Playwright Conor McPherson: 'It's thrilling to see the British tradition of political engagement in theatre alive and well'

Cultural life: Conor McPherson, playwright

'It's thrilling to see the British tradition of political engagement in theatre alive and well'

Video: The career of Joe Wright

Watch the videos below to see clips from the work of Joe Wright.

The Dance of Death, Trafalgar Studio 2, London

It's become a truism that Strindberg's depiction of marital hell in The Dance of Death paved the way for the lacerating, liquor-fuelled slug-fest and the unholy game of “Get the Guests” in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf and that there are distinct affinities with the stormy love-hate intensity of the relationship in Private Lives

Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes to direct Willy Wonka musical

Oscar-winning film-maker Sam Mendes is returning to the West End with a musical version of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

Doing their thing: David Walliams is cast as Bottom, and Sheridan Smith will play Titania, queen of the fairies

David Walliams and Sheridan Smith to sex up Midsummer Night's Dream

Michael Grandage has a sensational plan for Shakespeare's comedy

A class act: Frayn has 'an acute comic ear for liberal humbug'

Still making a big noise: A season of Michael Frayn plays is set to reaffirm the brilliance of his work

There's more to come from this great polymath, says Paul Taylor

Eddie Redmayne stars in the BBC's adaptation of Sebastian Faulks' 'Birdsong'

Meet the talented Mr Redmayne

Despite extraordinary stage, TV and film success, British acting's hottest newcomer tells Clemency Burton-Hill he still hasn't got it right

Anna Christie, Donmar Warehouse, London<br/>The Globe Mysteries, Shakespeare's Globe, London<br/>Crazy for You, Regent's Park Open Air, London

This rarely staged O'Neill drama may teeter on the hokey &ndash; but Jude Law is simply electrifying

First Night: Anna Christie, Donmar Warehouse, London

Muscle-bound Law provides power in epic tale of the sea

Natalie Haynes: Bravo to the history boys &ndash; and girls

Getting emails from random strangers is one of the side-effects of my job: sometimes it's a perk (they like my book, or column, or whatever), other times it's a death threat (a consequence of saying something mildly contentious on Question Time), but recently, a whole new category of unsolicited correspondence opened up.

Novelist Josephine Hart dies

Writer Josephine Hart whose debut novel sold more than one million copies has died.

Moonlight, Donmar Warehouse, London

In the diary of her life with Harold Pinter, Must You Go?, Antonia Fraser says that she and HP were amused when, reviewing the first performance in 1993, I called for "hard-edged political plays" – which I didn't. Slightly put off by Moonlight's mist of poetic sleep-talking, I hankered for the "hard, cutting, political edge" of some of his shorter pieces like One for the Road and Mountain Language.

Sarah Sands: Walking, not whining, relieves the blues, Ruby

Two male university students were Skypeing each other. They had been close friends at school and had about seven months of news to catch up on. After a delighted drawn-out "Hey", they swapped views on Chelsea's line-up and performance. They joked about each other's sporting prowess. Then, sated by conversation, they signed off. Afterwards, one of them wondered rhetorically if he should have wished his pal a happy birthday.

The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, Donmar Warehouse, London

The Broadway musical, as a habitat, tends not to throng with nature's great spellers. Gypsy's Mama Rose could probably get through "audition", without mishap, but the chances are that she'd put a middle "e" in "monstrous". And, even though it's her native German, how would Maria von Trapp cope with "Weltanschauung" – the word that happens to be the climactic clincher in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee, a musical comedy (by William Finn and Rachel Sheinkin), that redresses the balance, to an almost parodic degree, in favour of the non-orthographically-challenged?

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Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities
‘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

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
How to turn your mobile phone into easy money

Turn your mobile phone into easy money

There are 90 million unused mobiles in the UK, which would be worth £7bn if we cashed them in, says David Crookes
Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs:

Independent writers remember their Saturday jobs

"I have never regarded anything I have done in "the media" as a proper job"
Lyricist Richard Thomas shares his 11-step recipe for creating a hit West End musical

11-step recipe for creating a West End hit

Richard Thomas, the lyricist behind the Jerry Springer and Anna Nicole Smith operas, explains how Bob Dylan, 'Breaking Bad' and even Noam Chomsky inspired his songbook for the new musical 'Made in Dagenham'
Tonke Dragt's The Letter for the King has finally been translated into English ... 50 years on

Buried treasure: The Letter for the King

The coming-of-age tale about a boy and his mission to save a mythical kingdom has sold a million copies since it was written by an eccentric Dutchwoman in 1962. Yet until last year, no one had read it in English
Can instilling a sense of entrepreneurship in pupils have a positive effect on their learning?

The school that means business

Richard Garner heads to Lancashire, where developing the 'dragons' of the future is also helping one community academy to achieve its educational goals
10 best tablets

The world in your pocket: 10 best tablets

They’re thin, they’re light, you can use them for work on the move or keeping entertained
Lutz Pfannenstiel: The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents

Lutz Pfannenstiel interview

The goalkeeper who gave up Bayern Munich for the Crazy Gang, Bradford and a whirlwind trawl across continents
Pete Jenson: Popular Jürgen Klopp can reignite Borussia Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern Munich

Pete Jenson's a Different League

Popular Klopp can reignite Dortmund’s season with visit to Bayern
John Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

Cantlie video proves that Isis expects victory in Kobani

The use of the British hostage demonstrates once again the militants' skill and originality in conducting a propaganda war, says Patrick Cockburn
The killer instinct: The man who helps students spot potential murderers

The killer instinct

Phil Chalmers travels the US warning students how to spot possible future murderers, but can his contentious methods really stop the bloodshed?
Clothing the gap: A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd

Clothing the gap

A new exhibition celebrates women who stood apart from the fashion herd
Fall of the Berlin Wall: Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain

The Fall of the Berlin Wall

Goodbye to all that - the lost world beyond the Iron Curtain