Visit London Blog » Shakespeare http://blog.visitlondon.com Enjoy the very best of London Tue, 30 Sep 2014 14:54:07 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.0 Things To Do Outdoors in London This Summer http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/londons-top-5-outdoor-fun-this-summer/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2014/05/londons-top-5-outdoor-fun-this-summer/#comments Wed, 21 May 2014 09:00:54 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=38674 The South Bank

Enjoy the great outdoors in London this summer with these top five activities.

1. Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre
Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre is a cultural highlight of every London summer. The outdoor, 1,250-seat amphitheatre in London’s beautiful Regent’s Park hosts a varied programme of plays, music and comedy each season including Shakespeare, musicals and newer works. The 2014 season includes a new version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night suitable for all ages from six upwards, The Gershwin’s Porgy and Bess and the return of award-winning production To Kill A Mockingbird. 15 May–13 Sep

Rooftop Film Club

2. Cinema under the stars
Outdoor cinemas have become increasingly popular in London in recent years. From the grande dame of the Film 4 Summer Series at Somerset House to funky newcomers including Rooftop Film Club in Dalston and Peckham and Hot Tub Cinema (yep, you guessed it). There’s also Nomad Cinema, which pops up in parks and squares around London, Luna Cinema, screening films at stately homes in and around London such as Hampton Court Palace and Greenwich Park and the Floating Cinema – located on a canal boat and coming to London’s waterways again this summer.   

Black Sabbath headline British Summer Time festival in Hyde Park

3. Festivals
London is awash with awesome festivals this summer and there’s something for every taste, whether it’s the foodie heaven of Taste of London, one of the many summer music festivals, cultural conglomerations including Southbank’s Festival of Love, and family-friendly outdoor events such as the Mayor’s Thames Festival and the City of London Festival. Can’t decide? Here’s our pick of the Top 5 Summer Festivals

Prudential RideLondon

4. Ride London
London’s world-class festival of all things bike returns for a second year this August. The 2014 Prudential RideLondon will include all of last year’s favourites, of which there are events suitable for everyone from amateur cyclists right up to Wiggins-wannabes. Join the eight-mile Family Ride past some of London’s most iconic attractions or turn up to cheer the pros in the London-Surrey Classic. 9-10 Aug

Thames RIB Experience 5. Ice cream and water play
London has some fantastic lakes and lidos for you to enjoy this summer. Take a look at our list of recommended Lidos and Boating Lakes where you can turn up with your bathers or hire a boat to while away the hours. If you’re after something more adventurous, book yourself a speedboat tour of the Thames on a London RIB, or check out Lee Valley White Water Centre. Want more? Read our guide to action-packed activities for kids in London. Feeling exhausted? Chill out with one of London’s best ice creams!

What’s your top tip for outdoor fun in London this summer? Tell us in the comments below…

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London Theatre News: Blithe Spirit, Shakespeare’s Globe, Mojo, The Bodyguard, Miss Saigon, Urinetown and I Can’t Sing http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/london-theatre-news-blithe-spirit-shakespeares-globe-mojo-the-bodyguard-miss-saigon-urinetown-i-cant-sing/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/12/london-theatre-news-blithe-spirit-shakespeares-globe-mojo-the-bodyguard-miss-saigon-urinetown-i-cant-sing/#comments Wed, 11 Dec 2013 12:54:00 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=36691

Angela Lansbury in Blithe Spirit

If the closest you’ve come to seeing Angela Lansbury live on stage is watching Murder, She Wrote on your iPad during an interval – I’m giving away too much about myself, aren’t I? – I have good news. The esteemed actress is returning to London theatre for the first time in almost 40 years to star in Noël Coward’s Blithe Spirit in 2014. Downton Abbey’s Charles Edwards and Olivier Award winner Janie Dee will star opposite the five-times Tony Award-winning actress when the comedy opens in March.

