Midlands theatre scene is thriving and that we can argue over the merits of what is great about it rather than where its all going wrong further reinforces this.


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