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Education and Training

Discussions and articles regarding performing arts training.

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Grads' Club

A selection of contributors, who have all recently graduated from CDS courses, share experiences on their entry into the performing arts industry

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In The Paper

A sneak preview into the world of The Stage, the UK's newspaper for the entertainment performing arts industry.

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The Stage's news team look behind the big stories of the day.

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An occasional series of interviews with names from the world of theatre, broadcasting and all avenues of the performing arts.

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Shenton's View

One of the country's leading theatre reviewers, Mark Shenton offers news, opinion, commentary and the occasional anecdote about theatre in the West End, Broadway, and further afield. Mark is also theatre critic for the Sunday Express and other theatrical publications.

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TV Today

TV Today is the blog you need if your life revolves around television -- on either side of the camera, or from the comfort of your sofa. With regular contributions from The Stage's broadcasting correspondent Matthew Hemley, assistant editor Scott Matthewman and author and all-round TV guru Mark Wright.

Shenton’s View has moved

Shenton's View: Please note that, following the relaunch of The Stage’s website, Shenton’s View can now be found at: If you use a feed reader app or website to notify you of new posts, you can add the RSS feed to receive notifications of every new posting....

No first night for Twelfth Night?

Shenton's View: The press night diary is already so full already that we hardly search out shows that we are not actually invited to see. It barely entered my radar that the return of an all-male production of Twelfth Night to Shakespeare’s Globe, with Mark Rylance reprising his award-winning turn as Olivia that he first played there, when he was the theatre’s artistic director, in 2002, was not being offered for review at the Globe. Instead, a press day has already been announced for the transfer to the West End’s Apollo on...


TV Today: It is with no small amount of ambivalence that I write this, my final TV Today post. I’m not leaving The Stage — heaven forfend — but over the next few days we’ll be moving the editorial sections of the site (news, features and blogs/columns)...
Shenton's View: It what is turning out to be the most gripping — yet also tragic — behind-the-scenes scenes to happen in modern musical history, Rebecca - the Musical is in serious trouble again. It was originally being talked up for a West End opening at the Shaftesbury two years ago. It was even ‘announced’ on a major theatre website, as I wrote here at the time: “The information came from a press release from the show’s original Austrian producers. But no release had been issued here, so I checked with the...

Should you consider a foundation course?

Education and Training: Traditionally students who could act did lots of work in school and/or youth theatre and/or extra-curricular classes. Then they applied for three year training at drama school and, if they were good enough, got in. But thousands of hopefuls were turned down, as they still are. In some cases they were never going to be up to the mark and really should do something else. But others had potential but too little experience to audition successfully - perhaps because they hadn’t had the right guidance and advice. So along came...

Privacy -- offstage and behind-the-scenes

Shenton's View: How much do we give away and how much do we keep of (and to) ourselves? It’s a question that arises when you’re writing a regular blog or conversing frequently, as I do, on Twitter; you’re effectively giving permission to the world to have (a little bit of) access to your life. But you can and do ultimately control just how much you give away. On Sunday evening, for example, my partner (now husband) and I threw a private party in London to celebrate our wedding that took place in...

Taking Jesus Christ Superstar back to the rock arena

Shenton's View: The rock world has been doing it for ages, of course; though I don’t go to many, concert tours regularly seem to turn into fully-fledged theatrical presentations. The Pet Shop Boys, for instance, have regularly sought to make more of a show of their live appearances than just concerts, employing people like the late Derek Jarman, ENO’s David Alden and David Fielding, Sam Taylor-Wood and theatre designer Es Devlin (who did the Olympics opening ceremony) to hep create their live concert shows. That, in turn, has meant that shows like...

UK theatres help to promote backstage careers

Education and Training: Creative Choices - the new name for Offstage Choices - has gone from strength to strength since Creative and Cultural Skills launched the programme in 2009 with just a handful of events. And that’s very good news because it is helping to get performing arts careers to school students - something that does not happen enough, as I point out regularly. This term, some of England’s major theatres and live music venues will open their doors to an estimated 19,000 school children in years 9, 10 and 11 (13-16 year...
Shenton's View: 
Where does the restoration levy go? 
One of the great mysteries of the theatrical universe is just how the restoration levy is spent that most theatre chains, both in the West End and on Broadway, now routinely charge. There’s no transparency at all, despite the fact that theatregoers are forced to cough up this small but ultimately significant sum on top of their ticket price, and that’s before they’ve paid other add-ons like booking fees (per ticket) and transaction and delivery charges. (Surely the most puzzling delivery charge is the...

Not to be passed by

Shenton's View: The true path towards acceptance and integration of minorities isn’t made, of course, when special pleading is made for them but they’re happily, healthily and naturally integrated into the way of things. It’s why colour-blind casting in the theatre is so brilliant; both Derek Jacobi and currently Jonathan Pryce, playing the title role in King Lear at the Donmar Warehouse and Almeida Theatres respectively, had one of their three daughters played a black actress — respectively Pippa Bennett-Warner (as Cordelia) and Jenny Jules (as Regan), without comment or surprise....

School drama doesn’t need GCSE

Education and Training: So Education Secretary Michael Gove, carefully flanked by Nick Clegg for political expediency, has announced the replacement of GCSE with English Baccalaureate Certificates (EBC) initially in Maths, English and Sciences. So where does that leave performance subjects such as drama, dance and music and what effect will the proposed changes have on the status of the performing arts in the curriculum? Frankly, howls of outrage from performing arts teachers and the related industries notwithstanding, I don’t think it will affect them much at all. It could even be the making...

Creating a true theatrical ensemble

Shenton's View: The family that prays together, stays together, goes one adage. You could also say that the family that plays together, stays together, too. There’s always a lot of idealistic talk about the idea of creating theatrical ensembles, as witness the RSC attempts to put together companies that work together for two years. But what about twenty? Forty? Last week I visited Cornwall to see the return to its roots of Footsbarn, a company founded there some 42 years ago, performing their latest show, Indian Tempest. Footsbarn may no longer be...

A matinee, a Pinter play....

Shenton's View: In Sondheim’s immortal “The Ladies Who Lunch” from Company, Joanne famously sings of a certain type of women’s desperate attempts to fill their days: Another long exhausting day, Another thousand dollars, A matinee, a Pinter play, Perhaps a piece of Mahler’s. I’ll drink to that. And one for Mahler! Notwithstanding Elaine Stritch’s hilarious admission that when she first sang the song, she thought Mahler’s was a type of cheesecake, I always think of the song when I go to matinees — not least when they’re Pinter plays....

Postcard from Portsmouth

Grads' Club: It is half eight in the morning on the Saturday which has followed a week of teching in Kings Theatre, Southsea. A rare moment of quiet. I am not going to be flippant or attempt to be cool by masking my absolute giddy childish delight...

Starting Shakespeare young

Education and Training: I’ve written here before about the recent spate of imaginative, abridged Shakespeare versions designed to draw children in — but it’s a topic worth revisiting. One strand of the RSC’s famous and succinct three-line Shakespeare Manifesto is ‘Start it earlier’ and it’s an idea which is being taken more and more seriously. Last week, for example, I saw and reviewed for The Stage the latest in the RSC’s Young People’s Shakespeare (YPS) series. This time, under Tim Crouch’s imaginative direction, it was an 80 minute King Lear pared down to...

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