Did you know UK was the first country to organise theatrical performances for its soldiers during the Great War?
The British Army invited a concert party to come from England as early as December 1914 and soon after, shows became a common fixture on the front lines and at base camps. However, this initiative was first resisted as “detrimental to the war effort”, but the high command realised the War would not end soon and men needed to be comforted, and started promoting the formation of concert parties.
Peacock Theatre comprises part of the London School of Economics and Political Science campus, who use the theatre for academic purposes, i.e. lectures, conferences, talks and open days. Sadler’s Wells has a long-term lease with the school, using the theatre for its “Sadler’s Wells in the West End” program, showing ballet and contemporary dance performances.
The original theatre, known as Vere Street Theatre, stood on the same site from the 17th century up until 1809, when it was destroyed by fire. At the beginning of the 20th century, New York-based theatre impresario Oscar Hammerstein I built a new theatre, which opened in 1911 as the London Opera House. The venue struggled to function as an opera house and attract audiences from the Royal Opera House. The theatre was purchased by Oswald Stoll in 1916 and renamed the Stoll Theatre. Stoll Theatre presented operettas and plays as well as cine variety performances. Stoll Theatre was closed and demolished in 1957 to build an office block. The present theatre opened as The Royalty Theatre in 1960, located on the ground level of an office building. In 1961, Metro Goldwyn Mayer leased the theatre to continue the run of the film Ben Hur until 1962. In 1962, the lease was taken over by the Cinerama Corporation, showing Cinerama films up until 1966 when the theatre was closed. Between 1966 and 1990s the theatre was used for X-rated Swedish film Night Games, concerts, plays, drag shows and as a TV studio until the London School of Economics bought it and renamed the Peacock Theatre.
There is not much to be told about the plot of the ballet performances. Four seasons, four violin concerti by Vivaldi was danced to with costumes representing each season. The second part of the show, Remembrance, was inspired by the story of the British ballet influencer, Dame Marie Rambert’s life during the Great War and gave a chilling performance of the pain caused by the loss of the loved ones in the war.
Four seasons / Remembrance is the production of New English Ballet Theatre.
Choreography: Wayne Eagling and Jenna Lee
Producers: New English Ballet Theatre, Sadler’s Wells
Bought my ticket from ticket from Sadler’s Wells website. £36.95 for a side seat in the middle row of the stalls. Had a good view on the stage. Though I had an expression that I was the only one, who bought a ticket at full price and the rest of the audience were there on special invitations. All of them belonging to the ballet world.
Running time was 1 hour 48 minutes.
The Theatre Rat