The Stage

British weekly newspaper and website covering the performing arts industry

The Stage is a British weekly newspaper and website about theatre. It was first printed in 1880. It contains news, reviews, opinion, features, and job adverts, for people who work in theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage
TypeOnline, apps and weekly newspaper
FormatWeb, Tabloid, Media Company, tablet
Owner(s)The Stage Media Company Limited
PublisherThe Stage Media Company Limited
EditorAlistair Smith
Founded1 February 1880; 141 years ago (1880-02-01) (as The Stage Directory – a London and Provincial Theatrical Advertiser)
HeadquartersStage House, 47 Bermondsey Street, London SE1 3XT
Circulation400,000 per month (online); 30,000 per week (print readership)

The first edition of The Stage was published (under the title The Stage Directory – a London and Provincial Theatrical Advertiser) on 1 February 1880 at a cost of 3 old pence for twelve pages. Publication was monthly until 25 March 1881. It was then printed weekly. The name was shortened to The Stage and the publication numbering restarted at number 1.

The Stage competed with other theatre newspapers (including The Era). The price was dropped to one penny and was soon the only remaining theatre newspaper.

The newspaper has remained in family ownership. Upon the death in 1937 of Charles Carson's son Lionel, who had assumed the joint role of managing director and editor, control passed to the Comerford family. The current managing director, Hugh Comerford, is founder Maurice's great-grandson.

The Stage and Television TodayEdit

In 1959 The Stage was changed to The Stage and Television Today. It had a pull-out supplement of TV news and features. Derek Hoddinott, the main paper's TV editor, became editor of the new supplement.

In 1995, TV coverage was put back into the main paper. The name changed back to The Stage.

In 2006, the paper introduced a blog on television, named TV Today.

Recent historyEdit

From 1995, the newspaper has awarded The Stage Awards for Acting Excellence at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

In 2004, 96-year-old contributor Simon Blumenfeld was recognised by Guinness World Records as the world's oldest weekly newspaper columnist.[1] The column continued until shortly before his death in 2005.[2]

In 2010, The Stage Awards were started. They are given each year. They recognise outstanding organisations working in theatre and beyond. They have the following categories: London theatre, regional theatre, producer, school, fringe theatre, theatre building, unsung hero and international.

In August 2013 The Stage started The Stage Castings,[3] an online casting service with a video audition function.

In May 2019, The Stage partnered with the Andrew Lloyd Webber Foundation and UK Theatre to start Get Into Theatre,[4] a website dedicated to theatre careers.

Careers started via The StageEdit

In 1956, writer John Osborne submitted his script for Look Back in Anger in response to an advertisement by the soon-to-be-launched Royal Court Theatre.[5]

Dusty Springfield responded to an advertisement for female singers in 1958.[5]

Harold Pinter gained his first job after responding to an advert in The Stage[6]

In April 1981 the Editorial of The Stage announced the founding of Internationalist Theatre founded by Angelique Rockas with patron Athol Fugard [7][8] implementing "a multi-racial drama policy, with an even mix of performers drawn from different cultural groups", starting with the revival of the London performance of Genet`s The Balcony.[9]

Ricky Tomlinson responded to an ad for United Kingdom, another Play for Today, in 1981.[5]

Television presenter Maggie Philbin won her first major role, as a co-presenter of Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, after answering an advertisement in The Stage.[10]

A number of pop groups have recruited all or some of their members through advertisements placed in the newspaper, most notably the Spice Girls in 1994,[11] Scooch in 1998 and 5ive in 1997.

Lee Mead got his first professional job, working on a cruise ship, through a recruitment ad in the paper.[12]

Television presenter Ben Shephard auditioned for GMTV children's show Diggit following an advert in The Stage. While he did not get the part, he met Andi Peters, who subsequently hired him for the Channel 4 youth strand T4.[13]

Charles Dance landed his first role in a Welsh theatre after seeing an advert in The Stage.[14]

Alexandra Burke stated in an interview her family purchased the paper to find auditions when she was starting out: "My mum used to buy The Stage all the time for auditions for me. That’s how I got to go on [BBC TV talent show] Star for a Night with Jane McDonald."[15]

Olivier Award-winning actor Sharon D Clarke found her first role at Battersea Arts Centre through an audition advert in the paper.[16]

Lisa Scott-Lee revealed pop band Steps were formed through an advert in The Stage.[17]

Sir Michael Caine stated in an interview with Steve Wright on BBC Radio 2 that at the beginning of his career he applied for acting roles he found in The Stage newspaper[18]


  • 1880–1901 Charles Carson
  • 1901–1904 Maurice Comerford
  • 1904–1937 Lionel Carson
  • 1937–1943 Bernard Weller
  • 1943–1952 S.R. Littlewood
  • 1952–1972 Eric Johns
  • 1972–1992 Peter Hepple
  • 1992–1994 Jeremy Jehu
  • 1994–2014 Brian Attwood
  • 2014–2017 Alistair Smith (print) and Paddy Smith (online)
  • 2017-present Alistair Smith

Digital archiveEdit

The paper's full content from 1880 to 2007 is available digitally via subscription.[19]


  1. "The Stage celebrates Blumenfeld's Guinness World Record". The Stage. 21 May 2004. Retrieved 12 October 2006.
  2. Brian Attwood (18 April 2005). "Simon Blumenfeld: Farewell to an old friend". The Stage. Retrieved 12 October 2006.
  4. "Get Into Theatre". Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 Katie Phillips (August 2006). "Good job – what to do once your Edinburgh run is over". The Essential Guide to the Fringe. The Stage. Retrieved 2006-10-12.
  6. " - The Tour of Ireland". Archived from the original on 2020-10-29. Retrieved 2018-10-11.
  7. "Results for 'second show by genet the stage april 1981' | British Newspaper Archive".
  8. "The Stage page Second show by Genet" – via Internet Archive.
  9. "Tailormade Theatre The Stage Review Of The Balcony Ann Morley Priestman Pg 12 23 July 1981" – via Internet Archive.
  10. "Classic TV – Swap Shop". BBC. Retrieved 2006-05-25.
  11. The Spice Girls; Cripps, Rebecca; & Peachey, Mal (1997). Real Life: Real Spice The Official Story. London: Zone Publishers. ISBN 0-233-99299-5
  12. Lee Mead interview, Midweek, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, July 11, 2007.
  13. Mary Comerford, "Stepping up", The Stage, July 12, 2007.
  14. "WHO SAID YOU KNOW NOTHING? - Indy Online". Indy Online. 2018-01-31. Archived from the original on 2018-02-05. Retrieved 2018-02-05.
  15. "Alexandra Burke | Chess London Coliseum | interview". The Stage. 2018-05-02. Retrieved 2018-06-01.
  16. Marlowe, Sam (2018-11-08). "Doctor Who star Sharon D Clarke on racism in the industry". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 2018-11-12.
  17. "The Stage - Theatre news on Instagram: "The Stage is 139 years old today! This is our first cover from 1880. We are the only national newspaper dedicated to the performing arts.…"". Instagram. Retrieved 2019-02-04.
  18. "Steve Wright's Big Guests - Sir Michael Caine - BBC Sounds". Retrieved 2019-06-03.
  19. "Discover Theatre History in The Stage Archive". Retrieved 25 January 2018.

Other websitesEdit