Voices

The top 20 of The Stage newspaper’s recently published “power list” of the 100 most influential people in British theatre made for fascinating reading. Most of the usual suspects were there, but many of them found themselves paired with another name for their entry. For it’s not only the artistic directors, the Nick Hytners and Gregory Dorans, who are celebrated but their all-important executive directors, the men and women who oversee every aspect of an organisation except what goes on its stages. Without executive directors, no contracts would be written, no money raised and no ambitious building projects undertaken.

Surprises, Stephen Joseph Theatre, Scarborough

Although he had toyed with the idea before, Alan Ayckbourn did not feel ready to bring science fiction fully into his work until his 34th play. A quarter of a century later and now on his 76th play, Surprises, the writer is a well-established exponent of the form.

We must prepare for Greek exit, says Andrew Tyrie

As the Group of Seven major economies (G7) held an emergency conference call about the Eurozone crisis yesterday, Andrew Tyrie, chairman of the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee, called for a robust contingency plan for Greece to exit the single currency.

Coastguard warning after man drowns saving two children

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency has warned against letting unsupervised children use inflatables at the seaside after a man drowned while trying to rescue two children at a beach in West Sussex.

John Birch: Celebrated organist and master of choristers

John Birch was organist and master of the choristers at Chichester Cathedral, where he served from 1958-80, then at The Temple Church, London, until 1997, following in the footsteps of George Thalben-Ball, Walford Davies and EJ Hopkins. He was only the fourth organist there since 1841.

Clean up: The Novium is built over a bathhouse

Great British Escapes: The cities

Streets ahead of the competition

Observations: Artefects from classic stage sets show the value of theatre design

There's an Inca mask from Peter Shaffer's The Royal Hunt of the Sun; the bench that Laurence Olivier once sat on in Uncle Vanya; and a delicate Patrick Procktor watercolour of a theatre on green lawns shadowed by a golden oak.

Roz Hall with an iPad 'painting'

In pictures: The iPad Picasso

With their chunky, textured brush strokes, Roz Hall's artworks wouldn't be out of place hanging alongside some of the great Impressionists at one of the world's esteemed galleries.

Hare says: 'Discontent with the world is so tied up with discontent about yourself'

Rebel with a cause looks back in anger

Left-leaning David Hare's new play is based on his days as a scholarship boy at public school. Michael Coveney meets him

Hare says: 'Discontent with the world is so tied up with discontent about yourself'

The unhappiest time of his life: David Hare on dramatising his school days

How does left-leaning playwright David Hare make a return to the stage with a play based on his days as a scholarship boy at public school? Michael Coveney asks him.

Uncle Vanya, Minerva Theatre, Chichester

Caryl Brahms, an astute critic and a funny writer, said that characters in Chekhov always harked back to their beginnings but learnt no lesson from their past; they were content to sit around the samovar and talk.

Body beautiful: 'Assembly of Figures VII' (1964) by Keith Vaughan

Picasso's lost disciple is back in the frame

Keith Vaughan died forgotten, but a new retrospective salutes his contemporary relevance, says Adrian Hamilton

Body beautiful: 'Assembly of Figures VII' (1964) by Keith Vaughan

A pioneering Modernist who's in the frame again

He committed suicide forgotten, but Keith Vaughan is a master, says Adrian Hamilton

Ambulances for obese patients cost £400,000

An ambulance service has spent £400,000 on three vehicles designed to transport obese patients weighing up to 50 stones.

Lucian Freud Working at Night 2005, a photograph by David Dawson

Lucian, me, and the twilight of a master

He was distant and shy. And then one night 25 years ago, Lucian Freud bounded up to Richard Cork and began a remarkable friendship

Church could have first women bishops by 2014

The consecration of women as Church of England bishops is all but inevitable after a vote count across the country found overwhelming support for what is often described as "shattering the stained glass ceiling".

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