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
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