Catherine Tate Attacks TV Casting & Ticket Prices???Date: 8 July 2008
Catherine Tate, who returns to the stage this month in David Eldridge’s Under the Blue Sky (See News, 9 May 2008), has attacked “gimmicky” TV casting and West End ticket prices. The latter makes theatre too “elitist” while the former is merely a “stunt” that does theatre a “disservice”. Tate has herself become a household name thanks primarily to two TV programmes: her self-penned comedy sketch series The Catherine Tate Show and Doctor Who, in which she plays David Tennant’s sidekick Donna Noble.
But, in a BBC interview, the actress said: “I don’t agree when people say, ‘it’s just good to get kids into the theatre (with TV casting)’.Not if all they’re going to be doing is gawping at someone they’ve seen on television. That’s of no use. That’s not a theatrical experience.” While she recognises that “of course it’s a draw”, “you have to have the right people in the right part”.
She continued: “I know when I was doing a play with David Schwimmer, of course there was a certain element of the audience that were there only because it was David Schwimmer and he’s on Friends and that’s really exciting. But once that goes, then they get drawn into the play. And that’s brilliant.
“I think you have to lure people into the theatre not by saying, ‘here’s a person you’ll recognise off the television’, it’s to get them excited about the theatrical experience – this is really exciting, this is a great play, these are great actors, this story is fantastic, and you will have a fantastic time.”
On the subject of ticket pricing, Tate said: “What we have to do is stop making theatre a bit of a lah-di-dah thing to do … What needs to be addressed, and I have to say this even though I am in a play: the theatre is too expensive … That’s why it’s become a pursuit of people who can afford it. And that’s what makes it elitist.”
Under the Blue Sky opens at the West End’s Duke of York’s Theatre on 25 July 2008 (previews from 14 July), with tickets ranging from £15 up to £46. The cast also include Chris O'Dowd, from TV’s The IT Crowd, as well as stage regulars Francesca Annis, Lisa Dillon, Dominic Rowan and Nigel Lindsay. The video interview with Tate can be viewed on the BBC website.
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