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Rapscallion Magazine News: the £1.15bn for the arts comes with strings attached included a hefty chunk of repayable loans, grants and cash for ‘national cultural institutions’ while smaller venues and companies could lose out

The Axbridge Pageant has been put back a year due to the Covid-19 crisis meaning lost revenue – will events like this be included in the £1.15bn hand out?

Slightly skeptical about the cash promised to the arts by the Government – somewhat belatedly – is it new money? Check the small print is the important part of this welcome piece of PR.

Writing for the BBC their arts editor Will Gompetz noted: “As always, the devil will be in the detail. The government has not specified how the money will be divided between competing art forms or regions, nor how the application process will work. There will be winners and losers.

“And then there’s the elephant in the auditorium: when will the rules around social distancing in performing arts venues be relaxed to allow the show to go on?

“Many theatre producers are baffled by what they see as ‘one rule for them, and one rule for us’, approach by government, particularly when it comes to travel. Why is it OK for people to sit side-by-side on a train or plane for hours but not in a theatre, which they argue is a much more controllable environment? As far as they are concerned, that is the billion dollar question.”

The Tobacco Factory in Bristol has had to suspend its season Shakespeare plays due to the crisis

The promised £1.15bn support pot for the arts organisation and venues in England features £880m in grants and £270m of repayable loans with funds devolved to the three administrations in Northern Ireland, Wales and Scotland – suggesting an element of red tape that could eat into the cash. So called national cultural institutions will also get £100m.

Philippa Childs, head of the Bectu union which supports workers across the media and entertainment industry, said the support package was overdue. She said she would be looking at the small print to check it was all it was said to be. She commented: “At long last the government have woken up to our warnings and those of the whole creative sector, that without support, we stood to lose a huge amount of our world-beating creative industries. We will now be scrutinising the details of this package to make sure it lives up to the real needs of our sector.”

On their website the actors and performers trade union Equity put: “Critically, it’s unclear as to how this money will be used on our first pillar- supporting the workforce through this crisis. How will the £880m in grants for the sector support and maintain the freelance and self employed creative workers our UK arts infrastructure depends on?

“If this investment does not reach creative workers – the actors, dancers, stage management, singers, variety artists, directors, designers, choreographers and many other highly skilled workers in our talent base, we risk the diversity and success of the wider creative industries – worth £112bn to the economy. These workers have campaigned for this deal; they can’t be left behind.”

The Bristol Old Vic has been dark during the crisis – they will be hoping to receive help

The question is clearly how will the cash be distributed and who will get what? Will for instance smaller venues like The Wardrobe Theatre in Bristol get funding or an actor performer like Kid Carpet receive anything – or will it be the RSC and the West End theatres that benefit along with museums and galleries operated by trusts or local authorities who have the man power to apply?

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Gillian Anderson as Blanche in A Streetcar Named Desire

RAPSCALLION MAGAZINE Theatre News: The National Theatre has announced further productions that will be streamed live on YouTube every Thursday

The National Theatre has today announced further productions that will be streamed live on YouTube every Thursday at 7PM BST via the National Theatre’s YouTube channel as part of National Theatre at Home; the new initiative to bring content to the public in their homes during the Coronavirus outbreak. The titles announced today include productions from partner theatres which were previously broadcast to cinemas by National Theatre Live.

On 14 May the NT will stream the never-before-seen archive recording of Inua Ellams’ smash-hit play Barber Shop Chronicles, a co-production with Fuel and Leeds Playhouse. Captured at the National Theatre in January 2018 during its second sold-out run at the Dorfman theatre, the production went on to tour internationally including performances at BAM in New York with a return to London’s Roundhouse last Summer. The play tells the interwoven tales of black men from across the globe who, for generations, have gathered in barber shops where the banter can be barbed and the truth is always telling. Directed by Bijan Sheibani the cast includes Fisayo AkinadeHammed AnimashaunCyril Nri and Sule Rimi

 Inua Ellams’ smash-hit play Barber Shop Chronicles

The 2014 NT Live broadcast of the Young Vic and Joshua Andrews co-production of the Tennessee Williamstimeless masterpiece A Streetcar Named Desire will be streamed on the 21 May. As Blanche’s fragile world crumbles, she turns to her sister Stella for solace – but her downward spiral brings her face to face with the brutal, unforgiving Stanley Kowalski. The cast includes Gillian Anderson as Blanche, Ben Foster as Stanley and Vanessa Kirby as Stella. The production, directed by Benedict Andrews, remains the fastest-selling production in Young Vic history. 

