Director Asghar Farhadi Acting on Principle

Film director Asghar Farhadi returns to Teheran with another riveting moral tale and new inquiries into human behaviour. Aside from The Past (2013) which is set in France, his dramas all unfold in Iran and mostly in and around Teheran. And if the context for his fictions may be specific, the themes they explore have universal appeal. A Separation (2011), which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, played a huge acclaim internationally, which audiences relating to the pain caused by the disintegration of a family. To Farhadi, the human condition transcends all borders.

Farhadi's The Salesman, for which he was awarded Best Director prize at Cannes last year (Shahab Hosseini deservedly picked up Best Actor award), is a typically tense and supremely crafted study in mistaken identity, hypocrisy and the power of art to shine a light on our foibles and indiscretions. The main protagonists are a couple forced to move home as the result of a fissure in their residential block. They are both about to appear on stage in an as-yet-uncensored production of Arthur Miller's 'Death of a Salesman'. The play's director offers them an empty apartment while they look for something more permanent. What he doesn't tell them is who used to live there and why a stranger should appear at the door when the husband is teaching literature to a class of mostly disinterested boys. What happens during the unexpected visit threatens the couple's peaceful existence and reverberates both on and off the theatre stage.

Farhadi's skilful melding of Miller's play and his own tale recalls Pedro Almodovar's deploying of Tennessee Williams' 'A Streetcar Named Desire' within the narrative of All About my Mother (1999). Both tease out the complex fabric of the play to examine the predicament the film's characters find themselves in. The role of censorship adds another layer in The Salesman. The play cannot be performed publicly without approval from the state censor, which taps into a wider malaise in Iranian society regarding openness that the film explores.

The Olivier Award Society London Theatre

The Laurence Olivier Award are presented annually to recognise excellence in professional theatre in London at an annual ceremony in the capital. The awards were originally known as the Society of West End Theatre, but they were renamed in honour of British actor Laurence Olivier in 1984. 

The awards are given to individuals involved in West End productions and other leading non-commercial theatres based in London across a range of categories including plays, comedies, musicals, dance, opera and affiliate theatre. The Olivier Awards are recognised internationally as the highest honour in British theatre, equivalent to the BAFTA Awards for film and television, and the BRIT Award for music. The Olivier Awards are also considered the equivalent to the Broadway's Tony Awards and France's Molière Awards.

Since its inception, the awards have been held at various venues across London, and most recently the Royal Opera House since 2012. The 2017 Olivier Award were held on Sunday 9 April at the Royal Albert Hall. The ceremony was hosted by comedian Jason Manford. A highlights show was shown on ITV shortly after the live show ended. The winners were: Billie Pier (best actress), Jamie Parker (best actor), John Tiffany (best director), Matthew Bourne (best theatre choreographer)..

Ovalhouse South London's Theatre

Ovalhouse is a theatre in South London for innovative artists, adventurous audiences and young people with something to say. For the past 50 years Ovalhouse has been part of the London fringe, providing development and performance space to the experimental, radical and overlooked artists. Today Ovalhouse is known for theatre, performance and participation that speaks to a world beyond the main stream. 

Ovalhouse is a leader in its field for organisation involved in participatory work with children and young people, and continues to be a vital home for boundary-pushing art, artists and audiences with an eye on the future. They're currently based on the Kennington Oval right opposite the famous cricket ground. Open from Monday to Saturday, they offer a warm welcome to audience members, practitioners, patrons and workshop members.

A hotbed of artistic activism in the five past decades, Ovalhouse has seen the social and artistic ideals it has aspired to become widely recognised as the model for a better society. They have sheltered social and political movements staffed by the stage and screen stars of the future, pursued an unerring agenda for positive artistic political and social change, and once stabled a donkey in the theatre upstairs.

The roots of Ovalhouse can be traced back to the 1930s and its foundations by the graduates of Christ Church College, Oxford. The young people of disadvantage areas in South London were able to use the space for sport activities and were taken on away days along with skills training. Since that time Ovalhouse has pioneered enabling form of education and artistic endeavour.



