All stories by Nick Smurthwaite on BroadwayStars

Friday, January 11, 2019

How Richard Briers’ stage work brought out The Good Life actor’s serious side by Nick Smurthwaite

Richard Briers found fame in beloved TV sitcoms including The Good Life, but his real love was theatre. Biographer James Hogg tells

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Friday, January 4, 2019

Laurel and Hardy: How the world’s favourite double act came to tour UK theatres by Nick Smurthwaite

Towards the end of their careers Laurel and Hardy embarked on a UK tour, performing up to 13 shows a week. Stan

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Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Inside the model box: the National Theatre’s Playing With Scale exhibition by Nick Smurthwaite

A new exhibition at the National Theatre, Playing With Scale, explores why, in the digital era, theatre designers still use model boxes

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Friday, November 30, 2018

Bringing theatre back to life at Alexandra Palace by Nick Smurthwaite

For the first time in 80 years, theatre is back at north London venue. Nick Smurthwaite takes a looks at how the

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Buffalo Bill’s Wild West: The open-air show that thrilled crowds from New York to Essex by Nick Smurthwaite

Before ‘cowboys and Indians’ arrived on the silver screen, Colonel William F Cody staged outdoor spectaculars around the UK, starring hundreds of

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Friday, November 23, 2018

‘A tonic for troops’: What British theatre did in the First World War by Nick Smurthwaite

UK entertainers played a vital role in the war effort, as a new book by Roger Foss explains. Nick Smurthwaite discovers how

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Writer and actor Alan McHugh: ‘I never take a pantomime audience for granted – I try to top last year’s show’ by Nick Smurthwaite

In January most people are trying to forget Christmas – with the extra weight, debt and broken toys – but it’s at

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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Panto at the Palladium: Dicks, dames and queens at the London’s home of pantomime by Nick Smurthwaite

The Palladium staged its first pantomime in 1914 and developed a tradition that brought the biggest stars to its stage. Nick Smurthwaite

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Friday, November 16, 2018

York’s panto legend Berwick Kaler: ‘The day I can’t bend down to tie my laces is the day I retire’ by Nick Smurthwaite

Having delighted audiences at York Theatre Royal for four decades, the veteran dame tells Nick Smurthwaite about getting into the business, overcoming

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Friday, November 2, 2018

Meet Charlotte Charke, the cross-dressing heroine and first female Hamlet by Nick Smurthwaite

Charlie Ryall was introduced to 18th-century theatremaker Charlotte Charke at the age of 10 by her father, actor David Ryall. She tells

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Monday, October 29, 2018

Fight director Malcolm Ranson: ‘Actors sometimes get hit through lack of concentration’ by Nick Smurthwaite

The fight director’s body of work includes Les Miserables and TV hits such as Blackadder. He talks to Nick Smurthwaite about the

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Friday, October 26, 2018

How David Garrick, theatre’s first star, brought respectability to the stage by Nick Smurthwaite

David Garrick helped define modern theatre. Nick Smurthwaite reviews Norman S Poser’s new study of the theatrical star, who brought naturalism to

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Friday, October 12, 2018

Oxford Playhouse: the theatre where Burton, Taylor and Dench cut their teeth by Nick Smurthwaite

It is 80 years since Oxford Playhouse started with a weekly rep, and has staged professional and student shows since. Nick Smurthwaite

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Friday, October 5, 2018

Actor Bernard Cribbins: ‘My only regret is not doing a western’ by Nick Smurthwaite

As nearly 90, pop culture’s Renaissance man has published his autobiography looking back on a career encompassing everything from Shakespeare, pop hits,

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Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Obituary: Denis Norden – ‘Witty, clipboard-clutching host of It’ll Be Alright on the Night’ by Nick Smurthwaite

Though he became nationally known in the 1980s as the witty, clipboard-clutching host of It’ll Be Alright on the Night, Denis Norden’s