Globe Theatre’s Summer Season

Speaking of murder, Julius Caesar is one of the Shakespearean offerings to be staged by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre next summer. The 2014 Arms And The Man season, as it is being called, will also include Antony And Cleopatra, The Comedy Of Errors and the return of the venue’s hit 2006 production of Titus Andronicus. New plays by Howard Brenton, David Eldridge, Richard Bean and Simon Armitage will also be included.

Extended Runs

If you were worried about being too late to catch star-laden drama Mojo, Punchdrunk’s immersive The Drowned Man, or Beverley Knight’s stage debut in The Bodyguard, you can breathe a little easier as all of them have extended their runs.

New Star for Miss Saigon

One star-to-be who won’t be breathing easier at the moment, I’d imagine, is American teenager Eva Noblezada who may be a little nervous as she has been cast as Kim in the West End’s new production of Miss Saigon. The high school singer was discovered at a concert in New York and has never worked professionally on the stage before. What a way to make your debut!

Urinetown and I Can’t Sing

In other casting news, former EastEnders star Marc Elliott has joined the cast of the eagerly awaited Urinetown, while West End regular Simon Bailey will play imagined X Factor host Liam O’Deary in the Harry Hill-penned I Can’t Sing.

This is a Guest Post by Official London Theatre, the premier website for London theatre. With the latest news, fantastic features, comprehensive listings & incredible offers it is your one-stop shop for everything about the theatre capital of the world.

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Five Facts About Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/10/five-facts-about-shakespeares-globe-theatre/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2013/10/five-facts-about-shakespeares-globe-theatre/#comments Wed, 09 Oct 2013 16:37:59 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=35661

Shakespeare’s Globe is a faithful reconstruction of the 1599 open-air playhouse where Shakespeare used to work. Audience members can pay just £5 to stand as “groundlings” in the yard in front of the stage. As well as watching plays from April to October, visitors can take a tour of the world-famous theatre all year-round. Here are just a few of the fascinating facts that you’ll

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learn about the theatre on the Globe tour:

1. The Original Globe Theatre Burned Down

The first Globe theatre burned down in 1613 during a performance of Henry VIII, when a theatrical cannon misfired, igniting the thatched roof and wooden beams. Miraculously, no-one died in the blaze.

2. Planets Rocked in 1599

The Globe’s dimensions were dictated by the movement of the planets during the reign of Elizabeth I (1533-1603).

3. Odd Beam Out

The theatre’s wooden frame is made entirely from oak except for one mahogany beam which was donated by a well-meaning but ill-informed patron.

4. Animal Magic

In the 1997 production of Henry V, the actress playing The Queen of France had to deliver a speech with a pigeon on her head.

5. Gory Play Polishes Off Audience

Lucy Bailey’s 2006 production of Titus Andronicus was so gruesome and gory that the Globe reported “a higher level of fainters than we normally would experience”. Once the story hit the press, the play was an immediate sell-out. Famous for being Shakespeare’s bloodiest play, Titus Andronicus features cannibalism, mutilation and more than 12 grizzly murders.

Find out more about the Globe Exhibition and Tour here

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Shakespeare Pops Up in Covent Garden http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/08/shakespeare-pops-up-in-covent-garden/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/08/shakespeare-pops-up-in-covent-garden/#comments Wed, 29 Aug 2012 10:21:23 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=28751

Shoppers in Covent Garden were treated to an impromptu Shakespearean performance yesterday, as a flashmob of Shakespearean characters emerged from the crowd.

Performers introduced themselves (in character) to members of the public, quoted some of the Bard’s most famous lines and sang songs, before disappearing into the crowd again.

It was the first What You Will: Pop-up Shakespeare event, created by actor Mark Rylance as part of the Mayor of London Presents programme and London 2012 Festival.

Fifty actors, aged 17 to 70, are taking part in the event, including deaf and disabled artists. They will play characters including Hamlet, Puck, Cleopatra and Juliet.

Similar performances will be happening across London until Sunday 2 September. Today’s performances will take place in the Exhibition Road area from 12pm to 4pm. Other locations are secret until the day, so keep an eye on the Mayor of London Presents website or follow @molpresents on Twitter to find out where there’ll be.

