The Radio 2 Arts Show

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20110805

Penny Smith meets playwright Mark Ravenhill, who discusses his new translation of Bertolt Brecht's play The Mother.

Bobbie Pryor previews the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and Alex Heminsley previews the Edinburgh Book Festival.

Plus we feature cast and crew of the Donmar Warehouse's production of Anna Christie, Eugene O'Neill's play about a prostitute struggling to turn her life around, and find out what really happens in rehearsals as a production moves from page to stage.

Penny Smith talks to Mark Ravenhill about his new translation of a Bertolt Brecht play.

20110902

Penny Smith meets actress Tracy-Ann Oberman.

Tracy-Ann will join Seán Gleeson in Headlong's touring production of Mike Bartlett's acclaimed Earthquakes in London - a fast and furious metropolitan crash of people, scenes and decades as three sisters attempt to hold things together in a world changing under their feet.

Plus Michael Billington reviews the most current plays and shows from the West End and around the UK.

And we have the inaugural performance of Murray Lachlan Young's specially written poem on the latest news from the world of the arts as he takes his seat as The Radio 2 Arts Show's Poet in Residence.

20110909

Penny Smith talks to the author of the Horrid Henry series; Francesca Simon.

Francesca is one of the UK's top-selling children's authors and was the 5th most borrowed in 2010.

She discusses the 20th original storybook; Horrid Henry and the Zombie Vampire.

She also meets Edward Gardner who's conducting the Last Night of The Proms.

The world famous Last Night of the Proms rounds off two months of classical music with a spectacular celebration at London's Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 10th September.

Edward Gardner leads the festivities for the first time, conducting the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus, with starring roles for pianist Lang Lang, who performs in both Hyde Park and the Royal Albert Hall, and soprano Susan Bullock.

Ahead of Sunday's 10th anniversary of the co-ordinated terrorist attacks in the United States on September 11th 2001, artist Hugh Mendes describes how he has documented in paint the aftermath of 9/11 over a ten year period.

He's also working on a special memorial piece featuring the names of all 3000 people who died that day, written out in pencil.

Plus Estelle Lovatt has the latest from the world of art, and Tess Morris reviews this week's film releases.

Penny meets Horrid Henry author Francesca Simon.

20110923

Penny Smith celebrates the 25th anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera with Sierra Boggess who plays Christine, and Laurence Connor who is directing the anniversary concert in London's Royal Albert Hall.

This fully staged production of "Phantom of the Opera at the Albert Hall" will star Ramin Karimloo as 'The Phantom' and Sierra Boggess as Christine.

They will be joined by Barry James as 'Monsieur Firmin', Gareth Snook as 'Monsieur André', Liz Robertson as 'Madame Giry' and Wynne Evans as 'Piangi' - together with a cast and orchestra of over 200 and some special guest appearances.

Plus, Nick Duncalf reviews this week's film releases, and Sue Steward has the latest from the world of photography.

Penny Smith celebrates the 25th anniversary of The Phantom of the Opera.

20111216

Penny meets more guests from the world of the arts in her final show sitting in for Claudia, and the last Radio 2 Arts Show of 2011.

Renowned British baritone Sir Thomas Allen discusses celebrating his 40th anniversary with The Royal Opera next month.

He has sung over 50 roles at Covent Garden and next month he returns once more to sing what has now become his signatory role, Don Alfonso in Mozart's Cosi fan tutte.

Northern Broadsides artistic director Barrie Rutter talks about directing Love's Labour's Lost at the New Vic Theatre, Newcastle-under-Lyme.

Barrie is one of the country's most respected theatre directors.

His work includes directing Lenny Henry in Othello and the highly acclaimed production of Blake Morrison's We are Three Sisters.

Plus Radio 2 Arts Show Poet In Residence Murray Lachlan Young performs a specially written seasonal arts poem, and James Kleinmann reviews this week's films, including Sherlock Holmes: A Game Of Shadows, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.

