Word of the week

Word of the week: Theatricalia

Well, this is a treat: Theatricalia.com, “a database of past and future theatre productions.”, a kind of IMDb for UK theatre. It lists actors, directors, productions and places, and has provided me with information that I hadn’t been able to find elsewhere. It doesn’t appear to be as complete as IMDb, which has been owned by Amazon since 1998.  (I assume that it employs a large team to keep it going.) Theatricalia looks more like a labour of love, but according to its home page it “knows about 124,194 people being cast and crew in 491,779 rôles, in 40,643 productions of 17,985 plays at 5,843 places”.

Earlier this month I wrote about theatre programmes. I usually buy one whenever I go to the theatre and have kept just about all of them. I wrote about giving away my programme from a matinee performance of the RSC’s “Les Liaisons Dangereuses” in 1986. I ran a search to see if there was a cast list available (les liaisons dangereuses rsc london 1986 rickman) and along with links to the RSC website and an archived Guardian review was this Theatricalia page. I have been unable to track down my programme from a production of “Measure for Measure” that I saw at the Riverside Studios in 1979, but this page confirms that it starred Helen Mirren as Isabella. She is one of the 11 Oscar-winners that I have seen on the London stage, as noted here.

I have used the search option on Theatricalia to find details about other Oscar-winners (Emma Thompson, Tilda Swinton, Olivia Colman….), to see if they were in any productions that I might have seen, but it doesn’t look like it. The results do not include student productions, which is where I am most likely to have seen Tilda Swinton, but I guess IMDb does not include the work of undergraduates at film school either.

The Theatricalia home page offers this feature: “Anyone can add a production if it’s not on the site, or fix mistakes”. I am tempted to go back to my storage box full of theatre programmes to see if I can provide any missing information but all the productions that I have searched for so far are listed already, including these two from 1995, both of which starred Tony Slattery: “Neville’s Island” at the Apollo  and “Privates on Parade” at the Greenwich Theatre (the last time I saw him on stage). For now I will be relying on the data that Theatricalia.com provides rather than supplying them with any new information of my own.


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