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What’s On This Weekend in London: 20-22 July 2012 http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/07/whats-on-this-weekend-in-london-20-22-july-2012/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2012/07/whats-on-this-weekend-in-london-20-22-july-2012/#comments Thu, 19 Jul 2012 11:30:11 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=27769

This weekend is the last before the Olympics begin – make sure you soak up all the culture London has to offer before the city goes sport mad.

BT River of Music
The BT River of Music is a huge weekend music festival is a one-off to welcome the world to the Olympic city. Six stages – each hosting music from a different continent – will be set up along the Thames at venues like the Tower of London and Battersea Park. Artists representing every Olympic and Paralmypic nation will perform, including the Scissor Sisters and Noisettes. Tickets are free but you’ve got to book them in advance: at the time of writing, there are still some left for Asia Stage at Battersea Park and Oceania Stage at Old Royal Naval College, and for Africa Stage at London Pleasure Gardens on Sunday only.
21-22 Jul

Blue Peter’s Big Olympic Tour
Catch Blue Peter presenters Helen and Barney this weekend on the kids TV show’s Big Olympic Tour. They’ve been following the Olympic torch on its journey around the UK for special live programmes and events, and will touch down in Central Park in East Ham this Saturday and Sunday. From 10am to 4pm, there’ll be free family activities like Olympic sports, learning about the history of the Games and having a go at being a sports commentator.
21-22 Jul

Shakespeare: Staging the World at The British Museum
The British Museum has teamed up with the Royal Shakespeare Company for this major Shakespeare exhibition which explores the playwright’s London through his plays. It gives a taste of what going to the theatre was like 400 years ago, and how it connected London with the rest of the world as international trade, colonisation and diplomacy increased. The exhibition includes performance and objects from paintings and rare manuscripts to everyday items like maps and coins, all piecing together the world of the famous dramatist and his characters.
Until 25 Nov

Floating Market on Regent’s Canal
From tomorrow, a magnificent floating market will moored in Mile End near the Olympic Park. A collection of narrowboats and barges will be selling everything from books and hats to vintage frocks and handicrafts. If strolling along the official Olympic walking route makes you peckish, you can sample various foodie delights on offer, including sausages from a barge called “Marilyn”, Slovakian delicacies from “Vareska” and a selection of candyfloss, popcorn and other fun-fair based treats from The Zebra Boat.
20 Jul-16 Aug

What will you be doing this weekend? Let us know by commenting below.

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Top 10 London Apps http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/08/top-10-london-apps/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/08/top-10-london-apps/#comments Fri, 05 Aug 2011 12:00:55 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=22231

Going out in London? There’s an app for that, actually there are loads. London apps are like a knowledgeable friend in your pocket, telling you where to eat, get the best deals or even how to get home. Here’s our favourite London apps which will help you find everything from free stuff to Shakespeare’s favourite haunts.

London Tube
With this comprehensive app you’ll never get lost in London again. Indispensable to any traveller, it provides Henry Beck’s classic map of the London Underground. The app offers live updates, a journey planner tool, a directory of Tube lines and stops and can locate the nearest Tube station from your position. (£0.69, iPhone only)

Toptable
A fantastic app for foodies who want an easy way to search for restaurant deals. Easy to navigate, you can find and book great restaurants across London and enjoy thousands of special offers. The app can locate nearby restaurants and features a tip calculator – perfect for those tricky bill splitting/tip calculating moments! (Free, iPhone and Android versions)

Street Museum: Museum of London
A good looking, clever and imaginative app that brings the old together with the new. Using images from the Museum of London’s collections, it the capital’s history from momentous occasions to everyday events. Its focus on central London is a drawback but this is a great use of technology and can only grow. (Free, iPhone and Android versions)

London2Go
This is a great app for those who want to discover and learn more about London. It provides an offline map and a geographically accurate Tube map. You can locate nearby points of interest or you can search by category, such as top places, history and people or geography and transportation. (£1.49, iPhone only)

