A week in the West End

“To enter a theatre for a performance is to be inducted into a magical space, to be ushered into the sacred arena of the imagination.”
Simon Callow, Charles Dickens and the Great Theatre of the World

Busker at Covent Garden

This is an article I wrote some time ago for Your Life Choices magazine. It’s about my love of theatre – something which hasn’t changed – and I really wanted to share it here. But, please note, some of the shows mentioned may no longer be appearing on in the West End.

I’m something of a theatre tragic. I love extravagant big-band musicals, Shakespeare and all the classics. I admire shows that challenge the audience, or introduce new and inventive ideas. Quite frankly, I’ll watch anything that calls itself theatre. For several years I worked as an usher at Melbourne’s Regent Theatre, humming along to famous show tunes. So it’s hardly surprising that on my last visit to London I decided to immerse myself in a week in the West End.

Bordered by The Strand, Kingsway, Oxford and Regent Streets, the West End is the largest theatre district in the world. It’s a hive of activity. Every second shop offers theatre tickets, all claiming the cheapest and best seats in town. A prominent billboard advertises Spamalot, while just around the corner, I discover St Martin’s Theatre, home to the world’s longest running show, Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap, which opened in 1952.

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Clovelly to Westward Ho!

“The village was built sheer up the face of a steep and lofty cliff. There was no road in it, there was no wheeled vehicle in it, there was not a level yard in it. From the sea-beach to the cliff-top two irregular rows of white houses, placed opposite to one another and twisting here and there, and there and here, rose, like the sides of a long succession of stages of crooked ladders.” Charles Dickens

South West Coast Path near Clovelly

One of the most picturesque hikes I’ve ever done was from Clovelly to Westward Ho! – a section of the UK’s South West Coast Path. At the time, I was working at a outdoor activity centre in North Devon, and a few of us decided to spend our day off work wandering along the coast. We left our car at Westward Ho!, hitch-hiked to Clovelly, and then hiked the 17.9 km (11.1 miles) back to Westward Ho!. It was an awesome day; but not without misadventure.

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