This year’s theater trip to England added a new experience - a three day stay at Leed’s Castle in Kent before our London events. The castle was built in the 12th century and was royally owned for hundreds of years - by Henry VIII and Catherine of Aragon, to name-drop just two. Many of us enjoyed the beautiful castle grounds and all of us loved the excellent service and delicious meals served in a stately dining room.
While in Kent, we visited Canterbury where we saw the site of Thomas Becket’s death and, on a happier note, attended our first play, an upbeat musical. We also went to Rochester and attended a morning service with a children’s choir. There was a stunning exhibit hanging from the ceiling which looked like crystal chandeliers, but were paper doves with children’s wishes for peace on them. After a visit to Charles Dickens’ home, with period-dressed guides, we prepared for our departure to London.
Our home in London was at The Montague on the Gardens hotel. It was across the street from the British Museum, so most of us popped in there for a look at the Rosetta Stone, and the Egyptian and Greek galleries and so much more.
The theater part of our trip was especially rich this year. We saw dramas, heavier dramas, musicals and a comedy. Seven plays were included in our tour, and each of us had at least two or three favorites. Some of us chose to go to an eighth show - the above mentioned comedy. To name drop again, it starred Ross Poldark and Queen Victoria (more accurately, the actors who portrayed them) - for those fans of British television.
I especially enjoyed our meetings with actors. The three who came to talk with us (after The Lehman Trilogy and Phaedra) were so engaging and pleasant - sharing stories about the rehearsal process, answering our questions, asking our impressions, and patiently taking photos.
What am I forgetting? An afternoon with Cezanne at the Tate Modern, preceded by an excellent talk by an art historian, chats with a theater critic, and a political writer. A full itinerary.
On our last evening, we had a delicious dinner within sight of Tower Bridge, all aglow, and then saw a new production of Guys and Dolls. It was energetically staged with talented actors, and a lovely end to the trip. And I walked out singing “I’ve Never Been in Love Before” and “Sit Down, You’re Rocking the Boat”. 🎼
Just a lovely trip, with old and new travel companions, and the best of London + a castle - with a moat!
Save the date for next year's trip! February 23rd – March 3rd, 2024