Hall Directs Labour at Kingston, Transfers PortraitDate: 2 July 2008
Sir Peter Hallís new staging of Shakespeareís Loveís Labourís Lost will be the first home-grown production at the £11 million Rose Theatre, Kingston, which opened in January after six years of fundraising and development (See News, 21 Jan 2008).
Loveís Labourís Lost will run from 21 October to 15 November 2008, with Peter Bowles starring in the role of Don Armado. Further casting has yet be announced. Ahead of Loveís Labourís Lost, two other Hall productions will also run at the Rose, transferring from the directorís annual summer repertory season at the Theatre Royal Bath, where they open this month.
The Portrait of a Lady, Henry Jamesí 1881 novel in a new adaptation by Nicki Frei, stars Catherine McCormack as Isabel Archer, a young American heiress who sets out on a European voyage of self-discovery, meeting eligible and not-so-eligible bachelors en route. McCormack is joined in the cast by Niamh Cusack, Jean Marsh, Anthony Howell and Finbar Lynch.
McCormack, Lynch and Howell also feature in Hallís revival of Ibsenís 1879 classic A Dollís House, in which Nora (McCormack) thought she had the perfect life until a ghost from the past returns, and makes her realise sheís stuck in a suffocating marriage.
The Portrait of a Lady runs at the Rose Theatre from 26 August to 6 September and is followed by A Dollís House from 9 to 27 September 2008.
First conceived by local councillors and residents in 1986, the Rose Theatre, Kingston was in active development for six years prior to January, with Hall in place as its founder artistic director and vocal champion for five years. The veteran director has since handed over the reins to former English Touring Theatre Stephen Unwin (See News, 21 Jan 2008). Fundraising hiccoughs caused numerous delays in the opening of the theatre, which receives no Arts Council or Lottery grants. Additional money is still needed to secure future programming and operational costs and to implement Hallís long-term vision of the theatre as an active producing house with its own ensemble company.
The main Kingston auditorium is housed within a modern building but follows the same horseshoe-shaped ground plan of Elizabethan Londonís Rose, which was built in 1587 and premiered many of Shakespeareís early plays. Like the original, Kingstonís 900-capacity Rose comprises a promontory stage surrounded by three tiers of seating and a pit for audience Ďgroundlingsí.
With an emphasis on bringing the spoken word to the fore, productions at the Rose use minimal scenery, props and costumes to convey period and location. In addition to the main space, the Rose complex houses a 220-seat studio and a 60-capacity gallery. Peter Hall was the first director of both the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatreís South Bank complex. In 1977, he was knighted for services to theatre and, in 1999, was presented with an Olivier for Lifetime Achievement.
- by Terri Paddock