Visit London Blog » war horse Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 London Video of the Week: War Horse Arrives at the V&A Fri, 07 Feb 2014 11:00:13 +0000

The original West End horse puppet from the National Theatre‘s award-winning show War Horse has been donated to the V&A by the Handspring Puppet Company, who designed and built the puppet. Watch this film to be wowed by the magnificient, life-sized puppet of beloved horse Joey who was operated on stage by three puppeteers. This puppet made his stage debut at the New London Theatre on 28 March 2009. He performed in more than 1,640 shows.

The puppet can be seen in the V&A’s theatre and performance gallery in a special display which shows how he is operated on stage.

War Horse is currently showing at the New London Theatre.


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London Theatre News: Show Extensions, Award Winners, Back To The Future, Kathleen Turner & Kristin Davis Wed, 05 Feb 2014 10:00:27 +0000 Ghosts

A big well done to everyone who saw a show in London last year, and I include myself in that group. Because of us, the number of London theatregoers hit a record high of 14,587,276 in 2013.

That incredible audience number undoubtedly had much to do with the quality of shows on offer. Many of them have proved so popular that they’ve announced extensions over the last week. So now:

Theatre Awards

Lesley Manville was on hand at the Critics’ Circle Awards to collect the Best Actress Award for her performance in Ghosts. Other winners included performers Rory Kinnear and Lenny Henry, and the production Chimerica, which won three awards.

Speaking of awards, the Olivier Awards with MasterCard has launched its BBC Radio 2 Audience Award. This is the only Olivier Award that you, the theatregoing public, has complete control over. You vote for your favourite long-running show and the one with the most votes wins. If you vote, you go into a prize draw to win a pair of tickets to each of the shows that make the Audience Award shortlist to be revealed on 10 March along with the rest of the Olivier Award nominees. Vote at the Olivier Awards website.

Back to the Future, Bakersfield Mist and Fatal Attraction

What have I missed? Bakersfield mistOnly the small news that Back To The Future is to be made into a musical and brought to the West End in 2015. And that Kathleen Turner’s coming back to London in new show Bakersfield Mist in May. And Sex And The City’s Kristin Davis – who played Charlotte in the hit show – has joined the cast of Fatal Attraction. Not much then!

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Chinese Year of the Horse 2014: Equestrian Attractions in London Tue, 21 Jan 2014 09:32:24 +0000 Equestrian armour, possibly Ulrich Rämbs, c. 1480 © By kind permission of the Trustees of the Wallace Collection

2014 is the Year of the Horse in the Chinese Zodiac, beginning on 31 January. According to Chinese Astrology Online, the horse is a symbol of competition, swift success and travelling – good news if you’re planning a visit to London!

To celebrate the start of the new Lunar year, join in the vibrant Chinese New Year Celebrations in London’s Chinatown – or pay a visit to one of these 10 horse-related attractions in London.

Royal Ascot 2014

The world’s most famous race meeting, Royal Ascot is a favourite among British Royals, high society and social butterflies. See lightning-fast horses compete to win in the Golden Jubilee Stakes and Gold Cup races, and experience the ceremony, tradition and glamour of this historic event. It’s not all about posh hats, you know!

Meet the Horses at Kentish Town City Farm

At Kentish Town City Farm you’ll not only find horses but also chickens, cows, ducks, geese, goats, pigs and sheep – including some rare breeds. Take the family along to stroke the horses, see their stables and (at the weekend) go on a pony ride (£2). More city farms in London.

War Horse

War Horse

War Horse has won over audiences around the world with its beautiful, moving story of friendship and heroism in battle – and, of course, its jaw-droppingly accurate, life-size horse puppets. Catch it now at the New London Theatre on Drury Lane.

Polo in the Park 2014

The horses are back at Hurlingham Park this June, for three days of high-octane polo matches – plus summer cocktails, delicious street food, luxury shopping and kids activities. Polo in the Park uses simplified polo rules to up the excitement and make it easier to follow the action – if you’re not too busy enjoying an impromptu picnic.

The Household Cavalry Museum

Household Cavalry Museum

You’ve seen the Changing of the Guard at Horse Guards Parade, now find out what goes on behind the scenes at The Household Cavalry Museum. Peer through the glass partition to see troopers working in the original 18th century stables, then explore the museum’s fascinating collection of personal stories, interactive displays and ceremonial artefacts. Please note: the museum is closed for refurbishment until 24 January. If you’re visiting before then, why not check out the Royal Mews at Buckingham Palace instead?

Trooping the Colour 2014

Every year, London marks the Queen’s (official) birthday with a colourful military parade known as Trooping the Colour. Dating back to the 18th century, the procession sees fully trained and operational troops – including horses from the Household Cavalry Mounted Regiment and King’s Troop Royal Horse Artillery – parade past the Queen. Apply now for a place on the seated stands around Horse Guards Parade, or head along on the day to watch from The Mall.

Horse riding in Hyde Park

Horse Riding in Hyde Park

Saddle up and take a trot around the beautiful environs of Hyde Park. Horse riding has a long history in this Royal Park, dating back to 1536 when Henry VIII galloped around in pursuit of deer and wild boar. Contact the Hyde Park Stables or Ross Nye Stables to hire your noble steed.

London International Horse Show at Olympia

The London International Horse Show at Olympia took place in December, but plans are already underway for the 2014 edition. See horses and their riders compete in dressage, jumping and a host of other thrilling competitions, and enjoy the special displays. Last year’s guest spots featured The Kennel Club, The Royal Andalusian School of Equestrianism and Shetland Pony Grand National, so who knows who you’ll see this year. Tickets available from May.

Stables Market

Stables Market

Located in former stables dating back to the Victorian era, Stables Market is now a bustling hub of food stalls, bars and shops. But its past life is still apparent, from the old catacombs to the 200-year-old Grade II Listed Horse Hospital – now home to Proud Camden, a gallery and live music venue. Look out too for the huge bronze statues of horses, added during the market’s recent restoration.

Horse Armour at The Wallace Collection 

The highlight of The Wallace Collection’s huge assortment of European and Oriental armoury is undoubtedly the stunning life-size horse (and rider) dressed in German Gothic equestrian armour from c. 1480-1500 (see main picture). The museum, which is free to enter, also features a number of paintings featuring horses, from the likes of Rembrandt, Velázquez and Bellangé.

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London Theatre News: War Horse, Grease 2, Dinosaur Zoo, The Pride, Versailles, Privacy, Fathers and Sons, The Only Way is Downton Wed, 30 Oct 2013 11:22:19 +0000

War Horse’s Joey on Display at V&A

If you’re in awe of the puppetry in War Horse, you can take a closer look at leading horse Joey at the V&A Museum as the original West End puppet is now on display, and boy does he look striking.

Theatre Awards

Joey has won his fair share of awards, and we’re getting near that season of prize-giving again. The Evening Standard Theatre Awards long list has just been announced and it reads like a who’s who of the London stage – or the most glamorous dinner party guest list you’re ever likely to see. Among the big names in the running are Judi Dench, Kristin Scott Thomas and Adrian Lester.

Donmar Warehouse Spring Season Revealed

Powerhouse play producer the Donmar Warehouse has announced its 2014 spring season, leading with two new plays. The first, the latest from writer/director Peter Gill, is called Versailles and is set around the signing of the famous post-WWI treaty. Its cast includes emerging star Tom Hughes, who was brilliant in TV series Dancing On The Edge, and Pat And Cabbage star Barbara Flynn. Privacy, the new play from Olivier Award-nominee James Graham follows, with the season concluding with a revival of Brian Friel’s Fathers And Sons.

Grease 2 Concert and Dinosaur Zoo

On a marginally less high-brow but no less exciting note, a stage version of Grease 2 will get a concert staging at the Lyric Theatre next year – the perfect night for all cool riders or girls for all seasons. Meanwhile, Dinosaur Zoo,which was a roaring success at the Regent’s Park Open Air Theatre this summer, is coming to the Phoenix Theatre for Christmas.

The Pride Extends Season

If you’ve not seen Hayley Atwell and co in The Pride yet, don’t miss your chance. This award-winning play about prejudice and love has just extended its run at Trafalgar Studios to 23 November. At the venue’s smaller Studio 2, 2014 offers the chance to see a one-man impression show telling the story of what happens when the inhabitants of Downton Abbey have to turn to 2013′s celebrities to save their family home in The Only Way Is Downton.

  • 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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London Theatre News: Billy & Matilda Extend, plus Urinetown, Duck House, and The Gruffalo Thu, 19 Sep 2013 09:30:00 +0000 Billy ElliotFirstly, news of extensions for some of London’s most popular theatre shows. You can now book to see Billy Elliot until 16 May 2015, taking the show into its 11th year; War Horse has extended its run at the New London Theatre to 27 October 2014 (its 7th year in the West End); and Matilda’s revolting children will continue to stomp and shine at the Cambridge Theatre until December 2014. If you’re a theatre fan and haven’t caught any of these three yet, I really recommend you do: they’re some of my favourite long-running shows on in London at the moment.

Second, the secrecy that has surrounded the St James Theatre’s latest project has finally been broken. Hit Broadway show Urinetown, an “exciting, innovative, edgy, modern, tuneful, funny satirical show” will make its UK debut from 22 February next year. A dystopian tale, Urinetown features book and lyrics by Greg Kotis and music and lyrics by Mark Hollmann, is set in a city suffering a terrible drought, where a business tycoon has made his fortune by monopolising public toilets… Urinetown will be directed by Jamie Lloyd.

Another satire, of a very different nature, comes to the London stage this winter. The Duck House at the Vaudeville Theatre is the tale of a Labour backbencher, who is about to make the leap to the Conservatives to save his seat when the 2009 expenses scandal hits. It’s written by two of satirical television’s most prolific writers, Dan Patterson and Colin Swash and stars Ben Miller, the award-winning Nancy Carroll and X-Factor semi-finalist Diana Vickers.

The Gruffalo at Garrick TheatreFinally, two very different Christmas shows have been announced this week. Look out for the brand-new, very adult The Night Before Christmas, a musical by Anthony Neilson at the Soho Theatre from 29 November; or the tried-and-tested kid-pleasing The Gruffalo, which returns to the Lyric Theatre for a Christmas run from 20 November to 12 January.

London Theatre Cast News:

  • Former Les Misérables stars Fra Fee and David Thaxton will star alongside fellow London stage regulars Scarlett Strallen and Cassidy Jansen in the Menier Chocolate Factory’s Christmas production of Candide
  • Colin Morgan, star of the BBC’s Merlin, joins the already-very-tasty cast of Mojo at the Harold Pinter Theatre, alongside Tom Rhys Harries, and the already announced Ben Whishaw, Daniel Mays and Rupert Grint.
  • Dawn King’s drama Ciphers at the Bush Theatre next year will star Bruce Alexander, Ronny Jhutti, Gráinne Keenan and Shereen Martin in the Out Of Joint and Northcott theatre co-production.
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London Theatre News: Happy Birthday War Horse, Welcome to From Here To Eternity, and The Open Air Theatre’s 2013 Plans Thu, 01 Nov 2012 18:11:53 +0000

Firstly, there’s been another big birthday in Theatreland. Congratulations to War Horse, which celebrated its fifth anniversary on the London stage this week. The show’s been seen on stage by more than 1.6 million people in London, including the Queen, and remains one of London’s most popular productions.

From National Theatre long-runners to transfers: I’ve learnt that the National’s critically acclaimed production of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time will transfer to the West End next year following its sell-out season at the Southbank venue. Adapted from Mark Haddon’s novel by acclaimed playwright Simon Stephens, The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time plays at the Apollo Theatre from 1 March with Luke Treadaway reprising his role as the 15-year-old autistic maths genius Christopher Boone.

And there’s news of another new West End show opening next year: From Here to Eternity features lyrics by Tim Rice and music by Stuart Brayson and is based on James Jones’ award-winning 1951 novel, rather than the classic film. I’ve no cast news yet, but the show will be directed by Tamara Harvey, and starts previews at the Shaftesbury Theatre in September next year

Finally, looking ahead to next summer, the Open Air Theatre has announced a new stage adaptation of Jane Austen’s Pride And Prejudice and a re-imagining of The Winter’s Tale for children aged six and older for its 2013 season. These two shows join the previously announced productions of To Kill A Mockingbird and the first-ever Rodgers and Hammerstein production at the venue, The Sound Of Music. It sounds like we can look forward to another great summer at this ever-brilliant venue.

London Theatre Cast News:

  • Zoë Wanamaker returns to the West End next year to star in David Leveaux’s production of Peter Nichols’ black comedy Passion Play at the Duke of York’s Theatre
  • Jonathan Bonnici, Denton Chikura, Tunji Falana, Sandy Grierson, Éva Magyar, Itxaso Moreno, Adura Onashile, Tahirah Sharif, Harmage Singh Kalirai, Ony Uhiara and Hemi Yeroham will appear in Mary Zimmerman’s new play, The Arabian Nights at the Tricycle Theatre from 30 November to 12 January
  • Nadia Clifford, Geoffrey Freshwater, Eve Pearce and Timothy Watson will join Maureen Lipman and Tracy-Ann Oberman in Terry Johnson’s production of Old Money at the Hampstead Theatre from 29 November to 12 January
  • Joining Oliver Ford Davies in Goodnight Mister Tom are Louise Collins, Joanne Howarth, Aoife McMahon, Freya Parker, Georgina Sutton, Alan Vicary, Jonathan Warde and Emma Drysdale, as well as Elisa de Grey, Bradley Hall and Osmund Bullock
  • Gina McKee and Anna Maxwell Martin join Tamzin Outhwaite in the transfer of Hampstead Downstairs’ sell-out production Di And Viv And Rose to the venue’s main space from 17 January to 23 February
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Video: War Horse and The National Theatre Salute The Queen Mon, 04 Jun 2012 09:33:32 +0000 Among all the ships, and flags, and (unfortunately) rain, during the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant yesterday, did you spot the National Theatre’s salute to The Queen?

Joey, the puppet star of London theatre hit War Horse, galloped along the roof of the National Theatre and reared in salute to The Queen as she passed on the Royal Barge.

The Queen is well-known for her love of horses, and she seemed very pleased by Joey’s salute. Well done team National Theatre!

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Thursday Theatre News: Tonys, Birthdays, Extensions and Casting News Thu, 16 Jun 2011 17:12:27 +0000 Firstly a big congratulations to the London-born shows who won Tony Awards on the other side of the pond this week. The National Theatre’s First World War drama War Horse won an impressive five awards including the coveted Best Play accolade. And Mark Rylance won Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, which is a good thing too, because I’d be worried if anyone out there had managed to outdo his memorable performance in Jerusalem.

Second, a note for any Shakespeare fans out there. Theatre company Antic Disposition is planning to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the first performance of The Tempest in London this August. And they’re staging it at London’s Middle Temple Hall, an Elizabethan venue where Shakespeare’s own company once performed. What a treat.

The Royal Court has announced two extensions this week. Both current hit Chicken Soup With Barley, and forthcoming black comedy The Village Bike, have added dates to their runs.

Now to this week’s casting news:

See you at West End Live!

