The Noël Coward Foundation
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  • York Theatre
  • Antaeus
  • Scholarship
  • AGE Exch.
  • TACT
  • Arts in Educ.
  • Goodspeed

Recent Awards

Caring for Life – awarded funds to support their drama therapy projects - Read more...

The Michael Grandage Company – awarded funds towards a study guide, educational workshops and subsidised tickets for young people and first time theatregoers for PRIVATES ON PARADE at the Noel Coward Theatre. Read more...

Live Music Now – support given for a series of concerts in 2013 for the residents of Denville Hall, the actors’ residential home. Read more...

The Rose Theatre, Kingston – awarded funds towards an exhibition of Coward material from the Sheridan Morley collection held at Kingston University. The exhibition at the theatre will accompany their upcoming production of THE VORTEX.

The Theatrical Guild – charity to support theatre staff awarded funds towards reprinting a booklet about their work and history which was originally researched and produced with help from the NCF. Read more...

National Student Drama Festival – awarded funds to support performance workshops and an exhibition of Coward photographs at the Festival in Spring 2013 which coincides with the 40th anniversary of Coward’s death.


Past Awards

The Noël Coward Award to Jennifer Sheehan Web

On May 27, 2010, at the National Arts Club in New York City, Donald Smith presented to an invited audience, eleven performers competing for the Noël Coward Cabaret Award. Each contestant sang two songs written by Coward, which presented the special challenge of capturing the sophistication in his lyrics as well as doing justice to his music. The audience included Noël Coward Foundation Trustees, Barry Day, Geoffrey Johnson, and Alan Pally. The performers were judged by a panel comprised of cabaret writer and critic, Elizabeth Ahlfors, television producer, Alyce Finell, composer and arranger, Mark Hummel, cabaret performer, Andrea Marcovicci, singer and pianist, Steve Ross, actress, Marian Seldes, producer, Frank Skillern and radio and television host, Midge Woolsey.

University of Southampton - Pledge towards the purchase of the Broadlands Archives which includes material on the film 'In Which We Serve.' Web

National Student Drama Festival - Support for their 2010 festival. Web

Regents Park Open Air Theatre -Grant for School's Access Scheme which aims to introduce young people to Shakespeare.

Lost Musicals - General support grant.

LAMDA - 'Comedy with Coward' masterclass and 'Introduction to Noel Coward' musicalcomponent.

Mabel Mercer Foundation - Grant to fund Coward Cabaret Award for 3 years Web

York Theatre - Grant to fund CowardMusical
Prize awarded to someone who writes book, music and lyrics.

Antaeus - Second year of funding for the project 'The Young Idea.'

Mousetrap Theatre Projects - Web
Mousetrap Theatre Projects is an independent charity dedicated to creating opportunities for young people with limited resources, opportunities, or support to engage with the best of London’s theatre. At the heart of our work is the desire to open doors to young people who would otherwise consider the world of theatre closed to them.

Mercury Musical Developments - Web
From its inception in 1992, the Mercury Workshop was the only writer-based organisation in Britain dedicated to the development and presentation of new musical theatre.

St Ann’s Warehouse (USA) - Web
Support from the Foundation to St Ann's Warehouse in New York, recent home to the US tour of Brief Encounter.

Goodspeed Musicals (USA) -
Web
The Noel Coward Foundation Symposium: Creating Next To Normal (free & open to general public) January 16 2010 4:00 p.m. Goodspeed Opera House. Featuring Tom Kitt, winner of two Tony Awards for Best Original Musical and Best Orchestrations, director Michael Greif (Next to Normal, Rent, Grey Gardens), and producer David Stone (Wicked, Next To Normal, and others). The symposium will be moderated by Broadway producer Greg Schaffert (Burn The Floor, All Shook Up) See Awards... Prequel... Broadway.com Theday.com