Penny meets renowned baritone Sir Thomas Allen in her final show sitting in for Claudia.

Live From Edinburgh With Penny Smith And Sarah Millican20110812

Live from Edinburgh, The Radio 2 Arts Show aims to capture all the excitement and buzz from arguably Europe's most significant cultural event, the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

Presented by Penny Smith and Sarah Millican, we'll be hearing from performers from comedy, theatre, music and dance including:

Award-winning veteran of the Edinburgh Festival and king-of-the-one-liners comedian Tim Vine, who returns to the Fringe to point his machine-pun at the audience in his unpredictable chat show.

Acclaimed actor Julian Sands, who trades in Hollywood for the Pleasance Courtyard to perform in a show celebrating the life of playwright Harold Pinter, directed by Academy Award-nominated actor John Malkovich.

Celebrated performance poet John Hegley, who will perform a specially-written poem about Edinburgh.

Rock the Ballet, who discuss their explosive fusion of classical ballet and contemporary dance all set to a soundtrack that includes Coldplay and Prince.

World Champion beatboxer Shlomo, who using only his voice will attempt to create a series of unique musical collaborations with acts performing at this year's festival.

Tasmanian comedienne Hannah Gadsby, who performs her award-winning trademark deadpan delivery in two observational Fringe shows.

And Edinburgh Fringe Festival critic, Radio 2's Bobbie Pryor has her rough guide to the whole event as she accomplishes the challenge of "sampling the Edinburgh Festival in 24 hours.".

Penny Meets Actor Simon Shepherd20111202

Penny meets actress and singer Frances Ruffelle and actor Harry Hepple, both of whom are starring in the Menier Chocolate Factory's production of Pippin, a coming-of-age story with music and lyrics by Stephen Schwartz.

Harry Hepple will be playing Pippin, and Frances Ruffelle, best known for creating the role of Eponine in Les Misérables for the RSC and in the West End - for which she received the Tony Award, Theatre World Award and Outer Critics Circle Award when she recreated the role on Broadway, will be playing Fastrada.

Actor Simon Shepherd discusses his role in Coram Boy at the Bristol Old Vic.

Set in South West England in the 18th century, Coram Boy is about the power of human kindness to transform people's lives.

With Michelle Williams' show-stopping performance in My Week With Marilyn hitting cinema screens last week, the world's going Marilyn Monroe-mad as 2012 marks the 50th anniversary of the star's death.

Author Andrew Hansford tells us about his book Dressing Marilyn which focuses on Marilyn's style - and her relationship with her favourite designer and friend William Travilla, the man who designed the iconic pink cocktail dress she sang Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend.

Plus Michael Billington reviews the latest theatrical productions and Nick Duncalf critiques this week's film releases, including Happy Feet 2.

Penny meets actor Simon Shepherd and actress and singer Frances Ruffelle.

Penny Meets Actress Geraldine James20111125

Geraldine's film and TV credits include The Jewel in the Crown, Band of Gold, Little Britain, Calendar Girls and Sherlock Holmes.

She's playing a "new Tory" prime minister in Mike Bartlett's new play 13 at the National Theatre.

Ramin Karimloo who played the Phantom in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Love Never Dies and in the 25th Anniversary Concert of Phantom of The Opera at The Royal Albert Hall discusses his debut album and talks about taking on the lead role of Jean Valjean in Cameron Mackintosh's West End production of Les Miserables.

World renowned paper artist Su Blackwell tells us about designing the set for The Snow Queen at the Rose Theatre in Kingston, Surrey.

Plus Charles Gant reviews this week's film releases and The Radio 2 Arts Show Poet In Residence Murray Lachlan Young has another topical poem about the arts specially written for the show.

Penny meets the actress Geraldine James and The Phantom - Ramin Karimloo.

Penny Meets Actresses Tamsin Greig And Doon Mackichan20110930

Penny Smith meets actresses Tamsin Greig and Doon Mackichan who are starring in Jumpy at London's Royal Court Theatre.