Time Out London
This is a useful app to help you organise days and nights out in London. It provides up to date information on gigs, events, bars, restaurants, club nights and film releases. The app includes a map showing events near the user’s location and you can search by location and taste. (Free, iPhone and Android versions)

Free London
Want to find out about all things free in London? Then this is the app for you. It provides information on the best free museums, free (or cheap) theatre tickets, cheap eats and accommodation for under £15 a night. Covering a range of London districts, listings can be categorized so that you can easily find what you’re looking for. (£1.49, iPhone only)

Shakespeare’s London
An interesting and informative app that’s an absolute must for Shakespeare fans and anyone interested in the history of London. Well-researched and threaded with great facts, it looks beyond the obvious spots and guides you around the playwright’s favourite haunts and sites of significance in the capital. (£1.99, iPhone only)

24 Hours London
This is an innovative app that lists fun and unusual things to do during every hour of the day in London. With links to contact details, and websites where applicable, this is a neat concept that lists some of London’s best kept secrets. (£1.49, iPhone only)

London on a Plate
Described as a fusion of food and fashion, this stylish app is a guide to London’s food culture. It offers restaurant reviews, tips on the best food shops and markets and provides the home cook with recipes from the capital’s finest chefs. A 10% donation from each app sale is made to the surplus food charity FareShare. (£2.99, iPhone only)

Cycle Hire
This is an accurate and user- friendly app for the Barclays Cycle Hire scheme in London. A clean, easy interface allows you to access your cycle hire account, see bike availability, set reminders as to when you need to return your bike and get a cycling route between two bike hire stations. (Free, iPhone only)

Which London apps are you using? Let us know in the comments below.

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Julius Caesar at The Roundhouse http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/01/julius-caesar-at-the-roundhouse/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2011/01/julius-caesar-at-the-roundhouse/#comments Wed, 19 Jan 2011 10:30:28 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=18737

Royal Shakespeare Company’s new production of Julius Caesar is directed by Lucy Bailey. It’s an explosive rendition of The Bard’s tale of politics and passion.

Full-on violence is introduced from the start – Romulus and Remus are engaged in an aggressively physical fight to the death. Bailey doesn’t shy away from this bold element of the text, it’s similar in style to her production of Macbeth at the Globe. The play certainly thrilled the audience, who seemed to relish in the gore. Fake blood is used in abundance, in fact some audience members near me were splattered in the stuff!

I am sure the use of film and video will cause a stir with some critics. Moving film was projected onto large rectangular blocks  on stage during the show, the vision of designer Bill Dudley (Bailey’s partner). The more frantic crowd sequences are, at times distracting, but on the whole the concept is highly stimulating and gives the stage an added depth and excitement. Julius Caesar is a difficult play to stage, but this production uses the challenges to its advantage.

Julius Caesar continues until 5 February 2011, book tickets here.

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2010 Streatham Festival – Corsage Making with Flaming Nora http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/07/2010-streatham-festival-corsage-making-with-flaming-nora/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/07/2010-streatham-festival-corsage-making-with-flaming-nora/#comments Thu, 08 Jul 2010 10:14:35 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=11668
The 2010 Streatham Festival is in full swing! South London is buzzing with music, comedy, crafts and fun this week. The festival finishes on Sunday, so there’s still plenty of time to join in the fun this weekend.

On Tuesday night, I popped along to a festival event – Flaming Nora’s corsage making class in the Earl Ferrers pub. The class was a roaring success – more and more people arrived and soon the entire pub was full of over-excited sewers rummaging in boxes of fabric and producing amazing floral creations!

Nora is running a second fun workshop for the festival week – making scary sock monsters, this one is for kids over the age of 5.

The Streatham festival runs to the 11th July and there are talks, walks, quizzes, photography and more. (We think Shakespeare in the Rookery looks brilliant!)

