The Grand Old Duke

I decided to go on the backstage tour at The Duke of York’s Theatre. It is a fascinating tour of the old London theatre that was built when the area was underdeveloped and helped transform that side of Charing Cross Road into the entertainment area it is today.

It is often said that those of us who call London home do not benefit from the great advantages that the capital city brings. People have been heard to suggest that Londoners do not use London. Well, glancing through a copy of this week’s Time Out I came across the backstage tour of The Duke of York’s Theatre on St. Martin’s Lane and decided to go. The tour wasn’t very expensive and lasted almost two hours and I reckon it must be one of the best value guided events around.

It is a fascinating tour of the old London theatre that was built when the area was underdeveloped and helped transform that side of Charing Cross Road into the entertainment area it is today. It’s the theatre that first staged Peter Pan, the theatre that first saw actors agree to the forming of UK Equity and it has seen many greats play its stage since.

I can now say that I have appeared on the West End Stage, and standing on the stage looking into the auditorium I was surprised at how close theatergoers would appear to the actors. I was also struck by how small the stage area really was and by how big the under stage area is. Also intriguing to know that Capital Radio once owned it.

A lesson leant, that’s for sure. I will be spending more time each weeks with the what’s on listings and try to take advantage of some of the things this city has to offer.