Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’

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“Cry ‘God for Harry, England, and Saint George!’” was the battle cry from Henry V at Agincourt, according to Shakespeare, and warriors reported that they saw their Patron Saint on the battlefield, fighting on the English side.

Shakespeare was actually born on St George’s Day, 23rd April, 1564 and, being the great patriarch he was, died on the same day in 1616. In those days, St George’s Day was a national feast day and a holiday in England, on a par with Christmas. The tradition died out at the end of the eighteenth century after the union of England and Scotland.

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In recent years St. George’s Day is enjoying something of a comeback, with calls to revive the day as a national holiday. Whether photo opportunities with Boris and Dave eating fish ‘n’ chips in Spitalfields Market (Daily Mail, St. George’s Day 2013), or the St. George’s Day Show at Brick Lane Music Hall, have had anything to do with this, we couldn’t say. But St. George’s Day is celebrated all over the world and at Brick Lane Music Hall we see every reason to enjoy the tradition!

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The St George’s Day Show opens on St George’s Day, April 23rd. You can read more about St. George’s Day and St. George’s Day trivia in our 2014 Souvenir Programme. There is also an English County Quiz, with an opportunity to win tickets for two to next year’s panto’ – remember to pick up your copy!

Put On Your Blue Suede Shoes!

We are happy to announce that the winner of two tickets for our new show, Be Bop A Lula, is a lady from Kent. Having answered all the questions correctly in our 2014 pantomime programme quiz, she was chosen in our prize draw and will be bringing an old school friend to the show in October. The pair will enjoy a three course lunch, followed by a fun-packed show.

Rock and roll may have been invented in America, but Britain had the Teddy Boys, who added the clothes, the shoes, the hair, the motorbikes, the slick moves and a whole culture of cool that was the birthplace of Cool Britannia. Be Bop A Lula will bring back a host of memories for those who were around in the fifties, and for everyone the music and the style will be guaranteed to raise a smile. Below, Vincent Hayes shows how it’s done, with some classic Teddy Boy styling (Vincent’s Christmas Cottage 2011).

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Be Bop A Lula, opens September 27th – be there or be square!

Seeing Things in a New Light

Brick Lane Music Hall has been barely recognisable for the past week, as we take advantage of the Easter break to perform some essential maintenance tasks and to upgrade our lighting system, with new power cabling and the installation of new state of the art LED lighting from the Italian showlighting company, Studio Due.

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Brick Lane Music Hall re-opens on St George’s day – April 23rd – with our St George’s Day show.

Brick Lane Music Hall Double Bill

There was double cause for celebration this weekend, as staff from Brick Lane Music Hall de-camped to St Ann’s Church, a stone’s throw away from the Music Hall, in Canning Town, to attend a christening service for Millie and Teddy Plumb. Millie, 3 months, and Teddy, 2 years old, are the daughter and son of Vicky Canon and Danny Plumb – our very own Brick Lane Music Hall couple, who met while working at the Music Hall.  Vicky is the daughter of Beverley, who is a member of the front of house staff at Brick Lane Music Hall and Danny is the son of Suzanne, who has worked for Brick Lane Music Hall virtually since its opening in 1992. The God-parents include Ellie Cooper and Oliver Savidge. Pictured below, family and guests, including Vincent Hayes with the proud couple.

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Thank You Very Much

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Our Outreach work is subsidised by the kind donations of customers, enabling us to take shows to those who are unable to come to us at very reasonable cost. Some individuals and organisations have been kind enough to donate the cost of a show, acting as sponsors for a particular home or hospice.

In our “Out and About” section we report on a visit to a care home in Gillingham for residents with dementia, a very lively bunch who had a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon, organised and sponsored by the Gillingham Lions Club.

We have recently also received several particularly generous donations from individual customers and wish to take this opportunity to thank them very much indeed and to let them know how much it is appreciated. Our aim is to visit as many homes as possible through the year.

The show goes on!

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The St Patrick’s Irish Party continues this week. Pictured above, right to left: Bill Byrne, Anna Campkin, Vincent Hayes MBE, Joni Talks, Paul James, Saskia Brynne, Ross Tomlinson.

