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To buy a ticket for a hotly tipped play, within seconds of booking opening, requires perseverance and nerve as websites falter, payments vanish and a confirmation finally limps through. The goal is to see a top cast, whose fluency and fluidity is testament to years of determination – getting to drama school, being noticed at the end-of-year shows, getting an audition, getting a part and nailing it.  

Constance Briscoe arrives at Southwark Crown Court

Top judge Constance Briscoe 'lied to police in order to bring down Chris Huhne', court hears

Ms Briscoe is accused of misleading officers, tampering with an official statement and then submitting a fake document to try to get herself out of trouble

Andrea Leadsom is the head of Fresh Start Group

Civil war erupts amongst Tory eurosceptics as the moderate 'Fresh Start Group' attacks 95 MPs who wrote to Cameron demanding vetos

Anti-European Tory backbenchers were yesterday accused by their more moderate Eurosceptic colleagues of running a “side-show” that is distracting from attempts at serious EU reform.

Two men and three teenage boys convicted at Old Bailey of 18 rapes and a string of other offences

Peterborough sex gang: Five guilty of raping and sexually assaulting underage girls

Two men and three teenage boys convicted at Old Bailey of 18 rapes and a string of other offences

Pope Francis addresses ambassadors to the Holy See at the Vatican on January 13, 2014

Vatican faces UN grilling over child sex abuse

Holy See will be questioned on Thursday over its implementation of UN Convention on the Rights of the Child

A US Federal judge has ruled against a ban on same-sex marriage in Oklahoma

US federal judge rules Oklahoma ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional

Judge Kern said the state's law is "arbitrary and irrational"

The trend for mephedrone-type drugs is more prevalent among university-age users and older teens

Rejecting the EU plan to regulate legal highs is yet another lost battle in the UK's war on drugs

This proposal would have reduced the income of dealers, and the danger to users

Nigeria's anti-gay laws: Homosexuals rounded up and beaten, rights groups claim

Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act was passed on Monday

The two students were asked to cover their t-shirts at an LSE freshers fair

Student and women's groups write open letter to UN condemning gender segregation in UK universities

Students and women’s groups have written an open letter to the UN to condemn gender segregation at British universities.

A woman has launched a legal battle to

Woman's High Court fight to 'harvest' seriously ill partner's sperm

The unnamed woman said she and her fiancé had discussed having children before he sank into a vegetative state

George Osborne delivered a warning that the EU should undergo reform, halting decline by backing business and curbing welfare spending

George Osborne sounds 'reform or decline' ultimatum to EU

Chancellor suggested UK was ready to press ahead with smaller group of like-minded countries under 'enhanced co-operation'

Sperm samples frozen and preserved in a tank of Liquid Nitrogen

Test case: Woman launches legal fight to 'harvest' sperm from sick partner

Man is being kept alive medically after devastating series of heart attacks and could die at any time, High Court told

Outlook: Dimon in the rough between investors and regulators

Outlook The gloss long ago came off Jamie Dimon, the chief executive of JPMorgan who steered a nimble course through the financial crisis only to get repeatedly tripped up in its aftermath.

A new cocktail of drugs will be used to kill Dennis McGuire

Ohio judge rules death row inmate is ‘not entitled to a pain free execution’

Convicted murderer and rapist, Dennis McGuire, will be put to death using a new cocktail of drugs that could leave him writhing in agony

World renowned lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC to defend Sussex students from exclusion

One of the most famous human rights barristers in the world will be defending three students potentially facing expulsion from their university.

Kanye West is a suspect in another battery investigation after he allegedly punched an 18-year-old boy for hurling racial abuse at his fiancée, Kim Kardashian.

Kanye West allegedly punches 18-year-old boy for hurling racial slurs at Kim Kardashian

West is already facing charges of battery after a separate altercation with a photographer, Daniel Ramos, at LAX Airport last summer

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football This was Kane’s night, even if he played just a small part of it
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travel Dreamland Margate, Britain’s oldest amusement park, is set to reopen
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Founders James Brown and Tim Southwell with a mock-up of the first ever ‘Loaded’ magazine in 1994
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Threlfall says: 'I am a guardian of the reality keys. I think I drive directors nuts'
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voices The group has just unveiled a billion dollar plan to help nurse the British countryside back to health
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The Westgate, a gay pub in the centre of Gloucester which played host to drag queens, has closed
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence
Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
3.	Provence 6 nights B&B by train from £599pp
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The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss