Posts Tagged ‘Phil Willmott’

Theatre.London: Director Phil Willmott Talks Free Theatre

September 1st, 2016

theatrelondon16aGetting The Scoop on London’s Free Open Air Theatre Season

Director Phil Willmott talks to Matthew Amer about bringing free theatre to City Hall.

Growing up, theatre director Phil Willmott was enthralled and inspired by pocket money-priced trips to the theatre. Now he hopes to inspire Londoners with shows that are entirely free.

“I didn’t know anything about theatre or plays,” Willmott says of his early exposure to the excitement of live theatre at Bristol Old Vic. “I would sit in the dark and this extraordinary story would happen in front of me. It was just the most brilliant education in literature and humanity. The stories I saw taught me so much about the world and different cultures. I always want to capture that for other people, to give them theatre that is that exciting.”

That is exactly what the director has been doing since 2003 at The Scoop with London’s Free Open Air Theatre Season. Each year he stages a classic text and a children’s production, and the audience can watch without having to open their wallets.

“Because we’re free,” Willmott continues, “people from all walks of life will come along, take a chance and sit down. An hour and a half later they’ve watched our play and want to talk about it. The really exciting thing about The Scoop’s audience is most of them have never dreamed of going to the theatre.”

• Continue reading at Theatre.London.

BBC Radio London: Phil Willmott Interview

August 27th, 2016

cprm16ePhil Willmott, director of the soon to premiere Crime & Punishment discussed the production on BBC Radio London yesterday.

As well as talking about the new rock musical and the origins and genesis of it, he also elaborated on Toyah’s involvement in his adaption of Crime and Punishment, the history of free theatre in general, and much more.

• Listen to the interview at BBC iPlayer – Phil appears approximately 38 minutes into the show.

London Calling: Interview with Phil Willmott

August 13th, 2016

cprm16bCrime & Punishment: A Rock Musical – Interview with Director Phil Willmott

As part of London’s Free Open-Air Theatre Season, Crime & Punishment: A Rock Musical will hold its world premiere at The Scoop in London Bridge this month. Directed and adapted by Phil Willmott and featuring music by legendary rock legend Toyah Willcox, this revamped production will transform Dostoyevsky’s most famous and influential novel into a thrilling new musical. We sit down with director Phil Willmott to get the low-down on this adaptation of a classic with a tuneful twist.

London Calling: What attracted you to doing a rock-version of Crime & Punishment?

Phil Willmott: Well, we always try to do plays that reflect what’s going on in London society. Right now, we’re all very interested in what motivates these lone wolf killers to commit these terrible atrocities around the world. Crime & Punishment is very much about this, about a young man who sincerely believes that for the greater good and because of his beliefs that he is entitled to kill, so it feels very topical. And even though it’s a 19th Century Russian novel, the story is all about student angst, anger, and idealism so it seemed to really suggest itself to rock music as a sort of language for anger and alienation, as well as having a youthful energy.

LC: You’re using music by Toyah Willcox and Simon Darlow. What is it about their music that fits so well with this rock adaptation?

PW: Well in the 80s she was the punk princess. She was the person who took punk rock and sort of glamourised it and made it theatrical, while still retaining the kind of rawness, the anger and the energy of rock. So, because that’s my generation’s music, the first thing I did was to go back and listen to her songs and then I discovered that she is still recording and is still a best-selling recording artist so I got in touch with her and explained what I wanted to do and fortunately she said yes, that she’d love to come on board.

• Continue reading at London Calling.