The Stage: Fringe Focus

As 2013 begins afresh here are a collection of my 2012 Fringe Focus blogs to get you warmed up for those to come.

Catch a rising star


Recently, I was asked what I thought of The Off West End Awards (or the ‘Offies’ as they are affectionately known). The person in question had issues with their validity, suggesting that to score one thing against another was unavoidably reductive. But while I could see their point – having a love/hate relationship to awards myself – for Off-West End venues they can be essential. To read more.

Is this theatre’s ‘new’ new writing?

The Bush Theatre announced its new writing policy last week. To do so during the first season without a new play in the theatre’s 41 year history was brave. Sure enough voices of dissent were soon heard, none more frankly than original Artistic Director Mike Bradwell, who wrote – on a social networking site that shall not be named


– well you can imagine the rest. His reaction has elicited more than 80 responses with people anxious not only about the restricted application time but also the workshop and seed funding processes that will follow. To read more

The dramatic appliance of science.

As Nick Payne’s dazzling Constellations or Katie Mitchell’s disquieting Ten Billion shows there are a million and one ways to dramatise science. The Barbican’s exciting collaboration with the Wellcome Trust  and FUEL’s partnership with the UCL Ear Institute continue to explore how art can open up the complicated DNA of physics, biology and chemistry for an audience to experience and enjoy. To read more

We can learn from panto – oh, yes we can!

The cast of Snow White at His Majesty's Theatre, Aberdeen parody this year's favourite cultural reference Gangnam Style. Photo: Donald Stewart

For some people pantomime is only bearable because it encourages families who never go to the theatre into it, and for others it’s not even bearable then. But I’ve always been rather fond of the “He’s behind you!” hoopla.

I enjoy the silly antics and clever pop culture references (if there’s a pantomime on the planet this year without a Gangnam Style pastiche I’ll run around the stage with bloomers on my head). Most of all I get a thrill about being part of an audience so involved in their own entertainment, proactively working with the performers to ensure a good night out. To read more



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