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The Stage
The Stage cover.jpg
Type Weekly newspaper
Format Tabloid
Owner The Stage Newspaper Limited
Publisher The Stage Newspaper Limited
Editor Brian Attwood
Founded 1 February 1880
Language English
Headquarters Stage House, 47 Bermondsey Street, London
Circulation 34,000[1]
ISSN 0038-9099
Official website

The Stage is a weekly British newspaper founded in 1880, available nationally and published on Thursdays. Covering all areas of the entertainment industry but focused primarily on theatre, it contains news, reviews, opinion, features and other items of interest, mainly to those who work within the industry.

It is an important publication for actors throughout the country, as it contains regular advertisements for available jobs and provides an opportunity for various acts to promote themselves to agents and directors.


Early history

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, when the first weekly edition was produced. At the same time, the name was shortened to The Stage and the publication numbering restarted at number 1.

The publication was a joint venture between founding Editor Charles Lionel Carson (then aged 33) and Business Manager Maurice Comerford (26), and operated from offices opposite the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.

The Stage entered a crowded market, with many other theatre titles (including The Era) in circulation. Undercutting their rivals, Carson and Comerford dropped the price of the paper to one penny and was soon the only remaining title in its field.

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, Catherine Comerford, is founder Maurice's great-granddaughter.

Television Today

In 1959 The Stage was relaunched as The Stage and Television Today, incorporating a pull-out supplement dedicated to broadcasting news and features. Derek Hoddinott, the main paper's TV editor, became Editor of the new supplement.

The name and supplement remained until 1995, when broadcasting coverage was re-incorporated into the main paper. The name on the masthead reverted to The Stage, although the words "Incorporating Television Today" remained under the logo on the front page and above the leader column. In 2000, the reference to Television Today was dropped from the front page and replaced by the URL of the paper's website. The reference above the leader was similarly replaced from January 2002.

in 2006, the paper introduced a blog concentrating on television, named TV Today.[2]

Recent history

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 the Guinness Book of Records as the world's oldest weekly newspaper columnist.[3]. The column continued until shortly before his death in 2005[4].

On 27 April 2006, the paper relaunched with smaller pages, staple binding and full colour on heavier paper stock, with a new masthead and design by David Hillman of Pentagram.

Careers starting via The Stage

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]

Kenneth Branagh landed the lead role in The Billy Trilogy, in the BBC Play for Today series, after it was advertised in the paper. Ricky Tomlinson responded to an ad for United Kingdom, another Play for Today, in 1981.[5]

Writer and broadcaster Sandi Toksvig landed her first television job playing the part of Ethel in No. 73 after answering an ad in The Stage. She played the part for five years.

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.[6]

Ned Sherrin, producer of the satirical BBC television programme That Was The Week That Was, hired David Frost as its presenter after reading a favourable review of Frost's London comedy cabaret show in The Stage.[7]

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[8], Scooch in 1998 and 5ive in 1997.

Lee Mead (the actor who won BBC One talent show Any Dream Will Do to gain the lead role in Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat) got his first professional job, working on a cruise ship, through a recruitment ad in the paper.[9]

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.[10]


  • 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–present Brian Attwood


  • "The moment you have arrived in the profession is when you realise you don't have to read The Stage" - Noel Coward (attributed)
  • "The stage would not be the stage without The Stage" - Laurence Olivier (The Stage, 25 October 1976)
  • "There's no yellow brick road that's going to lead you straight to Oz, but there are a few things you can do and one of them is look in the back of The Stage." - Ben Shephard[10]


  1. ^ The Stage / Advice
  2. ^ "Welcome (back) to TV Today". The Stage. Retrieved 2006-05-24.  
  3. ^ "The Stage celebrates Blumenfeld's Guinness World Record". The Stage. 2004-05-21. Retrieved 2006-10-12.  
  4. ^ Brian Attwood (2005-04-18). "Simon Blumenfeld: Farewell to an old friend". The Stage. Retrieved 2006-10-12.  
  5. ^ a b c Katie Phillips (08 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. ^ "Classic TV - Swap Shop". BBC. Retrieved 2006-05-25.  
  7. ^ Ned Sherrin, Loose Ends, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, May 6, 2006.
  8. ^ The Spice Girls; Cripps, Rebecca; & Peachey, Mal (1997). Real Life: Real Spice The Official Story. London: Zone Publishers. ISBN 0-233-99299-5
  9. ^ Lee Mead interview, Midweek, broadcast on BBC Radio 4, July 11, 2007.
  10. ^ a b Mary Comerford, "Stepping up", The Stage, July 12, 2007.

External links



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