02 - Staged Story and Variety

'Live entertainment that is often set on (or within) a purpose-built area where a pre-determined story and / or routine is recited, acted or performed' (Walmsley, 2009 in Moss, 2009, p.18).



Title / Headline



25th November, 2016

The TimesFigaro OMG ... opera for the twitteratiArticle about theatres catering for those who wish to use social media on their mobile devices during performances. 
7th October, 2016BBC NewsIs magic's glass ceiling vanishing?It has been 25 years since women were permitted to join the magic circle, but today only 5% of magicians are female, this article explores this along with a current rise in prominence for some female magicians.

8th June, 2016BBC NewsTheatre 'needs to be more diverse'Article exploring nthe lack of diversity in British theatre, and the challenges faced by key stakeholders in not just addressing this, but in tackling audience perceptions also.

13th January, 2016

The GuardianColour-blind casting: how far have we really come?Feature exploring racial discrimination when casting actors in theatre and on the stage.
8th November, 2015BBC NewsThe Curve Leicester: The 'expensive disaster' that came back

Case study of The Curve theatre in Leicester, which was considered an expensive failure when it opened in 2008, but has become one of the top 10 producing theatres in the UK generating an annual income of almost £5m.

4th September, 2015

BBC NewsCircus act with disabled performers reclaiming the 'freak show'

Feature about a circus highlighting the ability of people with disabilities, in order to challenge the potential preconceptions of audiences.
10th July, 2015

New York TimesTheaters struggle with patrons' phone use during shows

Feature highlighting the very contemporary problem for theatres of mobile phone usage during performances, highlighting the difficulties faced in managing this, alongside proposed solutions of audience education, cast interaction and 'tweet seats'.

4th February, 2015BBC NewsMore plays staged at top UK theatres since 2009

More plays were staged  by the UK's most most subsidised theatres in 2014 compared with 2009, despite fears about funding cuts.

4th February, 2015

BBC NewsThe state of UK theatre: Boom or bust?Feature discussing the growing gap in wealth between the top UK theatre companies and other publicly-funded theatres.
2014The Society of London Theatre and The National Theatre

London Theatre ReportLondon has 241 theatres with 110,000 seats, more than 22 million people attended a London theatre in 2012/13, which is experiencing a boom in terms of audiences, and artistic output. This report reveals a number of facts and figures in relation to this.

23rd September, 2014

BBC NewsTheatres make gender equality pledgeNews article about the decision being made by several UK theatres to balance out the number of male and female roles in their performances, which are currently male dominated.

22nd August, 2014BBC NewsA point of view: That joke isn't funny any more

Exploration of the psychology of jokes and humour.
20th June, 2014

BBC NewsbeatCalls for more female comedians at British festivalsNews feature highlighting the imbalance between the high number of male and low number of female stand up comedians at British music and arts festivals.

27th April, 2014

Dance Chat Australia
(via YouTube)

BREAKING: Dancers speak out
about #paythedancers & Kylie
Video highlighting the pressures placed upon dancers to perform in music videos and for established musicians for free.
20th March, 2014

BBC NewsUK theatres welcome budget tax breaksNews about tax relief for theatre companies in the UK, given in the April 2014 budget, which means that touring productions get a 25% tax relief, and other productions get 20%.

3rd March, 2014

The GuardianTheatre is default middle-class, white and male.
We must diversify or die

Theatre blogger Lynn Gardner discusses the lack of inclusivity in UK theatre. 
5th February, 2014

The GuardianWhat do theatre audiences want?Theatre blogger Lyn Gardner discusses the difficulties faced by theatres in gathering meaningful information about what their audiences actually want from their theatre experience, and how to predict what they might want in future.

23rd January, 2014    BBC NewsDo theatre shows really sell-out?Feature about the difficulties faced by theatres, from the re-selling of tickets at vastly inflated prices.

2013Arts Marketing: An International Journal

"A big part of my life": a qualitative study of the impact of theatreStudy by Ben Walmsley from the University of Leeds, which explores the impacts that theatre has upon audiences both immediately and over time.
19th December, 2013

BBC NewsThe great British pantomime is still packing in the crowdsFeature about Nottingham Playhouse and the seasonal popularity of pantomime, and how this is vital to theatres in securing revenue, particularly in an era of spending cuts on the arts.

