Backstage: No National Theatre top job for Americans, says Kevin Spacey


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The Independent Culture

While the job of England football manager has long been open to foreigners, Kevin Spacey believes that manager of another British institution, the National Theatre, would never be available to an American.

Spacey has been artistic director of the Old Vic for more than a decade, but says he wasn’t among the candidates when the job at the National Theatre up the road came up for grabs last month, eventually going to Nicholas Hytner.

“First of all, I don’t think that they would ever offer it to me. I doubt they’ll ever let an American run the National Theatre. That would just be my opinion on that,” he told me last week. “But second, I don’t ever want to run a building again and that’s several buildings.”

Spacey, who was subject to much media criticism when he first took the reins at the Old Vic, has managed to convince both the theatre-going public and its elite of the merits of his stewardship. This month he was presented with the Editor’s Award at the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for his contribution to British theatre and is full of praise for Hytner.

“Those individuals that step up and do that job are pretty remarkable,” he adds. “It’s pretty all consuming, particularly if they’re also a director. So they’re going to be taking on the task of putting on productions as well as running a pretty vast institution. But of course we’re sort of linked, so it’s great. I think they made a great choice.”

For now, he says he is looking forward to acting and  producing more, but will make a return to the  London stage.

“It’s 11 years since I came here, and by the time I leave the Old Vic it will be about 18 years that my association with the Vic has been going on,” he says. “And yes, I certainly intend to continue doing theatre and I certainly hope that I’ll be invited back on the London stage.”

Walrus is a winner for director

In what sounds like the premise for a movie in itself, a fake online advert placed by a Brighton man looking for a fancy dress-loving housemate has inspired a Hollywood film by director Kevin Smith.

Chris Parkinson, a performance poet, placed an ad on Gumtree in which he said he was looking for a housemate to live rent-free, provided that they would wear a Walrus costume two hours a day. The notice went, as is the way, viral, and found its way under the nose of Smith, who has turned the idea into a horror film called Tusk.

“Kevin  emailed me and said: ‘Congratulations, you have made one hell of a freaky movie. Do you want to come and help us make it?’” said Parkinson. “It is based on my original idea but has a bit more of a sinister twist.”

Combine present shopping with show

For those wondering whether to spend Saturday seeing a show or getting Christmas shopping done: we present you with an unusual solution.

Cinderella: An Inspirational Fair-Retail will be playing at the Charing Cross Theatre in London on Saturday, but what makes it unusual is it has been put on by online retailer eBay, and the Fairy Godmother (played by Buffy Davis) will be giving advice on what to buy their loved ones.

Money raised will go to the Laura Crane Youth Cancer Trust. Will all online retailers feel the need to put on shows next year?