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

Churchill defends ‘anti-Semitic’ play

Caryl Churchill has defended herself against accusations of anti-Semitism after her play Seven Jewish Children caused uproar among Jews.

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Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
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New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

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Left: An illustration of the original Jim Crowe, played by TD Rice Right: A Couple dressed as Ray and Janay Rice
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By performing as African Americans or Indians, white people get to play act a kind of 'imaginary liberation', writes Michael Mark Cohen

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
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Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
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Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
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New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site this morning

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Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

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The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

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Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
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Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
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What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

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Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

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Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
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Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
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A Syrian general speaks

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‘A bit of a shock...’ Cambridge economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

‘A bit of a shock...’ Economist with Glasgow roots becomes Zambia’s acting President

Guy Scott's predecessor, Michael Sata, died in a London hospital this week after a lengthy illness
Fall of the Berlin Wall: History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War

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History catches up with Erich Honecker - the East German leader who praised the Iron Curtain and claimed it prevented a Third World War
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There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes