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2 items from 2010

Michael Morpurgo on adapting his books for stage and screen

20 August 2010 4:06 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Horses as life-size puppets? The wrong soldier executed? Michael Morpurgo has had to challenge his own preconceptions when seeing his books adapted for stage or screen. But with Spielberg's War Horse film forthcoming and The Rainbow Bear a ballet, he's getting used to good surprises

To me it's all storytelling. After centuries of stories dominated by the written word, we may sometimes forget that, for many generations before, the telling of stories was almost entirely an oral tradition, with a little help from travelling players and singers and bands. These storytellers adapted, reinvented and recreated all the time, to reflect changing times and tastes.

As a maker of stories, originally written for the readers of books, I am always alert to the possibilities of finding new and inventive ways of telling them, of bringing them to a wider audience. To begin with, I never imagined anyone would think of adapting »

- Michael Morpurgo

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Peter Cheeseman obituary

29 April 2010 10:57 AM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Pioneering director of theatre-in-the-round and musical shows in the Potteries

Once described by Simon Hoggart as the "furry caterpillar" because of his habitual woolly sweaters, Peter Cheeseman, who has died aged 78, offered a unique vision of the role of theatre in the community. He pioneered theatre-in-the-round and, as the artistic director of the Victoria theatre in Stoke-on-Trent and then the New Vic in Newcastle-under-Lyme, installed a vibrant, creative hothouse in the industrial sprawl of the Potteries.

English regional theatre in the late 1950s was still dominated by the Edwardian values of the West End, the star system and the cosy conventions of the French-windows farce. Peter's passionate commitment to breaking the fourth wall of the proscenium arch stage, and rooting a resident company of actors, writers, musicians and designers in the local community, was revolutionary. He became involved in 1961 with the Studio Theatre Company, founded by Stephen Joseph. Peter put »

- Robin Thornber

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