Our group this trip was comprised of 8 League members — Carmel Owen, Honey Waldman, Sondra Gorney, Marie Ann Chenevey, Mary Miko, Pamela Hunt, Sandra Bloom, Penny Jackson — and 8 friends. For those experiencing London for the first time, they were content seeing 4 shows but one veteran LPTW traveler managed to squeeze in 10! After all, that’s why we come to London.
Most of us theatre buffs frequented The National Theatre, conveniently located from the Strand Hotel, just over the Waterloo Bridge.
The Magistrate, featuring John Lithgow, was on hiatus that week, but we saw the rest which included: The Captain of Kopenick, The Effect, Peopleand Port.
In addition, we managed to cover most of the West End and some fringe. Top Hat, The Bodyguard, Lift-the musical, Privates on Parade, Quartermain’s Terms, starring Rowan Atkinson, Great Expectations, The Judas Kiss, Julius Caesar, the all female cast at the Donmar, Richard III with Mark Rylance, War Horse, Let It Be, Kiss Me Kate, The Lion King, Singin’ in the Rain, Anjin(Sadler Well’s), London Wall, Merrily We Roll Along at the Menier Chocolate Factory and Our God’s Country.
I must add, however, a disappointment that we were in town too early to catch Helen Mirren in The Audience.
The Royal Academy of Music Museum, the Science Museum, the V&A and the Churchill War Rooms caught the interest of some of us. The highlight and most visited was a special exhibit entitled, Valentino: Master of Couture. It was at Somerset, a stone’s throw from our hotel. My goodness, afterwards, one was certainly tempted to go gown shopping. Did I mention shopping? Yes, cashmere was on sale at the little shop across the street and trips were made to Harrod’s. Luckily, the London Eye was not closed for repairs, so it managed to provide a ride with a spectacular aerial view of the city.
We reached out to 7 London affiliate members, most of whom attended the reception(see attached photos) held at The Southbank Centre:
Prav Menon-Johansson,Christine Denniston, Susan Widdington, Alison Skilbeck, Jessica Higgs, Jackie Elliman and Julia Pascal. Once again over 70 rsvps were attained for this event. Special thanks go out to Julia Pascal who made all the arrangements from the other side of the pond. Jude Kelly, Artistic Director of the Southbank Centre will be sent an official thank you for donating the space for our use.
Julia Pascal printed postcards outlining the idea for a branch of the LPTW in London. Copies were brought back& will be mailed to Joyce Maio. A few ladies who have attended past receptions mentioned that they had difficulty in applying for membership. The online process cannot be continued without 2 sponsors. Is there any way that we could have a section for future international affiliates where we could use 2 names from the international committee? They could be researched or contacted and then proposed for membership. Also, can an affiliate member be one of the sponsors, or is it limited to regular members. My plan is to email those who attended and ask them to use my name and Julia’s.
Each year affiliate member Jackie Elliman, introduces us to a theatre group that does outstanding work. Six of us visited Cardboard Citizens.
Cardboard Citizens is one of the UK’s leading practitioners of Forum Theatre, changing the lives of homeless and displaced people through theatre and the performing arts. Our initial introduction was to sit in on a meeting involving volunteers who were being prepped before the following week’s presentation of Glasshouse. Since its inception 30 years ago, it has been led by Augusto Boal, creator and Artistic Director. Augusto met with us along with their CEO, Lisa Caughey. Over tea, we discovered that Kate Winslet serves as their spokesperson.
After socializing & critiquing theatre nightly in the hotel bar, everyone was ready to return to their usual routines, that is, until next year.