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Claudia Pritchard: We can do without intervals - just get on with the show!

To buy a ticket for a hotly tipped play, within seconds of booking opening, requires perseverance and nerve as websites falter, payments vanish and a confirmation finally limps through. The goal is to see a top cast, whose fluency and fluidity is testament to years of determination – getting to drama school, being noticed at the end-of-year shows, getting an audition, getting a part and nailing it.  

Backstage: No wedding bells for ballet’s Brangelina?

Could it all be over for Ivan Vasiliev and Natalia Osipova – the ballet world’s best-known romance? The pair, who are thought of as the Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie of the dance world, were engaged to be married, and last year gave a joint interview to i in which they said how much they loved “dancing together”, but I’m now told that they are no longer engaged. When I asked Vasiliev if he missed dancing with Osipova (they are no longer part of the same company), he was evasive.

Staving off hysteria and despair: Juliet Stevenson in Happy Days

The greatest show on earth: Juliet Stevenson stars as Winnie in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days - the 'summit' part for any actress

Stevenson is following in the footsteps of Peggy Ashcroft and Fiona Shaw but she isn’t daunted, the star tells Paul Taylor

In rehearsal: the Don is sung in Kasper Holten's new production by the Polish baritone Mariusz Kwiecien

The destructive allure of Don Giovanni

As the Royal Opera opens its new Don Giovanni, Jessica Duchen argues that its theme of moral vacuity is as relevant now as in Mozart's day

Drama queen: Lolita Chakrabarti

Lolita Chakrabarti, 'Red Velvet', and what's wrong with theatre today

She won plaudits for her play 'Red Velvet'. But now, writes Lolita Chakrabarti, she is falling out of love with the theatre

‘It’s about pushing boundaries’: Indhu Rubasingham on her rise to artistic director

Indhu Rubasingham is shaking up London’s Tricycle Theatre

Channel 4's new 'Big Ballet': Defying ballet’s body politics

Holly Williams reports on a new Channel 4 show giving a leg-up to plus-sized dancers

The play's the thing: William (left) and Tommy Jessop

'Growing Up Down's': Tommy's got talent

William Jessop's film about a theatre company for people with learning difficulties is a project close to his heart: his brother, an actor who has Down's, is one of its key players. They tell Jeremy Wright about family life in the limelight

She said, he said: the cast of 'Blurred Lines'

Robin Thicke meets women's lib: Playwright Nick Payne on his new play Blurred Lines

Playwright Nick Payne describes how the women's movement became the inspiration for Blurred Lines, his new play at the National Theatre

Fiona Mountford: Executive directors are the unsung heroes of British theatre

The top 20 of The Stage newspaper’s recently published “power list” of the 100 most influential people in British theatre made for fascinating reading. Most of the usual suspects were there, but many of them found themselves paired with another name for their entry. For it’s not only the artistic directors, the Nick Hytners and Gregory Dorans, who are celebrated but their all-important executive directors, the men and women who oversee every aspect of an organisation except what goes on its stages. Without executive directors, no contracts would be written, no money raised and no ambitious building projects undertaken.

Thomas Hitzlsperger has thrust the issue of homosexuality in football back into the spotlight

Kevin Garside: It may pass unremarked in theatreland, but homosexuality faces intolerance and hostility throughout society, not just in football

What did ‘The Pass’ reveal about the game and its taboos? Surprisingly little

Simon Russell Beale: Best and soundest actor of his time

Simultaneously playing the ghost of Hamlet’s father and King Lear may seem an impossible feat, but it’s just one more first for Britain’s foremost stage actor

Organist and composer William Lloyd Webber, circa 1935

The other Lloyd Webber: Andrew's father William has always been overshadowed by his son's musical blockbusters

Ahead of a concert celebrating his centenary year, his youngest son, Julian, tells Jessica Duchen about the sacrifices their father made for his children

Up to their necks: The singular joys of appearing in Samuel Beckett

No playwright pushes actors to the limit quite like the Irish absurdist

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