Phelim McDermott co-founded acclaimed theatre company Improbable in 1996.
His directing credits including Shockheaded Peter with Julian Crouch and The Tiger Lillies, Philip Glass’s The Perfect American with ENO and Teatro Real in Madrid, The Addams Family on Broadway and, most recently, Jim Broadbent in A Christmas Carol on the West End.
Phelim spoke to BTG editor David Chadderton about the origins of Improbable's show Animo that combines improvisation and puppetry, which was revived for the 2016 Latitude Festival led by co-artistic director Lee Simpson.
He also looked back on 20 years of Improbable and talked about the importance of improvisation to all of his work, even when script-based, and the influence of the ideas of Keith Johnstone and Jeremy Whelan on his techniques.
The Classic Thriller Season has been running at the Theatre Royal in Nottingham since 1988, produced by Colin McIntyre until his death in 2012.
The season has been kept up by Tabs Productions, which has continued the format of presenting four plays over a four-week period.
Karen Henson and John Goodrum of Tabs talk to Midlands Editor Steve Orme about this year's season, about continuing a long-running tradition and about their contribution to keeping the rep system alive.
Producer Bonnie Mitchell and performer Kylie Walsh talk about Mobile, a production from The Paper Birds that takes place in a small caravan for an audience of up to eight people at a time.
Bonnie and Kylie talk about the themes of class and social mobility, the devising process and the special challenges of touring a show for a tiny audience in a caravan.
The production, a co-commission from Live Theatre and The Marlowe Theatre, has just finished its first tour. It will be visiting The Marlowe Theatre in Canterbury from 8 to 12 October and Theatre Royal Plymouth from 1 to 5 November 2016 before touring again in 2017.
For more information, see www.thepaperbirds.com.
(Photo of Kylie Walsh credit: Richard Davenport)
BTG London editor Philip Fisher talks to writer Nell Dunn in her Fulham home.
Nell Dunn first became a published writer with Up the Junction, a collection of short stories, in 1963, then went on to become a successful novelist (Poor Cow, 1967) and playwright (Steaming, 1981). She co-wrote a screen adaptation of Poor Cow with Ken Loach, who directed the film in 1967, which has been digitally restored for a re-release both in cinemas and for home viewing.
Roxanne Pallett, probably still best-known for her long-running character of Jo in ITV’s Emmerdale, is currently appearing as Tyler in Neil LaBute’s Some Girls at London’s Park Theatre and in 2017 will star as Holly in a new production of The Wedding Singer, a musical based on the popular 1998 film of the same name, for a national tour.
Roxanne talks to BTG editor David Chadderton about both productions in a busy year for her, and also speaks quite frankly about how tough it can be for an actor to handle the leaner times when the work isn't coming in.
Some Girls by Neil LaBute runs at Park Theatre in London from 14 July to 6 August 2016.
The Wedding Singer will open at Curve in Leicester on 9 February 2017 and will tour the UK until September 2017.
(Photo: Roxanne Pallett at the 2015 Manchester Theatre Awards at Royal Northern College of Music, credit Simon Pendrigh.)
As the Nottingham Playhouse Sweet Vengeance season is announced, BTG Midlands editor Steve Orme talks to Artistic Director Giles Croft about the season, titled "Sweet Vengeance".
Also, actress Vicky McClure and director Matt Aston talk about their revival of Stephen Lowe's Touched and crime writer John Harvey discusses his experiences of creating his first work for the theatre, an adaptation of his 2014 novel Darkness, Darkness featuring his jazz-loving detective Charlie Resnick.
Edinburgh-based Puppet State Theatre Company has become famous for its stage adaptation of Jean Giono’s The Man Who Planted Trees, which has toured the world for ten years.
The company’s new production is J R R Tolkien’s short story Leaf By Niggle, performed as a solo piece by Richard Medrington, who spoke to us during the first Scottish tour of the show.
Leaf By Niggle will be performed at venues around Scotland until July 2016 before a full run at this year’s Edinburgh Fringe. The Man Who Planted Trees can be seen in York, Southport and Rossendale in June and July before another tour later in the year.
(Photo of Richard Medrington in Leaf By Niggle by Brian Hartley)
The adaptation is by Bolton-based playwright Neil Duffield, who speaks to us about adapting science fiction for the stage, the remarkable resonances that this 1909 story has with our world of social media and the world-wide web and making a living as a playwright for more than thirty years.
The Machine Stops by Neil Duffield with music by John Foxx and Benge, directed by Juliet Forster, will be performed at York Theatre Royal from 13 May to 4 June 2016 followed by a short tour to The Point in Eastleigh on 8 and 9 June and New Theatre Royal, Portsmouth on 10 and 11 June before appearing at Platform Shift + festival in Budapest from 15 to 19 June.
(Image of Neil Duffield by Anthony Robling)
Canadian-British playwright Evan Placey's play WiLd is a collaboration with Leeds-based tutti frutti that began as an attempt to look at some of the issues around ADHD, funded by the Wellcome Trust.
In this episode, Evan spoke to us from Canada, where his play Scarberia was about to open at the Young People’s Theatre in Toronto, about writing the play, his experiences working with young people with ADHD and about writing in general.
WiLd opens at The Carriageworks in Leeds on 30 April 2016 and then tours to various venues in England until the beginning of July before finishing with a couple of dates at the Ennis Street Festival in Ireland.
(Poster illustration by Jacky Fleming)
Nottingham Playhouse is part of a consortium of regional theatres across the UK that are putting disabled artists and audiences at the centre of their programming in a six-year project called Ramps on the Moon.
Wheelchair user Amy Trigg is to play Laura Wingfield in Nottingham Playhouse’s production of The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams.
In this episode, BTG Midlands Editor Steve Orme speaks to Amy along with Susannah Harker, who will play her mother Amanda in the production.
The Glass Menagerie, directed by Giles Croft, runs at Nottingham Playhouse from 11 to 26 March 2016.