Need some post-Christmas week theatre? Try this!

If you find yourselves in need of a bit of theatre next week, don’t forget that the National’s Friday Rush starts at 1.00pm tomorrow, but you have to be quick – tickets for all shows only £10, so they go quickly!

You can get seats for all next week’s performances (subject to availability) for just £10!

Find the Friday Rush Landing Page here

Or, if you don’t fancy going out, find the online theatre treats at very reasonable prices from the NT at Home online service.

However you enjoy it, happy theatregoing!


Wishing You All a TAPPY CHRISTMAS!

Fayard and Harold – The Nicholas Brothers, undisputed kings of tap, in motion during a routine in STORMY WEATHER (1942).

Christmas is a time when many of us like to get out and see a show with our special friends and family, and song and dance often feature high in the sort of entertainment we seek out, to match the exuberant and cheery feelings many feel about the holiday season.

For those of you who may prefer celebrating from home, I have picked out a few things you can see online, which I think you may enjoy in this time when we relax and indulge ourselves a little.

Still on BBCiPlayer (for UK licence-holders) is the big musical ANYTHING GOES. Filmed live at the Barbican in London, this major new production of the classic musical comedy features an all-star cast led by renowned Broadway actress Sutton Foster with Cole Porter’s timeless songs and a sprinkling of dance, including a good bit of tap.

Find ANYTHING GOES here

If tap is really your thing, you’ll enjoy this rarely-seen and recently rediscovered documentary, first broadcast in the UK on Channel Four in 1983, MASTERS OF TAP- with contributions from legends such as Will Gaines, Honi Coles and Chuck Green.

Find MASTERS OF TAP here

FOSSE/VERDON was a great series about the relationship between legendary choreographer Bob Fosse and his second wife, the dynamic performer Gwen Verdon. In eight parts, and boasting great performances by Sam Rockwell and Michelle Williams, with a guest spot by Lin-Manuel Miranda, it’s well worth your holiday time.

Find FOSSE/VERDON here

For fans of classic tap, you can’t go wrong with Ann Miller, Guinness World Record holder as the fastest tapper in history (for many years). There’s a nice new print of a long-unavailable Miller movie, TIME OUT FOR RHYTHM from 1941 currently on YouTube. It’s a very lumpy but passable musical, but definitely worth seeing for Ann’s numbers (starting at 24:15) which are delightful, especially the number she does with comedy character actor Allen Jenkins, in what I believe is his only dance routine on film – and its enormous fun! (Find it fast by going to 37:07). Foghorn-voiced Jenkins was one of the group of Irish-heritage actor/singer/dancers who worked their way up, through being chorus boys on Broadway in the 20s and then onto Hollywood in the 30s, whose number included close friends such as Pat O’Brien and James Cagney.

Find TIME OUT FOR RHYTHM here

And if you’d like to know more about my personal (and Fred Astaire’s) top tap stars, the Nicholas Brothers, you can see a great biography of them below with lots of clips of them in action. If you watch nothing else, jump to the end, at 49:43, where they project their movie routine LUCKY NUMBERS from 1936 behind them, while performing it perfectly almost 60 years later. I saw this routine live when they performed it at the all-star gala STAIRWAY TO THE STARS in November 1989 at the London Palladium, and it absolutely brought the house down. Enjoy!

Find WE SING, WE DANCE here

Happy Holidays to you all!


Waltham Forest creatives – Make It Happen Grants open until 8 January 2023!

The Make it Happen grants programme is designed to support arts and cultural activities taking place in Waltham Forest between April 2023 and January 2024. Apply for £1,000 – £15,000 now.

For Make it Happen 2023 they will be accepting applications that align with one of the following themes:

Storytelling
The Culture and Destinations team are focussing on bringing local communities together through exploring the eclectic histories and traditions that characterise our borough. We are therefore seeking to support proposals from across art forms that help to create a more nuanced understanding of people and places in Waltham Forest and, in particular, highlight lesser-known stories that continue to shape the changing landscape of our Borough.

Climate Emergency
Waltham Forest Council was the first London Borough to declare a climate emergency in 2019. Over the past decade, we have delivered programmes that have driven down carbon emissions in the Borough by 32%, and have ambitions to reach the net-zero target by 2030. We welcome applications that highlight issues and behaviour change around climate change, that promote access to our many green spaces and a greater understanding of the natural world.

They typically have a high volume of applications for projects taking place in Walthamstow. The Culture and Destinations Team are committed to delivering programming across Waltham Forest, and for 2023 they will therefore be prioritising submissions taking place in Chingford, Higham’s Park, Leyton and Leytonstone. You are still able to propose a project in Walthamstow however they will only have the capacity to support a limited number.

For more information, click here


Free lecture – ‘Don’t Forget the Pierrots: Seaside Follies on the Prom’

On Tuesday 13th December at 7.30pm, you’re invited to a talk by Tony Lidington, author of a new book about Pierrot troupes and concert parties, hosted by the Society for Theatre Research, and available in-person and also online.

The Pierrot troupes grew from a single idea into a major international cultural industry, which boosted morale and national identity during the UK’s times of crisis. Tony Liddington will draw upon his 2022 book – “Don’t Forget The Pierrots!” The Complete History of British Pierrot Troupes & Concert Parties, which is the first scholarly exploration of this popular performance form and its heritage.

The presenter, Dr. Tony Lidington has been a showman, researcher and teacher for over 35 years. He specialises in historical popular entertainment forms and their application to contemporary contexts. Tony was awarded a doctorate for his research into itinerant British performance forms by the University of Exeter, where he now teaches. He regularly writes about the subject for academic journals and general interest magazines, as well as broadcasting on both radio and television. Tony was founder of ‘The Pierrotters’ – Britain’s last professional seaside Pierrot troupe, with whom he performed for 27 years as ‘Uncle Tacko’!

You can either attend online, from the comfort of your own home, or travel to The Art Workers’ Guild, 6 Queen Square, London WC1N 3AT (nearest tube Russell Square).

The event is expected to run approximately 90 minutes.

For more information, and to book, click here