Theatre News Monday 16th December 2013

Theatre NewsShocking indictment on Evening Standard Awards as Judges resign…
Three judges on the Evening Standard Awards have resigned after Dame Helen Mirren won the prize for Best Actress for her performance in The Audience, although the majority of the panel did not vote for her.

Two members of the panel who work for the Evening Standard, who are the sponsor of the awards, revised their votes after seeing the results of the secret ballot, to be sure that Dame Helen won the prize.

Charles Spencer, of the Telegraph, Georgina Brown, of the Mail on Sunday, and Susannah Clapp, of the Observer have all stepped down from their roles, although Libby Purves, formerly of the Times, and Matt Wolf, of the International Herald Tribune, are remaining on the newly renamed “advisory panel”.

Sarah Sands, editor of the Evening Standard, has said that she and Henry Hitchings, the newspaper’s theatre critic, looked at the secretly cast votes of other members of the panel, and then colluded to revise their votes to allow Dame Helen to surpass the other nominees.

Following the secret ballot, where each judge gave three points to their favourite, two to their second, and one to their third, there was a equal tie for first place between two nominees, neither of which was Dame Helen Mirren. Sands and Hitchings revised their votes to allow Dame Helen to win.

“In discussion about what was a dead heat, Henry and I decided that we would go for an option that would make Helen Mirren the winner,” Sands told the Times. “By doing a first and second vote we could balance the two factions with a third option, which is what happened.”

The Pajama Game to Transfer to Shaftesbury Theatre in 2014
The Pajama Game, first seen at Chichester’s Minerva Theatre earlier this summer in  2013, is to transfer to London’s Shaftesbury Theatre, with performances commencing 1st May, 2014, ahead of an official opening 13th May 2014.

A Very West End Christmas by Parallel Productions is officially released featuring many West End stars, with proceeds going to CRY UK, Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Band Aid Charitable Trust.

The EP is available on iTunes for £3.95, and also from other retailers (prices may vary), with proceeds going to CRY UK, Great Ormond Street Hospital and The Band Aid Charitable Trust. 

Actress Joan Fontaine Dies at 96
Actress Joan Fontaine, who starred in the Alfred Hitchcock movies Rebecca and Suspicion, has died, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She was 96. Born in Tokyo to British parents who later moved to California, Fontaine and her sister, actress Olivia de Havilland, were both pushed into acting by their mother. Fontaine later returned to Tokyo to attend school, but moved back to San Jose at age 17, and later to Los Angeles.

Content updated 1st May 2014