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
Voices
Barn owls are among species that could be affected
charity appeal
News
Sarah Silverman (middle) with sister Reform Rabbi Susan Silverman (right) and sister actress Laura Silverman (left) at Jerusalem's Western Wall for feminist Hanuka candle-lighting ceremony
peopleControversial comedian stages pro-equality Hanukkah lighting during a protest at Jerusalem's Wailing Wall
Arts and Entertainment
The Bach Choir has been crowned the inaugural winner of Sky Arts’ show The Great Culture Quiz
arts + ents140-year-old choir declared winner of Sky Arts' 'The Great Culture Quiz'
Sport
After another poor series in Sri Lanka, Alastair Cook claimed all players go through a lean period
cricketEoin Morgan reportedly to take over ODI captaincy
Life and Style
food + drink
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
a clockwork orange, stanley kubrick
film
Career Services

Day In a Page

Independent Travel
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
Lake Como St Moritz & the Bernina Express 7 nights from £809pp
Vietnam
Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
South Africa
Spain
Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas