The Stage


Grads' Club

Award winning hoof and talented ‘yoof’

Well, it would be foolish not to start by congratulating the NYC War Horse team on their rather fantastic 6 Tony Award wins - hoorah! I can only imagine the celebratory antics that went on afterwards and hugely well deserved. Of course the other big winner was The Book of Mormon, which must be perhaps the most hyped Broadway show since Wicked. Everyone seems to have downloaded the soundtrack already and a West End outing must surely be on the cards for next year.

It’s been great to see a show that would never have been possible without arts funding receive such acclaim stateside - and with it the number of British journalists, culture vultures and theatre folk who have been drawn in to comment on such success. As our not so famous friends Scooch once said, they’re truly flying the flag.

Back in Blighty, there’s been another slew of latecomers and to be quite frank, I will never sympathise with them. The only theatre show I’ve ever been late for was Anything Goes upon its transfer to Drury Lane and I can honestly say I felt terrible having to sneak past just 2 people to take our seats near the end of a row.

However, when 6 of you want to subtly parade into the centre of the stalls, knocking out Carol and John with your Selfridges bags (who, incidentally had been sat in their seats 20 minutes before curtain up eyeing my mugshot in the programme), I have to draw the line.

Yes, different theatres operate their own latecomer policies and it’s with their discretion when latecomers are allowed to take their seats. Personally, I’d be quite happy to greet all latecomers at the interval and upon taking a big chunky highlighter from my tweed trouser pocket, circle the bit on their ticket that reads “Latecomers will not be admitted” and hope they enjoy the second half.

I’m being facetious (which, along with ‘subtly’ really had me stumped for spelling). Our front of house team are great at managing latecomers and do all they can to avoid disrupting other audience members and the actors onstage. I just wish those who simply had to have one more whip around Zara before getting to the theatre late would have a little more grace upon taking their seats. And besides, they miss me bringing a small wooden swallow to life.

I recently wrote a piece for The Stage’s musical theatre supplement about the importance of training. In a nutshell, I attempted to sing the praises of all the knowledge and experience that a 3 year training can offer. I’m a firm believer that you never stop learning, but I can’t deny that youth and young people should be championed, challenged and supported with as many opportunities as possible.

On a recent application form I was asked what I loved about current British theatre. My answer? The increasing number of young creative talents working in the industry. You can look across all disciplines and you will see new and exciting directors, choreographers, lighting designers, stage managers, producers etc… and we have a duty to support them. Be this through collaboration with already established creative teams or taking a punt and giving them a platform of their own, companies and those people with the clout to decide need to be brave in recruiting new talent.

One such company never shy of getting behind young creative talent is IdeasTap. They’ve joined forces with Sky Arts to offer five young artists £30,000 each to fund their work for a full year as part of the Sky Arts Ignition: Futures Fund. Applications are open now and you have until 19th September 2011 to apply - I’m onto it already.

Lastly, a big thank you to the lovely people who have waited at stage door after the show to say hello. One lady had seen the show 7 times; we’ve only been there for 2 years! It’s always nice to meet people who’ve enjoyed the show and I can only apologise for being a sweaty mess at the end of the night. I do shower, honestly - and as anyone who has worked at the New London will know, some of the audience would’ve seen that too.


I agree about the young artists. So much young creative talent seems to be coming through at the moment and I don't think it's going to let up any time soon.

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