22nd October, 2013

BBC News

Crowdfunding the arts in South Africa

Article about The Cape Consort, a group of South African artists who have turned to online crowdfunding to help pay for a series of concerts.


26th September, 2013 The Guardian Survey of theatre-going intentions throws up surprising results

News story about a survey by Ticketmaster amongst their theatre-going customers, which reveals some results, which go against trends in the demographics of theatre-goers.

26th September, 2013

BBC News Mobiles phone use 'unacceptable' at the theatre, says survey News feature about the 'State of Play: Theatre UK' report, which explores habits and attitudes of theatre goers in the UK.
13th September, 2013

BBC News Comedians turn to technology for laughs A look at technological innovations in stand up comedy production, and the democratization of comedy through social media.
19th August, 2013

BBC News
Theatre performed in your sitting room
Video article about the Theatre Royal Stratford East in London inviting local people to apply for theatrical performances to be held in their home, which is an innovative way to open up theatre to people who otherwise may not get to see it. This also allows performers to explore new intimate spaces for their work.

4th April, 2013

BBC News

The magicians who rip off other conjurer's tricks

Feature exploring the problem with magicians having routines and other intelectual property 'stolen' by other performers.


4th March, 2013

BBC News Sarah Hemming: Theatre conditions send you to sleep

Audio discussion feature around the issue of people falling asleep in theatres.

29th October, 2012

BBC News

Hurricane Sandy closes Broadway shows

Contemporary example of how issues in the macro environment can directly impact upon the entertainment industry.


24th October, 2012

BBC Ouch!

Relaxed performances: Making theatre trips possible for people with autism or a learning disability

Blog feature in which 'relaxed' theatre performaces are discussed, that are more leniant and allowing for audience needs, particularly those audiences that may include people with learning difficulties.


22nd October, 2012

The Guardian Art and artists in development: not all exposure is good exposure Guardian blog feature exploring the wisdom of showcasing new work and work that may not be refined to audiences of critics, which can potentially court negative publicity for performances before they have been fully developed.

19th October, 2012

Huffington Post Do black dancers have a place in ballet? we say yes. Discussion article that explores factors that have lead to a decline of black ballet performers in America, as well as ways to involve more African-American people in ballet.

3rd October, 2012

BBC News ENO announce 'dress down for opera' initiative In an attempt to try and attract more younger audiences the English National Opera have announced a scheme to attract young people who can dress 'casually' and buy tickets for 'best seats'. The ENO state that only 30% of their audiences are under 44 years old.

1st October, 2012

BBC News National Theatre reports record annual takings of £80m News story highlighting how despite recessionary times that the National Theatre has taken a record £80m in its annual takings, which is more than double what it took 10 years ago, partly attributed to productions such as 'War Horse'. The article also highlights criticisms of British Government spending cuts on the arts.

29th September, 2012

BBC News

Jesus Christ Superstar dropped in Russia church row

A theatre in the south Russian city of Rostov has dropped a production of Jesus Christ Superstar after protests by Orthodox Christians who claim the production is a 'profanation'. This is the latest legal challenge over freedom of expression in entertainment citing religious belief in Russia following the jailing of the band Pussy Riot for causing religious offence, and could be the tip of a stifling of entertainment output in the country that may be seen as blasphemous or religiously offensive.



 20th September, 2012  The Stage News  Theatre engagement drops among children Article highlighting a survey that shows the recent drop in theatre interest amongst young children outside of school including performance attendances as well as participation in theatrical extra-curricular activities.  

19th September, 2012

The Guardian What makes a night out at the theatre extra special? Article that highlights how added value can be given to theatre experiences, as well as the importance of augmented products to support the actual / tangible products that draw people to theatres.

25th June, 2012

BBC News

Northern Ballet gains dancers after cuts

Case study highlighting the strategy employed by the Northern Ballet after government funding cuts forced the dance company to seek private sponsorship, which has lead to the company increasing its numbers.



