Theatre

Toronto Theatre Has An Odd New Policy For Critics

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“Factory wants to have a week of previews, then an opening night, and only then, five days after the opening, will they invite the media, at a point when the run is half over. Why? Most other theatres beg the critics to come and review their shows ASAP because they need the publicity.”

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UK Stage Directors Form Their Own Union

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“Increasing fees in the sector is one of Stage Directors UK’s first priorities. It will also represent directors on issues such as royalties, contracts, digital rights and copyright, as well as leading on training initiatives.”

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“Children Of A Lesser God” Returning To Broadway After 35 Years

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Children of a Lesser God, a groundbreaking play about the relationship between a deaf woman and a hearing man, who clash over ideas about speech even as they fall in love, will be revived on Broadway during the 2015-16 theater season … The director will be Kenny Leon, who won a Tony Award in June for staging the Broadway revival of A Raisin in the Sun last spring.”

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First Theatre Certified Paying “Living Wage”

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“Theatre Delicatessen has said it will pay all of its permanent staff the London living wage, which is £8.80 an hour. All other temporary staff, such as box office attendants and bar staff, will get the living wage rate of £7.65 an hour.”

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“Wolf Hall” Confirmed For Broadway Run

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Wolf Hall: Parts 1 & 2, the Royal Shakespeare Company’s hit adaptations of Hilary Mantel’s best-selling novels about Henry VIII and his chaotic court, will open on Broadway next spring at the Winter Garden Theater, the show’s producers announced on Thursday.”

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Theater Folk In L.A. Say Entire Scene Needs Overhaul

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“A group of theater artists in Los Angeles is calling for major changes in the city’s stage industry, saying that companies are relying on outdated modes of doing business and that union rules over artist compensation, especially at small venues, need revision.”

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Leading UK Theatres Say They Commit To Better Gender Balance

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“Gender equality organisation Tonic Theatre analysed productions staged on September 13. This found that of the 24 productions staged across the top 20 theatres in receipt of the most Arts Council England core funding, women accounted for just 8% of writers, 37% of performers and 38% of directors. Women made up 17% of sound designers, 22% of lighting designers and 57% of set designers.”

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Barbican Cancels “Human Zoo” Project After Protests

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Exhibit B came under attack for its alleged racist portrayal of black African people, with campaigners demanding its withdrawal from the Barbican programme. The Barbican confirmed today that it had been forced to cancel the remaining performances due to “the extreme nature of the protest and the serious threat to the safety of performers, audiences and staff”.

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The Problems With Cross-Gender Casting In Shakespeare

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“The two best justifications for the practice are a relative shortage of major roles for women and a desire to freshen up overfamiliar texts.” Yet, argues Mark Lawson, cross-casting sets carefully wrought father-daughter and mother-son relationships (Prospero and Miranda, Lear, Hamlet and Gertrude) awry, and “if the governing aim of a production is to make the play seem different, perhaps those involved ought to be doing a different play.”

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India Develops A Stand-Up Comedy Scene

Aditi Mittal

“Affluent Indian urbanites – till now weaned on a censorship-prone diet of cinema and soap operas – are awakening to this new form of entertainment, fascinated by the prospect of non-stop laughs for an hour. And they’re willing to pay for it.” But comedians doing their usual skewering of taboos face more-than-usual risks.

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Pa. Drama Teacher Fired Over “Spamalot” Controversy

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“[South Williamsport, Pennsylvania] school officials on Friday dismissed the show’s director after months of back-and-forth arguments – which drew unflattering media attention – over whether the [high school] principal canceled Spamalot because of the show’s gay content.”

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Disney/Taymor “Lion King” Is Now Top-Earning Title In Any Medium

The Lion King follows the journey of Simba, a young lion born into animal royalty

“With a worldwide gross of over $6.2 billion, The Lion King stage musical has now achieved the most successful box office total of any work in any media in entertainment history. … The show quietly took over top spot from the $6 billion-earning The Phantom of the Opera late this summer.”

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Yo, What Fools These Mortals Be: When Plays Keep Reminding The Audience That They’re Plays

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Sir Isaac Newton, Chris Jones observes, probably did not say “yay” – except in a new play about him now running in Chicago. “That in itself is not a new idea; playwrights have been modernizing historical subjects and simplifying conversations for generations. But in [this case and others], the anachronisms are intended to draw attention to themselves. … So what gives with this trend? To some degree it’s a consequence of the Wikipedia-ization of our culture.”

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If Theatre Is Going To Be Relevant, It Needs Better Technology

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“We need technology to be fully focused on how to improve the live experience. Like: Get me to my seat faster, make the actors more excited, give me stuff that makes being in the venue better. I don’t think live events are going anywhere. I’ve doubled down. This is my business and my life, but we’re becoming irrelevant because we have to figure out how to remain relevant in peoples’ lives. And technology is a part of that.”

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