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Theatre in the UK - A Flourishing Scene
Theatre in the UK has been expanding its reputation in the last year or so, with stars like Daniel Radcliffe and Jude Law making Broadway sizzle in productions such as "Equus" or this year's "Hamlet." These are great examples of strong productions which make the journey to the United States, earning money on both sides of the Atlantic; there are plenty of home-grown theatre productions in the UK which never make it further than their local theatre scene.
Where can you find out about theatre companies in your area? Often times, local newspapers or websites can help interested parties find out more about what's on offer in their area's theatres. If you live in a major city, there are probably one or two (if not more) local theatres supported in part by government grants, bringing new writing and old classics to the stage.
If you're more interested in Fringe festivals and the particular brand of zany theatre which seems to thrive in these pressure-cooker-like atmospheres, then there's only one place for you to be, and that's Edinburgh during August. In Scotland's capital, you can access hundreds of theatre shows in every genre imaginable, from straight drama to comedy to musical to experimental. What's more, ticket prices tend to run lower than more traditional venues and tours.
Some of the most exciting theatre taking place in the United Kingdom these days is work that is developed in workshop situations. "Theatre Veritas," as it has come to be called, is a sort of documentary theatre in which the playwright interviews people who have lived through an event, then produces a coherent script that outlines and heightens the drama of the topic or situation. Other experimental, devised works start from a basic idea or understanding of the story an entire company feels compelled to tell. These devised pieces grow organically through collaboration between the director, the performers, and a writer who is there to help guide and shape the process.
Perhaps one of the greatest things about theatre in the UK is how easily accessible it is to those who want to contribute their creativity and ideas. Funding for the arts in Britain supports theatres in their outreach programs, offering ways for writers, actors, and directors to learn from working professionals about the best ways to break into the industry. This openness ensures that British theatre will continue to flourish into the future.