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No shortage of thought and effort has gone into making this updated working of the Arthurian legend more than just a hot afternoon or evening at the theatre.

My Week: Nica Burns

As figures come out showing that West End theatre is booming, one leading impresario is busy building on her success – while saying farewell to a much loved production

Pied Piper, Barbican Theatre , London

Rat pack are calling the tune

Exclusive Independent offer: Cheap ENO tickets

Save up to £72

Mixed Up North, Octagon Theatre, Bolton

The appointment of the Olivier Award-winning director David Thacker as artistic director signals exciting times for Bolton's Octagon Theatre. Thacker, despite his RSC, National Theatre and Young Vic credentials, is best known for such TV hits as Waking the Dead, The Mayor of Casterbridge and Faith. Theatregoers will surely be beating a path to the Octagon in what promises to be an unmissable season in which he revisits such previous successes as All My Sons, Ghosts and Comedians.

English National Opera podcast: Madam Butterfly

Free podcast download from the ENO

Exclusive interview: Michael Ball

Edward Seckerson interviews Olivier award-winning actor and singer Michael Ball about his time performing as Edna Turnblad in the West End production of Hairspray.



Forgotten authors No.29: Peter Barnes

As the arteries of theatreland clog with clapped-out musicals, serious playwrights are more in danger of being forgotten than most novelists. Plays wither if they fail to enter repertoires; the shock of their experience fades, and only the scripts remain. Peter Barnes is still often misunderstood by critics seeking easy tags. His work was elaborately constructed, intellectually rigorous and controversial, his language exact and demanding. (It must have been a bugger to memorise.)

Parties: I'd like to thank my trophy...

Stars of the stage thronged the Grosvenor House Hotel, London, for the 33rd Laurence Olivier Awards last Sunday. At the packed champagne reception it was hard to miss the glowing Lindsay Duncan, nominated for Best Actress, or David Morrissey, standing tall above the crowd with his wife, the novelist Esther Freud; easier to overlook, though, was the diminutive Imelda Staunton – until she shook your reporter's hand and asked trenchantly: "Why isn't this televised? Are we second-class citizens, working in the theatre?"

Patrick Stewart completes Olivier award hat-trick

Patrick Stewart scooped his third Olivier award yesterday for his role as the scheming Claudius in Hamlet.

Tennant's Hamlet misses out on Olivier award

David Tennant missed out on an Olivier award nomination for Hamlet today, but two of his fellow cast members were more successful.

Regards to Broadway from West End directors

The last few years have seen a veritable flock of Seagulls land on the stage with varying degrees of success.

Preview: The Good Soul of Szechuan, Young Vic, London

Horrocks, the unlikely he-man

Blackbird, Oxford Playhouse, Oxford

David Harrower's Blackbird won the 2007 Olivier Award for Best New Play against stiff competition from Frost/Nixon and Rock'n'Roll. But anyone watching David Grindley's superb touring production will not think that it was a wayward choice. This taut two-hander about abuse, obsession, wrecked lives and incurably illicit desire is a devastating feat of sustained and morally unsettling ambiguity. And, for my taste, the new production packs a heftier punch with its unshowy intensity than Peter Stein's arty, more self-conscious original staging.

Preview: The Black And White Ball, King's Head Theatre, London

Cole Porter tunes with a ghostly touch
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