Visit London Blog » anne boleyn Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 22 May 2015 17:44:12 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Thursday Theatre News: Matilda, Miranda Raison, Paul Daniels and Romola Garai Thu, 19 May 2011 17:00:08 +0000

Firstly: we knew it was coming… we just didn’t know when! But now, it’s finally been announced: the London transfer of the hit musical Matilda is coming to the Cambridge Theatre on 22 November (previews from 18 October).

That means the record-breaking Chicago (14 years and counting!) will be booted out of the venue, but I’ve got every confidence they’ll find another home for their fishnets and jazz-hands soon.

Matilda, meanwhile, will retain much of its cast from the award-winning Stratford run, including London stage regular Bertie Carvel as child-hating headmistress Miss Trunchbull, and Paul Kaye and Josie Walker as Matilda’s parents Mr and Mrs Wormwood. Tickets go on sale this weekend for performances up until 12 February – get booking now!

I’ve got great casting news for you this week: so many great names are stepping up to put on a show in London, it’s a really exciting time.

  • Miranda Raison is returning to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre in July. She’ll play the lead in Anne Boleyn a new play by Howard Brenton  which sold out last year. (I saw the show, and thoroughly recommend it.)
  • EastEnder Phil Daniels is joining the cast of The Beggar’s Opera at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre. If you’re not a soap fan, you might know Daniels from the film Quadrophenia, TV series Holding On and Rock & Chips, and as the famous voice in Blur’s 1994 hit Parklife.
  • Romola Garai, who’s been all over our TV screens in period adaptations recently (Emma, The Crimson Petal and The White) is to appear at the Royal Court this summer. She’ll star alongside Alexandra Gilbreath and Nicholas Burns (Nathan Barley to you and me) in The Village Bike, a darkly comic, provocative new play by Penelope Skinner.
  • It’s a case of “Here I Go Again” for West End regular, Sally Ann Triplett. She’s heading back to Mamma Mia! after a two-year absence to play leading lady Donna Sheridan.
  • Finally, star of stage and screen Michael Feast is joining the cast of Pygmalion on Monday, replacing Simon Ward, who’s contracted a viral infection. Feast joins Rupert Everett, Kara Tointon and Diana Rigg in the hotly-anticipated new production of George Bernard Shaw’s classic.

Let us know in the comments what you’ve seen and enjoyed in London’s theatres this week…

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An Evening Tour of the Tower of London Fri, 29 Apr 2011 14:00:13 +0000

After working opposite the Tower of London for several years, I finally made the trip across the river to one of London’s most iconic venues for an evening tour.

Before visiting, I hadn’t realised just how important the Tower was to London. It once housed the Royal Mint (where Isaac Newton was warden), the Royal Observatory (which later moved to Greenwich) and the Royal Menagerie (later to become London Zoo).

With 1,000 years of history within the Tower walls, it would be easy to spend a whole day exploring. We only had an hour but that was still enough time to see a few points of interest including the spot where Anne Boleyn was beheaded (and her grave), the beautiful White Tower and the Chapel Royal of St Peter ad Vincula.

One of the most exciting aspects of the tour was getting to meet a Yeoman of the Guard (better known as a beefeater) who showed us around. Beefeaters have always played an important role at the Tower – once upon a time they transported the severed heads of executed prisoners from Tower Hill to London Bridge; here the heads were displayed as a warning of the fate awaiting any would-be traitors!

Happily, beefeaters have a less grisly job today, with tasks including taking care of the Tower’s resident ravens, leading tours and locking up the Tower at night. There are also a few perks involved in being a Yeoman of the Guard. Once upon a time, they were paid in rations including meat (one of the origins of the name beefeater) and now, the Yeomen of the Guard and their families are allowed to live on site, at the Tower of London.

As it was an evening tour, we were lucky enough to witness the locking of the Tower, known as the Ceremony of the Keys. During the ceremony, the Chief Yeoman Warder secures the Tower accompanied by a military guard, ending with the Last Post.

The ceremony takes place at 9.53pm exactly, finishing at 10pm. There’s only one time in history when there was a delay in closing the Tower – during an air raid in the Second World War, when it ran six minutes late.

Despite gate after gate being securely locked, we weren’t stuck inside for the night. After the ceremony, small doors in the gates were opened for visitors to exit. We wondered if there’s a ceremony for the locking of these doors once everyone had left?

Jenny was a guest of Global Hotel Alliance (GHA) bringing together 12 independent hotel brands. The Tower of London private evening tour is available as part of the GHA Discovery Programme, a loyalty programme offering amazing local experiences to members.

Tower of London. Book tickets

Find out more about applying to watch the Ceremony of the Keys

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Thursday Theatre News: Hairspray, Kath and Kim and Shakespeare’s Globe Thu, 28 Jan 2010 18:21:31 +0000 I’ll start with today’s sad news: Hairspray is closing. Just two and a half years into its big-haired run, the award-winning musical will close on 28 March. (And I *still* haven’t seen it! Gutted.)

On a brighter note: if you were a fan of I’d Do Anything on the BBC, I’ve got news about two of the show’s stars: firstly, gorgeous winner Lee Mead is heading over to the dark (green) side, to play Fiyero in the ever-brilliant Wicked from 10 May.

And secondly, it turns out Daniel Boys‘ run as Princeton in Avenue Q at the Gielgud is “only for now”. He’ll be replaced by Paul Spicer in March. London’s naughtiest musical is also moving to a new home as well as getting a new cast: it’ll be shocking you into fits of sniggers at Wyndham’s Theatre from 19 March.

Other exiting cast news comes from Down Under: Jane Turner, who you’ll know from Kath And Kim is coming to the West End in May. Holding The Man opens at the Trafalgar Studios on 4 May (previews from 23 April), and is about being young and gay in 70s Australia.

Finally, bringing a touch of sunshine to my January, Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre (one of my favouritest things in the whole of London) have announced their 2010 season. There’s nothing like planning ahead to warm summery evenings in the outdoors with great theatre in a wonderful setting to lift a grey sky. And what treats do they have lined up for us? Well, under the header “Kings and Rogues”, there’s lots of royalty! Macbeth, Henry VIII and Henry IV parts 1 and 2, and an exciting sounding new play called Anne Boleyn by Howard Brenton. Plus a revival of the Globe’s acclaimed 2008 production of The Merry Wives of Windsor (which I’m looking forward to as I missed it that year) and another newbie, Bedlam, by Nell Leyshon. (Finally, a female on the list of Globe playwrights!)

I’m off to dream about standing in the fading sunshine with a £5 groundling ticket… Roll on summer!

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