The drama behind the drama: listen to the tortuous birth story of the National Theatre

Broadcast recently again on BBC Sounds, THE NATIONAL is a fascinating listen. Written by Sarah Wooley, this three-part drama about the creation of the National Theatre on London’s South Bank features all the main players: Sir Laurence Olivier, Kenneth Tynan, Lord Goodman, The Lord Chamberlain, Peter Hall and Harold Pinter as well as many others.

You can listen to THE NATIONAL by clicking here

(Please note – users outside the UK may not be able to access BBC online programming – but give it a try anyway!)


Explore a wealth of architecture as London Open House carries on online and in person

This weekend, September 19 and 20, many interesting and usually private buildings will once again open their doors to those of us who take pleasure in exploring their design and construction.

This year, a high proportion of “visits” will be virtual ones as the explorations happen online, but it hasn’t stopped the organisers from gathering an impressive array of different types of building.

Once again theatres will take part, and you can find theatre listings by clicking here

You can visit the Open House website by clicking here


You can watch Sky Arts for free from today

Sky Arts, the TV channel dedicated to culture, arts and music, becomes available on Freeview and Freesat from today, September 17th.

Sky Arts was created in 2000 and was previously only available for paying subscribers to Sky and other pay-TV companies. 

The 24 hour- a -day channel includes in its programming documentaries, movies, operas and more – all related to culture and the arts. They also have a number of shows based around competitions, which may or may not be your “bag”. Not being a Sky customer, I have not experienced the channel before, but I must say that I am naturally suspicious of / resistant to anything which has emanated from the diseased empire of the Murdoch clan.

The channel also has a large library of on-demand content, however this will remain exclusive to NOW TV and Sky subscribers.

On Freeview, you can find SkyArts on channel 11, and on Freesat, on channel 147.


Enjoy A HISTORY OF DISRUPTION – a free online talk from the National Theatre Archive

DAYTIME EVENT – Fri 18th September at 14:30 BST

This unusual and intriguing online talk will take you through periods of disruption in the National Theatre’s history, from the very movement that founded the theatre, right up to the present day’s unprecedented closure. It will also highlight a variety of ways in which anyone can access and enjoy National Theatre content from home.

The event is expected to last about 30 minutes, with time for audience questions at the end.

This event is hosted by the National Theatre Archive and is part of Lambeth Heritage Festival 2020.

Book here to request access to this talk


Enjoy an online journey through Streatham’s Theatre History

Foyer of Streatham Hill Theatre. Photo courtesy Tim Hatcher

When entertainment was not readily available or affordable, Streatham-ites have always made it themselves. The first building constructed with theatre in mind was opened in 1888, and within 40 years, the entertainment on offer in Streatham rivalled that of the West End. This online talk reflects the way in which professional and amateur theatre have complemented each other through the ages, and shows how talented amateurs became stars of the West End stage.

This comprehensive online talk is on Tuesday 15th September 7.00-8.30pm BST and will be given by Liz Burton of the Streatham Society, Streatham Theatre Company and Friends of Streatham Hill Theatre

Book here to request a place and enter “Theatre” in the subject

This event is hosted by the Streatham Society. Part of Lambeth Heritage Festival 2020.

You may also be interested to read my comprehensive and fully-illustrated article about the jewel in Streatham’s theatrical crown, the 2800-seater Streatham Hill Theatre (which has just celebrated its 92nd birthday). Read the article here