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Posts Tagged ‘Theatre Royal’

The Friends of the RSC in Newcastle got together for a Coffee Morning chat in the Theatre Royal recently. Tea and a friendly talk by Yvonne Richardson about the RSC and the Theatre Royal going dark until September were the topics.

Everyone was interested about when the RSC would be coming to Newcastle and there were many questions concerning the new theatre at Stratford Upon Avon and who had seen it, what was it like and when would the RSC return to Newcastle after their stated holiday from the venue for this year.

The Theatre Royal is going dark from 14th March for six months to restore the auditorium to its former glory. All the seats which have been present since about the 1950’s are being replaced with new specially designed seats similar to those of the original 1901 Edwardian theatre. With this in mind, the old seats are to be auctioned, anyone who has a name on a seat is being given the name plate and also given the chance to buy a new seat. Some of the Friends at the coffee morning have seats so were discussing this topic.

Yvonne talked of the new plays in Stratford and who might be in them. Mention was made of Jonathan Slinger who is to play Macbeth, a popular figure since playing Puck at the Theatre Royal, while some of the Friends mentioned his performances as Richard 11 and Richard 111 at The Courtyard.

There was anxiety about when the RSC would return to Newcastle, the Friends being keen to get their annual compliment of the Bard. But with the arrangements for the Birthday Party in April and the promise of future talks by visiting parts of the company, everyone was feeling reassured.

Ideas concerning contact with the RSC were discussed, topics about recent plays, actors of the RSC and general theatre interests kept those presented interested until Lunchtime, when everyone then made their way home or into the town to shop.

For further information on the Restoration of the Theatre Royal Auditorium please visit their website at http://www.theatreroyal.co.uk/restoration

 by Violet Rook.

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“Pamela ‘R, Pamela ‘R”, a little boy said.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

Alison Steadman was describing a meeting she had had with a couple and their small son, when recognition of her role in “Gavin and Stacey” the BBC TV comedy was thus exclaimed. “ I was well chuffed”.

She was a guest of the RSC Friends in Newcastle Upon Tyne while appearing in Alan Bennett’s play ‘Enjoy’ at the Theatre Royal. Yvonne Richardson the Friends Organiser in Newcastle was keen to give the Friends the chance to get to know this fine actor and had arranged a talk at short notice. The event took place in part of the fourth floor reception area of the theatre near the site of the grand piano which will be well known to many RSC actors. There surrounded, by the Friends of the RSC, Alison and Yvonne sat while more than 40 RSC Friends listened and gave comment.

Alison illustrated descriptions of her life as an actor on stage, screen, and TV with vivid descriptions of the roles she had played. Favourites such as roles in “Fat Friends“,” Gavin and Stacey” and of course “Abigail’s Party” and others such as Mrs Bennett in “Pride and Prejudice”. She was excellent in giving great and thoughtful insight into how she researched and built a character via reference to people she had met, or relatives and sometimes friends. Reference was also made to directing on screen and stage. The building of a character via speech, costume and physical mannerisms was highly informative.

For example illustrating the illness of the character she was playing, she mentioned how buttoning a cardigan in regard to the character made the point regarding lack of awareness. A very small item and gesture, but significant to the part. Or the fact that local accents change with time and therefore generations and individuals of differing ages will have different accents though born in the same area.

Questions were asked by the gathered Friends who were interested in how she learnt her lines. To this she said that she had been taught to learn the lines in small chunks and signpost her lines via the entrances or lines of other players. A general feeling of interest was apparent and thus the hour long talk was deemed a great success. Everyone was impressed by Alison, who displayed a very knowledgeable, clever and sensitive observation of people and their ability, which she imparts to any performance in which she is involved.

This was the general feedback from those present who marvelled at her ability to give such spontaneous reactions and characterization during the discussion.

By Violet Rook, Friends of the RSC, Newcastle.

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