Palm Beach Dramaworks (USA) - Web
Support for the Master Playwright Series that examine the life, work and contributions of the world's great playwrights. In May and June 2010 Noël Coward is the subject of the series. The Master Playwright Series was developed in 2007 as part of Dramaworks' educational initiative. Every season three playwrights are examined, with two segments devoted to each playwright. The first segment is an overview of the playwright's life and work, and a presentation of scenes from that playwright's works. The second segment is a staged reading of one of that playwright's important plays. In addition to the readings, the audience will be invited to discuss the work and themes. Young theatre artists participate as directorial assistants. The students work side by side with a professional director to research and prepare each of the presentations. Web

   
  Jennifer Sheehan

 

Barry Day, Jennifer Sheehan &
the late Donald Smith
   
  Broadlands Archive
   
  Cabaret Convention
   
  Mousetrap

"Triple-Threat" Douglas J. Cohen Receives Coward Prize Dec. 16 By Adam Hetrick 16 Dec 2009

Douglas J. Cohen

Theatre writer Douglas J. Cohen is presented with the York Theatre Company's 2009 Noël Coward Prize in Manhattan Dec. 16.

Cohen, who penned the musical The Gig, is the recipient of the prize that recognizes the work of a "triple threat" theatre writer akin to Coward: one who authors book, lyrics and music for a new musical.

The York Theater Company, which is endorsed by the Noël Coward Foundation, administers the award that is presented as part of the 7:30 PM evening which celebrates the birthday of Noël Coward. A concert of Coward's music will also take place.

The adjudicating panel for the Noël Coward Prize included Nancy Ford, John Kander, Richard Maltby, Mel Marvin, Brian Murray, Susan H. Schulman and Tony. Playbill.com

The Young IdeaThe Antaeus Theatre

“The Young Idea: The Next Generation Celebrates Noël Coward!”
Supported by a grant from the Noël Coward Foundation, and guided by The Antaeus Company’s Artistic Director, Jeanie Hackett, the Antaeus Academy embarked on The Young Idea Project with the particular goals of training young actors in the technical skills required to play Coward’s characters, fostering love of Coward in young audiences, and providing mentors for young directors interested in The Master.
Artistic Associate Cindy Marie Jenkins (cindy@antaeus.org) was the coordinator for all events and activities leading up to and including their first weekend of presentations and workshops, The Young Idea: The Next Generation Celebrates Noël Coward!, which took place at the Deaf West Theatre in North Hollywood on June 26-28, 2009.
The weekend included six workshops: a presentation on Coward the Man; a remarkable Coward the Crooner coaching session; an exhibit on Coward the Spy; movie screenings of Our Man in Havana, Brief Encounter, and John Knowles’s video, I Like America; and a roundtable discussion on Coward the Playwright.

Deaf WestIntensives
In preparation for the readings, Antaeus matched the plays with a Coward Mentor (Jonathan Lynn, Barry Creyton, and Art Manke) and an upcoming, young director (Douglas Clayton, Jessica Bard, and Kari Hayter). Each play had one day of intensive rehearsal/exploration led by the mentor, then two additional rehearsals with the young director and actors before the staged reading. Each intensive covered general technique and skills (such as dialect), then focused on its specific Coward play.
Mentor Jonathan Lynn commented on the process of the intensive for Hay Fever: “We sat around the table and worked meticulously through the play, stopping to consider what Coward might have intended with every moment and looking to find the comic rather than the dramatic choice.” When asked, “Do you have any advice for the actors in this reading before they embark on their own?”, Lynn replied, “The same advice I have for all actors in a comedy: no characters should ever know they are funny.”

Events of the Coward Weekend

Coward the Man and I Like AmericaThe Young Idea
Coward the Man was the first event on Friday. About 30 people attended this half-hour talk by Kathy Williams, which combined biographical notes on Coward from Ken Starrett, along with quotes and visuals - images of the “Ten Chimneys/Star Quality” panels, provided by Sean Malone, plus some additional pictures of Coward, his family, and friends.
Immediately following the talk was the first west-coast screening of I Like America, a 22-minute compilation of Coward’s “home movies” of the Americas. This video, created by John Knowles, was first seen in the U.S. last December when Ken Starrett presented it at the The Paley Center for Media in New York. I Like America was so well received that a second screening was added on Sunday for members of the Antaeus Company and audience who couldn't attend Friday's screening. All attendees received handouts: their own copies of the special I Like America edition of Home Chat and the brochure from the Museum of Performance & Design with gorgeous photos and descriptions of the exhibit, Star Quality: The World of Noël Coward.

Readings of the Plays

For the readings of Hay Fever, Peace In Our Time, and Easy Virtue, each cast was comprised primarily of Antaeus Academy actors, aged 20-30. Nine Antaeus Company members played “parental” roles, while 31 Academy and Young Guest Actors played the “child” leading roles and supporting cast.
Quoting Cindy Marie Jenkins on the young-adult thread that connects the three plays: “Each play in The Young Idea Project hinges on one specific conflict: how can young people’s ideals evolve and prosper when they are caught in the very world which suffocates their parents?” We see the results of late-adolescent children acting out against the wishes and behaviors of their parents, or in the case of Peace in Our Time, deceiving them to save all their lives. All the readings were extremely well-presented.
Artistic Director Jeanie Hackett expressed the hope that Antaeus will be able to expand The Young Idea Project, and take one of the three plays to the next levels: a workshop production, followed by a full production in the next season.Hay Fever

Hay Fever
Director Douglas Clayton evoked a beautiful and hilarious reading of this Coward favorite. In a post-show conversation, young Californian actors talked about being taught about the play’s central metaphor, which represents sanity, stability, and civilized behavior: the importance of tea.
Director: Douglas Clayton • Mentor: Jonathan Lynn
Cast: Antaeus Company: Christina Pickles [Judith Bliss], Robert Pine [David Bliss]. Antaeus Academy and Guests: Brooke Bastinelli [Jackie Coryton], Etta Divine [Clara], Gabe Diani [Simon Bliss], Drew Doyle [Richard Greatham], Whitney Hudson [Stage Directions], Annie Melchor [Sorel Bliss], Adam Meyer [Sandy Tyrell] & Adeye Sahran [Myra].

Peace in Our Time
In what was very likely a U.S. Premiere, Peace in Our Time was quite moving, and, atypical of Coward’s plays, delved sharply into political matters. A number of older audience members were heard commenting on how you would not think this was a “Coward play” if you didn’t read his name in the programme. Although grim and gritty, Peace in Our Time presents the triumph of solidarity, courage, humor, and determination over propaganda, brutality, terrorist tactics, and military force.
When asked about her decision to place the central character, Fred Shattock, at the edge of the stage, young director Jessica Bard commented on the importance of him visually grounding the action. Characters come and go (mainly center stage), but Fred’s staunch presence in even his most vulnerable moments proclaims: “London Pride!”
In 1947 when Peace in Our Time was first produced in London, it opened to a dismal reception — English audiences were war weary, and critics and audiences alike had a mindset of Coward as the icon of the 1920-30’s, old fashioned, and dated. Alternatively, many just wanted to see his early, funny works.
More than half a century later, it may seem unlikely for a young American cast to have a deep understanding of the play’s themes; however, the young actors’ informed reading is grounded in the fact that they have grown up during a seemingly unending war, cursed in the last eight years with the banal and stupefying evil of torture condoned by our own government. Based on conversations at post-show events, this play resonated deeply for young audience members, many of whom had never heard of Coward before the weekend and were quite vague about World War II.
Amazing performances by all concerned.
Director: Jessica Bard • Mentor: Barry Creyton
Cast: Antaeus Company: Josh Clark [Fred Shattock], Lily Knight [Nora Shattock], Melinda Peterson [Mrs. Massiter], Phil Proctor [Mr. Grainger], Sally Smythe [Mrs. Grainger]; Antaeus Academy & Guests: Josh Ansley [ensemble], Eric Bloom [Alfie Blake], Kendra Chell [Janet Braid], Brett Colbeth [Stevie], Etta Devine [Alma Broughton], Danielle Doyen [Gladys Mott], Drew Doyle [Doctor Venning], Karianne Flaathen [Lily Blake], Jeff Gardner [George Bourne], Alexandra Goodman [Doris Shattock], Aaron Lyons [Richter], Kellie Matteson [Lyia Vivian], Mark Moore [Chorley Bannister], John O’Brien [Billy Grainger], Maria Pallas [Phyllis Mere]. Whitney Hudson [Stage Directions].

Easy VirtueEast Virtue
A challenging play to sell to a modern audience - especially one that had potentially seen the movie based on this play and might be anticipating broad comedy with an American Girl as the lead. A melodrama with some comedic turns, Easy Virtue was in several ways the most ambitious of the three readings, as evidenced by its use of more scenery and staging.
From young director, Kari Hayter: “As a director, I had to decide what was the most effective way to tell this story. It was my goal to guide the actors through the text in an academic setting AND a theatrical setting in order to have the most effective understanding of the play in such a short amount of time.” Dramaturgy Intern Monet Hurst-Mendoza prepared a 34-page “Dramaturgical Actor Packet” to assist Hayter in the educational process for the young actors. Congratulations to director, actors, and staff for a commendable job!
Director: Kari Hayter • Mentor: Art Manke
Cast: Rhonda Aldrich [Mrs. Whittaker], Ned Schmidtke [Colonel Whittaker], Brett Colbeth [Furber, H. Petworth], Joe Delafield [John], Wyatt Fenner [Bobby Coleman], Karianne Flaathen [Marion], Amy Hendrickson [Nina Vansittart], Raleigh Holmes [Hilda], Aaron Lyons [Charles Burleigh], John O’Brien [Philip Borden], Jason Thomas [Henry Furley], Jocelyn Towne [Larita Whittaker], Rebekah Tripp [Sarah Hurst], and Nicol Zanzarella –Giacalone [ensemble/Stage Directions].

Workshops and Roundtables

Acting a Noël Coward Song
This gem of a workshop, taught by Harry Groener and Nike Doukas (with additional coaching by Jeanie Hackett), educated not only the participants but also the very fortunate audience. One particularly bright moment: Harry teaching two Academy actors a bit for “Mad Dogs and Englishmen” — head bent back, face to the sky, to add a very dog-like bark at just the right moment. Urged on by the insistent crowd, Harry brought the audience to its knees with his performance of “Mrs. Worthington” as a curtain call at the end of the workshop. A post-script was a sing-along - introduced as “how the Coward Society ends all its gatherings” - of "I'll See You Again".

Coward the Spy: Screening of Our Man in Havana and an exhibit on Coward’s work in World War II. The preamble to Peace in Our Time, this informal workshop presented both serious and humorous background information on Coward’s work in films and during WWII.

Coward on Film: Screening: Brief Encounter and I Like America.

Coward the Playwright: Roundtable discussion led by Jeanie Hackett.
Antaeus actors came together with directors and audience members for an exchange of ideas on Coward's themes, world-view, and acting style. Among the topics covered: participants described best (and worst) productions they had seen of Coward’s plays, and what made them good or bad. Several young audience members mentioned that they had never heard of Coward before the weekend, came to the theatre because of a friend (or a friend of a friend in the cast), and were amazed and captivated by what they experience.

On the World Wide Web
In addition to all that happened at the Deaf West Theatre, Antaeus has published news of The Young Idea Project on the web: you may find it in cyberspace from Facebook to Twitter to YouTube. For many more details, including interviews with the mentors, blogs, photos, and videos, see:
http://antaeuscompany.wordpress.com/
http://www.facebook.com/AntaeusTheater
One particularly hilarious, unplanned improvisational work resulted when Academy actor Abby Wilde was not cast for any of the three readings. She developed her own idea, which you may view on Antaeus’s Facebook page or directly on YouTube as a multi-part series, including Abby’s Wilde Idea: Part 1. Noël Coward The Man, plus Antaeus Strikes Back.

Drama Award for Noël Coward Scholar at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama

The first Noël Coward Scholar at The Guildhall School of Music and Drama Gwilym Lee - wins Drama Gold Medal. Gwilym, aged 24, is from Birmingham. He took the lead role of Vindice in the Guildhall School's production of The Revenger's Tragedy earlier this year. He appears in the BBC TV series Mutual Friends, a comedy drama starring Keeley Hawes, Alexander Armstrong and Marc Warren, and will also shortly be seen in ITV's Lewis. The Guildhall School's Drama Gold Medal is awarded at the end of the three-year BA Acting course. Many of its recipients have gone on to high-profile careers. Previous winners include Marcia Warren, Lesley Sharp, Stephen Campbell Moore, Jodie Whittaker and Michelle Dockery.

AGE Exchange SummerWorkshop (Web...)

Presentation of Scenes from "This Happy Breed" by Noel Coward

11 August – 15 August 2008

This was work in progress for a unique intergenerational theatre and film project funded by The Noel Coward Foundation.

For a week in August we held a five day workshop at Age Exchange with a group of young actors aged from 13 – 17 and with some older students to act as mentors. David Savill, Director of Arts and Education at Age Exchange, and Malcolm Jones, Arts and Education Officer at Age Exchange led the week’s workshops and rehearsal. The young actors looked at the context of the play using historical material and interviewed some of the older volunteers at Age Exchange who had memories of life at the time that Coward’s play takes place. We also held an acting workshop with actor and director Ben Thomas and a musical workshop on Coward’s song London Pride with Musical Director Michael Chance.

The week began by familiarising the students with the play, who Noel Coward was and the historical context of the work. We looked at film of Noel Coward being interviewed, film of First World War testimonies and music from the period.

Later we selected short extracts from the play, which we felt allowed the students to explore the character and relationships of the main participants. These we worked on throughout the week building the background of the people in the story.

A very useful session was spent with Lil Murrell, Kitty Finch, Joan Pearce and Eileen O’Sullivan, Age Exchange volunteers, who shared details of how they and their parents lived their lives in the 1930s. This supplied a realistic backdrop to the students’ interpretation of the chosen scenes.

Finally on Friday 15 August we presented the selection of scenes in performance to an invited audience including Robert Gardiner, Trustee of the Noel Coward Foundation, and actor/director Ben Thomas.

The students worked incredibly hard and enjoyed the week from the feedback we had. Most importantly they had discovered a writer they had never experienced before in Noel Coward and enjoyed it. They had also explored a period of history both politically and socially they knew little about and between the experience of the play and the Age Exchange volunteers had come out with a greater understanding of people’s lives, including their own families, in the 1930s.
The students were:
Soraya Thompson, Paloma Thompson, Lauren Davies, Megan McGery, Alice Roche, Stephanie McAuliffe, Sharni Cowcher, Lee Cooper, Laurence Jarlett, Elly Savill. Mentors: Emma Beard, Jess Amos-Davidson, Olivia Ponting

This report was received from Robert Ashby of The Actors' Charitable Trust (TACT)

The Foundation's grant of £5,000 enabled us to give Christmas presents to all of the 180 children currently in TACT's care. Presents were generally given as £30 vouchers for Waterstone's, W H Smith, the Early Learning Centre, and other tailored stores (including on-line). Some older teenagers received a cheque, and some children with profound disabilities received gifts that they would specifically enjoy. Each family received a note of Sir Noël's involvement with TACT (as the Actors' Orphanage), which has brought an array of comment and interest. Delightfully, it has prompted some of the children who have musical or theatrical talent to discover more about our former President and his work. We remain in touch with most of the surviving orphans from Silverlands, and there was a tremendous response of "how apt" among those whom I've told of your generous grant. Life at the orphanage was transformed when Coward became President, with Christmas a time to remember.

Thank you so much for your support.

Robert Ashby

Noël Coward at Langley Hall where the Actors' Orphanage was situated in 1934 when he visited as President.


Noël Coward at Langley Hall

 

Arts-in-Education Program

Arts in Education

On December 16th the National Arts Club celebrated Coward's birthday with a unique presentation. Conceived and directed by Mr. Jeffrey Stocker, head of the American Readers Theatre Program (seen above with the High school students), the audience was given a delicious treat called The Noël Coward Song Book. This evening was the final result of an intensive 10-week Arts-in-Education Program, funded by a grant from the Noël Coward Foundation. It was the first such grant in the United States.

High school students in Milford, Pennsylvania auditioned and twelve were selected to be a part of this program. Working with Mr. Stocker and their music teacher, the students, who knew nothing of Coward, became immersed in learning about his life and music. They performed many of Coward's popular songs, either as solos or with carefully done choral arrangements. The excitement of their discovery was a wonderful experience for the audience who gave them a standing ovation. The students and their teacher were clearly thrilled by the enthusiastic response to what for everyone was a memorable evening.

Goodspeed Festival Noel Coward Foundation Symposium
'Off the iPod and Into the Theatre: Creating Musicals for a New Generation'

Saturday, January 17, 2009 - The Noel Coward Foundation Symposium: Off the iPod and Into the Theatre: Creating Musicals for a New Generation. Moderated by Broadway producer Jeffrey Seller (In the Heights, Avenue Q, Rent) with panelists Hunter Bell (Obie Award, GLAAD Media, and Drama League nominee), director Gordon Greenberg who has directed such Goodspeed audience favorites as Pirates of Penzance and Happy Days, and bookwriter/lyricist Marcy Heisler (Junie B. Jones).

Goodspeed Opera House Festival Dinner 5:30 p.m., Gelston Houseincluded an informative discussion about musical theatre legend Noel Coward.

Festival participants joined the performers at the Opera House for Band Geeks!, an uproarious and exuberant celebration of youth, individuality and spirit with book by Tommy Newman and Gordon Greenberg, and music and lyrics by Gaby Alter, Mark Allen, and Tommy Newman.

On Sunday festival goers enjoyed the compelling production of Factory Girls. This musical inspired by the real life story of the factory girls of Lowell Mass. celebrates the revolutionary spirit of the American worker, with music, lyrics, and book by Sean Mahoney, and Creighton Irons. The finale of the festival weekend was the Meet the Writers Reception where guests had the chance to gain insight into the inspirations and processes of the writers while enjoying a generous sampling of culinary delights from the Gelston House kitchen. The Festival of New Artists was produced by Goodspeed as part of its Max Showalter Center for Education in Musical Theatre. Created in 2002, the Showalter Center inspires and nurtures musical theatre artists and students by providing a unique and comprehensive range of training and educational programs to serve both the national and local academic communities.

The Fourth Annual Musical Theatre Institute with its expanded programs and wonderful new talents highlights our commitment to developing new musicals,” said Michael P. Price, Executive Director of Goodspeed Musicals. “It’s exciting for us to see the Goodspeed campus bustling in wintertime. During the Festival the community comes alive as host to the best and brightest new writers and students as they work together to create the future of musical theatre,” he added.

The 2009 Festival of New Artists is part of the Goodspeed Musical Theatre Institute which is generously sponsored by The Noel Coward Foundation and The Adolph & Ruth Schnurmacher Foundation.