BSC Address

Thursday, March 29, 2007


LIPA had their showcase today. It was a shame that so few people from the industry were there to see them. In recent years, two LIPA graduates have played lead roles in THE JUNGLE BOOK and TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN. Watching the showcase today, I saw another three actors who could take specific roles in our shows this year.

It's weird to think how precious those two minutes on stage are to your future career. You've trained for three years - and then you have just two minutes to show the profession what you can do. Choose the wrong speeches, hit the wrong note, fail to connect and you leave empty handed. It's not the end of the world to leave a showcase without a result but it can be such a help to get a good start.

My view is that every graduate has two years to get their first good job before I start to wonder if something has gone wrong. Contrary to expectations, I am happy to see people without agents, without experience. Some of the best actors I've worked with had slipped through the net and I was happy to catch them. I hope the actors I saw today don't get disheartened by the turn out today. It's not over yet!

I first saw Sally Oliver for the role of Stella the dog in KENSUKE'S KINGDOM. In the event I gave her the lead in our West End production of PROOF. Her first job.

It does happen!

Monday, March 19, 2007

It's over

If you read this blog you will probably be fed up hearing about PROOF, so you'll be pleased to know it ended wonderfully on Saturday. Last performances are not often the best: the play often gets distorted. Friday night is usually the knock-out show, but PROOF is wonderful to play the last performance: it has so many resonances about the past and the future. We had a great matinee and a very moving evening show. Followed by champagne!

So my final comment is this: it has been one of the great theatrical experiences of my life.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

The weirdest post I've ever made

This is quite certainly the weirdest post I’ve ever made, but it seems worth expressing.

For some reason, unknown to me, I have secured the reputation of a man who has sought and successfully seduced countless women who have crossed my 41 year path. I have not the faintest idea where this reputation comes from, but it’s fair to say I have been accosted with this accusation for some years.

So for the record I decided to work it out (and here comes the weird bit). I have slept with twenty-one women. In forty-one years.

The interesting aspect of this exercise was discovering that I remain friends, indeed some of my very best friends, with sixteen of these women. Of the five women I am no longer in contact with, one lives in Romania and one has very sadly died.

This is not, I suggest, the record of a man intent on casual encounters as he journeys through his life.

So the question arises: where does this reputation come from? What makes people think my behaviour is so radically different from the truth? I have no idea. Life is full of these marvellous mysteries.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Final week

The last week of PROOF starts Tuesday. It's been a wonderful journey. Plays like this just don't come around that often. I have continued to discover new things in the play each and every performance. The audiences have universally loved it. I have yet to hear a single word of criticism throughout the entire run. Having lived with the play for so long, this final week feels the right time to say goodbye. It has been an amazing experience for all us of who have been involved in bringing the play to life again in England. I hope repertory theatres across the country will take advantage of the newly released rights to stage their own productions. Neither they, nor their audiences, will be disappointed.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The future

Now PROOF is half way through its run, I find myself stretching my mind towards the future. We have several shows ahead this year - GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE in Scotland, OTHELLO in Birmingham and TREASURE ISLAND on tour. We are also working on HORRIBLE SCIENCE as the next step in producing our HORRIBLE shows.

I don't know where the next new play will come from - we have been producing a new play each year since 1999. Most writers will obviously send their plays to the Royal Court, Soho Theatre or the National before they send them to us, so we have to be lucky to find that next great new play, although to be fair, I've been sent a few plays before they're produced elsewhere - notably Rebecca Lenkiewicz's The Night Season which went to the National, a gorgeous new play which just didn't have a resonance for me personally. So far we have been lucky and found the most wonderful new plays to produce - who knows what will happen as this year unfolds.

Friday, March 02, 2007

The Government responds

Those of who follow this blog avidly - an elite and handsome group no doubt - will be pleased to hear that following my letter to Gordon Brown, suggesting it would not go amiss to receive the occasional thanks for sending him vast amounts of VAT, I have received a reply!

HM Revenue & Customs have written as follows:

Dear Mr Foster

You wrote to the Chancellor of the Exchequer on 24 January about payments of VAT made by your company. Your letter has been passed to Revenue & Customs and to this team which is responsible for VAT payment policy.

The tax system on the good compliance of businesses like yours and our aim in Revenue & Custms is to balance our duty to collect taxes on behalf of the Goverment with fairness to taxpayers who pay the correct tax at the correct time.

Our strategy is to focus on non-compliance and we are committed to making the tax system as simple as possible for compliant businesses. To this end our contact with complaint businesses is kept to the minimum possible (Editor: and here it comes!) but this does not reflect any lack of appreciation for their efforts in meeting their tax obligations.

Yours sincerely

Paul Olive

I love England!

Where else in the world would you receive such a prompt, polite and pointed reply to a letter to the most powerful man in the land!

I am tempted to pay a little bit more than necessary in our next VAT return to celebrate the joy of being a Brit!