Opening Night

When a leading actor is found gassed in his dressing room, it looks like suicide.

But it transpires he was so detested that everyone had a motive for his murder.

Episodes

SeriesTitleFirst
Broadcast
RepeatedComments
20170805

Janice Forsyth lifts the curtain on Radio 4's new theatre series at the Edinburgh Festival

Janice Forsyth lifts the curtain on Radio 4's new theatre series at the Edinburgh Festival.

Opening Night gives listeners a backstage pass to some of the most innovative, challenging and provocative productions around. The series will broadcast from a new town or city each month, looking at the best in theatre, play-writing and live performance talent and will ask how the theatre is helping to capture and curate modern Britain.

Janice Forsyth launches the new series in the heart of the biggest arts festival in the world - Edinburgh. We'll be plunged into the most exciting offerings from both the International Festival and the Fringe, with highlights including behind-the-scenes recordings of 'Meet Me at Dawn' the visceral new work from Zinnie Harris and 'Adam' from director Cora Bissett, about a young trans man who ventures from Egypt to Scotland in search of acceptance and happiness.

We'll also be hearing from International Festival director Fergus Linehan and Jackie Wylie; the artistic director of the National Theatre of Scotland, as well capturing some of the more surprising new voices at the Fringe.

Producer: Victoria McArthur.

20170902

Geeta Pendse reports from Leicester on what's hot on the city's drama scene.

Geeta Pendse reports from the city of Joe Orton, Sue Townsend, Richard III...and of course the Foxes football team... to discover what's new in theatre there. And what the richly multicultural city is doing to reflect its diversity on stage.

Geeta sneaks a peek at rehearsals for the new spectacular production by Leicester Curve theatre of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's hit musical, Sunset Boulevard, starring Ria Jones as Norma Desmond - before it takes off for a national tour.

Also, from the city's Attenborough Arts Centre, newly endowed with a huge grant from the Arts Council for performing arts, Director Michaela Butter talks about the joys (and challenges) of creating new work and breaking fresh ground -while putting the essential 'bums on seats'.

New playwright Hannah Torrance is on hand too, as is Asian theatre powerhouse Samir Bhamra from Phizzical Productions, and Suba Das, from Curve.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

Geeta Pendse reports from Leicester on what's hot on the city's drama scene.

Geeta Pendse reports from the city of Joe Orton, Sue Townsend, Richard III...and of course the Foxes football team... to discover what's new in theatre there. And what the richly multicultural city is doing to reflect its diversity on stage.

Geeta sneaks a peek at rehearsals for the new spectacular production by Leicester Curve theatre of Andrew Lloyd-Webber's hit musical, Sunset Boulevard, starring Ria Jones as Norma Desmond - before it takes off for a national tour.

Also, from the city's Attenborough Arts Centre, newly endowed with a huge grant from the Arts Council for performing arts, Director Michaela Butter talks about the joys (and challenges) of creating new work and breaking fresh ground -while putting the essential 'bums on seats'.

New playwright Hannah Torrance is on hand too, as is Asian theatre powerhouse Samir Bhamra from Phizzical Productions, and Suba Das, from Curve.

Producer: Simon Elmes.

20171007

Marie-Louise Muir takes the temperature of Northern Ireland theatre, now and next.

As the Belfast International Arts Festival kicks off, Marie-Louise Muir takes us behind the scenes of Northern Ireland's only full-time producing theatre, The Lyric, to get a taste of acclaimed local playwright Owen McCafferty's new production, Fire Below (A War of Worlds). Exploring contemporary life in a post-conflict society, Marie-Louise meets McCafferty and Director Jimmy Fay as they work with their cast in rehearsal.

From there, Marie-Louise takes us off the beaten track to discover the Belfast theatre groups working outside the mainstream and taking on stereotypes through radical new work. Writer and director Martin Lynch tells us about the new project which finds him working with members of the LGBTQ community, refugees, and those involved in women's rights.

And, in the company of critic Alan Meban, writer and producer Conor Mitchell, and Niamh Flanagan of Theatre NI, Marie-Louise considers whether it's possible for a smaller city outside of London to establish a good working relationship between critics and practitioners.

Producer: Steven Rainey.

As the Belfast International Arts Festival kicks off, Marie-Louise Muir takes us behind the scenes of Northern Ireland's only full-time producing theatre, The Lyric, to get a taste of acclaimed local playwright Owen McCafferty's new production, Fire Below (A War of Worlds). Exploring contemporary life in a post-conflict society, Marie-Louise meets McCafferty and Director Jimmy Fay as they work with their cast in rehearsal.

From there, Marie-Louise takes us off the beaten track to discover the Belfast theatre groups working outside the mainstream and taking on stereotypes through radical new work. Writer and director Martin Lynch tells us about the new project which finds him working with members of the LGBTQ community, refugees, and those involved in women's rights.

And, in the company of writers, actors and critics, Marie-Louise considers whether a 'national' Northern Ireland theatre can hope to emerge from a historical stereotype when West End hits of the present, such as Jez Butterworth's The Ferryman, seem to drag it back to the suffocating shackles of a 'Troubled' past.

