Birmingham Stage Company


20 October 2013

I didn't realise how moving it would be to see clothes from Tudor times which are now on display at a wonderful exhibition of Elizabethan's at the National Portrait Gallery. There is something strangely poingnant about looking at an ordinary cloth cap worn over four hundred years ago and even more remarkably the jacket of a seaman, which was only preserved because artists down the ages have been using it as a costume prop. There are also some highly ornate gloves of a noble woman, apparently the best preserved in the world. There's a fabulous painting of a fete in Bermondsey looking out over the Thames towards the Tower of London, where every occupation is included mid-festivity. My great acting teacher Rudi Shelly gave us the priceless advice to remember that every generation thinks it is the most modern and to look at an historic painting as if it's the very latest in fashion, as that is how they would have thought of themselves. Meanwhile when you're surrounded by five different portraits of Queen Elizabeth, you really do get a sense of what she must have looked like.

The BSC has been invited to take part in a talk for the exhibition as part of the continuing relationship between BARMY BRITAIN and the National Portrait Gallery. BB2 has opened well at the Garrick. It feels like a monumental task to put on an entirely new comedy in the West End but every stage of the show has gone remarkably smoothly - from the writing of the show, through the design, into rehearsals and onto the Garrick's stage. It's fantastic when you have a team who are so in tune with each other that the process becomes so enjoyable. Now the critics have delivered their verdict we can all really relax into the run which is turning out to be hugely successful for everyone involved. Terry Deary himself will be in the theatre this Wednesday so if you want to meet Mr Horrible Histories himself, do pop in!

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