What’s Hot in London: November 26-December 2

News   What’s Hot in London: November 26-December 2
 
Andrew Lloyd Webber makes diversity in theatre a sticking point, Brexit threatens the arts, and more.
What’s Hot in London
What’s Hot in London

Andrew Lloyd Webber calls for more diversity in British theatre.
A new report commissioned by the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation to explore the under-representation of black, Asian, and minority ethnic (referred to here as BAME) people in live theatre in Britain has found that “white middle classes still dominate audiences” and that “even in London, where the BAME population is now 44 percent, audiences outside specialist theatres and theatre groups remain overwhelmingly white.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber Dan Wooller

In an introduction to the report, the composer has stated, “I passionately believe that the stage needs to reflect the diversity of the U.K. population or it risks becoming sidelined. If the situation continues, there is real danger that, not only will black and Asian young people stay away from the theatre as a profession, they will stay away as punters. And without them in the audience, theatres will become unsustainable, as they are forced to compete for a dwindling aging, white, middle-class audience.”

The re-sale ticket industry faces scrutiny.
At a parliamentary committee hearing of the Department of Culture, Media and Sport last month, concerns were raised about the tax matters of secondary ticket companies. One expert, Reg Walker, told them, “This is meant to be a £1.2 billion industry in the U.K. alone, and yet we can only find a turnover of around £200 million on published accounts.”

The Culture Secretary Karen Bradley has promised to raise the matter with the tax authorities HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), stating that she would “ensure that the concerns highlighted during the evidence session with regards to the under-reporting of income are raised with HMRC.”

The U.K.’s four biggest secondary ticketing websites—Seatwave and GetMeIn, which are both owned by Ticketmaster, plus Viagogo and Ebay-owned Stubhub—are already under investigation by the Competitions and Markets Authority.

In response, Bradley said she would “ensure that the concerns highlighted during the evidence session with regards to the under-reporting of income are raised with HMRC.”

Brexit is affecting the U.K. arts.
Amongst the many industries likely be hit by the vote in favour of Britain leaving the European Union following a referendum earlier this year are the arts. According to research by the Labour Party, London benefited from more than €53 million (£45 million) from European Union culture and media funding between 2007 and 2013, which risks being lost when the U.K. leaves the European Union.

The U.K.’s Treasury has confirmed that it will underwrite all funds awarded up until the point that the U.K. leaves the E.U., but whether the government chooses to continue participating in the Creative Europe programme—and making a financial contribution to do so—has not yet been addressed.

An actor sustains a show-stopping injury during a performance of Amadeus.
Actor Alexandra Mathie was injured during an onstage fall during the November 28 performance of Amadeus at the National Theatre, leading to a 45-minute delay, but the show resumed after the actress was taken away on a wheelchair. According to an audience member’s tweet, she "managed to wave” to the audience.


Many of those in the audience were reported to have had to leave to catch their trains before it ended. They were offered refunds or replacement tickets.

Reviews: Buried Child
Ed Harris and Amy Madigan reprise their Off-Broadway performances in Scott Elliot’s New Group revival of Sam Shepard’s Buried Child in the West End, where it opened December 1.

Harris appeared last weekend on a TV talk show hosted by Andrew Marr hereby being referred to as “You know the guy—the slightly scary one with the icy blue stare.”

In a review for the Daily Telegraph, Dominic Cavendish writes, “That icy blue stare has helped make the new HBO series Westworld, in which Harris plays the prowling, sadistic, mysterious Man in Black, heartless dispatcher of theme-park androids, this autumn’s must-watch telly. And it’s firmly in evidence again as, exchanging that Stetson for a baseball cap, Harris makes, at the age of 66, his London stage debut (alongside his wife Amy Madigan, a double-coup) in Sam Shepard’s Pulitzer-prize winning, weird-as-hell family drama from 1978, Buried Child.” He declares the evening to be “a mixed bag” but concludes “Harris devotees won’t be disappointed.”

In The Guardian, Michael Billington concurs. “Harris is totally compelling as Dodge. He captures the second childishness of old age as he pummels the sofa in a tantrum demanding another bottle of whiskey. Harris also catches perfectly the contradictions of a man who denies the past—claiming the present is ‘the whole shootin’ match’—while being oppressed by it. It is a fine performance that suggests a once-fruitful titan reduced to a hollow-eyed husk.”

For further news…
Stay tuned to Playbill.com and follow me on Twitter @shentonstage for rolling news updates as they happen.

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