Sky Arts Theatre Live!

26th May 2009 by Maura McHugh

The Stage reports that Sky Arts will be bringing live theatre to television.

Called Sky Arts Theatre Live!, the series will draw on the talents of a specially-formed company of actors and directors, who will stage new work from novelists such as Kate Mosse, who penned the book Labyrinth, and crime writer Nicci French.

Each of the 30-minute plays will be broadcast live on Sky Arts 1 from a purpose-built Theatre Live! studio in West London, which will hold 140 invited audience members.

Production of each author’s original work will be overseen by Sandi Toksvig, who came up with the idea for Sky Arts Theatre Live! and has been appointed artistic director of the newly formed Theatre Live! company, which also includes Fiona Laird, Sue Tully and John Alderton as directors, and actress Pauline Collins. Further casting has yet to be announced.

Toksvig described the series as “genuine reality television” and said: “Live drama has a rawness and immediacy in which anything can happen.”

Other novelists who will write plays for the series include Jeremy Hardy, Morag Joss, Michael Dobbs and Jackie Kay. Rehearsals for each of their plays will begin at the Orange Tree Theatre in Richmond, before being broadcast live from the purpose-built studio.

Each programme, hosted by Toksvig, will begin with behind-the-scenes footage detailing the making of each play.

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