Monday, March 28, 2011

The Dress Rehearsal at Westminster Abbey

Last week, I was invited to a dress rehearsal at Westminster Abbey. No, not that dress rehearsal.

The dress rehearsal I was invited to was for In the Beginning, a performance event about the King James Version of the bible that celebrates it’s 400th anniversary this year. The ever-innovative Bush theatre produced a “tour as theatre” or maybe it was  “theatre as tour” – I couldn’t decide - that took small audience groups on a journey around Westminster Abbey, celebrating both the book and the building. Before you get too excited, this was a one-night-only event that took place on the 24th of March. Before you get too sad that you missed it, let me point out three things:

First, Westminster Abbey isn’t going anywhere and you can and should visit or revisit this magnificent monument.  This is how the Abbey describes itself on it’s website: Kings, queens, statesmen and soldiers; poets, priests, heroes and villains - the Abbey is a must-see living pageant of British history. I agree. Pity about the entry charge that has now reached an eye watering GBP 16. If you are cheap like me, time your visit for one of the Sunday services that are supposed  to have wonderful music.

Second, the Bush Theatre in Shepherd’s Bush remains a great place to see new and exciting theatre and I highly recommend a visit to see one of their productions. Here’s their website.

Third, events celebrating the King James Version of the bible will take place throughout the year across Britain. Here is a listing of some of those events.

And finally, if, like me, you love a wedding, any wedding, a wander around Westminster Abbey right now is a great way to get excited about the upcoming events of April 29th. The fact that you will also encounter the resting places of Henry James, Isaac Newton, Charles Dickens, Geoffrey Chaucer, Rudyard Kipling and Elizabeth I as well as Mary, Queen of Scots, makes it, as they say, a great day out.

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