Streatham Festival 3 – 11 July 2010. www.streathamfestival.com

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The Comedy of Errors at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/06/the-comedy-of-errors-at-regents-park-open-air-theatre/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/06/the-comedy-of-errors-at-regents-park-open-air-theatre/#comments Wed, 30 Jun 2010 17:54:55 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=11307 Josh Cohen (Dromio), Daniel Llewelyn-Williams (Antipholus) and Christopher Logan (Officer). Photo by Manuel Harlen Sophie Roberts (Luciana) and Daniel Weyman (Antipholus). Photo by Manuel Harlen Daniel Weyman (Antipholus) and Joseph Kloska (Dromio). Photo by Manuel Harlen

It was a fantastic evening for the opening of The Comedy of Errors last night: warm, with barely a breeze, and Regent’s Park’s beautiful Open Air Theatre audience was on fine form.

Shakespeare’s early comedy about two sets of twins and a lot of mistaken identity is the second show in the Open Air Theatre’s season. And I loved it.

Director Philip Franks has transported Epheseus to 1940s Casablanca for this production; the cast sport stylish 40s suits and dresses, with big, glamorous Hollywood-filmstar sunglasses. The Courtesan, played by Anna-Jane Casey, is now a nightclub owner, while the twin servants (both called Dromio) wear fezzes and seem to suffer more than usual in the heat of this foreign-feeling place.

This is a Comedy of Errors with an emphasis on the comedy. It’s not a terribly subtle production (gorilla suits and burlesque dance pieces in particular!), and knows exactly where the humour can be found in both Shakespeare’s text and in additional clever moments of slapstick.

As Antipholis of Syracuse, Daniel Weyman does a fantastic job of building the confusion and bewilderment throughout the play. I also enjoyed the performances of Joseph Kloska and Josh Cohen as the twin servants Dromio. Kloska’s hilarious description of a fat kitchen maid as a map of the world (with obligatory puns on the “Netherlands”) was brilliant, and made me think of just how incredibly timeless some of Shakespeare’s comedy can be.

The incredible attention to detail means you probably don’t spot all the intricate little looks, precise puns, and comedy in the crowd scenes the first time around. This is ensemble theatre at its best: when everyone on stage is working to create a perfect tableau. It all comes together beautifully.

But if you’re a fan of the sillier side of Shakespeare’s early stuff, as well as the snatches of sublime poetry that accompanies it, for example, in the tear-jerkingly happy ending, I would really recommend seeing this show.

The Comedy of Errors plays at Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre until 13 July. Book tickets here

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Thursday Theatre News: Judi Dench, Ben Barnes, Gemma Arterton, Shakespeare and Five Guys Named Moe http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/06/thursday-theatre-news-judi-dench-ben-barnes-gemma-arterton-shakespeare-and-five-guys-named-moe/ http://blog.visitlondon.com/2010/06/thursday-theatre-news-judi-dench-ben-barnes-gemma-arterton-shakespeare-and-five-guys-named-moe/#comments Thu, 24 Jun 2010 17:30:11 +0000 http://blog.visitlondon.com/?p=11054 Lots of starry names for this week’s London theatre update.

In new show news, Five Guys Named Moe returns to London this autumn, opening at the Theatre Royal Stratford East from September. The award-winning jazz musical is heading back to the venue where it first opened 20 years ago!

And the most toe-tingling news for me this week is the RSC’s announcement that they’re heading back to the Roundhouse later in the year. Bringing back memories of the curious Shakespeare marathon that was The Histories, this time the company are presenting a repertoire of eight plays in 10 weeks, including Romeo And Juliet, Antony And Cleopatra, The Winter’s Tale, Julius Caesar, As You Like It and King Lear. RSC Artistic Director Michael Boyd says:

“London audiences will be able to see our ensemble in full flight – 44 actors pushing each other to set the bar of their achievements higher. When they touch down at the Roundhouse in our specially built auditorium in November it will mark a significant highpoint, two years into their journey together.”

Brilliant news. (Read Boyd’s quote in full)

Finally, theatreland giveth and taketh away: the incredible All My Sons has extended to October (hurrah!), but the wonderful Oliver! is closing (boo!) in January 2011. Book now if you don’t want to miss out on seeing this fantastic London musical!

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