BSC Address

Monday, April 17, 2006


This Friday the BSC heads for Dubai with our production of Horrible Histories. You can see us at The Madinat Jumeirah Theatre. In November we're off to Malta with George's Marvellous Medicine, which will be Malta's first major show for children. We have been to Malta twice now with Collision and The Return at the St James Cavalier Theatre and we're delighted now to be going to the The Manoel Theatre, one of the oldest working theatres in Europe. It's fantastic for the BSC to have a relationship not only with a city, but with a country. Malta has made us wonderfully welcome with every visit. But first Dubai! If you are out there next week, come and say hello!

Friday, April 14, 2006


Someone asked me today what sort of theatre I like. My taste is pretty broad but I tend to find I only see one piece of great theatre every year. Last year it was Death of a Salesman at The Lyric and (in no particular chronology) I loved Jesus Hoped The 'A' Train at The Arts directed by Philip Seymour Hoffman which had some of the best acting I've ever seen; Much Ado About Nothing with Matthew McFadyn's superlative performance (one of my favourite stage actors - too bad he generally sticks to TV); Mary Louise Parker in PROOF on Broadway; the first cast of Art (Albert Finney and Tom Courtney) which was at its best during the previews when an air of uncertainty pervaded the stage; Paul Scofield and Vanessa Redgrave in John Gabriel Borkman;  Liam Carney in Bedbound at The Edinburgh Festival - another astonishing performance; Alec Guiness in A Walk in the Woods; Richard Eyre's production of Guys and Dolls with Julia McKenzie, Bob Hoskins and David Healey; Bill Wallis in Brecht's Arturio Ui at The Bristol Old Vic; and Slava's Snowshow. Four of my greatest theatrical moments were provided by Tony Hopkins painting on his make-up before committing suicide in M Butterfly; Wendy Hiller simply turning her head to take a good look at Vanessa Redgrave in an extact of The Aspen Papers; Irene Worth being clasped by Ian McKellen in Coriolanus and Daniel Massey and Diana Rigg glaring at each other in The Follies. (I would also like to add Sammy Davis Jr singing Mr Bojangles in Las Vegas but I don't think this counts!). This list could leave you with the impression I see a lot of theatre - but sadly that wouldn't be true. I find bad theatre so difficult that I rarely venture out unless the show has been recommended by someone I trust - and there's only one person I trust. So I don't get out much! My favourite actors are Olivier, Colin Blakely, Charles Laughton and David Warner. My favourite theatres The Bristol Old Vic and the Haymarket in London. I guess that answers the question!

Thursday, April 13, 2006


We’re in the middle of auditions at the moment for three shows. It’s always amazing that so many actors come to auditions so unprepared. It’s surely obvious that you give yourself very little chance of getting a job if you haven’t fully prepared for it. Every audition should be approached with the same attitude: “I am going to show them that I am the best for the job and they need look no further”. That’s going to be difficult to achieve if you haven’t read the play or the book or found an appropriate audition speech. Most actors come with the attitude: “I’ll show them what I can do, if they like me, great – if not, there’s always next time”. Whenever I’ve worked with American directors they are always amazed by the lack of preparation from British actors. Perhaps as a nation we’re simply lazy? But there’s no doubt, the ones who come most prepared are the ones who get the job. I think some actors wonder if there is any point in preparing too hard as the odds suggest they are likely to get rejected. But this creates its own vicious circle – and the less they prepare, the less chance they have. When you’re up against 100 people for one role, you’ve got to pull something out of the bag to grab the part. But it’s not all doom and gloom – we’re already half way to casting all three shows and they are looking very exciting. There are some great actors out there and we’ve grabbed them!