James Backway on His ‘Ripped’ Co-Stars in London’s War Horse & More

first_img View Comments The National Theatre staging of War Horse has become a West End mainstay and continues at the New London Theatre after nabbing five Tony Awards on Broadway in 2011. The lead role of the equine-friendly Albert Narracott, which has been played over the years by Luke Treadaway and Game of Thrones heartthrob Kit Harington, just to name a few, has now fallen to newcomer James Backway. The charming young star chatted with Broadway.com one recent afternoon about following in some very illustrious footsteps and his teenage past as a singing von Trapp.There have been some notable Alberts before you. How does it feel to follow in their footsteps?The track record of the Alberts is very high indeed! I’m a great admirer of people like Luke [Treadaway] and Kit [Harington] and it’s great to be a part of that. But what’s most important is to have the sense of belonging to a really terrific show. This is a great opportunity and just to have got the part is huge!How did the role come your way?I’d been a huge fan of the show. I had seen it two or three times, and kept going to auditions and getting asked back and eventually managed to go all the way. I started rehearsals in January, opened in March and am signed to the production for a year.That’s a nice contract for someone recently out of drama school!Especially in this profession, consistency is something that’s really tough for most actors. I have a feeling that I will look back on this as a rare time when I was able to say that I was working in the same place on a great show in the middle of London for an entire year.When you first saw War Horse, did you have an inkling that you would one day be in it?Not at all; I was a complete punter. I had read the book and was a massive fan, and when War Horse first opened there was so much hype around the puppets and how they made them move, so the word was out that you had to witness the spectacle for yourself. I went with my mum and I remember at the time feeling like I was part of something very special just by being in the audience. It was a landmark show and it’s great still to be a part of it nearly 10 years after. We’re giving Cats a run for its money [laughs].How do you personally connect with a play set a century ago, during World War I?The play is so well-written that it doesn’t feel old, and knowing that there are going to be people in the audience who had relatives who would have fought in those wars gives a sense of connection to the people who lived during that time. That was a simpler time but in many ways also a harder time. It’s important to remember that it’s because of what happened and what those people did then that we can live the way we do now.Do you have an interest in horses?Interestingly, I’d never ridden a horse before doing this job but I’ve always been a huge admirer of them. When I was growing up in Croydon in south London, there was a field next to my nan where there were horses and I remember thinking how great they looked. In the off chance that I ever had the money to buy a horse, I think I would, but there are only a handful of people who can afford to live in London and have a horse in their garden!So you don’t believe in the W.C. Fields dictum that one should never work with children or animals?Children and animals are great, I recommend them! They have a bad reputation and are often misunderstood. I think they need a better PR team.With all respect to the various Alberts, it often seems as if the horse puppeteers in War Horse are the real stars.Totally! I’m in awe of the puppeteers and don’t know how they do it physically or mentally. It’s the ultimate listening exercise for an actor which I don’t think many theater practitioners can teach, which is how you work as a team of three so that if the head makes a slight sniff, than the hind quarters have to register that.It’s a great workout as well.I look at [the actors’] arms and see that they’ve grown about 3 inches wider and have just become so ripped and physically peaked because of working so hard. What’s great, too, is that the way the show wipes away any kind of ego. Everyone is focused on telling that story and supporting the puppeteers.This is your big break since leaving drama school in Liverpool last year but you have, in fact, played the West End before.Yes, when I was 14 I was one of the little von Trapps at the Palladium in The Sound of Music. We got to do the farewell shows for [reality TV star] Connie Fisher and were the last set of kids before Summer [Strallen, Fisher’s successor] came in.What was that experience like?I was lucky because I was 14, so I was the oldest of the kids. I remember our Gretl was absolutely incredible but was only five and seemed completely unaware of just how amazing she was. I don’t think I even have memories from being five!Can we expect you in a major musical again?I don’t think so! That was before my voice dropped, and once that happened it was goodbye to singing. But it’s nice to feel as if I’m part of something big again. I’ve come full circle.last_img read more

