January 30th, 2012

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Hymn of the Week: O Church, arise

The Risen Christ, Holy Trinity Church, Stratford upon Avon
Photographer: Rakshita Patel

I am a sucker for a martial hymn, replete with military metaphors. Also, having just seen Birdsong and War Horse, war and military imagery is right at the forefront of my mind. So I am giving you "O Church, arise", which reads like a very traditional hymn but is completely modern. It was the last hymn at the morning service at All Souls yesterday.

O Church, arise

O Church, arise, and put your armour on;
hear the call of Christ our Captain.
For now the weak can say that they are strong
in the strength that God has given.
With shield of faith and belt of truth,
we’ll stand against the devil’s lies;
an army bold, whose battle cry is love,
reaching out to those in darkness.

Our call to war, to love the captive soul
but to rage against the captor;
and with the sword that makes the wounded whole,
we will fight with faith and valour.
When faced with trials on every side
we know the outcome is secure,
and Christ will have the prize for which He died,
an inheritance of nations.

Come see the cross, where love and mercy meet,
as the Son of God is stricken;
then see His foes lie crushed beneath His feet,
for the Conqueror has risen!
And as the stone is rolled away,
and Christ emerges from the grave,
this victory march continues till the day
every eye and heart shall see Him.

So Spirit, come, put strength in every stride,
give grace for every hurdle,
that we may run with faith to win the prize
of a servant good and faithful.
As saints of old still line the way,
retelling triumphs of His grace,
we hear their calls and hunger for the day
when with Christ we stand in glory.

Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2005 Thankyou Music
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Whatsonstage.com: Voting closes midnight tomorrow (31 January)

Photo credit: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/culturepicturegalleries/8343655/Frankenstein-in-pictures.html

Voting will close at midnight tomorrow for these awards so if you have not yet voted, NOW is the time to vote!

The number of votes cast in the 2012 Whatsonstage.com Awards has already passed the 55,000 mark (a new record). The results will be announced during the Winners' Concert at the West End's Prince of Wales Theatre on 19 February.

The Awards from the UK's leading theatre website are the only UK event for the theatre industry voted for purely by the ticket-buying public. More than 11,000 theatregoers cast nominations for their favourite performances and productions across 26 different award categories.

I am backing:

Best Actor - Benedict Cumberbatch, Frankenstein, National Theatre (obviously! - no Jonny Lee Miller this time so this shows the audience's favourite!)

Best Supporting Actress - Catherine Tate, Season's Greetings, National Theatre (although I also wanted to back Jemima Roper, One Man, Two Guvnors, National Theatre)

Best Supporting Actor - Oliver Chris, One Man, Two Guvnors, National Theatre (although I also wanted to back Mark Gatiss, Season's Greetings, National Theatre)

Best Ensemble Performance - London Road, National Theatre - COME ON LONDON ROAD!

Best Solo Performance - Ruby Wax, Losing It, Duchess

Best New Play - Collaborators by John Hodge, National Theatre

Best New Comedy - One Man, Two Guvnors by Richard Bean, National Theatre - COME ON ONE MAN, TWO GUVS!

Best New Musical - London Road, National Theatre - COME ON LONDON ROAD!

Best Shakespearian Production - The Tempest, Theatre Royal Haymarket - COME ON RALPH FIENNES!

Best Director - Nicholas Hytner - One Man, Two Guvnors, National Theatre - COME ON NICK HYTNER!

Best Set Designer - Jon Bausor - Lord of the Flies, Open Air (better than Frankenstein!)

Best Choreographer - Kate Prince - Some Like It Hip Hop, Peacock

London Newcomer of the Year - Kara Tointon - Pygmalion, Garrick

Best Off-West End Production - The Riots, Tricycle

Best West End Show - War Horse, New London

Theatre Event of the Year - The National's opening of its Paintframe as a one-off performance space (although I also wanted to back Danny Boyle's return to the stage with Frankenstein and his alternate casting of Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller in the leads)

So those are my choices but what are yours? Vote here - this is your last chance!