The play centres on Hilary - a mother, a wife, and fifty, who once protested at Greenham.

Now her protests tend to focus on persuading her teenage daughter to go out fully clothed.

Tamsin plays Hilary and Doon plays Frances, Hilary's best friend.

Sculptress Eleanor Cardozo, renowned for the finesse and precision of her bronze figurative sculpture, talks to Penny about her craft.

Eleanor's work can be found in private collections throughout the world.

Classically trained in sculpture and portraiture in London and Florence, her pieces adorn the walls and halls of politicians, celebrities, corporate directors, military academies and the aristocracy throughout Europe and Asia.

Dancer turned author Deborah Bull discusses her book The Everyday Dancer.

Deborah is an Ex-Principal Dancer at the Royal Ballet and she is now Creative Director of the Royal Opera House.

The book is about the realities of a career in dance.

Part memoir, it opens with a dancer's first steps onto the stage at a very young age and ends with the final curtain call and retirement.

Plus Peter Bradshaw reviews this week's film releases, and ahead of World Poetry Day next Thursday, our book critic Claire Armitstead reviews poetry anthologies.

Penny Smith meets actresses Tamsin Greig and Doon Mackichan.

Penny Meets Celebrated Conductor John Wilson20111104

World renowned conductor and arranger John Wilson tells Penny about his new album in which he leads an all-star cast of singers and his eponymous orchestra, comprised of some of the UK's finest musicians, on a recording of some of the best-loved songs from Hollywood's Golden Age.

Most of the scores have been lovingly and painstakingly reconstructed by John, as MGM destroyed the originals in 1969.

This is the first time the songs, including "Singin' in the Rain", "Steppin' Out with My Baby", "The Trolley Song", and title track "That's Entertainment", have been recorded in their intended orchestration since the films' original soundtrack recordings.

Penny also meets painter and printmaker Eileen Cooper - the first woman to be appointed an Officer of the Royal Academy since its inception in 1768.

Actor Warren Clarke, perhaps best known for his long-running portrayal of the grumpy BBC TV detective Andy Dalziel in Dalziel and Pascoe tells us about his return to the stage for the first time in over a decade to play Winston Churchill in Three Days In May.

Plus Nick Duncalf reviews this week's most signficant film releases and our theatre critic Michael Billington reviews the latest stage productions.

Penny meets celebrated conductor John Wilson, and actor Warren Clarke.

Penny Meets Celebrated Pop Artist Sir Peter Blake20111028

Penny meets celebrated British pop artist Sir Peter Blake best known for his design of the sleeve for the Beatles' album Sgt.

Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band.

Sir Peter discusses his latest exhibition Ghosts of Gone Birds, along with curator Ceri Levy.

Acclaimed international director Deborah Warner discusses staging a new production of Tchaikovsky's Eugene Onegin alongside leading British tenor Toby Spence who is returning to the ENO as Lensky.

Associate director Selma Bjornsdottir and actor James McArdle tell us about the RSC's latest family show 'The Heart of Robin Hood.' The whole production will be very physical, with ropes, slides, water and a gigantic tree in the centre of the stage.

The Radio 2 Arts Show Poet In Residence Murray Lachlan Young performs another topical poem he's specially written for this show.

And ahead of Halloween, Alex Heminsley reviews a selection of the ghost stories which are hitting the bookshelves.

Penny meets celebrated British pop artist Sir Peter Blake.

Penny Meets Comedian, Actor And Musician Harry Shearer20111007

Penny meets the author Jane Fallon.

Jane is the multi-award-winning producer behind such TV shows as This Life, and Teachers.

Her previous novels, Getting Rid of Matthew, I Got You Back and Foursome were all top ten bestsellers.

She discusses her fourth novel, The Ugly Sister, in which she explores the relationship between two sisters and asks whether beauty is a curse or a blessing? And what happens when your sister is better looking than you?

American comedian, actor, writer, musician, director and voice of Mr Burns in The Simpsons Harry Shearer, and his wife jazz chaunteuse Judith Owen tell us about their live shows at which she sings and Harry plays the double bass.

Poet Russell Lee Hawkins talks about how nearly 300 years after they were written, but not completed, he's achieved what academics and Coleridge fans have struggled with over the centuries; he has imagined endings for two of Coleridge's poems: Kubla Kahn and The Dark Ladie.

Plus Michael Billington reviews the latest plays from across the UK, and Estelle Lovatt discusses art.

Penny meets comedian and musician Harry Shearer, and best selling author Jane Fallon.

Penny Meets Lead Singer Of The Waterboys Mike Scott20110916

Penny Smith meets stage fight director Kate Waters, otherwise known as Kombat Kate joins Penny for a masterclass in warrior choreography.

Kate works frequently for the National Theatre, including on Frankenstein with Jonny Lee Miller and Benedict Cumberbatch, and Hamlet with Rory Kinnear, as well as in the West End and in regional theatres across the UK.

She's reportedly a dab hand with a sword and dagger and can put anyone to shame in a fist fight.

Author A.N Wilson discusses his new book The Elizabethans.

The Elizabethan Age was a time of exceptional creativity, with playwrights and authors such as Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe and Thomas Middleton rising to prominence.

Lead singer of The Waterboys Mike Scott tells us about his new album "An Appointment with Mr Yeats" which features some of the poems of the legendary poet WB Yeats.

Plus, book critic Alex Heminsley discusses books which have been adapted into films, and Xan Brooks reviews this week's movie releases, including the new Sarah Jessica Parker film I Don't Know How She Does It.

Penny Smith meets lead singer of The Waterboys Mike Scott and fight director Kate Waters.

Penny Meets Leading Choreographer Matthew Bourne20111209

who discusses his Nutcracker!, which returns to Sadler's Wells this Christmas to celebrate the production's 20th Anniversary with a limited seven week run, as well as touring throughout the UK.

Matthew and Penny are also joined by Liam Mower who was London's first 'Billy Elliot' and the youngest person ever to win an Olivier Award, and stars in Nutcracker!

Author Mark Haywood tells us about his new book Queen: On Camera, Off Guard which is a collection of behind-the-scenes photography, stories and insider insight into one of the greatest bands in the world.

Mark is an established collector of music and popular culture memorabilia, and has managed to amass a large collection of images of Queen.

Theatre legend Peter Polycarpou talks about his one night only concert in London in which he celebrates the songs of his life.

Peter has had an incredible career: a member of the original company in Les Miserables, creating the role of John in Miss Saigon, Ali Hakim in Oklahoma! with Hugh Jackman, Daniel in Imagine This, Phil in Love Story, The Phantom in The Phantom of the Opera and Chris Theodopolopodous in TV's Birds of a Feather.

Most recently he has been appearing as the Beadle in the Chichester Festival Theatre Production of Sweeny Todd alongside Michael Ball and Imelda Staunton, which is due to transfer to the West End in 2012.

Plus Alex Heminsley reviews books and Sue Steward has the latest from the world of photography.

Penny meets leading choreographer Matthew Bourne.

Penny Meets Steve Lazarides Who Brought Banksy To Fame20111014

Penny meets prize-winning artist Haroon Mirza.

Using a range of objects and elements including used furniture, and outdated electric appliances, Haroon creates complex audio installations which investigate the moment where noise becomes music for his new show in London.

Gallerist Steve Lazarides who made cult artist Banksy into a household name is opening a mammoth exhibition in The Old Vic Tunnels called 'The Minotaur'.

Artists have been invited to take their inspiration from the ancient Greek legend, The Minotaur and create their individually stunning labyrinthine installations.

Last year was Lazarides' first show in The Old Vic Tunnels, 'Hell's Half Acre' which had over 12,000 attendees over 7 days.

Author William Nicholson discusses his new novel The Golden Hour; a Sussex-set tale of unrequited love, midlife crises, petty bureaucracy and troublesome rabbits.

In a varied career William's written five other novels and two trilogies of fantasy novels.

He's also written and adapted five plays for the theatre and worked on the screenplay for over a dozen films, for which he has been Oscar nominated twice for Shadowlands and Gladiator.

Plus Charles Gant reviews this week's film releases, and critic Baylen Leonard has a round-up of exhibitions, plays and artistic events to see in the autumn and winter.

Penny meets gallerist Steve Lazarides - Banksy's former agent.

Penny Meets Writer Graham Linehan20111021

Penny Smith talks to author Gyles Brandreth about his love of Oscar Wilde in what would have been his birthday week.

In Gyles's latest novel; Oscar Wilde and the Vatican Murders, Oscar Wilde's powers as a detective are put to the test in his most compelling case so far.

Father Ted and The IT Crowd creator Graham Linehan, and actor James Fleet, tell us about bringing classic film comedy The Ladykillers to the stage.

The 1955 film, one of the most famous releases from Ealing Studios, starred Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers.

The theatre version will feature The Thick Of It's Peter Capaldi, comedian Ben Miller and James Fleet, who played Hugo in The Vicar of Dibley.

It opens at the Liverpool Playhouse in November before moving to the West End.

The story follows a group of criminals who rent rooms in the house of an unsuspecting old lady.

Curator Lesley Millar and renowned textiles artist Michael Brennand Wood tell us about their passion for lace as the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery hosts Lost In Lace - a new contemporary craft exhibition exploring the relationship between lace and space through site-specific installations.

Plus Xan Brooks reviews this week's film releases and Sue Steward has the latest from the world of photography.

Penny Smith talks to writer Graham Linehan, actor James Fleet and author Gyles Brandreth.

Penny Smith Meets Actors Sinead Cusack And Ciaran Hinds.20111118

Penny Smith meets Sinead Cusack and Ciaran Hinds who are leading the cast in the first ever co-production between the national theatres of Ireland and Great Britain.

Juno and the Paycock is a devastating portrait of wasted potential in a Dublin torn apart by the chaos of the Irish War of Independence in 1922.

World renowned dancer and choreographer Gillian Lynne discusses her memoirs; A Dancer In Wartime which tells the story of her journey from the Blitz to Sadler's Wells.

Penny meets Dan Llywelyn Hall who worked as Artist in Residence on the set of the forthcoming feature film Resistance which stars Michael Sheen and Andrea Risebrough and is in cinemas next week.

He tells us about that and about his own exhibition of paintings.

Plus Tess Morris reviews this week's film releases and Estelle Lovatt has the latest from the art world.

Penny meets actors Ciaran Hinds and Sinead Cusack.

Penny Smith Meets Actor-writer-director Steven Berkoff20110729

who talks about his new production of

Sophocles' greatest Greek tragedy, Oedipus.

He adapted and directs the piece and will play Creon for a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

James Kleinmann reviews this week's film releases, and our theatre critic Michael Billington reviews the latest plays.

And we take a look at the new production of Michael Frayn's Alarms and Excursions, soon to open at the Theatre Royal in Brighton.

Actor-writer-director Steven Berkoff tells Penny Smith about his production of Oedipus.

Penny Smith Meets Actress Gemma Jones20110715

Penny Smith meets acclaimed dance star Carlos Acosta who discusses his show Premieres Plus: The Heart of Carlos which features new works and collaborations with major UK and international dance stars and musicians, celebrating Carlos's dance vision.

This staging is devised and produced by Carlos Acosta and combines his classical technique with some of the most celebrated contemporary works of recent years.

Actress Gemma Jones talks about the Woody Allen film You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger in which she stars alongside Sir Anthony Hopkins.

Acclaimed art writer and broadcaster Andrew Graham-Dixon discusses his new book Caravaggio: A Life Sacred and Profane, which he wrote after spending a decade piecing together scraps of evidence about the 16th-century Italian artist, who lived the darkest and most dangerous life of any of the great painters.