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Thursday Theatre News: Ladykillers, the New Bush, Casting Updates and Extensions Thu, 09 Jun 2011 17:15:21 +0000

Firstly, news that the classic Ealing comedy, The Ladykillers has been adapted for the stage by the writer behind hit TV comedies Father Ted and The IT Crowd, Graham Linehan, and will be coming to the Gielgud Theatre in November. The cast sounds fantastic: Peter Capaldi from the Thick of It will play Professor Marcus (the Alec Guinness role from the film). And he’ll be backed up by a gang played by James Fleet (Hugo from the Vicar of Dibley), comic Ben Miller, Stephen Wight and everyone’s favourite pantomime dame, Clive Rowe. The quintet is joined by multi-Olivier Award-winner Marcia Warren as Mrs Wilberforce.

Next, I’m thrilled to hear both War Horse and Billy Elliot: The Musical are extending: War Horse to October 2012, and Billy to December 2012. Congratulations to both these incredible shows.

And so to casting news:

  • Another member of the Rock of Ages line-up was announced this week: Shane Ward from The X-Factor is to play the disillusioned rock bad boy Stacee Jaxx when Rock Of Ages opens at the Shaftesbury theatre in September
  • Supermodel Christie Brinkley is going to be the latest star to take on the role of Roxy Hart in Chicago. She’ll be donning the fishnets from 11 July to 6 August.
  • Carley Stenson, who’s currently playing Margot in Legally Blonde will step up later this summer and play the lead role of college sweetheart Elle Woods. Carley starts on 11 July; Any Dream Will Do-winner Lee Mead will be Stenson’s leading man as he’s joining the cast from 20 June.

Finally, the Bush Theatre has announced the show that will welcome audiences to its new home. Sixty Six Books is an epic celebration of the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible. Sixty-six playwrights, poets, songwriters and novelists from 12 different countries will create a response to each of the 66 books in the Kings James Bible. The impressive list of contributors includes Jeanette Winterson, Carol Ann Duffy, Billy Bragg, Neil LaBute and even the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. Artistic Director Josie Rourke is working with a team of directors to present three hour, six hour and two 24 hour epic performances, with every room, corner and cupboard(!) of the new venue put to use.

You can read more about the Bush’s future plans here on the Official London Theatre website.

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Thursday Theatre News: Shakespeare, Spice Girls and Sandy McDade Thu, 28 Apr 2011 16:20:48 +0000 Summer is always a great time to catch some Shakespeare in London, and summer 2011 is no exception. From a superb-sounding season at the Globe, to Pericles at the Open Air Theatre, and of course, THAT all-star Much Ado About Nothing, there’s plenty on offer.

Adding to the Bard mix is news that Simon Callow (best known as the guy who dies in Four Weddings and A Funeral) is bringing Being Shakespeare to the Trafalgar Studios in June. So if you feel like you’ve seen too many Hamlets and had enough Much Ado’s for one year, take a look at this one-man show. Being Shakespeare brings the Bard’s most memorable characters to life as it explores the man behind the world’s most famous plays. It runs from 15 June to 23 July.

From Shakespeare to Spice Girls! Yes, there’s going to be a Spice Girls musical. Viva Forever will be directed by War Horse co-director Marianne Elliot, and produced by Mamma Mia! producer Judy Craymer.

Judy said, “I am delighted that Marianne has agreed to direct Viva Forever. With her theatrical aptitude for exploring strong women and their relationships and her meticulousness to detail she is absolutely the right person to direct this new musical which is all about female friendship, celebrity and fame. I’m so happy to have her on board, together with Jennifer Saunders, who has written the musical.” Jennifer Saunders too! There’s enough Girl Power in that team to make the show a success, I reckon!

Finally, this week’s cast news. The National Theatre welcomes two returning actresses for A Woman Killed With Kindness in June. Sandy McDade last appeared in The Seagull, directed by Katie Mitchell. McDade is probably best-known as Lark Rise To Candleford’s Miss Ellison. Mitchell also directs the National’s revival of the 1603 domestic thriller A Woman Killed With Kindness. Liz White (from the BBC adaptation of The Crimson Petal And The White and Life On Mars) stars alongside McDade. White was last at the National in the double bill of Spring Storm and Beyond The Horizon last year.

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