The Oxford Shakespeare series is now complete following the publication of Richard II and marks a unique achievement for General Editor Stanley Wells, the great Shakespearean scholar, who has become the only person to have overseen the editing of every Shakespeare play within their lifetime. The series offers new and authoritative editions of Shakespeare’s plays in which the early printings have been scrupulously re-examined and interpreted. An introductory essay provides all relevant background information together with an appraisal of critical views and of the play’s effects in performance. The detailed commentaries pay particular attention to language and staging. Reprints of sources, music for songs, genealogical tables, maps, etc. are included and many of the volumes are illustrated. Available in paperback, for £7.99.
Two giants of the publishing world are linking up to develop a wonderful ‘digital content platform’, as they call it. What this means is that Bloomsbury Publishing Plc and Faber and Faber Limited are making available plays from the 5th century (Aeschylus) up to the present (Lucy Prebble) on the world web spider’s web. The library will also include works from theatre companies like Complicite and Filter. Sounds wonderful but we’ll have to wait until October. In the meantime, you can register for trials and demos at www.dramaonlinelibrary.com.
Sticking with drama, our friends at ALRA have launched a wonderfully entertaining and useful blog called CannyActors.com (Twitter: @CannyActors). It’s based on a series of talks to students at the Academy about how to administrate and market themselves as actors. There is some really brilliant insider information that you can share with students, from how to put on a show at the Edinburgh Fringe to how to make and take phone calls (it’s not the obvious, honest!). Check it out at cannyactors.com.
We know the weather is getting warmer when Shakespeare’s Globe opens for business and one of the hot dates for early spring is the Playing Shakespeare with Deutsche Bank project. This year’s feast is A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which will be running on the Globe stage for two weeks in late February and early March. The theatre once again is offering 15,000 free tickets to schools across London, giving many students their first taste of live theatre. Teachers can take part in CPD workshop, there are in-school workshops for students, and online learning resources.The project is supported by celebrity patrons including actors Tom Chambers, William Ash and Larry Lamb. For further details visit www.shakespearesglobe.org.uk.
And the winner is… The Turner Prize star was announced at the beginning of December, and went to Martin Boyce for his atmospheric installations. The exhibition of all artists’ work continues at the stunning Baltic in Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Karla Black, Martin Boyce, Hilary Lloyd and George Shaw. Nicholas Serota, Director of Tate said, ‘He has consistently reinvented the language of early modern art.’
If you have students seriously considering a career on stage, then point them in the direction of The Youth Music Theatre. The company is looking for performers – actors, musicians, whatever, to audition for a place in its national company. Workshops are taking place this month and next in a range of venues. Priced at £30, the auditions take the form of two and a half hour workshops, led by a professional director, choreographer and musical director, leading a series of practical and fun activities. There are separate auditions for musicians or those who would like to work backstage. For details and booking form visit www.youthmusictheatreuk.org.
The marvellous company that is Hull Truck Theatre is touring the UK with Dennis Kelly’s acclaimed play DNA. The new production, which portrays the enclosed world of adolescent cruelty and the dark side of group mentality, will open at the Drum Theatre, Plymouth on February 1st before going on a national tour until May 25. The play was first performed at the National Theatre in 2008 and is fast becoming a contemporary-classic with young audiences. The fact it has become a core set-text on the GCSE English syllabus is testament to this. This new touring production directed by the National Theatre’s Anthony Banks features a cutting-edge design & soundtrack and an exciting cast of young actors. The play’s themes feature many issues that affect young people in today’s society including gang culture; bullying; and responsibility. For tour dates visit www.hulltruck.co.uk.