20171104

Poet and dramatist Michael Symmons Roberts asks who and what theatre is for.

Manchester is culturally more confident than it's ever been and theatre has always been one of its great strengths. But is regional theatre bound by its geographical limits, or is its success crucially linked to a sense of local identity?

Poet and dramatist, Michael Symmons Roberts, takes us behind the scenes at Manchester's £25 million arts centre, HOME, and its latest production Uncle Vanya to ask what is theatre for? Michael meets Walter Meierjohann as he works with the cast in rehearsal, to examine what a 100 year old classic play can say to a modern audience. From there Michael goes to Hope Mill Theatre, an independent venue producing critically acclaimed musicals. He also talks to Richard Gregory one of the creative minds behind Quarantine Theatre company, and he's joined by the playwright Simon Stephens, actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and Kevin Bourke, a theatre critic and chair of the Manchester Theatre Awards, to discuss the notion of 'regional' to distinguish between theatres in London, and playhouses outside it.

Producer: Cecile Wright.

Manchester is culturally more confident than it's ever been and theatre has always been one of its great strengths. But is regional theatre bound by its geographical limits, or is its success crucially linked to a sense of local identity?

Poet and dramatist, Michael Symmons Roberts, takes us behind the scenes at Manchester's £25 million arts centre, HOME, and its latest production Uncle Vanya to ask what is theatre for? Michael meets HOME's chief exec Dave Moutry and Artistic Director, Walter Meierjohann as he works with the cast in rehearsal, to examine what a 100 year old classic play can say to a modern audience. From there Michael goes to Hope Mill Theatre, an independent venue producing critically acclaimed musicals. He also talks to Richard Gregory one of the creative minds behind Quarantine Theatre company, and he's joined by the playwright Simon Stephens, actor Julie Hesmondhalgh and Kevin Bourke, a theatre critic and chair of the Manchester Theatre Awards, to discuss the notion of 'regional' to distinguish between theatres in London, and playhouses outside it.

Producer: Cecile Wright.

Poet and dramatist Michael Symmons Roberts asks who and what is theatre for?

20180106

Monthly series that gives listeners a backstage pass to the best in theatre across the UK.

Cardiff20180203

Opening Night is in Wales where two new productions focus on women in theatre.

Opening Night is in Cardiff where Theatr Pena are mounting a new production of a work by the controversial writer and campaigner Saunders Lewis. Women of Flowers is a story from the ancient books of the Mabinogion which was dramatised by Lewis in the 1920s. This new version has been written by award-winning writer Sion Eirian after the original, and is the latest outing for a company which focusses not only on literary theatre in Wales but also on providing opportunities in theatre for Women.

The programme also looks at a theatre spaces working outside the mainstream and a Welsh premiere at Cardiff's The Other Room of Caryl Churchill's exploration of science and family, A Number.

Hull20171202

Lindsey Chapman explores the impact on theatre after Hull's year as UK City of Culture#.

Liverpool20180407

Lindsey finds out how a theatre in Liverpool is addressing race and gender identity.

Series looking at the best in theatre, playwriting and live performance across the UK.

Lindsey Chapman presents another edition of the series that looks at the range and diversity of theatre around Britain. This week we are in Liverpool hearing how theatre in the city is dealing with contemporary issues around race and gender identity. We are alongside the cast of the Everyman Theatre's latest production of Othello, in which the lead character is played as a woman, we hear from the founder of BAME theatre group Boisterous and from the city's longest running grass roots, queer theatre company, Grin.

Monthly series that gives listeners a backstage pass to the best in theatre across the UK.

Newcastle20180303

Opening Night visits Newcastle, where presenter Sharuna Sagar finds out how local voices are being represented in theatre... She drops in on rehearsals for 'The Last Ship', ahead of it's UK premiere this March. Written by Sting, the premiere will be a daunting step because it'll be a first look for audiences in the North East of a play about the shipbuilding industry in Sting's native Wallsend. Will the voices ring true?
Elsewhere, Unfolding Theatre is creating new ways of communicating in theatre. They're holding a 'thinking day', where they've invited inspirational members of the community to help develop their work.
Lastly, Sharuna will hear from Max Roberts of Live Theatre, poet Rowan McCabe and Curious Monkey's Amy Golding talk about what representing unheard voices means to them.

SP2000022620071108 (BBC7)
20071109 (BBC7)
20080630 (BBC7)
20080701 (BBC7)
20090916 (BBC7)
20090917 (BBC7)
20101229 (BBC7)
20101230 (BBC7)
20120117 (BBC7)
20120118 (BBC7)

When a leading actor is found gassed in his dressing room, it looks like suicide.

But it transpires he was so detested that everyone had a motive for his murder.On the opening night at the Vulcan Theatre a leading actor is found gassed in his dressing room.

Was it suicide or murder?

On the opening night at the Vulcan Theatre an actor is found gassed in his dressing room.

On the opening night at the Vulcan Theatre a leading actor is found gassed in his dressing room.

On the opening night at the Vulcan Theatre a leading actor is found gassed in his dressing room. Was it suicide or murder?