Arts and Entertainment Show 1 at the Lyric Hammersmith

The known quantity is a factor that London theatre has a depressing habit of unduly relying upon.  Think of all those screen-to-stage adaptations that angle to clean up at the box office by feeding audiences with the safely familiar or the slew of preview pieces that these days excessively prime punters on what to anticipate. 

Laura Elphinstone (Stephanie) and Sam Troughton (Alan) in Mint at the Royal Court's Open Court festival

Theatre review: Mint, Open Court Festival, Royal Court, London

“Weekly rep” in Sloane Square? The idea might seem about as likely as a season of drama based on strict Dogme principles in Frinton-on-Sea.

Michael Frayn is among the luminaries of stage and screen to call on culture minister Ed Vaizey to rethink arts funing cuts

Theatre luminaries warn arts funding cuts could hinder future generation of playwrights

'New plays are vital to the future health of British theatre' they say

In the Republic of Happiness, Royal Court, London

The Royal Court has a proud tradition of offering alternative Yuletide fare and this year they have surpassed themselves with Dominic Cooke's razor-sharp production of a work that could be described as the ultimate antidote to mindless festive cheer.

Jez Butterworth’s latest play, The River, is billed as bewitching tale involving a remote cabin, a man and woman and a moonless night

How to build a new Jerusalem in an 85-seat theatre

Jez Butterworth's hit play caused a transatlantic stampede – and it won't be easy to catch his new work either

Capitalism on the blink, gambling on the up...How timely

A thrilling New York ensemble take the Fringe by storm, while a hilariously silly puppet enthralls

A Number, Menier Chocolate Factory, London

Caryl Churchill's play could not, at first glance, be more topical – on the day of its opening, the doctor who developed IVF won a Nobel Prize. But, on second hearing, the 50-minute two-hander seems less impressive than when Michael Gambon and Daniel Craig performed it on its premiere in 2002 or when Timothy and Sam West, the current cast, did so in Sheffield in 2006.

Passed/Failed: An education in the life of actor Aidan McArdle

'I immersed myself in drama society'

Burnley riots play banned ... in Burnley

Theatres refuse to perform work that displays town in a 'negative light'

Mixed Up North, Wilton's Music Hall, London

Lamda, arguably the most enlightened and inclusive of all London's drama schools, has a highly creative component in its third-year acting course.

State of the Nation: British Theatre Since 1945, By Michael Billington

This book could have run the risk of reading like a bland documentation of postwar stage productions, but Billington, theatre critic for the Guardian, gives the endeavour some Wellie with rigorous analysis of plays, politics and trends.

Lucy Kirkwood: Britain's brightest young stage writer

Her explicit play about sex trafficking has stunned the critics, but Lucy Kirkwood is more worried about what her parents will think. She talks to Alice Jones

Three More Sleepless Nights, National Theatre, London

Gripped by rude awakenings

Howard Jacobson: A letter to an anti-Semite who isn't

Your anti-Zionism is tending to an extremism that spills over into something else.

Letters: Bankers' pay

Short-sighted nation favours bankers over engineers

Letters: Jacobson on Gaza

Jacobson and Gaza: the debate continues
Career Services

Day In a Page

Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star
How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

How live cinema screenings can boost arts audiences

Broadcasting plays and exhibitions to cinemas is a sure-fire box office smash
Shipping container hotels: Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Pop-up hotels filling a niche

Spending the night in a shipping container doesn't sound appealing, but these mobile crash pads are popping up at the summer's biggest events
Native American headdresses are not fashion accessories

Feather dust-up

A Canadian festival has banned Native American headwear. Haven't we been here before?
Boris Johnson's war on diesel

Boris Johnson's war on diesel

11m cars here run on diesel. It's seen as a greener alternative to unleaded petrol. So why is London's mayor on a crusade against the black pump?
5 best waterproof cameras

Splash and flash: 5 best waterproof cameras

Don't let water stop you taking snaps with one of these machines that will take you from the sand to meters deep
Louis van Gaal interview: Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era

Louis van Gaal interview

Manchester United manager discusses tactics and rebuilding after the David Moyes era
Will Gore: The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series

Will Gore: Outside Edge

The goodwill shown by fans towards Alastair Cook will evaporate rapidly if India win the series
The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

The air strikes were tragically real

The children were playing in the street with toy guns
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

Britain as others see us

Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
How did our legends really begin?

How did our legends really begin?

Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

Lambrusco is back on the menu

Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz