STUDENT BLOGS: Theatre in London: Sites, Sounds, and Situations
by Carrie Harris
We had the pleasure of getting a backstage tour of the historic Drury Lane Theatre, and no, we did not meet the muffin man. I think that every single tour should be the way that this tour was conducted.
We were led through the labyrinth that was the backstage of this historic and haunted theatre of the West End by a flamboyant theatre manager, a ridiculous cleaning lady, and Nell Gweyn herself.
Home to Oliver at this moment, the Drury Lane has been home to many famous actors, directors, producers, and shows. (Miss Saigon holds the record for longest running.) This history was presented to us in a comedic and fun manner involving corny jokes and ghost stories.
We learned of the great fires of London and of the fire at this theatre specifically (they had some really bad luck). We learned that Drury Lane was home to many theatrical technical advances, one example being the iron safety curtain that is now a part of every London interval.
Drury Lane is also home to innovative stage mechanics unlike any other theatre. The entire stage at Drury Lane can be raised, tilted, rocked, shaken, rolled, and everything! Seeing the electric and hydraulic system below the stage was a real reward and it was fantastic to be standing in a spot where the actresses of 42nd Street made history.
All in all, the tour was a fantastic experience leading to a snowy, fun-filled day. We learned a lot about the history of London at such a historic location, and had an unexpectedly fun time.