BSC Address

Friday, January 29, 2010

Skellig reviewed

Loved these comments from children who filled in questionnaires after seeing the show:

"It was the same as the book, and if you didn't read the book, it told you exactly how the book was".

"It wasn't the best but it wasn't one of the worst, it was kind of lower down".

Sunday, January 17, 2010


A lot of people - including very experienced practioners in children's theatre - have been commenting on how concentrated the audience of 500+ children, sometimes as young as six, have been watching the two hours of SKELLIG; a play that delves into evolution, illness, angels and William Blake...not the obvious subjects to hold the attention of a rowdy audience of children as they enter the theatre. And yet there they have sat, in complete, concentrated silence for two hours. You can cut the intensity with a knife. Quite unlike those children we constantly read about who have apparently lost the ability to focus on anything longer than a few minutes.

So what has David Almond done to enrapture his audience? Maybe it's not too hard when you think what's offered to children these days with the likes of LAZY TOWN or SPONGE BOB SQUAREPANTS. Maybe it's because David didn't set out to write a children's story and never underestimated his audience. Instead he's clearly challenged them - and they're lapping it up with glee.

Critic's Choice

Very handsome of The Times to make SKELLIG their Theatre's No.1 critic's choice. We like that!

Just one week to go - and close to sell-out - so if you're interested, book quick!

The real Skellig

Awful, awful, awful.

I was driving down to HORRIBLE SCIENCE rehearsals on Saturday when I saw a tramp falling over and unable to get up. I stopped the car to help him up and noticed a huge lump on his back - what looked like a football-sized tumour - sticking out of the top of his coat. I helped him to rest against a shop window - his brown teeth jutting out and shreds of white hair - but he refused all offers of help and made clear he wanted me to leave him alone.

David Almond has written an allegorical character in Skellig, but it is based on such truth, that no-one can doubt he or she exists in every city, in every country. It was deeply upsetting to meet him face to face.


Avid readers of this blog (hi Dad) will know how much I loved the American TV series THE SHIELD. Actually 'love' does not adequately describe the strength of my feelings towards THE SHIELD and all who sailed in her.

So how pleased am I to have come across the American series DAMAGES starring Glenn Close - and watched the first series. Lummy me! Wonderful acting, editing, scripting. Sheer television bliss - from a man who never watches television!

(PS Claim to fame: I interviewed Glenn Close on stage on Broadway in an event to raise money for the fledgling BSC. Her wonderful piece of advice that was given to her when she started out: "Never compare your career to anyone else's. A complete waste of time and life. There'll always be someone doing better than you.")

Friday, January 15, 2010


What a wonderful audience we had this afternoon.

I had to record the voice of The Intelligent Machine for Horrible Science this morning, so I have rarely been so tired before a stage show. So I decided to relax into the tiredness in Act 2 and enjoyed one of those miracles of theatre: the one scene which I have never properly understood suddenly became clear to me. It's a scene that has always been difficult and has always evaded me. David Almond, the writer, has just revealed to me it was the last scene he wrote for the play when it was first performed and it was inserted once rehearsals were underway. And now, after touring for five months, I finally understand it. And boy, it's wonderful!

Several other lines have also taken on new meanings this last week, which I always think is a sign of a great play. We've been performing the show twice a day since September and it has evolved and deepened every week of the tour.

Thank you David Almond. What a tremendous treat it's been - and continues to be.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010


The BSC has been invited by The Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation to present a brand new production of TWELFTH NIGHT at their 2010 March Festival in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Al Ain, followed by a visit to Damascus. The production will open at The Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham before its international tour.

We are very excited to welcome Andrew Normington to the company, whose directing credits include productions for The Lord Chamberlain's Men, joined by designer Norman Coates (She Stoops, Oleanna, Speed-the-Plow, Othello) and lighting by Jason Taylor (er, everything BSC has produced for the last six years!)

Casting details will be posted on the Casting page shortly.

An exciting Spring lies ahead!

The Waiting is over...

The Guardian is there's just over two weeks left to see "a darkly glittering production that makes you see the extraordinary in the everyday and the turbulent intensity of childhood".

A bit like watching Celebrity Big Brother...

Tuesday, January 05, 2010


A fantastic first day for HORRIBLE SCIENCE. It's wonderful to have an idea about producing a show and 18 months later sit round together in a rehearsal room reading a marvellous new script with a group of great actors and the A-Team creative team.

Actor Benedict Martin is back with us again (James and the Giant Peach, The Dice House, Horrible Histories, The Jungle Book)...with Laura Dalgleish straight from finishing Horrible Histories in Dubai and Gareth Warren (Danny the Champion of the World) stepping off the stage from We're Going On Bear Hunt (not ours!) joining newcomers Sarah Nightingale and Rik Warren.

The production is already looking very exciting indeed!

Monday, January 04, 2010

You again!

On a cold winter's morning, a warming 4 star review for SKELLIG from The Times for "the always reliable Birmingham Stage Company":

"There aren’t many shows around that offer a bit of uplift. Skellig delivers just that."

I am, it says, an "unnervingly angry" Skellig.

Perhaps that's because we're still waiting for The Guardian!

Saturday, January 02, 2010


The first of the three reviews we've been expecting are in:

"Enters into the quirky, fantasy world of the story with aplomb and an enormous sense of glee" says The Times about GEORGE. Well done all!

The Times review of SKELLIG could well appear on Monday

And The Guardian? - who knows!