Sunday, December 27, 2015

10 moments to cherish...theatre 2015

1. Nicole Kidman returning to the stage
No explanation required I'm sure. Here's hoping she continues to work on stage and with new material that would otherwise may not find their way to a mainstream audience.

2. Live stream of The Iliad
There have been few theatre events that have captured my excitement quite like the Almeida Theatre's live stream featuring over 60 actors reading The Iliad. It was glorious and undoubtedly will lead to future inspirational uses of digital by arts organisations. Bravo...

3. Programming of the Almeida Theatre
...and that goes for the whole programming at the Almeida Theatre which continues to be the most exciting theatre in London. Under the directorship of Rupert Gould, the theatre creates work that is (mostly) sublime in its combination of ambition, resonance and theatricality. Of course there are some duds (hello Bakkhai!), but that doesn't diminish its highs.

4. Imelda Staunton as Mama Rose
I have been lucky enough to see many exceptional stage performances but nothing compares to this one. Incredible.

5. The set change in Hangman
What a moment. To say more would be to spoil it for those lucky enough to have a ticket for its West End transfer.

6. Caryl Churchill's return
Although it divided audiences, Here We Go is an enticing (and I believe, a terrific) piece by this British playwright who will have a lengthier piece at the Royal Court early next year.

7. Diana Nneka Atuona
Liberian Girl was her first play and that alone highlights Diana as one of the UK's most promising new writers.

8. Dance sequence in High Society
Staging this revival in the round at The Old Vic resulted in one of the most immersive experiences for an audience assigned to a seat. A glorious feeling that brought this slight musical to a full, rich life.

9. #wakingthefeminists
There are many arts institutions that need to review their attitudes towards diversity, and the world took note when Ireland's Abbey Theatre announced a key season of programming that did not reflect the society and subject it claims to represent.

10. Kids doing it for themselves...mostly
The National Theatre has had a solid year but it excelled when it brought Brainstorm to its Temporary Theatre, celebrating the work of young people who created something very special indeed. Theatre practitioners of all ages should watch and take note.

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