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Monday, October 1, 2018

How technical training keeps up with an evolving theatre industry by Nick Smurthwaite

As backstage technology becomes ever more sophisticated, staff from leading schools tell Nick Smurthwaite how they are equipping students with the skills

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Friday, September 21, 2018

The golden age of the playbill: how the British Library is rediscovering Victorian posters by Nick Smurthwaite

The British Library owns more than 240,000 posters and playbills, in some cases more than 300 years old, but to be protected,

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

50 years since the end of theatre censorship: how the Lord Chamberlain was given the boot by Nick Smurthwaite

Half a century on from the end of official British theatre censorship, Nick Smurthwaite looks at writers and critics who campaigned for

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Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Exclusive interview: The Young Ones’ Nigel Planer and Adrian Edmondson reunite on stage by Nick Smurthwaite

More than 35 years since The Young Ones, Adrian Edmondson and Nigel Planer are working on a stage project. They tell Nick

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Friday, September 7, 2018

The Goon Show returns: how a new play is celebrating Milligan and co by Nick Smurthwaite

The Goon Show burst on to the airwaves in 1951 and changed comedy forever. As a stage version of the classic radio

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Friday, August 31, 2018

Singular talent: the one-act plays that helped Harold Pinter find his voice by Nick Smurthwaite

To mark the 10th anniversary of the playwright’s death, Pinter devotee Jamie Lloyd has assembled a stellar cast to bring all 20

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Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Actor and writer Brendan Cowell: ‘I fell to pieces every night playing Galileo. It was terrifying’ by Nick Smurthwaite

The Sydney-born actor and writer made his name in London by following his performance in Yerma with an equally acclaimed turn as

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Thursday, August 16, 2018

RSC automation technician Simon Crowley: ‘I thrive on the pressure when big audiences turn up’ by Nick Smurthwaite

Automation specialist Simon Crowley is responsible for ensuring the scene changes at the Royal Shakespeare Company are seamless. He tells Nick Smurthwaite

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Could Emilia Bassano, the ‘woman ignored by history’, be Shakespeare’s Dark Lady? by Nick Smurthwaite

Historians have argued whether poet Emilia Bassano was the muse of Shakespeare’s Sonnets. Nick Smurthwaite finds out more about the inspiration for

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Cilla the Musical designer Gary McCann: ‘Classist attitudes still exist in UK’ by Nick Smurthwaite

Gary McCann is one of UK’s most in-demand designers, working on shows from touring musicals to international operas. He tells Nick Smurthwaite

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Friday, August 10, 2018

Riddle’s Court: the venerable Edinburgh house that became a hotbed of talent by Nick Smurthwaite

Recently reopened after painstaking restoration, Riddle’s Court has had many guises in its 400-year history, from grand residence to 19th-century slum, before

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Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Obituary: William Hobbs – pioneering fight director for stage and screen by Nick Smurthwaite

William ‘Bill’ Hobbs, who has died aged 79, practically invented the modern-day fight director’s role. A champion fencer and co-founder of the

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Obituary: Manchester Royal Exchange co-founder Braham Murray by Nick Smurthwaite

One of the hardest working and most influential British directors of the past 50 years, Braham Murray was the last surviving member

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Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Su Pollard on Edinburgh Fringe debut: ‘I’m very happy to play myself, but I’ll give most things a go’ by Nick Smurthwaite

Having begun her career in Nottingham’s working men’s clubs, Su Pollard made her name in a series of 1980s sitcoms. Now she

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Manchester Royal Exchange founder Braham Murray dies aged 75 by Nick Smurthwaite

Braham Murray, the longest serving artistic director of the Royal Exchange Manchester, has died suddenly aged 75. Murray devoted most of his

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How Margo Lion, the real-life Sally Bowles, is being brought back to the stage by Nick Smurthwaite

In the 1920s and 1930s, provocative chanteuse Margo Lion wowed the Berlin cabaret scene before she fled to Paris. Nick Smurthwaite meets

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