We speak to the people behind the 18th International Gilbert and Sullivan Festival in Derbyshire.

Sarah Frater reviews the latest dance events, and Brian Sibley reviews the final instalment of the Harry Potter series of films, Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

Plus we take a look at the Port Eliot Festival which is described as 'a celebration of literature with the craic of a music festival'.

Set in St Germans, Cornwall the event encourages writers, poets and journalists to perform material they would not be given the opportunity to present at orthodox literary festivals.

Penny Smith meets actress Gemma Jones, and acclaimed dance star Carlos Acosta.

Penny Smith Meets Actress Tara Fitzgerald20110826

Penny Smith meets the photographer Terry O'Neill.

Key chronicler of 1960s London, Terry discusses his new London exhibition of photographs, which include previously unseen images of The Rolling Stones, Jean Shrimpton, Britt Ekland and Peter Sellers, Goldie Hawn, Ursula Andress and Frank Sinatra.

Actress Tara Fitzgerald talks about her role in Arthur Miller's Olivier Award winning play Broken Glass, in which she co-stars with Anthony Sher.

Peter Bradshaw reviews this week's film releases, including the much anticipated adaptation of David Nicholls' best-selling novel One Day.

Judith Mackrell has the latest from the world of dance.

Next month at London's Victoria and Albert Museum around 100 crafted curiosities ranging from a life-sized crochet bear to a six-necked guitar and extreme cake decorations go on show.

The Power of Making celebrates traditional ways of making things and new innovation too - like a prosthetic glass nose made by glass-maker Matt Durran.

Matt, along with Daniel Charney, the exhibition curator tell us about the show.

And as the Dulwich Picture Gallery celebrates its 200th year, we take a look at its bicentenary exhibition 'Masterpiece a Month'.

With works from Constable to Hockney to look forward to in the coming months, the gallery is presently home to a self portrait by Van Gogh.

Penny Smith meets actress Tara Fitzgerald and photographer Terry O'Neill.

Penny Smith Meets Actress Tessa Peake-jones20110708

Penny Smith meets actors Gray O'Brien and Tessa Peake Jones who discuss the new play Park Avenue Cat - a comedy focussing on the problems that arise if someone refuses to tell their therapist everything, especially if they're part of a love triangle.

Bruce Joel Rubin, who won the Oscar for writing the original screenplay for Ghost talks about Ghost the Musical.

Bruce has adapted it for the stage and he discusses the whole journey of Ghost from it being an idea, to a film, to bringing it to the London stage.

Novelist Jemma Forte discusses her book From London with Love.

As part of our Craft of Art series, where we aim to find out more about unusual crafts, potter Keith Harrison tells us about using his craft, along with music and electricity, to replicate a scene from Werner Herzog's 1982 film Fitzcarraldo.

We get a glimpse inside the extraordinary world of the Moulin Rouge and bohemian Paris of the 1890s in a new exhibition of artwork featuring Toulouse-Lautrec's muse, the marmalade-haired dancer Jane Avril.

Plus Xan Brooks reviews this week's films, and Alex Heminsley has her pick of the best summer reads.

Penny Smith meets actors Gray O'Brien and Tessa Peake Jones.

Penny Smith Meets Artistic Director Edward Hall20110819

Penny Smith meets author Daisy Waugh who's spent 14 years researching the life of the world's greatest film star; Rudolph Valentino.

Last Dance With Valentino is based on the real life mystery of Valentino's secret love and reported deathbed declarations.

Edward Hall, who is artistic director of London's Hampstead Theatre, and associate director at the National Theatre directs No Naughty Bits which stars his wife; Issy Van Randwyck.

Ed and Issy discuss the play and the state of British Theatre.

Poet Roger McGough tells us about his reworking of Moliere's classic comedy Tartuffe, plus he perfoms one of his poems for us.

Sue Steward reviews the latest photography exhibitions, and Nick Duncalf reviews this week's film releases, including Daniel Craig's latest; Cowboys and Aliens.

