What next for Kevin Spacey's Old Vic? The Hollywood actor has signed up for just five more years and will leave his post as artistic director in 2015. "It will be time for new blood," he tells me. "We started the company from the ground up. It was literally me and a producer in a dressing room with a phone. Now we've returned the Old Vic as a destination theatre and I've proved that you can run a major British institution without any public subsidy." Spacey also revealed that he is planning a global tour of Richard III, the final instalment in the London-New York Bridge Project in which he will be directed as the monarch by Sam Mendes. Having been spotted in Beirut, Abu Dhabi and, last week, Doha, could Spacey be thinking of setting up a Middle Eastern outpost of the Old Vic? The region has already imported Tribeca film festival to Doha and the Guggenheim and Louvre are set for Abu Dhabi. Why not a theatre? "One of the things I want to do, without question, is come to the region and bring an educational ethos, work with emerging talents. I don't want to just go to a city and say 'oh, look at me, I'm here doing a play'. I want to go and create a sense of excitement about theatre, particularly in places where it isn't on the map in the way of London and New York."
The indian actress Freida Pinto and Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal attend the premiere of Miral at the 54th British Film Institute London Film Festival at the Vue West End cinema last night. Pinto, 26, who made her name in the Oscar-winning Slumdog Millionaire, plays the lead in Jebreal's autobiographical story of an orphaned Palestinian girl's experiences of the first Arab-Israeli war. Ian Gavan/Getty Images
American artist-turned film-maker Julian Schnabel follows up on his intimate and claustrophobic The Diving Bell and the Butterly (about a stroke victim) with a full-blown epic looking at the Palestinian struggle from 1948 until the mid-1990s. Miral is plodding at times, choppily edited and unevenly performed. It has very little of the aesthetic polish of Schnabel's earlier work and the director is bound to be accused by his critics of political naivete. However, it's also a courageous and groundbreaking film. There aren't any other movies that spring to mind from Oscar-nominated directors that look at post-war Middle Eastern history from the point of view of Palestinian women.
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