11th June, 2012

The Guardian

Theatreland: achieving sustainability means more than going green

Article exploring the wider remit of sustainability in terms of economic and social development, which theatres must embrace to ensure long term health.




24th May, 2012

BBC News Sea Odyssey giants netted £32m for Liverpool businesses

News story highlighting the economic impact of a large street based puppet show in Liverpool earlier this year.
28th April, 2012

BBC News Frederick Kempster - the 'English Giant'?

Story of Frederick Kempster who worked in a circus as a professional giant at the beginning of the 20th Century, the story highlights how the 'unusual' attracts audiences of onlookers, but also highlights how pre-television, live events of this nature were more popular.

20th April, 2012

BBC News Bringing Liverpool's Sea Odyssey giants to life

News story about the Sea Odyssey show in Liverpool, that brings giant sized puppets to the public in open spaces in the city.
27th March, 2012

BBC News Digital Drama: The technology transforming theatre

Feature exploring how technology driven special effects is transforming theatrical productions.

1st March, 2012

BBC News

Wild animals to be banned from circuses

News story based around the British Government's decision to ban the use of wild animals in circuses in the UK.


20th January, 2012 BBC News Subsidised theatres see audience slump since 2009

News story based upon an Arts Council England (ACE) report, which highlights a slump in audiences since 2009 at theatres, which regularly receive ACE funding.

The annual figures show audiences have fallen from 14.1 million to 13 million. The article includes a link to the ACE report.

5th January, 2012 The Guardian Should theatres be more welcoming? When you go to the theatre, the show is the main event, of course – but everything that surrounds it that can make or break the experience. This article explores what theatres can do to add value to the theatre-going experience, in a bid to encourage further repeat custom from patrons.

1st December, 2011

The Stage Entertainment licensing reform will boost the economy by £43m, says Equity

Equity has claimed that proposals to reform live entertainment licensing could boost the British economy by more than £43.2 million every year.

The British government is consulting on removing licensing requirements from performances of drama, music and dance in certain circumstances, in a change that would alter the 2003 Licensing Act.

28th November, 2011

Arts Council England Arts Council England and Creative & Cultural Skills publish guide on internships in the arts

Arts Council England and Creative & Cultural Skills have published Internships in the arts - a guide for arts organisations.

The guide offers advice on how to develop high-quality and mutually beneficial employment opportunities, and sets out the legal obligations for arts and cultural organisations offering internships.

31st October, 2011

The Stage Julie's Bicycle to partner Broadway Green Alliance Julie’s Bicycle is to work in partnership with the Broadway Green Alliance under the banner of the International Green Theatre Alliance from now on. The organisations, which both work to promote environmental sustainability in theatre will provide information and resources on green 'best practice' in the arts.

27th October, 2011 The Stage West End stays on course for £500m box office hat-trick

News story about London’s Theatreland, which looks set to break the £500 million mark for the third year in a row, with revenues during the summer up 5.6% on the same period in 2010.

27th October, 2011

BBC News 3D stars sing and dance on stage in Japan News story highlighting a technological innovation in Japan, which using augmented reality has created a live show experience where CGI characters and actual human dancers can perform together on stage for the first time.

20th October, 2011

The Stage Retired dancers need more help to find work - report News story about dance companies in the UK, which are being urged to back a scheme aimed at supporting dancers at the end of their stage careers, as part of a Europe-wide effort to boost employment opportunities for performers facing retirement.

17th October, 2011 The Stage STAR rebrands industry benchmark for ticket agents

News story about the decision to rebrand the Society for Ticket Agencies and Retailers industry kitemark to help combat ticket fraud which it estimates costs theatres £168m in online sales alone.

14th October, 2011 BBC Newsbeat Beyonce accused of copying moves from ballet

News story that raises the issue of copyright over dance moves.
6th October, 2011 The Stage Exclusive: Theatre call for US-style tax relief News story about commercial producers and Arts Council England  lobbying the government to introduce US-style tax relief that would allow theatre investors to write off losses against income tax.

22nd September, 2011

The Stage Government's local TV plans will boost theatre, says Greg Dyke News story about potential benefits to theatres, from government plans to introduce local television stations, which will make TV advertising affordable to venues and producers for the first time, (according to former BBC director general Greg Dyke).

