UK/LA art fest gets royal opening act

Britain’s Prince Andrew gave a royal kickoff Thursday to UK/LA 1994, a two-month arts festival throughout the Los Angeles area that will include productions by the Royal National Theater and the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Coast debut of rhythm and dance group Stomp and a Monty Python 25th-anni celebration that will feature a reunion of surviving cast members.

Running Sept. 7 to Nov. 7, the event will encompass music, visual arts, crafts and special symposiums, with more than 35 L.A. groups participating in 60 events.

Prince Charles will also attend a portion of UK/LA — or, in the words of Prince Andrew, the “marvelous festival” will culminate “in a visit by my older brother.”

Only some of the events were unveiled, and many of the dates are not yet firmed. A complete schedule is expected in August.

Film and TV: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences will salute Brit film studios. American Cinematheque and the British Academy of Film & TV Arts will offer two tributes: to U.K.’s Channel 4 on Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 at the DGA Theater, and toMonty Python on Sept. 9-11. Several of the surviving Python cast members have agreed to appear, and chances are good they will all take part.

USC and UCLA will work together — can global peace be far behind? — to host a symposium for U.K. and U.S. minority film and TV makers, and UCLA will showcase Scottish films.

Music: Fest launches Sept. 7, with the Halle Orchestra of Manchester at the Hollywood Bowl. Other musical events include the a cappella group Black Voices in various dates in October; L.A. Opera doing Handel’s “Xerxes” (opening Oct. 29 ); Long Beach Opera with a double bill of Vaughn Williams and Henry Purcell works, Oct. 23; and percussion group Stomp, appearing at UCLA’s Wadsworth Theater Sept. 30 to Oct. 23.

Theater: Oct. 2-23 at the Doolittle, National Theater will present the U.S. preem of David Hare’s “Racing Demon,” directed by Richard Eyre. The RSC will perform Shakespeare’s “Henry VI, The Battle for the Throne,” directed by Katie Mitchell, Nov. 1-6 at Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts.

Theatre de Complicite (a British group despite its French name) will perform “The Street of Crocodiles,” based on stories by Bruno Schulz, at UCLA Center for the Performing Arts’ Freud Playhouse.

Art: L.A. County Museum of Art will offer the first U.S. retrospective of R.B. Kitaj, opening Oct. 24.

Radio: BBC Radio, KCRW, and L.A. Theater Works will jointly develop radio drama, with specifics to be announced later.

Details were unveiled at a press confab at the Hancock Park residence of British Consul General Merrick Baker-Bates. Among those in attendance were L.A. Mayor Dick Riordan, Supervisor Yvonne Brathwaite Burke, Councilman John Ferraro and California chief of protocol William Black.

The fest is presented under the auspices of the UK/LA Foundation. The film-TV panel is chaired by producer Barry Spikings; the arts committee is headed by L.A. Opera’s Peter Hemmings, and Andrew Kane heads the biz, education, science and technology committee.

The prince set the tone of the press meet by expressing “considerable heartache” that Britons felt for L.A.’s recent turmoils, such as the January earthquake, and offered sympathies to Angelenos and congrats to emergency services.

After the press briefing, Brathwaite Burke, Ferraro and Riordan presented Prince Andrew with suitable-for-framing proclamations of welcome from the mayor and city council, and asked him to come back. Gov. Wilson’s rep Black said that, due to fiscal considerations, the state had no proclamations, but wished to welcome the prince anyway.

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