London Diaries (Part 2)

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December 3rd 2011
Published: December 11th 2011
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Royal Albert HallRoyal Albert HallRoyal Albert Hall

Phantom 25 at The Royal Albert Hall
Continued from Part 1

October 2011

The reason why I was in London that month was to see the 25th Anniversary Celebration of The Phantom of the Opera at The Royal Albert Hall. It was certainly one of my theatrical highlights of my life and was very glad to see it in person! It was great meeting up with friends again and meeting legendary performers who played in the successful musical.

I tour the Royal Albert Hall during July soon as I had just booked the tickets for event. On the tour were were taken to the Grand Tier Boxes where we could see out to the stage, the Royal Retiring Room, the Elgar Room (former Central School of Speech and Drama). It was a very interesting tour with an interesting stars filled history and not forgetting the construction of this building. Afterwards, I had a nice lunch at the Cafe Consort where they host small concerts during the day.

I took the opportunity to visit Museum of London Docklands where I spent a couple of ideas or so looking around and learnign about London Docklands' history from the Roman Settlement to the Docklands' regeneration today.
An ExhibitionAn ExhibitionAn Exhibition

At Museum of London Docklands
I particularly enjoyed the London Sugar and Slavery Exhibition and discovered more of the London's involvement of the slave trade. It was very hot that day so I did not give the musuem the justice it deserved and this will warrant me to do another visit in the not too distant future.

I visited the bigger sister museum, Museum of London, during the August Bank Holiday weekend. I finally got round to visiting the museum after a long time wanting to do so. The museum takes you back in time srarting from the prehistoric era via Roman rule, the Medieval Times, The Civil War, The Plague, The Great Fire of London to the very present day. The visual and interactive displays make the visit enjoyable. Like the Museum of Docklands, another visit there is deserved in the future.

December 2011

I made my final 2011 London trip at the beginning of December where I saw an opera at the London Coliseum. The London Coliseum is probably my favourite place to see a performance and back in June I was able to take a public guided tour of the theatre. It was nice exploring inside the beautiful theatre including the foyer areas, auditorium and backstage. Surprisingly learnt that the backstage has a lack of space for their props and has to transport for storage for each opera performance.

We learnt about the key players at the London Coliseum such as Frank Matcham who designed the Coliseum but surpised to have learnt that he also designed the the Victoria, Cross and County Arcades in Leeds! Sir Oswald Slott, Lilian Baylis and others.

I also took the opportunity to take a public guided tour of The Royal Opera House. I have not yet seen a peformance there so it was nice to visit somewhere totally new. The tours are very popular and I had to book almost six months in advance! I chose the Backstage tour and it was interesting learning about the theatre and how it became a world class opera house. As well as touring backstage, we were able to see some of the Royal Ballet dancers rehearsing, the historic front of house and Paul Hamlyn Hall with its mirrors and the stage scenery workshop. The Royal Opera House was closed for two years between 1997 to 1999 for major refurbishments and modernisation.
London ColiseumLondon ColiseumLondon Coliseum

Home to English National Opera, London

After the tour, I also visit Benjamin Franklin's home . Franklin played a key role in the Enlightenment Era in the field of science and technology during the late 18th Century. He was a principal advocat at the time in forming the new country of the USA and he had made trips to England as an businessman and diplomat. I joined a Historical Experience Show of the house and learnt of his time whilst he was England and his friendship with Mrs Stevenson and her daughter whom he lodged with.

Following on, I had lunch at Fire and Stone, a pizza restaurant near Covent Garden and hung out in the West End until it was time to attend the opera later that evening.

This concludes my travels for 2011 and it has been a good year of travelling. I do not plan to travel abroad for the next 2.5-3 years because I need to finish off my degree and I am planning to do a big trip in 2014 where I hope to spend six months in South America - my favourite continent! The likelihood is that I will be making small trips around the UK for theatre and visiting relatives during that time.

Additional photos below
Photos: 19, Displayed: 19


Lizzie and I at Phantom 25Lizzie and I at Phantom 25
Lizzie and I at Phantom 25

With our souvenir brochures, Royal Albert Hall, London
Carnaby StreetCarnaby Street
Carnaby Street

Near Oxford Street, London
Hyde ParkHyde Park
Hyde Park



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