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This is the first time Ross Tomlinson has appeared at Brick Lane Music Hall, and we are delighted to welcome him. Brick Lane regulars will be interested to hear that he has an impeccable pedigree. As well as having an actor father and sister, Ross’s mother is music hall entertainer, Judith Hibbert, who was one of the performers to regularly appear in the early days in Brick Lane and has graced our stage many times over the years.

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Pictured above, Judith appearing with Vincent and Danny La Rue. And going back even further, below – Judith on stage at the original Brick Lane Music Hall in Brick Lane, with Vincent, Colin Devereaux (far left) and two familiar faces – Peter John and Brian Walker!

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St Patrick’s Irish Party

Brick Lane Music Hall was a sea of green at our St Patrick’s Day show on March 17th. Our annual St Patrick’s Irish party has become so popular over the years that this year’s celebration starts on March 14th and runs until March 27th!

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Pictured above, left to right, Bill Byrne, Anna Campkin, Ross Tomlinson, Saskia Brynne, Paul James, Vincent Hayes and Joni Talks.

On St Patrick’s Day, Everyone’s Irish

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Vincent Hayes and Paul James have been holding last-minute auditions for the St Patrick’s show.

In the meantime, getting ready for the show – Musical Director, David Harvey, with (left to right) Saskia Brynne, Joni Talks and Ross Tomlinson in the Green Room, while the stage is set by Chris Floyd (left) with Connor Mills and Zara Kattan and Frank Kershaw tries to bring some extra glamour to the occasion.

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The St Patrick’s Irish party starts on Friday!

A last hello to the panto’ …

Vincent Hayes presented bouquets to all the cast and to Musical Director, David Harvey and percussionist, Andy Pook on the last night of our annual pantomime, Big Dick Whittington, which has helped take Brick Lane Music Hall to the top spot on Tripadvisor. Brick Lane Music Hall is currently rated No 1 Attraction in London, as well as No 1 Performance in London.

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Among those attending the last night performance were Chris Emmet, star of News Huddlines and Brick Lane Music Hall pantomime veteran and Annie Galbraith, Danny La Rue’s former dressmaker and friend to Brick Lane Music Hall along with Stephen Metcalf.

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Cast members (in no particular order ….) :

Vincent Hayes

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Rusty Goffe

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Paul James and Hayley-Jo Whitney

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Andrew Robley

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Ellie Self

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Anna Campkin

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Saskia Brynne

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Nigel Ellacott and the girls!

Left to right: Bethany Walsh, Stephanie Sen, Lauren McCabe.

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For more backstage goss, you can still tune in to Betty’s Blog!

Best Mates

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Anyone who has been to see Big Dick Whittington, will have noticed that there is an additional cast member in the programme. Vincent Hayes, who was due to play Ship’s Mate, Issey Goode, alongside Paul James, Ship’s Captain, had to pull out of the role during rehearsals. Paul James stepped up to take the helm in the New Years Eve show, and his “partner in crime”, Paul Harris (the other half of BBC Radio Kent’s Two Pauls), was asked to come in to take over Vincent’s job of Directing and Producing the panto.

SONY DSCPaul Harris worked in close collaboration with Paul James, Zara Kattan and the rest of the team, who had to do some quick thinking about who could ever hope to replace Vincent as Issey Goode.  They knew they would have to do something completely different and decided to give Hayley-Jo Whitney a call.  Hayley-Jo is a comedy actress, well known to Brick Lane Music Hall audiences for her appearances in such shows as Divas and Oo La La. With the programme already at the printers and opening night only a few days away, Hayley-Jo gamely stepped in.

SONY DSCVincent was soon ready to come back into the show, but Hayley-Jo proved to be such a success in the role of Issey,  that she was asked to stay for the whole of the run and they found Vincent another part!

070[1] (Copy)A special thanks and congratulations to the whole cast and production team for making sure Big Dick Whittington has been such a successful and enjoyable pantomome. And also thanks to our audiences for their whole-hearted support along the way. Big Dick Whittington ends March 8th.

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