The Christmas double issue: Meet Sheridan Smith and the West End understudies
This week’s issue of The Stage is our double size Christmas spectacular. This week’s cover star, Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps actor Sheridan Smith talks about performing from an early age, her dedication, and playing the lead in Legally Blonde the Musical:
It’s a dream part. I would have been gutted if I hadn’t got it. I know it’s a big, fluffy camp show, but it does have a lot of heart and a lovely message — that you can achieve things others don’t think you are capable of
Since Edward Bennett took on the role of Hamlet at short notice from David Tennant in December 2008, a succession of high profile understudies have helped ensure that the show goes on even when the leading actors can’t. To celebrate, we honour the role of the understudy with a photoshoot of eight talented performers either currently working as understudies or who have taken over in a major role this year.
The Stage’s Hamlet cartoonist and TV reviewer, Harry Venning, took a decade to transform his Guardian comic strip Clare in the Community into the successful Radio 4 sitcom. As his second show, Sneakiepeeks is now under way on the broadcaster, the former actor shares his tips with aspiring broadcast writers:
Sitcom, in particular lends itself to radio far more than TV, where budgetary constraints and the demands of a live audience limit the action to however many sets can be crammed into a studio. Usually this just means three, with one almost invariably a semi-detached, suburban living room. Sneakiepeeks has already gone on location to the Cote d’Azur, the United Arab Emirates, Ceredigion, Eastbourne and Madame Tussauds
Review of 2009
From taking part in the third Move It dance event in London and reviewing more than 350 productions at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, to providing scholarships to talented young performers and returning to Blackpool to hold our annual light entertainment party, it’s been an eventful year for The Stage
Photographer Tristram Kenton shares the photographic highlights of the year
News reporters Lalayn Baluch and Matthew Hemley look back at the key news stories of the arts sector and broadcasting industry
Our arts correspondents look back at the last twelve months of West End, London Fringe, regional theatre, opera, dance and light entertainment, television and radio performances, as well as the pick of books, CDs and DVDs
Also this week:
We pick the best radio, TV and podcasts to watch and listen to over the festive period
Physical theatre company Footsbarn will be braving the cold to bring a fortnight of bawdy performance to Shakespeare’s Globe this Christmas. Globe and Footsbarn artistic directors Dominic Dromgoole and Paddy Hayter tell Lalayn Baluch to expect a weird and wonderful array of puppets, music, circus and song, suitable for the whole family
Award winning playwright Che Walker, best known for The Frontline, tells Chloe Thomas about working on Jack and the Beanstalk at the Lyric Hammersmith and why he loves panto
Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s children’s books, including The Gruffalo rely on gorgeous illustrations to add to the story — so that adds additional design challenges when transferring them to the stage. Lisa Martland meets Katie Sykes, who has converted the Donaldson/Scheffler book Stick Man for the Soho Theatre
Newly graduated performers should think twice before reaching for the bottle this Christmas, says Hilary Strong, director of the National Council for Drama Training — alcohol can ruin an actor’s career before it’s begun
Since becoming managing director, Andree Deissenberg has transformed iconic cabaret venue the Crazy Horse in Paris, overseeing a €2.5 million refurbishment and injecting a fresh creative buzz by hiring big name performers including Dita Von Teese
For every Christian Bale and Minnie Driver, there are plenty of stories about Brits who have failed to make the grade in Hollywood. We speak to agents and actors to discover the dos and don’ts for developing a Hollywood career
Twins Gary and Paul Hardy-Brown talk about their career as illusionists and their work on pantos up and down the country this Christmas
As the year draws to a close, careers coach and agony uncle John Byrne reflects on the ways you can ensure that your friends and colleagues past and present enjoy a merry Christmas and even, perhaps, a prosperous new year
Showpeople: Teneisha Bonner, appearing in Into the Hoods at the Queen Elizabeth Hall; Frank Sanazi, a comedy cabaret blend of Frank Sinatra and Adolf Hitler; Neal Craig, playing Romeo in Oddsocks’ touring Romeo and Juliet; Charlotte Chinn, appearing in Goldilocks and the Three Bears at the Georgian Theatre Royal, Richmond.
This week’s double size issue of The Stage is available from the usual outlets for the one-off price of £2.00.
The next issue of The Stage will feature the annual Stage 100 power list, and will be published on December 30.