November 26, 2012
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How refreshing to see Danny Boyle and the team behind this summers’s Olympic Opening Ceremony taking the Beyond Theatre prize at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards.
It is only the second time the gong which “celebrates theatricality outside the confines of the auditorium” has been awarded.
The event at London’s Savoy Hotel celebrated and rewarded some of the finest theatrical achievement of the year.
Winners included Simon Russell Beale who took best actor award for his leading role in the National Theatre’s Timon of Athens. While the NT’s artristic director Sir Nicholas Hytner received a brace of awards, including Best Director, for the same production.
Nick Payne became the youngest playwright ever to receive the Best Play award. The 29-year-old won the prize for Constellations at The Royal Court.
Matthew Tennyson won the Outstanding Newcomer for Making Noise Quietly at the Donmar and Best Actress went to Hattie Morahan for her performance as Nora in The Young Vic production of A Doll’s House.
November 15, 2012
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Olympic opening ceremony masterminds Danny Boyle and Stephen Daldry are pushing prime minister David Cameron to guarantee sustained investment in the arts.
With government grants to the Arts Council slashed by nearly a third, they fear many regional theatres could soon be facing serious problems and in some cases even closure.
They are demanding a meeting with the Prime Minister to press their point. Oscar-winning film director Boyle says they plan to ask for “modest but sustained investment in the arts”.
He says it was theatre that inspired the internationally acclaimed Olympic opening ceremony. Yet the same government that lavished praise on that extraordinary achievement is continuing to cut funding for cultural organisations.
Boyle, who started his career at Bolton’s Octagon Theatre and went on to direct hit movies like Trainspotting and Slumdog Millionaire, points out that the nation’s regional theatre audiences is huge. Equal in number he claimed to those attending football matches.
The message was clear. Regional theatre is under threat like never before and it must not be allowed to die.
His plea comes just weeks after National Theatre director Sir Nicholas Hytner, spoke of threat to theatres outside London posed by cuts from The Arts Council and local authorities.