16th September, 2011

BBC News Audience development agencies announce overhaul News story about the transformation and structuring of Audiences Plus, which will be a new audience development agency for the arts in the UK.

2nd September, 2011

BBC News
Iconic flats star in theatre show
News story about the performance of 'Slick' by the National Youth Theatre which is being performed in Sheffield at Park Hill Flats. This is another example of theatre using a non-traditional community-based 'stage' for a performance.

24th August, 2011

BBC News

It's not easy being green for Edinburgh's festivals

Feature about the challenge faced by Edinburgh festival organisers in managing their waste and environmental impact.


10th August 2011

BBC News
The Cholmondeleys and The Featherstonehaughs to disband
News story about two dance companies that are set to disband due to UK Government spending cuts.

16th July, 2011

BBC News

Lee Hall opera Beached goes ahead

News story about opera beached, which had to have the word 'queer' removed from the dialogue amidst accusations of homophobia.




12th July, 2011
BBC News
Theatres discuss funding drama
Case studies of how cuts from the arts council have lead to English theatres tightening their finances and changing their ways of working.

27th June, 2011

BBC News

Overseas artists 'poorly treated' by visa system

News story about a group of representatives of the arts in the UK who have signed a letter saying the UK's points-based visa system is "inappropriate for short-term visits by artists".



23rd June, 2011

BBC News

How MacBeth became a prison drama

Feature about site-specific theatre, based upon a case study of the play MacBeth by Belt Up Theatre, who staged the play at the House of Detention, Clerkenwell.



23rd June, 2011

BBC News
MPs debate wild animals in the circus
News video about the debate in the UK about the use of wild animals in circuses, and how Members of Parliament are currently debating whether this should be banned.

4th May, 2011

BBC News
Theatre director seeks change of scenery

News story about site specific theatre which is due to take place away from the comfort of seats and in the hilltops of the Yorkshire Dales.

3rd May, 2011
The Stage
Commercial producer halts UK tours due to 'economic climate'

News story about Shakespeare 4 Kidz - one of the UK's leading touring companies creating work for children, which is to suspend all its UK tours until at least spring 2012 due to “concerns regarding the viability of commercial theatre touring in the current economic climate”.

21st April, 2011
The Stage
Exclusive: Going green would save theatres £8m, claims report

News story based upon a report by green arts organisation Julie's Bicycle, which states that savings worth £35 million can be made by theatre, music and visual arts over the next four years if the sectors reduce their energy use by 25% during that time.

21st April, 2011
BBC News
Belarussian thespians fighting for freedom

Feature exploring the tenuous relationship between theatre and politics in Belarus, Europe's last dictatorship.

21st April, 2011 The Stage Theatre website use increases by 10% in 2010 - Taking Part survey News feature detailing how in 2010 the number of people participating in online culture increased by 10% to 34.8% of all UK adults.

20th April, 2011
The Stage
Stratford East launches 'tweetzone'

News story about Theatre Royal Stratford East, which has installed a ‘tweetzone’ in its upper circle, as part of a new social media strategy to engage with its community.

1st April, 2011

BBC News

Should the arts get public money?

Discussion article about the recent slash in funding of public money to the arts in the UK, which questions whether the arts should be public funded in the first place?


31st March, 2011
BBC News
How the arts world is embracing 3D cinema
News article detailing moves by arts organisations to have both recorded and live staged performances shown in cinemas in 3D to try and attract new audiences.

30th March, 2011
BBC News
Hundreds of arts groups lose funding
Details about the slashed funding given to arts organisations by Arts Council England.


28th March, 2011

BBC News

Arts world gets creative in funding crisis

With public grants for the arts shrinking, many venues and artists are looking for new ways to fund their works. From fan funding to hosting weddings on stage, here are some of the more innovative schemes that arts bodies around the UK are turning to.



18th March, 2011
Spending cuts: Theatre groups add their voice to debate
News feature about actions being taken by British theatre groups in response to the government's spending cuts in the arts.
18th March, 2011
Why do people tell sick jokes about tragedies?

Discussion feature examining the rationale behind why people tell sick jokes after tragedies, and how technology has helped quickly spread sick jokes virally.

