‘Hamilton’ Makes Its London Debut + More UK Industry News

Photo Source: Hamilton

Hello and welcome back to our roundup of news from across the industry. From stage to screens big and small, we’ve got you covered. It’s everything you need to know and all you can’t afford to miss.

The Storyhouse Rep company will be casting soon.
Storyhouse, the newly created theatre and arts venue for Chester, announced their 2018 season which includes Stephen Sondheim’s “A Little Night Music” and Arthur Miller’s epic “The Crucible”. The new season also features an adaptation of Arthur Ransome’s book “Swallows and Amazons”. The venue opened their doors earlier in the year and had a successful first stage season that included homegrown productions and community theatre. The flexible 500-800 seat main house allows them to receive large and mid-scale touring shows too.

Importantly, Storyhouse will be casting a rep company of 30 actors in the new year to perform the 2018 theatre season. The Storyhouse Rep will be the largest ensemble of actors outside of the National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company. A further eight musicians will join the company alongside a 15-person community chorus and three actors from the jointly run MA drama programme between Storyhouse and The University of Chester.

Artistic Director Alex Clifton, who previously ran the open air theatre and Chester Performs programme, will cast the company of actors. Keep an eye out for opportunities and if you’re local and want to get involved in the community company, keep a tab on the ‘Get Involved’ section of the Storyhouse website.

Top choreographer to cast local dancers.
One of the world’s leading choreographers announced last week that he’ll be holding open auditions for “East Wall”, a new project at the Tower of London. Renowned choreographer Hofesh Shecter is directing the first major public event at the Tower since the moat was filled with poppies for the commemorative installation “Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red” in 2014. This new project will mix dance and live music and is co-produced with East London Dance and created in partnership with Historic Royal Palaces and the London International Festival of Theatre.

Involving a company of 160 London-based community dancers, the large-scale performance is to be created with up-and-coming choreographers Becky Namgauds, Duwane Taylor, James Finnemore, and Joseph Toonga.

The audition is open to dancers between the ages of 13 and 25, across movement and dance styles. The call is to be held on March 10 at the Stratford campus of the University of East London. Performances will take place in July 2018.

Coventry named UK’s City of Culture.
Coventry was named the UK’s City of Culture 2021 last week, beating the likes of Paisley and Stoke-on-Trent. After Hull’s incredible 2017 City of Culture year, it’s a hard act to follow.

Belgrade Theatre and Shop Front Theatre in Coventry were celebrating the news within hours of the announcement, made live on BBC’s “The One Show” by arts minister John Glen. Coventry folk and those with a connection to the city should be looking out for opportunities related to the year-long festival in 2021. And those of you who are experienced actor-writers, directors, dancers, devising practitioners, filmmakers or producers should be thinking ahead to making contributions to the festival.

Screen Production News
Last week it was confirmed that Freddie Mercury biopic “Bohemian Rhapsody” faltered yet again, replacing their director Bryan Singer after chaos on set. The film, which has been almost a decade in the making, was put on hold after the studio fired Singer and brought in British actor-director Dexter Fletcher.

The BBC announced a three-part adaptation of Andrea Levy’s novel “The Long Song”, about the dying days of slavery in Jamaica. Written by Sarah Williams (“Small Island”), the drama is told from a female point of view and explores the ending of three hundred years of slavery on the British-ruled Caribbean island in 1838. The story sees July, a strong-willed slave on a plantation, look back over her life. The project is likely to be filming at the end of 2018 and casting over the next few months.

Upcoming feature “The Aeronauts” has apparently bagged Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Written by Jack Thorne, the film tells the story of daring feats of 19th-century hot air ballooning and was announced last year. Shooting begins in Spring 2018 and casting director Julie Harkin is attached.

Theatre Production News
The first London performance of “Hamilton” wowed audiences last week. The award-winning musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre after delays in extensive renovation work earlier in the year. George Osborne was in attendance, watching 25-year-old RADA graduate Jamael Westman make his West End debut as Alexander Hamilton in only his third professional stage production.

The Yard Theatre in Hackney Wick announced their new season, including the hotly anticipated adaptation of “Three Sisters” by movement theatre company RashDash and “Buggy Baby” by artistic associate Josh Azouz. RashDash are to bring their unique brand of punk theatre to the classic Chekhov play which, despite the title, gives most of the lines to the male characters. With music by Beckie Wilkie, the production will premiere at Manchester Royal Exchange before coming to London on May 22.

Check out Backstage’s London audition listings!