David Hare’s The Moderate Soprano transfers to the West End

David Hare’s critically acclaimed play The Moderate Soprano will make its West End premiere next spring at the Duke of York’s Theatre, with performances from 5 April to 30 June 2018 and opening night for press on 12 April 2018.

Jeremy Herrin, whose celebrated production enjoyed a sold out run at Hampstead Theatre in 2015, will return to direct the play with brand new set and costume designs by the multi award-winning theatre and opera designer, Bob Crowley.

The original Hampstead production in 2015

Olivier Award winners Roger Allam and Nancy Carroll will reprise the roles of Glyndebourne founder John Christie and soprano Audrey Mildmay. Further casting for the West End is still to be announced.

The two great passions in John Christie’s life were opera and a beautiful young soprano, Audrey Mildmay, with whom he was completely smitten. Together with his formidable drive, they fuelled what many first saw as a monumental folly in the South Downs. Glyndebourne was triumphantly born amidst stiff manhattans, rolling lawns and the sound of sheep from across the HaHa. It was to become revered the world over. 

David Hare’s new play, first seen at Hampstead Theatre, is the story of an intense love affair and the unrelenting search for artistic excellence in the face of searing scrutiny, sacrifice and the impending Second World War.

David Hare said: “Few people know the extraordinary story of how an eccentric English schoolmaster bumped accidentally into three refugees from Hitler’s Germany, and formed one of the world’s great opera houses in the 1930s in the middle of the English countryside. But even fewer know that Glyndebourne’s true founder was John Christie’s adored wife, Audrey Mildmay, whom he called ‘the moderate soprano.

Gus Christie said: I am delighted that David Hare’s play about the origins of Glyndebourne, which sheds light on my grandparents’ extraordinary vision and the creative tensions that existed in pulling it off, is coming to the West End in the Spring“.

The Moderate Soprano is produced in the West End by Matthew Byam Shaw, Nia Janis and Nick Salmon for Playful Productions, Caro Newling for Neal Street Productions, Karl Sydow and Greg Ripley-Duggan for Hampstead Theatre, in association with Raymond Gubbay and Bob Bartner.

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Bunker Theatre Spring 2018 season announced

The Bunker has announced its spring season. The new productions include a transfer from Hampstead theatre about playwright Ken Campbell, an adaptation of Electra, an American play about the Monica Lewinsky scandal and a production about Lesbian culture in London.
The Bunker’s ethos encourages audiences to stay in the auditorium long after performances have ended, offering the opportunity for audiences to mingle with artists. In this vein, the venue is committed to keeping its work accessible to its core audience, expanding its Under 25s £10 ticket offer to now include all under 30. For the Spring Season, The Bunker will also unveil its new entrance area, which will be freshly decked and refurbished, with a brand new bar area serving craft lager and ales on draught for the first time.

Ken (The Bunker in association with Hampstead Theatre)

Wednesday 24th January – Saturday 24th February

1978, London. A 23 year old aspiring playwright in a rundown flat-share off the North End Road is wrestling with his masterpiece for the Royal Court. The house phone rings, the young man answers a call for the person who used to occupy his room, recently moved to Amsterdam. But even once this information is imparted, the man at the other end refuses to hang up. His name is Ken. And he’s about to change the young man’s life forever…

Directed by Lisa Spirling, Artistic Director of Theatre 503, Ken is the retelling of an extraordinary friendship from beginning to end, replete with wickedly funny anecdotes, magnificent hoaxes, and general chaotic lunacy – all infused with the
spirit of the great man.
Terry Johnson and Jeremy Stockwell reprise their roles following a sell-out
run at Hampstead Theatre to bring to life Ken Campbell’s wild and idiosyncratic perspective on life.
Electra (Dumbwise Theatre)
Tuesday 27th February – Saturday 24th March

A Queen masterminds the murder of her Husband and takes the throne with her new lover. Her Daughter, Electra, grows up in the grip of a cruel regime, swearing revenge. Her Son Orestes, exiled as a boy and raised in the arms of the rebels, waits to embark on a holy mission to reclaim his country. Two decades later a twist of fate brings Brother and Sister together; united by hate butdivided by faith. With the country on the brink of civil war, the most powerful family in the Kingdom are torn apart from the inside as their dark past once again becomes the present. The revolution will be televised, but are The Gods watching?