The National Theatre production of This House by James Graham (Quiz, West End and ITV) will be streamed on 28 May. Filmed live in 2013, This House is a timely, moving and funny insight into the workings of British politics.  It’s 1974, and Britain has a hung Parliament.  The corridors of Westminster ring with the sound of infighting and backstabbing as the political parties battle to change the future of the nation. Jeremy Herrin directs a cast including Phil DanielsReece Dinsdale, Charles Edwards and Vincent Franklin.


The Donmar Warehouse production of Coriolanus staged by former Artistic Director Josie Rourke will be streamed on the 4 June.  When an old adversary threatens Rome, the city calls once more on her hero and defender: Coriolanus. But he has enemies at home too. In one of the Donmar’s most popular ever productions, Tom Hiddlestonplays the title role in Shakespeare’s searing tragedy of political manipulation and revenge. Cast also includes Alfred EnochDeborah Findlay and Mark Gatiss

All productions will be free and screened live at 7.00PM BST and will then be available on demand for seven days.

The next National Theatre at Home Quiz will be available from 7pm on Monday 25 May, introduced by James Graham, and featuring Imelda Staunton, Jim Carter, Lucian MsamatiMeera SyalSimon CallowTamsin Greig, and Jessie Buckley posing the questions on topics including Science and Nature, Literature and Theatre. The Quiz is available via the NT’s YouTube channel and Facebook page.

This House

National Theatre at Home launched in April in response to theatre and cinema closures due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Over the past month, five productions have been streamed for free via YouTube to an audience of 8 million. With the closure of theatres set to continue for some time, the future of the industry for artists and organisations remains uncertain. The National Theatre has, in agreement with Equity, committed to pay all artists and creatives involved with productions streamed as part of National Theatre at Home. 

The National Theatre is currently closed to audiences and like theatres all around the world is facing a devastating impact from Coronavirus.  NATIONAL THEATRE AT HOME is free of charge but should viewers wish to make a donation to support the National Theatre, we have launched a public appeal on our home page:

Money donated via YouTube will be shared with the co-producing theatre organisations of each stream, including the Donmar Warehouse, Fuel, Leeds Playhouse and the Young Vic, helping to also support them through this period of closure and uncertainty.  

For more information on NATIONAL THEATRE AT HOME go to


Clare Burt (Ada Harris) and Claire Machin (Violet) in Flowers for Mrs Harris
© Johan Persson

RAPSCALLION MAGAZINE Theatre News: Fancy a perk up? The very English musical theatre production of Flowers for Mrs Harris can be watched free on the internet from the Chichester Theatre until May 8th

Based on the novella Mrs. ‘Arris Goes to Paris by Paul Gallico the novel was published in 1958 as Flowers for Mrs Harris as the first in a series of four books about the adventures of a London charwoman.

Chichester Festival Theatre’s production of the award-winning musical about a charlady’s dream of owning a Dior gown, starring Clare Burt, Joanna Riding and Gary Wilmot is set in post war London.

Directed by Daniel Evans, it captures the glowing humanity of the novella by Paul Gallico on which it is based. The production began in Sheffield, where it won three UK Theatre Awards including Best Musical.

Richard Taylor is a composer and lyricist for stage, opera and television, whose work includes Beauty and the Beast (CFYT 2017) and The Go-Between (West End). Rachel Wagstaff adapted Sebastian Faulks’s novel Birdsong for the West End

The musical drama can be viewed here:

Harry Mottram
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RAPSCALLION MAGAZINE Theatre News: drama centred on rural drop outs in Wiltshire – Jez Butterworth’s acclaimed play Jerusalem to have a 2021 revival

Jerusalem at the Apollo
Jerusalem at the Apollo

Sonia Friedman Productions has announced that Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem is being revived next year with Mark Rylance reprising his starring role.

The play originally ran at the Royal Court in 2009, starring Rylance and Mackenzie Crook

It then transferred to the Apollo Theatre in the West End in 2010 and Broadway in 2011, with Rylance and Crook reprising their roles. After the Broadway run, the production returned to the Apollo Theatre, running until January 2012.

Sonia Friedman Productions has confirmed on Twitter that the play, directed by Ian Rickson, will return next year, starring Rylance again.

Further details, including dates and a venue, are yet to be announced.

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