Roundabout Drama Therapy Turning Lives Around

Roundabout is the largest and most successful charity of its kind in the UK. Their mission is to use drama therapy to provide psychological, educational and artistic benefits to a wide range of disadvantaged people throughout Greater London. They are the only organisation in the UK that offers tailor-made professional facilitated drama therapy sessions to such a wide range of audiences, from individuals to groups of all ages.

Drama therapy includes verbal and non-verbal practices. It makes use of a wide range of theatrical and dramatic techniques, such as story-telling, story-making, enactment, improvisation, role-play, mime, puppetry, movement, music and voice work.

The general aims of Roundabout drama therapy sessions include: building trusting relationships, expressing and exploring feelings, developing social interaction skills, developing artistic and creative skills, improving self-image and self-confidence, working with the imagination and having fun!

Roundabout therapists regularly present their clinical work and research to conferences both throughout the UK and internationally. The dram therapists are registered with the Health and Care Profession Council (HCPC).They work according to the British Association of Drama Therapists' Code of Ethical Practise. 



Displace Yourself Theatre UK

Displace Yourself Theatre is a company that combines precise physicality, an engaging and highly accessible performance style and a developed political consciousness. This ambitious young devising performers use the power of movement to shine light on the shadows of society. The socio-political work is reflected in Displace Yourself's distinctive form using projection, live performers, minimal props and precise energetic scores that disobey tradition theatre conventions.

At the heart of their productions lies a throughout and intimate process of devising, working closely with the people their productions are about, providing a platform for under-represented communities using theatre as a way to have their voice heard. Including the audience at all stages of the show's development through live events, discussions and workshops is as important to Displace Yourself as the show itself.

Creative together is a monthly training for adults to try out and develop new skills in a range of creative and art activities. The sessions are open to everyone and suitable for people who have never taken part in arts and drama before as well as those with more experience. Creating together provides the opportunity to meet new people in your community, to improve communication and learn how to express yourself through body and voice and to release inner tensions and anxiety. 


Oberon Books Theatre, Drama and Performing Arts

Oberon Books is the UK's most exciting independent publisher specialising in theatre, drama and performing arts. Oberon has many of the most original new playwrights working today, and a backlist of 1500 books including some of the best of British Theatre since the 1940s, European and world theatre in translation and classics from the world's leading dramatists, as well as a wide range of handsomely produced publications covering the theatre, opera, dance, biography, performance studies, monologues, practical guides and fiction.

A prolific publisher with a reputation for publishing some of the most challenging, exciting drama happening right now. Oberon goes from strength to strength, bringing into print plays from the stages of the National Theatre, the Donmar Warehouse, the Royal Court, the Tricycle, Traverse, Soho and fringe theatres, not forgetting broadway.

Oberon's catalogue includes the Actors's Tool Kit, a selection of publications for drama students and professionals performers: The Improv Book, Improvisation for Theatre, Comedy, Education and Life (Alison Goldie), The Principles of Movement (Keith Bain), The Clown Manifesto (P. Nalle Laanela, Stacey Sacks), In-Depth Acting (Dee Cannon), Acting Shakespeare's Language (Andy Hinds)...

Working in Theatre: Stage Management

Stage management is the practise of organising and coordinating a theatrical production. It encompasses a variety of activities, including organising the production and coordinating communication between various people such as director and backstage crew, or actors and production management.

Stage management is a sub-discipline of stage craft. A stage manager is one who has overall responsibility for stage management and the smooth execution of a production. Stage management may be perform by one individual in small productions, while larger productions typically employ a stage management team consisting of a head stage manager and one or more assistants.

The responsibilities and duties vary depending on the setting of a production (rehearsal or performance) and the type of production (theatre, dance, music). Most broadly, it is the stage manager responsibility to ensure that the director's artistic choices are realised in actual performance.

As the lighting, sound and set change, cues are developed and the stage manager records the timing of each as it relates to the script. He or she maintains a prompt book which contains all cues, technical notes, blocking and other information pertinent to the show.

During rehearsals, the stage manager serves as an adjunct to the director by recording the blocking and ensuring that cast members stay on script, have the requisite props, and follow the blocking. Stage manager are also responsible for helping establish a show's rehearsal schedule and ensuring that rehearsals run on time. He or she documents each rehearsal in a rehearsal report.