The arts magazine for teachers

The exam season is almost behind us for another year and time to take a deep breath an assess how we can all move forward again. Whilst it is still undeniably challenging for schools to organise theatre and exhibition trips, it should be seen as an intrinsic element of studying the arts for students to experience as many different forms and approaches as possible. Not only is this vital in laying the foundations for those pursuing a career on the stage, but will hopefully also open up pathways for others interested in a career ‘backstage’. Post-pandemic, the theatre and performing arts industry has experienced a significant decline in those working in front-of-house and backstage roles and is having to reassess the way these vital jobs are perceived and rewarded. Apprenticeships and training opportunities for technicians, sound & lighting engineers, costume designers, etc are offered by many institutions and your students should be encouraged to explore these further. A rewarding career in the arts isn’t just for the performers!

The inspiring interviews in this issue take in several different genres: an opera singer/composer, a playwright/author and an actor/producer, each proving that there are many different routes into the arts. We also feature the National Theatre’s Speak Up programme, being extended to more schools with the aim of giving students a voice to enable a positive change in their lives.

The exhibition review in this issue takes in the Cornelia Parker show at Tate Modern – one you definitely don’t want to miss – whilst our Pause for Thought provides an insight into the role of a critic.

Until we meet again in September, I hope you are able to enjoy a break and look forward to the academic year ahead.

John

The Big Interview – A Voice in Demand

The Big Interview – A Voice in Demand  

Roderick – Roddy – Williams is an internationally renowned baritone, composer and teacher. He sings opera, oratorio and songs from various eras in concerts. Susan Elkin chatted to him. Roddy Williams is a very busy man. One of the best-known baritones of his generation, he’s on Radio 3 almost daily either because his many recordings […]

24 years Upstairs at the Gatehouse

24 years Upstairs at the Gatehouse  

Following up on our feature about small pub venues from the last issue, Susan Elkin went to discover how Upstairs at the Gatehouse continues to thrive. John and Katy Plews had always wanted to run a theatre of their own. So, once they felt they had sufficient experience they started to look at possibilities all […]

Barney Norris

Barney Norris  

Like David Storey (1933-2017) whom he admired greatly, Barney Norris, 35, is both a playwright and novelist. Susan Elkin met him. As Barney Norris writes in two genres, I thought a bookshop would be the right place to meet. So we’re sitting congenially over coffee (him) and tea (me) in the basement café at Waterstones […]

Mesmerising Installations

Mesmerising Installations  

Blown away by the Cornelia Parker exhibition at Tate Britain, Graham Hooper implores you not to miss this event. I’m going to begin by saying that I think Cornelia Parker, whose work is surveyed at Tate Britain in London until October this year, is, in my opinion, the nation’s greatest living artist. That’s a big […]

Young people Speak Up across Manchester

Young people Speak Up across Manchester  

Following a successful pilot phase that began in Autumn 2021, the National Theatre’s Speak Up programme will work with young people in 15 secondary schools in Greater Manchester across the next three years. Speak Up is the NT’s new national programme which sees young people, who have been most affected by the pandemic, working in collaboration with local […]

Pause for thought… Critical Thinking

Pause for thought… Critical Thinking  

With years of experience behind her, Susan Elkin discusses the art of a theatre critic. I see an average of four to five shows a week. And I review them – as keen readers of Ink Pellet will be aware – here and elsewhere. They range from one person shows in fringe theatres to big musicals. […]

Book Review – The Crucible / Death of a Salesman / A View from the Bridge

Book Review –  The Crucible / Death of a Salesman / A View from the Bridge  

The Crucibleedited by Soyica Diggs Colbert Death of a Salesmanedited by Claire Conceison A View from the Bridgeedited by Julie Vatain-Corfdir Badged as “student texts” these three new Methuen Drama editions of Arthur Miller plays include extensive fore-notes. Each is effectively a study guide and play text combined. They are, however, without all that banal […]

Coffee Break -James Camp

Coffee Break -James Camp  

James Camp, 30, is an actor who co-founded Half Cut Theatre in 2020. It’s a touring company working mostly in East Anglia and the southeast. Susan Elkin chatted to him. What first drew you to acting? Well, I grew up in South Cambridgeshire, where my parents still live, and was inspired by my aunty who’s […]

Global Entertainment

Global Entertainment  

Kenny Wax is one of the country’s leading theatre producers with Six and The Show Goes Wrong series under his belt among many other productions. Susan Elkin meets him. Kenny Wax, 54, is a very focused man. Yes, the pandemic has made his life quite difficult, but the long gap means, he tells me, that […]

Going down the Pub

Going down the Pub  

Exploring some of the smaller spaces offered by pub theatres, Susan Elkin suggests you keep them in mind when looking for alternative live theatre school trips. I seem to spend a lot of time in pubs. And no, it isn’t because I’m succumbing to football or alcohol dependency. It’s because there are so many flourishing pub […]