The Week in Theatre Podcasts

There are loads of fantastic podcasts on theatre and performance. I am going to be listening to these this week. Join in and listen on your commute or as you do the washing up. Share your thoughts about each daily episode on Twitter or Facebook.


National Theatre Podcast – Performing Gender

Dame Harriet Walter has performed some of Shakespeare’s most iconic male roles – she tells us what it taught her about gender and power, and how it made her a better actor. We speak to body language expert India Ford to analyse how our female politicians represent themselves as powerful women, and we talk about breaking down gender barriers with drag queen John Sizzle.


theatreVOICE – Designer Ralph Koltai – Part 1

Theatre designer Ralph Koltai has been a leader in his field for 67 years, influencing generations of designers in theatre and opera. In this interview with TheatreVOICE’s Heather Neill, Koltai looks back over a distinguished career, encompassing innovation and controversy. This is Part One of a two-part interview recorded at the Victoria and Albert Museum on 14 March 2017.


Stage Left with Jen Harvie – Sh!t Theatre

Jen Harvie talks with Rebecca Biscuit and Louise Mothersole of Sh!t Theatre about what inspires them and how they devise performance. We hear about their current show, Letters to Windsor House, previous shows including Women’s Hour, and next show DollyWould, and cover topics from love to death, gentrification, friendship, money, and cardboard comets.


Thompson’s Live – Chris Goode meets Jo Bannon

Theatre maker Chris Goode of Chris Goode and Company meets performance maker Jo Bannon.

Jo’s work is concerned with human exchange and encounter and explores how our physical bodies experience the world around us and how this sensory experience can or cannot be conveyed.

She attempts to unpick the ways we look, hear and sense our immediate environment in order to rethink or make unfamiliar these intrinsic human behaviours. Jo’s performances often manifests as intimate encounters designed for single or small audiences alongside staged theatre work and installations.


As Yet Unnamed London Theatre Podcast – road / Committee / Just to Get Married

Talking about theatre from the audience perspective

Plays Discussed:
road – Royal Court Theatre [00:27]
Committee – Donmar Warehouse [13:08]
Just to Get Married – Finborough Theatre [18:28]


Almeida Theatre Podcast – On Naturalism

What is naturalism? How did it develop? And is it still a viable way to make theatre? Journalist Andrew Haydon, academic Dan Rebellato and playwright David Eldridge discuss the characteristics of the 19th-century movement in European theatre, whether EastEnders fits the category, and the challenges of staging “round plays in square rooms.” Recorded on 18 December 2015 at the Almeida Theatre.


Royal Court Playwright’s Podcast – Polly Stenham talks to Simon Stephens

Introduction by Simon Stephens:

“Few playwrights that arrived on British stages in the last ten years have provoked more fascination or excitement than Polly Stenham. Few writers in that time seem to have written with such frankness or drawn so apparently from their own lives to make their plays. Perhaps there is a relationship between this frankness and the heat that she has provoked. A writer for a time that is both searching an authenticity and making sense of an instinct to insist upon the validity of the individual’s voice. Or perhaps it’s just that, however instinctive or articulate, intuitive or crafted her process might be, Polly Stenham has continued to write deeply exciting plays.

She made her debut, to universal acclaim, in 2007 at the age of 20 here at the Royal Court, with the blistering That Face, starring Lindsey Duncan and Matt Smith, it was famously or notoriously described by Charles Spencer in the Daily Telegraph as “one of the most astonishing debuts in thirty years” and went on to win the Evening Standard Award for most promising Playwright and TMA and Critics Circle Awards. It transferred to the West End where it sold out and prompted Stenham to leave her University degree and propelled her to the nation’s attention.

Her second play Tusk Tusk returned to the territory of the abused children of England’s affluent classes – this time dramatising the world of a household of children abandoned by their parents. Taking its name from a David Mckee story, it was a play scorched by comedy and tenderness as much as it was the heightened nightmare of a children’s tale.

My favourite of her plays to date was her third play No Quarter. Set against the dilapidated backdrop of a fading country home, it charts the despair of the son of a woman suffering from dementia who propels himself on a journey of haunted self destruction.

2014’s Hotel, at the National Theatre, marked a bracing change of subject and tone, moving away from what she has described as her trilogy of plays about the despair of England’s rich to interrogate the political ideology of westerners’ luxury holidays in the developing world. As well as writing for theatre she has written for cinema, co-scripting this summer’s the Neon Demon with Nicholas Winding Refn; started directing for screen and opened a gallery, The Cob Gallery in North London, which is also where she keeps the office she writes out of.

For me, she’s something of a paradox of a writer. She’s often been dissected for the celebrity circles of her friendships but her work has a ferocious excavation of the private and the afraid. She’s celebrated for the incision of her insight into the social class from where she came but is, I think, startling for the way she can build a heightened almost expressionistic terror out of that which is perceived to be born of observation. It makes perfect sense to me that she should be identified by Winding Refn as a potential writer of horror. Her work taps into the unreality of the children’s story and the nightmare. I admire her work deeply.”