7th January, 2011
Glasgow pantomime dress broke Geneva Convention
News story about a red cross being used in a Glasgow pantomime being in contravention of the 1957 Geneva Convention, and being changed to a green cross as a result of this.
22nd July, 2010 BBC Who, what, why: Can a joke be copyrighted? News story about the legalities of trying to copyright jokes, and the implications of plagiarism for performers. Link
21st June, 2010 BBC Streetdance on the stage: A craze or high art? News video about streetdance, one of the fastest growing art forms in the UK. Link
28th June, 2010 The Guardian Find a play. Squat a building. Steal a van. Now make a show Interest story debating whether market efficiency and economic growth has begun to subordinate all other values in theatre. In the last 25 years, the biggest single area of growth in theatre has been in the relentless expansion of the administrative and entrepreneurial classes. Link
 25th June, 2010  The Guardian Drama in the wings: Why theatre in prison matters Blog article reflecting upon theatre being performed in prisons by touring companies, in order to help with the rehabilitation of inmates. Link
 18th June, 2010 BBC
Taking maths to the street Interesting story about maths busking, a variety act performed on streets for money that blends mathematics with magic.  Link

 15th June, 2010


 Stand-up comedy Store hits Mumbai

News story about the opening of India's first stand-up comedy venue.


 11th June, 2010  The Stage Traverse shows to be screened live in cinemas during Edinburgh Festival News story about Hibrow Productions, a nascent internet platform that is dedicated to streaming performing and visual arts online, which is to receive its first tryout during this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.  Link
 10th June, 2010  The Stage Edinburgh Fringe doubles size in a decade Despite the economic climate and growing competition from rival events, the Edinburgh Festival Fringe has announced a massive 17% increase in the number of productions in this year’s programme, which runs from August 6 to 30. Link

 10th June, 2010

 The Stage

Exclusive: West End braced for World Cup penalties

London's West End theatres are bracing themselves for a fall in ticket sales of as much as 20% over the next month, with the football World Cup expected to seriously dent audience numbers. Producers, venue owners and ticket agents are preparing for an especially tough period during June, when England will play at least three games - all of which clash with theatre performances.


 9th June, 2010

 The Stage

 UK theatre must learn from modern art, urges Ravenhill

Playwright Mark Ravenhill has criticised UK theatre as “old-fashioned”, claiming it is less adventurous than other art forms. Link
 7th June, 2010

 The Stage

Broadway - attendances down, but revenue up

Broadway theatres have reported that their attendances were down in 2009/10, but ticket revenue increased by 1.5%. Link

 7th June, 2010


Old Vic Theatre in a disused tunnel in London

News video about sub-terranean tunnels being used for a theatrical performace, highlighting the use of non-traditional venues for theatre, and in particular how this setting can contribute to atmosphere and emotion amongst the audience. Link
 3rd June, 2010 BBC
 Live screening 'good for theatre' Summary of a report on innovation in the arts, which found that cinema audiences who watched a live screening of a national theatre play were more emotionally engaged than those who watched it in the theatre. The report - by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (Nesta) - suggests the use of digital technology is crucial at a time when the arts world is facing a financial squeeze. Link

25th May, 2010


Ventriloquism: Return of the dummy run

Interest story about the background to ventriloquism, and its contemporary re-invention, often as part of cutting edge stand-up comedy routines


16th May, 2010


Body_Remix/Goldberg_Variations; Gustavia; Susan and Darren


News article: Sex on crutches? It can only be the work of Canadian controversialist Marie Chouinard



16th May, 2010


Bill Bailey's Highlands fling


News article about why one of Britain's biggest comedians is going on a tour of Scotland's smallest venues.



14th May, 2010

The Stage

Vaizey joins Hunt in DCMS


News article of how Ed Vaizey will today be confirmed as the new culture minister, The Stage understands. Vaizey has been given the arts brief within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Portfolios are currently being confirmed, with further announcements of departmental appointments are expected today.



13th May, 2010

The Stage

A new culture secretary - what now for the arts?


