Orton Ornot?

Regular readers of Lizardyoga’s blog will be only too familiar with this particular rant of mine, but bear with me because there is a new twist.  It has been mooted that the old Haymarket theatre, which has been hanging around with nothing to do, should be resurrected in some form.


I could never quite understand why they found it necessary to close it in the first place and replace it with some steel-and-glass monstrosity which looks far more like a conference centre than (oo! the words ‘conference centre’ have triggered another rant, but more of that later) than a theatre, and instead of calling it after Leicester’s most famous playwright, Joe Orton, to call it by the spectacularly unimaginative name of The Curve.  By that token the new bus station would be called The Swerve, the Highcross Centre The Sprawl and Town Hall Square, Town Hall – oh wait.  But you get the drift.  There was a perfectly good Leicester-born and -bred playwright screaming for a theatre to be named after him, and instead they opted to name it after its shape.  Shame on them.

So I think I’m going to launch a campaign, if they do resurrect the Haymarket, for it to be named the Orton Theatre.  He deserves no less.


Oh, and the other rant is concerning a certain local religious centre which seems increasingly more concerned with hosting conferences than it does with supporting the homeless.  Nuff said…

Kirk out


Filed under drama, plays, politics

3 responses to “Orton Ornot?

  1. Graham Price

    Ah, but it’s even worse, as you should know. There’s no definite article, it’s just ‘Curve’ – and I agree – it’s horrible. I have only been there a couple of times: not to see plays but for – you guessed it! – conferences.

    The old Haymarket Theatre (which never actually got the chance to be old, as it only opened in 1973 and was closed only twenty or so years later) was one of the most perfect auditoriums I’ve ever sat in: perfect sightless wherever you happened to be, so truly egalitarian. And for a while they did some great stuff – the first (and most memorable) production of Hedda Gabler I’ve ever seen, Peter Bowles in The Entertainer, Bernard Hill and Julie Walters in Macbeth, Daniel Massey in A Doll’s House. Problem was, audiences didn’t go for it, os the place was rarely full. The studio theatre was even better – I remember great productions of Brecht’s Baal and Drums In The Night, Ford’s The Broken Heart and a stunning revival of The Bells with an actor called David Gant giving possibly the best performance I’ve ever seen on any stage. Great days…

    As for naming the theatre after Orton…well, yes, I agree. But Leicester is still a very conservative city, with a large Muslim population who might object to the idea of a theatre named after a promiscuous homosexual (albeit one who was virulently pro-Arab). I believe the Haymarket did have an ‘Orton Suite’ once upon a time, though.

  2. Graham Price

    sightless = sightlines!

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