Filed under theatre

Aida versus Political Correctness

Last week the papers ran yet another story that makes me fear for the future of this country. A student production of Aida has been cancelled due to charges of “cultural appropriation’, as the leading roles were likely to be played by white actors. The production was not to be the original, by Verdi, but … Continue reading


Kettle’s Yard, Cambridge

This wonderful museum was founded by Harold Ede, former curator of London’s Tate Gallery in the 1920s and 30s. He befriended many young artists at the time, including Ben and Winifred Nicholsobn, Henry Moore etc, and through them he began collecting works by their contemporaries such as Henri Gaudier-Brzseska, Joan Miro and others. Ede married … Continue reading

Hogarth on Vaucanson

When the French inventor/mechanic/clever clogs Jacques de Vaucanson came to London in 1743 to display his incredible automata – as reported in a previous blog – his duck, flute player and tabor player were all the talk of the town. It was shown at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket. Nobody had ever seen such life-like machinery, … Continue reading

Collectors and Collections

This is from Patrick Mauries’ wonderful, richly illustrated book ‘Cabinets of Curiosities’ which is brilliant: “The story of cabinets of curiosities is above all that of a handful of figures scattered throughout the length and breadth of Europe in the age of the Baroque. John Tradescant and Elias Ashmole in Oxford, Addrovandi and Manfredo Settala … Continue reading

20,000 Days on Earth

This is a sort-of biography of Nick Cave, ex Brithday Party, Bad Seed, Grinderman and, well, rock icon. It is shaped as if it is a day in his life, but it is far more complex than that. It begins with him lying in bed waiting for the alarm clock to go. He emerges, in … Continue reading

An Unmissable Show

This is the only account I’ve found for this so doubt it was much of a crowd puller. It is perhaps of more interest for the fact that it existed at all. This is from the Bath Journal of 1773: This is to acquaint the curious, that there is to be seen at the Wheatsheaf, … Continue reading

Not Shopping the Competition

This is again from the Bath Journal of November 1773: “WE are assured from indisputable authority that the managers of the summer theatre in Bristol were not in any ways instrumental in procuring the commitment of Messrs. Kennedy and Booth to the Newgate of that city, for performing plays in teh Coopers Hall contrary to … Continue reading