Devil With The Blue Dress (The Bunker Theatre and Desara Bosnja)

Thursday 29th March – Saturday 28th April
What do a First Lady, a secretary, a daughter, a confidant, and an intern all have in common? This barbed spin on a political drama conjures the five women who collided in what became known as The Lewinsky Scandal.
Hillary Clinton and Monica Lewinsky find themselves centre stage in a
theatrical feat that takes us through the corridors of power and behind the closed doors where the abuse of that power took place. Slyly exhuming the little blue dress that launched the biggest media circus of a generation, Devil With The Blue Dress, written by Kevin Armento and directed by Joshua McTaggart, grapples with one of the most challenging questions in American political history:
How do we respond to women seeking power?
Grotty (Damsel Productions)
Tuesday 1st May – Saturday 26th May

Welcome to the desert. The London lesbian scene. A couple of little sad old basements that drip with sweat and piss. We sit there, listening to second-hand pulsating noise coming from some gay boy night upstairs. And it’s a Wednesday. And it’s a night called the ‘Clam Jam’. Can you imagine being straight and going to a night called the ‘Cock and Hole’? The women in black. The best tables are marked theirs by a crowd of empty prosecco bottles. They sit there in their uniformed black, a deep rich black only lots of money can buy… and they are looking at you.
They are not nice girls. But this is not a nice story. Grotty is a dark, savage, and unflinching exploration of lesbian subculture in London. Written by award-winning writer Izzy Tennyson (Brute, Runts, Career Boy) and directed by Hannah Hauer-King (Dry Land, Brute, Fury), Damsel Productions presents this fierce new lesbian drama that takes no prisoners.
Tickets are available priced £19.50, £15 (Concession)
Preview and Earlybird tickets are £12
Season Pass Ticket for all four Spring Season shows are £60
(equivalent to £15 per ticket)
Ten £10 tickets are available at each performance for under 30s.
Available from https://www.bunkertheatre.com/ and 0207 234 0486.

May Contain Nuts: Nudity on the stage


Freddie Fox and Tom Colley in The Judas Kiss (Hampstead)

I’ll be blunt. I enjoy the prospect of nudity, male or female I am equal opportunities, a bit too much. I think the warnings that appear on websites or via an usher’s mouth make it feel like it is a very naughty private play that the Lord Chamberlain might burst in on at any minute. Is nudity just a gimmick to get (clothed) bottoms on seats or is it often crucial to the narrative.

The recent cancellation of The Curing Room by David Ian Lee about soviet soldiers captured and stripped naked, a state they remain in throughout the play, got me considering other nudity on stage in London at the moment.  It feels like you cannot look up from your gin and tonic and not see a naked person what with Cleansed (National Theatre) and Mrs Henderson Presents (Noel Coward) currently in the West End. I recently signed up as a “Supporting Artiste” and was asked would I get naked for a part. The answer is no and I think that is the root of my fascination with actors that take on roles which see them naked night after night in relatively small spaces. My immediate reaction to hearing that highly respected actors like Michelle Terry and Emma Williams were getting completely nude was “Why?” when actually I should have asked “Well, why not?” Nudity is crucial to both of their productions yet  it still seems extremely brave.


Actors get naked on screen all the time, even a respected actor like Mark Rylance did full front nudity in Intimacy (2001) but on the stage it feels really personal and for some audience members a bit embarrassing “I didn’t know where to look!” I was told in a twitter conversation about the recent The Judas Kiss revival with Rupert Everett and Freddie Fox. It featured the gorgeous and rather well endowed Tom Colley walking around stage, completely nude.  That sounds really indulgent but it felt right for the story of Oscar Wilde, a man ultimately bought down by his quest for sexual pleasure and it came from the pen of David Hare-a playwright not known for adding nudity for no reason.

Richard Eyre’s Little Eyolf recently added a nude scene where there wasn’t one in the text. The majority of the audience would probably have been unaware as it worked so well but I did see it described as “gratuitous” but when there are some very dodgy casting calls, just see @ProResting on twitter for some examples. I think a professional director would not add a nude scene unless it was absolutely necessary. I think theatre audiences expect any nudity to have context, or they are just keen to see their favourite actor naked…