Operation Vermont Maple Sweetness 2009′ to thank the troops

first_imgVermont maple syrup producers are each being asked to donate one gallon of syrup in order to send a taste of Vermont springtime to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. For the fifth year, the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association is organizing Operation Vermont Maple Sweetness 2009 which will package the donated syrup into one pint containers and ship them to bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Over 8000 pints of syrup were sent in 2008.The syrup sent last year resulted in numerous heartfelt e-mails from the troops. Thank you for the effort that people in Vermont went through with Operation Vermont Maple Sweetness. Thanks for the reminder of good things from back home. The syrup was on the breakfast line and was a big hit with my friends and me. Thanks for thinking of us and please let the rest of your co-workers know that their actions are appreciated here.Operation Vermont Maple Sweetness 2009 is a real team effort between Vermont maple producers, the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association, the Vermont Maple Foundation, the Vermont Maple Industry Council, Sugar Hill Containers, the Vermont Maple Festival, Vermont Department of Tourism & Marketing, and Vermont Agency of Agriculture. We want to thank the many other individuals and businesses who supported this project last year and are seeking sponsors for this year s project.The deadline for donations of syrup is May 1 in order to have the syrup in the soldiers hands by Memorial Day. Maple syrup producers are encouraged to donate one gallon of their best syrup and take it to the drop-off locations listed below and on www.vermontmaple.org(link is external). The general public may also donate to help defray shipping costs. For more information about sponsorships call Sam Cutting IV at (802) 425-3971 and for syrup donations call Rick Marsh (802) 644-5482. Anyone wishing to may send a donation to: Mary Croft, Treasurer, Vermont Maple Sugar Makers Association, 491 East Barnard Road, S. Royalton, VT, 05068.Drop-off Points for Syrup (deadline is May 1):Addison CountyDakin Farm, FerrisburghRheaume Kitchen & Flooring Center, Inc., 2106 Rte 7, South MiddleburyCaledonia CountyMaple Grove, St JohnsburyChittenden CountyDepot Home & Garden, Essex JunctionPeter Purinton, HuntingtonFranklin CountyVMSMA’s Booth at the Vermont Maple Festival – St. AlbansCDL/Maple Pro – St. AlbansLeader Evaporator – SwantonLapierre SwantonDominion & Grimm – FairfaxLamoille CountyVermont Maple Outlet – JeffersonvilleUVM Extension Office – Morrisville (Open Monday – Friday 8am – 4pm)Butternut Mountain Farm Store, JohnsonOrange CountyRoger Palmer – Randolph CenterCentral Supply-Randolph 802-728-5332Orleans CountyCouture’s Maple Shop – WestfieldFarm Yard Store – DerbyDesmarias Equipment – OrleansRutland CountyC.H. Grimm RutlandRichard Green–PoultneyWashington CountyAgency of Agriculture– MontpelierGoodrich Maple Farm CabotMorse Farm–MontpelierWindham CountyFranklin Geist – Saxtons RiverUVM Extension Office – Brattleboro (Open Monday Friday 8am – 4:30pm)Bascom Maple Farms Alstead, NHWindsor County:Gateway Motors, White River JctMary Croft, East BarnardGreen Mountain Sugar House, Ludlowlast_img read more

India’s Rajasthan state government announces 50GW solar goal by 2025

first_img FacebookTwitterLinkedInEmailPrint分享PV Magazine:The state government of Rajasthan has come up with a new draft solar policy. The proposed policy package aims to establish the state as a global hub for solar with 50 GW of installed generation capacity within 5-6 years. It envisages an R&D hub for the deployment of renewable energy technologies and solar-wind hybrid projects, with a focus on improving efficiency and reducing balance-of-system costs.The new policy aims to achieve 25 GW of grid-connected solar projects up to 2021-22 to fulfill the renewable purchase obligation of state electricity distribution companies (discoms) from PV. The state will also endeavor to develop solar projects for sale to parties other than state discoms, and for commercial self-consumption.Rajasthan also proposes setting up decentralized, grid-connected solar projects near 33 kV sub-stations for the sale of power to discoms. The minimum capacity allowed for such projects under the draft policy would be 500 kW and the maximum 3 MW. The projects would be awarded through tariff-based competitive bidding.To promote the development of 500 MW-plus solar parks, the state government will invest up to half of the equity required, including the cost of land, in joint venture companies formed for their development.However, industry insider Gopal Lal Somani says Rajasthan’s ambitious 25 GW, two to three-year target appears out of reach. He said the state policy has gaps on issues such as land acquisition, the huge transmission network required for the influx of solar, the creditworthiness of discoms and permit processing for land use. The new proposals need an investment-friendly environment and cost-economic benefits for developers to take investment decisions, said Somani.More: Rajasthan eyes 50 GW of solar within six years India’s Rajasthan state government announces 50GW solar goal by 2025last_img read more