BSC Address

Friday, February 26, 2010


So disappointed with JERUSALEM last night. And nothing feels worse than disappointment with a celebrated play/production.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Tudors

Reading THE TUDOR AGE by Jasper Ridley for TWELFTH NIGHT, an excellent book which has some fascinating information about the period. Three facts struck me as suprisingly bizarre:

It's not only Gordon Brown who likes to create unnecessary laws. Four statutes passed by Parliament between 1510 and 1533 dictated that no one except the royal family was to dress in cloth-of-gold or purple, on pain of a fine of £20 (£10,000 in modern money). No one under the rank of a knight or lord's son could wear a silk shirt, unless he owned land worth £20 a year in rents; and if the land was worth less than £5 a year, he could not wear any garment that was scarlet or violet in colour.

Meanwhile 7000 soldiers, who were sent to Spain to help King Ferdinand, mutineed because there was no beer, and came home. So when the campaign against Scotland was being planned in 1542, it was organised around the supply of beer for the troops - and delayed by nine days while the generals waited for the beer to arrive. And even when it did, the shortage of beer forced to Duke of Norfolk to retreat after it ran out.

I also didn't know the notion of "a whipping boy" was invented to solve the problem of discipling Edward VI when he became King at the age of nine. It was decided to punish another boy, whom the King liked very much, whenever the King did something wrong. So his best friend Barnaby Fitzpatrick was whipped to deter the King from being naughty. (Barnaby was made a knight for his pains)

Must get that last fact into our next tour of THE TERRIBLE TUDORS. I think Tim Speyer would make an excellent Barnaby...

The Dream

A review for Tim Speyer in the Independent:

"The lion is a little, bald, bewildered chap"

Not many reviews have made this reader smile as much!

Thursday, February 18, 2010


Daniel Evans pulled off a magnificent coup last night with the best crowd scene I've ever seen, using a marvellous group of community actors to portray the townsfolk in AN ENEMY OF THE PEOPLE. Ibsen's play is quite extraordinary, with Tony Sher in fine form as Dr Stockmann. The refurbished theatre looks and feels fabulous!

(plus the most wonderful treat of driving through the snowy caps of the Peak District from Manchester to Sheffield - one of the most magical half hours of my life)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Studying down under

It's often one of the forgotten aspects of theatre life - but thank goodness for good understudies. Both GEORGE and HORRIBLE SCIENCE have relied on their understudies in the last fortnight - and thank goodness we took the time to find the two brilliant actors who have stepped into the breach of their respective shows.

Rik Warren had just four minutes to step into a lead role in HORRIBLE SCIENCE in the second week of the tour - and was a marvel. He has been in the show since then and done an amazing job - no-one would know he hadn't rehearsed for the role. A perfect performance.

Jason O'Brien meanwhile has been amazing audiences (and his employers) with a stunning performance as George and then Dad in GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE. From Giant Chicken to leading role in one svelt step!

Rik and Jason - you have our undying admiration and appreciation!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tim Speyer

Tim has done about 57 shows for the BSC over the years - FANTASTIC MR FOX, THE BFG, GEORGE'S MARVELLOUS MEDICINE, SHE STOOPS TO CONQUER, COLOMBE, TOM'S MIDNIGHT GARDEN, HORRIBLE HISTORIES, THE WITCHES, BRIDGES AND HARMONIES, JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH - so how wonderful it was to see him on stage at The Rose being marvellous in The Dream - and how excited we are at the prospect of seeing him in 39 STEPS in the West End, in a part that could have been written for him!

However, under EU law, Tim's previous employment with us means he has to pay the BSC 37% of his income for the next 8 years.

Thanks Tim!

A Midsummer Night's Dream

What a treat we had last night! It was fabulous to see The Rose Theatre packed to the rafters and this theatre works best when it's full. This is the best Dream I've seen, with Oliver Chris as as superb Bottom, William Chubb playing a wholly convincing Egeus doubling as a well disguised Starveling, a great Peter Quince by James Laurenson, the lovely Tam Williams as a gorgeous Lysander, the indomitable Tim Speyer as Snug and the incomparible Judi Dench as Titania.

I've been in the show twice myself but I heard lines last night I've never 'heard' before. I've not seen Shakespeare at The Rose but this is clearly its primary purpose as a building - the set by Elizabeth Bury used the fabric of the building with simplicity and beauty and it worked wonders. It's a fun, clear, poetic, magical production.

This show was an event - just as all theatre should be. How lucky we were to see it!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


Julian Fellowes wrote a good article about Carey Mulligan for the Telegraph on Saturday, in which he said:

"I did everything I could to warn her off a profession which, all too often, is the thief of lives"

What a perfect way of describing this very, very strange profession.

Monday, February 08, 2010


Four years in jail for Metropolitan Police Commander Ali Dizaei who genuinely thought he could away with assaulting and falsely arresting someone he owed money. I had wondered whether our system of justice could deal with a case like this. What a relief that a corrupt, vicious bully hiding under a blue cap has been treated so firmly. Hurrah for British justice.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

A Dark Day....

...I have finished the second series of DAMAGES.

Not sure what options are left open to me. Please don't say THE WIRE.


It had to happen. I have resisted. No way back.

ActorNealFoster is coming alive


One of the actors in SKELLIG was talking about COLUMBO in the Green Room. She had no idea why everyone loved it so much - she said she always managed to work out who had done it within about 15 minutes.

There was a long silence - and then I asked "Have you ever watched it from the beginning?"

"No", she said "I always seem to turn on half way through, but I can still work out who did the murder. It's always so obvious"

"Yes, I see", I said, "You know, if you watched it from the beginning..."

The joy of sharing knowledge...!