BSC Address

Friday, February 29, 2008

Stand In

Actor/Manager? I've now appeared in all three of our current tours to keep the show up to full strength - and the curtain up! Over Christmas it was Dad in DANNY THE CHAMPION OF THE WORLD; I had to race down to Tunbridge Wells to cover Dr Dee in HORRIBLE HISTORIES when the actor hurt his leg - on this occasion it was too early in the tour for the understudy to go on; and last week it was Billy Bones in TREASURE ISLAND. There's no better way of knowing what is required for each tour than to spend some time back stage once the tour is up and running. And on all three occasions I came away utterly impressed with all involved.

A new trailer for TREASURE ISLAND will be posted soon - and it looks great!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Four shows

Of course this is when it starts to get mad. We have four shows performing this week - all for children - all over the country. What's more - they're all receiving a great reaction. We have noticed this year just how determined each cast has been to deliver the very best performance, each and every show. There is a temptation in long runs to start playing around with the production. It is a hugely destructive temptation which can wreak havoc on a play. On occasion we have had to address this issue with individual cast members. Not this year. Their dedication to the spirit of the production has impressed practitioners from every sphere of the profession. It's a great credit not only to the cast, but to everyone involved, as each contributer has imbued their own serious purpose into the enterprise.

But it isn't going to get any easier in the short term. By April we will have five different productions in performance. I hope you can catch one!

Sunday, February 17, 2008


Some great acting in this gripping, exciting film but I am unsure why the film itself has been celebrated more than, for example, IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH which seemed to me a much more important film to come out of America - and both featuring excellent performances from Tommy Lee Jones. The ending of OLD COUNTRY is so abrupt, you realise you've just watched a frightening, taught thriller, but regretably it doesn't add up to more than that, which you somehow hope it would. Among an excellent cast, it's the performance of Javier Bardem which will remain utterly memorable.

This week we have four different shows performing around the country. Thank goodness for the extremely strong stage management, wardrobe and technical teams which are looking after these shows so well.

Friday, February 15, 2008


Derby Playhouse has closed. What a disaster. There have clearly been a lot of problems at the venue but by withdrawing its grant, the Arts Council sounded the death knell for the venue. I cannot understand the circumstances where this has been allowed to happen. One by one Britain's regional theatres are coming under threat - and the powers in charge can't think of anything more imaginative than closing them down. It is a disgrace to our profession.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Last night at the Bafta's I experienced the madness of the celebrity cult more acutely than I've been aware of it before. I arrived at the same time as Keira Knightly and was engulfed by the flash of 200 press cameras as we entered the Opera House. The red carpet was lined with hundreds of screaming fans and a phalanx of reporters and media cameras. It was a celebrity fenzy.

After the ceremoney at dinner I sat surrounded by well known actors, all normal people relaxing over dinner, chatting happily to all and sundry. You couldn't have experienced anything more informal or casual.

Only to be engulfed by the same mad circus as we left the hotel.

I've never been confronted so strongly with the bizarre nature of celebrity frenzy. I know the profession has always found this kind of public and media interest useful in attracting punters to the theatre or cinema, so no-one's trying to discourage it, but what is it about being 'famous' that is driving this insatiable, ludicrous and growing fascination?

It has never seemed more bonkers to me than last night!