We discuss the benefits of workers consuming art in their lunch hour with Andrew Nairne; Executive Director of Arts at the Arts Council, and director James Williams whose London play Don't Walk About With Nothing On is being staged at the Bridewell Theatre, with the audience invited to "bring your lunch, rustle your packaging, laugh out loud and escape the dramas of the office this lunchtime."

And as The Glyndebourne Festival 2011 draws to a close a next weekend after a summer of events, we look ahead to the finale of the festival which was founded in 1934 and aims to present opera of the highest quality, commission new work and reach new audiences.

Penny Smith meets theatre director Edward Hall and his wife; actress Issy Van Randwyck.

Penny Smith Meets Composer Howard Blake20110701

Penny Smith meets celebrated British composer Howard Blake, famous for writing 'The Snowman' including the well-known 'Walking in the Air'.

Howard will be working on a further 10 years of The Snowman stage show, making it the longest running Christmas show in the history of British theatre, and he has a new CD out at the end of June of works for String Quartet, including a new version of 'Walking in the Air' for string quartet, from 'The Snowman' Suite.

Actor Phil Daniels talks about playing corrupt jailer Mr Lockit in The Beggar's Opera at The Regent's Park Open Air Theatre in London.

Actress and singer Janie Dee, winner of two Oliver Awards discusses her own cabaret show.

It include a range of vocal styles embracing jazz, pop and ballads, Broadway and musical theatre.

With carefully selected classics by such iconic singers and songwriters as Rodgers and Hammerstein, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Joni Mitchell, George and Ira Gershwin and some comedy and satire from Spike Milligan, Alan Ayckbourn and Kit Hesketh Harvey amongst many others.

Director Joe Sumsion and playwright Kevin Dyer tell us about the UK's largest outdoor walkabout theatre event which this Summer celebrates its 25th anniversary with a story of medieval magic and myth as theatre company The Dukes stage Merlin and the Legend of King Arthur, a new play specially commissioned to mark the Lancaster theatre's 25 years of outdoor productions.

The play takes place in the 54 acres of Williamson Park in the city of Lancaster.

We report on a Midlands-wide series of exhibitions that celebrate the Black Country and Birmingham as the birthplace of heavy metal.

Plus Michael Billington reviews the latest plays, and Sue Steward reviews photography.

Penny Smith meets celebrated British composer Howard Blake.

Penny Smith Talks To American Author David Baldacci20110722

Penny Smith talks to best-selling American author David Baldacci about his new book The Sixth Man.

Musician Nitin Sawhney and conductor Charles Hazlewood discuss The Human Planet Prom at London's Royal Albert Hall, part of the 2011 Proms season.

The Human Planet Prom is inspired by the landmark BBC One show and accompanying BBC Radio 3 series, Music Planet.

The Prom features music from the series by Nitin Sawhney performed by the BBC Concert Orchestra under Charles Hazlewood, as well as music and musicians from Greenland, Mongolia, Papua New Guinea, the Sakha Republic and Zambia, brought to London for this event.

Artist Tracey Moberly discusses her new book.

She's saved every single text message she has ever received since 1999.

Text Me Up! is extensively illustrated featuring many of the artworks that Tracey has produced and exhibited over the last few years in relation to her work with texts.

Sahr Ngaujah discusses his starring role in Fela! at London's Sadlers Wells.

Fela! is the Tony Award-winning show about the life of the legendary Afrobeat star, Fela Kuti.

Sahr originated the role of Fela Kuti Off-Broadway and transferred with the show to Broadway, where he was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Actor in a Musical.

During the show's run at the National Theatre he was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actor in a Musical, and recently performed the role in Lagos, the home of Fela Kuti.

Nick Duncalf reviews this week's films and Estelle Lovatt discusses art.

And we take a look at the newly opened Museum of Liverpool.

The galleries will spotlight the city's incredible roll call of writers, performers, musicians and artists, as well as the dramatic social change that's taken place over the past 200 years.

Penny Smith talks to best-selling American author David Baldacci.