Theatre interviews

Interviews with figures working in the theatre industry from EURadioNantes.

Richard O’Brien meets Erica Whyman from Northern Stage, a regional theatre based in Newcastle.

At a recent conference in London, Danny Boyle, fresh from the success of his Olympics opening ceremony, delivered a passionate speech against funding cuts for regional theatre. One of the arts organisations dealing with a difficult financial climate is Newcastle’s Northern Stage. Richard O’Brien spoke to Erica Whyman, the institution’s chief executive and artistic director, about the work Northern Stage carries out in her local community, and the symbiotic relationship between the theatre’s location and the worlds it presents onstage. But although these are theatres that operate on a local level, Erica is keen to stress that both their work, and the funding decisions that affect that work, are national in scope.

Richard O’Brien meets David Bobée, director of Rictus Theatre’s production of Roméo et Juliette.

For David Bobée, Romeo and Juliet isn’t just a story of tragic passion; it’s a tale of overheated youth in revolt against the oppression of their ineffective elders, with wide-ranging political resonances. He’s clear that, while for English audiences most Shakespearean productions can’t escape a certain estrangement, French theatre-makers have the option of updating the text for each new context. He explains the interpretive choices made by his translators, Pascal and Antoine Collin, and himself as a director, for the Rictus Theatre company’s performance at the Lieu Unique.

Richard O’Brien meets Lyn Gardner, theatre critic of the Guardian newspaper

Lyn Gardner has years of experience reviewing British theatre, and is concerned that in recent years the rise in West End ticket prices means that it risks becoming an elite institution. As well as discussing the reasons for such hikes, Lyn makes a passionate case for state subsidy, emphasising the social contribution of theatre to a nation’s health and happiness which gives it a value going far beyond the financial. She also talks to Richard O’Brien about what West End theatres can learn from the UK’s subsidised sector, as well as from their own Elizabethan forebears.

Richard O’Brien meets Pepe Pryke, Operations Manager at the Rose Theatre, Bankside

The Rose Theatre is an Elizabethan performance space, the remains of which are conserved in the basement of a modern London office block. It was the site of the first productions of seminal works by William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe, and is currently preparing to re-open archaeological investigations and to make the space available to the public. Here Richard talks to Operations Manager Pepe Pryke about what we can learn from The Rose, and how you can get involved with the long-overdue project to preserve and protect the remains which are so central to English literary history. You can find out more about the Rose at http://www.rosetheatre.org.uk/, and in this article Richard wrote in a personal capacity for the Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/richard-obrien/the-rose-theatre-an-eliza_b_1746007.html

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