London is certainly a city that encourages walking with so much to do and so much to see, it is believed that you will soak up more of the busy atmosphere of the city on foot. The same can be said of the theatre district, being both colourful and vibrant, with many historical tales, if they could talk, they would reveal many intricate and untold stories of the past events and crisis that have taken place within. While the theatres themselves cannot talk, a theatre walk with Paul Ibell, author of Theatreland, is guaranteed to be just as informative.
Beginning and ending at The Savoy Theatre and lasting approximately an hour and a half, Paul Ibell’s Theatreland Tour is filled with the most fascinating stories from London’s rich theatrical past. The tours are centred on the historical central London area of Covent Garden which is a rumbustious area where tumblers and jugglers rub shoulders with masters of stage and screen. A place of smart boutiques, pavement cafes and craftsmen’s stalls, that sits in the heart of London’s Theatreland.
Walkers can admire the amazing architecture of several fine theatres and learn about the illustrious and eccentric personalities who have worked in them over the centuries as Paul Ibell peels away the historical layers to uncover the secrets of the past, offering up theatrical anecdotes together with current information on the latest shows and news from London theatre.
Among the glories uncovered will be the actors church in the portico of which Eliza Doolittle met Professor Higgins. You will gaze upon Europe’s oldest and most haunted theatre and stand on the spot where a 19th century matinee idol was murdered in cold blood by a jealous rival. You will be shown the house where one of the greatest English actors of all time lived, stroll through a tiny Regency street, more or less unchanged in 200 years, squeeze through Brydges Place, the narrowest alleyway in London only 15 inches wide at its narrowest point, and you will also hear tales of Nell Gwynne, mistress to King Charles II.
Paul is a mine of information and the walks give a fascinating insight into today’s theatre industry as well as bringing to life many of the extraordinary cast of actors, writers, dancers, singers – and royals – from London’s rich theatrical past.