Austerity strikes London nonprofits

Subsidize this: Brit legit players scored in 2010, but what’s next for the onstage heavy hitters?


The RSC opened its splendid theater at Stratford-upon-Avon with the runaway hit “Matilda.” Dennis Kelly (book), Tim Minchin (music and lyrics), and helmer Matthew Warchus turned Roald Dahl’s episodic heart-warmer into a theatrical masterwork of tears and joy. Bertie Carvel as vicious headmistress Miss Trunchbull gave a hilarious, daringly dark perf that had nothing to do with drag and everything with controlled fervor.

2011: The RSC plans to transfer the show to the West End next fall without outside co-producers.

Jamie Lloyd, director

Lloyd’s intense Donmar Warehouse rethink of the Sondheim/Lapine tuner “Passion” seemed to realize the writers’ original intention of creating a headlong rush. Lloyd shaved 15 minutes from the almost two-hour Broadway running time. Had it not been so welded to the intimate Donmar space, it would have transferred.

2011: Lloyd helms the U.K. bow of tuner “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee” (Donmar, Feb. 11-April 2) and Tarell Alvin McCraney’s “American Trade” (RSC, Hampstead Theater, June 2-18).

Nina Raine, playwright

Raine’s Royal Court debut “Tribes” was a serious comedy about identity and family ties. Roger Michell’s production allowed the ideas — and the actors — to shine, not least Michelle Terry in an unsentimental performance as a woman losing her hearing but never her insight.

2011: Raine directs her latest play “Tiger Country” (Hampstead, Jan. 19-Feb. 5).

Bunny Christie, designer

In a year of impressive National Theater productions, Howard Davies’ revival of “The White Guard” was a standout. A play of vivid contrasts, it was opened up and animated by Bunny Christie’s audacious, immense set that used height, depth and width to pull off its dramatic surprises.

2011: Christie designs Pinter’s “Moonlight” (Donmar, April 7-May 28).

– — David Benedict