Inside this week | Don’t crucify Ian Burns!

English-language theatre would appear to be in rude health in Denmark. This coming April will see no less than three productions hit the city’s boards: The Beach (see G3), The City (G2) and the Copenhagen Theatre Circle’s The Importance of Being Earnest, which will run from April 17-27. 

And only last Saturday, That Theatre Company, the perennial provider of quality theatre in this city since its foundation in the mid-1990s, wrapped up its month-long run of Shakespeare’s Women. Catching up with Ian Burns, the co-writer and star of the play, on Saturday evening, he was in high spirits following a successful run that had managed to pack them in on every day of the week … bar one. “Ah yes, Idiot Factor,” he murmured. Every year, it comes back to haunt him (talking of which, his autumn production is The Woman in Black), but will he ever learn?

The thing about Burns is he is a great believer in the intelligence of the average city-dweller. He credits them with better taste than watching the umpteenth series of a franchise that is clearly running out of talent. And every year he is proven wrong. It’s a borderline analogy on Christ’s belief in humankind, but hopefully this Easter (see G2 for details of all the fun events going on) won’t see Burns put up on a cross. With no decent hills in the city, he wouldn’t even have a good view.

The man behind The Beach, meanwhile, is Russell Collins, who in just five years has together with his wife (who is also appearing – in a rather fetching bikini, it must be said) set up ten children’s drama schools (see for a recent story we wrote about his endeavours). With two young children of their own, it’s a wonder they have time to do anything else, let along put on a play.

And then there is The City from Why Not Theatre, a company that in recent years has prospered providing niche theatre. This approach has served them well and earned a lot of recognition in the Danish media – a notoriously difficult chestnut to crack.

It’s something Burns has found out, to the cost of empty pairs of seats on opening night, on a number of occasions. But as English-language theatre continues to blossom, they won’t be able to ignore it forever.