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Inside this week | Applauding the unsung servants of theatre


Mr Hamilton is a servant to love and a love of his trade

December 8, 2013
07:03

by Ben Hamilton


The only thing that excited me this week was finding a picture of Michael Jackson with the Reagans and Eugene Allen (here).

You know … the butler out of the unfortunately-named Lee Daniels’ The Butler. So together with The Old Maid and the Thief (here), there’s definitely a servant theme going on, if by theme we mean the most tenuous connection we’ve ever made.

So while I’m on a roll (which is only marginally more than Old Mother Hubbard had), I’m going to applaud a group of people I often think of as servants – not in a Upstairs, Downstairs, get them pregnant and sell them to the workhouse way, but as unfailingly committed practitioners of English-language theatre. Why? I guess it’s because Danish theatre is mostly pretentious shit.

First up, the CTC has upped its game in recent years to average three sizeable productions a year. Its panto, Old King Cole, is expanding from ten to 15 performances this year and playing at Krudttønden from January 15 until February 1.

Later in February, That Theatre will embark on a month-long run of Bully Boy, a war-themed play to coincide with the centenary of the one that changed the world. That Theatre’s Ian Burns explains that he has chosen it because it is not in keeping with the UK government’s plans to spend £50 million on whitewashing the whole affair with Rupert Brooke poems like it was an extended episode of Downton Abbey in which the rich masters lent a kindly, guiding hand to the poor folk.

Instead, in collaboration with a mental health charity, Combat Stress, Burns hopes to address the mental health issues prevalent in all wars.

In late March at Bådteatret, Why Not Theatre Company is staging Margaret Edson’s WIT, the 1999 winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Drama, which the New York Times describes as “a brutally human and beautifully layered new play [that will make] you feel both enlightened and, in a strange way, enormously comforted”.

And in June, we have WORDS, a spoken word festival at Kronborg Castle, which will feature acclaimed British storytellers (see here for an event this week) Jan Blake, Daniel Morden and Cate Corkery.

All in all, you could call this a shameless promotion. In my defence: the butler did it.