Writer Daniel Rosenthal discusses the various ways to analyse and engage with Shakespeare’s The Tempest in three different stages: reading, watching and writing about the play.
This unique and exclusive documentary opens the door to life at the Lyric Theatre in Hammersmith, west London, during summer and autumn 2017. DT+ goes behind the scenes to access all areas of the company, from their extensive young people’s programme to the key planning stages for their main house production of Anton Chekhov’s The Seagull.
Willy Russell shares what he has learnt about what it takes to write a play with fascinating insight into his own life and career. He explores several of his key works in vivd detail, including Educating Rita, and gives a reading from Shirley Valentine.
Having been named one of the most influential people in British theatre, Vicky Featherstone discusses her path to success, from her role as Artistic Director of touring company Paines Plough to leading the National Theatre of Scotland and her current position with the Royal Court Theatre in London.
Writer Andrew Davies, best-known for adapting some of literature’s greatest novels for television, such as Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice and Leo Tolstoy’s War and Peace, discusses the cinematic potential of language and the process of bringing words to life on screen.
British writer Lee Hall discusses the processes for creating some of his most popular works, such as the ground-breaking radio drama Spoonface Steinberg, the play of The Pitmen Painters based on the Ashington Group, and the film and musical adaptation of Billy Elliot.
Writer, actor and director Patrick Barlow provides a unique insight into his theatre-making process, from the creation of his comedic double-act The National Theatre of Brent to the physical and fast-paced adaptation of the Alfred Hitchcock film and John Buchan novel The 39 Steps.
Playwright Tanika Gupta discusses her writing process, inspiration and passion for adapting Meera Syal’s semi-autobiographical novel, Anita and Me, as well as exploring her career progression from radio dramas to stage plays.
Professor Kate McLuskie, former Director of the Shakespeare Institute, leads two directors – Lucy Bailey and Phillip Breen – and two actors – Ray Fearon and Zoe Waites – in an in–depth discussion of love and sex with reference to Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, Othello and A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Jonnie Riordan, Associate Director of Frantic Assembly's Things I Know To Be True, takes you through six warm-up exercises and provides detailed aims and instructions for use in the classroom. The exercises vary from a fun 'keepie uppie' introduction, through to more demanding cardio and circuit training sessions, all of which are geared towards developing teamwork, stamina, physical confidence and focus.
Kirsty Oswald discusses playing the youngest Price child, Rosie, in Frantic Assembly’s Things I Know To Be True. Kirsty talks about the family that developed through rehearsing the play, the physical and emotional exhaustion that the production provokes, and describes the movement of the piece as loving familial support made manifest.
Matthew Barker plays Mark and Mia in Frantic Assembly’s production of Andrew Bovell’s Thing I Know To Be True. Matthew discusses the extensive research into, sincere approach towards and delicate examination of gender dysphoria that characterised the play’s and the company’s storytelling, from first read-through, to audience response.
Richard talks about playing ‘Mummy’s boy’ Ben Price in Andrew Bovell’s Things I Know To Be True. He discusses how an actor’s ‘track’ is as much physical as mental, why hitting peak energy can be easier in the throws of performance than rehearsal, and his conviction that experiencing the Frantic Assembly method would better any performer.
Scott Graham, Artistic Director of Frantic Assembly, explores the honest and collaborative process of developing the physical and textual language of Things I Know To Be True, alongside co-director Geordie Brookman, writer Andrew Bovell and a cast that grew into their characters as rehearsals progressed.
Adrian Lester talks to Digital Theatre+'s Creative Producer about the roles and industry realities he has encountered in his career, from speaking without words to walking in women's shoes. Lester explains how drama school teaches aspiring actors about graft, how mastering Taekwondo helped focus him as a performer, how roots aren't necessarily geographical, and how he will always, ultimately, return to the stage.
“The writer is the thing. Sometimes I feel that I haven’t really earned the accolades – I didn’t write it, I’m only saying it out loud really. But when those big parts come along you do have a huge responsibility, and I will rise to that because I am my worst critic... So it's exhausting doing theatre, but wonderful.”
Michael Grandage explains, to Digital Theatre+’s Fiona Lindsay, why he dislikes the term ‘revival’, how an old play must become new for a company to ‘crack’ it, and talks of bringing current work into perspective through the past.
Alison Hodge is a director, actor-trainer, author and lecturer, and the Artistic Director of ’The Quick and the Dead’, an international performance ensemble. In this wide-ranging interview she describes the fundamental principles of her work in actor training, and the myriad benefits that work on the breath or the spine can bring to the performer.
Matt Adams is a co-founder of Blast Theory with Ju Row Farr and Nick Tandavanitj. This interview by Professor Andy Lavender, author of Performance in the Twenty-First Century, is a fascinating discussion of the company’s inception; its unique experiments with interactive media, theatre and location-based games; and its working processes and creative practices.
Kelly Hunter was for many years a renowned actor with the Royal Shakespeare Company and is now Artistic Director of Flute Theatre. Hunter, author of Shakespeare’s Heartbeat and Cracking Shakespeare talks here with Michael Dobson, Director of the Shakespeare Institute, about her work developing games for children on the autism spectrum using Shakespeare’s texts.
Tim Crouch is a theatre artist: an experimental theatre maker who acts, writes and directs plays. In this fascinating interview he talks about early influences (his teacher Edward Braun, as well as Beckett, Brecht and Churchill), about story-telling, transformation, and the importance of the audience’s process in the theatre.
Tim Etchells, founding collaborator of Forced Entertainment, talks to theatre critic and journalist Matt Trueman about a 30-year process of trying to reinvent the theatrical experience in a way that can get past an audience’s defences, implicate them, involve them and allow them to form their own imaginative connections, beyond the ‘tyrannous architecture of narrative’.
Paul Allain is Professor of Theatre and Performing Arts at the University of Kent, as well as a movement director and actor trainer. Paul talks about the benefits of multidisciplinarity and the increased need for a global generation of directors to be flexible, adaptable and collaborative. He discusses training directors, working with actors, the advantages of maturity and how all theory is necessarily born out of practice.
In an ideal introduction to Jerzy Grotowski’s work, Paul Allain discusses in detail the various phases from traditional director, through researcher and theorist, and the constant principles with which it is always underpinned. He discusses Grotowski’s influences, practices and lifelong exploration of the ‘total’ act, on his journey towards the development of Poor Theatre.
Phillip Breen, theatre director, describes how the life of the play, which was originally expected to run for a fortnight, was unexpectedly extended, details the challenges of staging such sensitive subject matter in his 2011 production, and relives the playwright's response to seeing his life laid bare on stage.
Talking About Plays