News article regarding the new government and a new man in charge of the culture brief - Jeremy Hunt. We’ll probably find out later today who will be given the arts minister brief, but it’s likely to be one of Ed Vaizey - the Tory arts spokesman, who worked with Hunt while in opposition - or Don Foster, who had similar responsibilities for the Liberal Democrats.



4th May, 2010

Times Online

My baby, the opera buff


News article about how sixteen-month-old Oscar encountered his first live opera, in Scottish Opera’s Baby O project. And he liked what he heard



2nd May, 2010


Times Square - 'crossroads of the world'


News article about how long it has been feared that New York's Times Square, at the heart of the city's theatre district, would become the target of an attack.



30th April, 2010


Royal Shakespeare Company appeal close to £112m target


News article about the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) announcing it has £5m left to raise for its £112m redevelopment of theatres in the bard's birthplace in Warwickshire.



27th April, 2010

Times Online

A night at the theatre and the star is — you


News article about how the Barbican is hosting a series of interactive shows, a hot new artform in which the audience is part of the action.



11th April, 2010

Times Online

The people securing the future of theatre


News article about the future if theatre; they’re young, they’re keen and they know how to tell a story. This year’s National Student Drama Festival is full of talent.



10th April, 2010

Times Online

Extinction threat to regional theatre


News article about how regional theatre is a vital part of the cultural landscape of the UK, and increasingly provides the capital with a wealth of fabulous plays, playwrights and young directors.



9th April, 2010


'Hair' weaves it's way into the West End


News piece and accompanying video about how Sir Cameron Mackintosh has bought the Tony Award winning production to the West End including the US cast staring Gavin Creel as Claude.



4th April, 2010

Times Online

There is another miraculous tale this Easter - British theatre


News piece about a true cause for celebration in this country, theatre. And now in this country we have theatrical traditions and talents that are truly dazzling. In the midst of our national self-doubt and economic decline, it is worth remembering that British theatre is a national and international treasure.



14th February, 2010

Times Online

Bringing the theatre to the crowd


News piece about how shops left empty after the recession are being reinvented as theatre and gallery spaces to bring life into the community.


11th November, 2009

Times Online

British theatre is booming


News story about how despite the recession and the gloomy predictions of the doom-mongers, the British stage is enjoying the best of times.



8th September, 2009

Huffington Post

The Biggest Problem Facing the Arts.

News article about how the central problem facing the arts today is not a lack of flute players, choreographers, actors or painters. The main challenge the arts world must address is the lack of a large, trained corps of managers who know how to find resources, attract audiences and other constituents and provide support to our artists.



22nd September, 2008


Clowns’ Tears at Live Music Ban

News story detailing how a circus contravened the English Licensing Act (2003) by allowing their clowns to play musical instruments, as they had not applied for an entertainment licence.



8th July, 2008


London Theatres ‘best ever year’

News story about London's theatres enjoying their most successful year on record in 2007, with attendances exceeding 13 million for the first time.



26th March, 2008


‘Slaves’ Saved from Italy Circus

News story about employee abuse at a travelling circus in Italy.



24th September, 2007


Obituary: Marcel Marceau

Obituary and profile of the late Marcel Marceau, an iconic mime artist of the 20th Century.



16th March, 2007


Comeback for ‘non-offensive’ Pigs

News story revealing how the fear of causing cultural offence to muslims almost lead to the ‘three little pigs’ being replaced by puppies in a childrens’ show.



27th September, 2006

Times Online

Merkel Joins Chorus of Disapproval as Opera Cancelled

News story about the controversy over the cancelling of a Mozart Opera so as not to offend Muslims.



15th September, 2006


London Faces Fresh Musical Wave

News story detailing how big budget musicals were coming to London’s West End theatres, and the possible financial risks involved.



13th September, 2006


National Wants Sunday Stage Shows

News story about plans by London theatres to operate on a Sunday, which requires negotiation with trade unions.



25th August, 2006


Audio Slideshow: Seaside Entertainers

Audio slideshow about 50 years of staged story and variety at the British seaside.



25th October, 2002


Moscow Theatre Siege

News story about a tragedy that unfolded at a Moscow Theatre when Chechen terrorists took theatre-goers hostage, resulting in numerous deaths.