Brinsworth House is a very special home created for retired music hall and variety artists. Known in the trade as ‘Old pro’s paradise’, it is run by the Entertainment Artistes’ Benevolent Fund, through funds raised annually from the Royal Variety Performance and more recently from Britain’s Got Talent.
Our Brick Lane Music Hall Outreach team made the journey across town to Twickenham, to perform at Brinsworth House, before a discerning, but (thankfully) appreciative audience. Brinsworth has its own bar and stage, so our team quickly made themselves at home. You can read more on our Out and About page.
In the week that we celebrated 23 years of Music Hall at Brick Lane, we took a brief pause in our pantomime schedule to present a Music Hall show. It was an opportunity to introduce two new artists, both graduates of Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts, who are currently appearing in Babes In The Wood, Lottie Johnson and Laura Hayward. Both gave absolutely stunning performances, each giving their own take on traditional music hall songs. They joined Vincent Hayes, Andrew Robley and Paul James for an afternoon to remember.
Babes In The Wood plays until Saturday March 7th. This is followed by the St Patrick’s Show, the St Patrick’s Irish Party, a sensational show starring Vincent Hayes, Paul James, Andrew Robley, Bill Byrne and Ben Goffe, who will be joined by Laura Hayward and Catherine Dennison.
Our next Music Hall shows are March 3rd and 4th. You can read more about all of the artists appearing at Brick Lane Music Hall and see full 2015 listings in our brand new 2015 Souvenir Brochure – now available!!
Our very first pantomime at Brick Lane Music Hall was Cinderella, with the late great Tommy Osborne and Tony Page (pictured above) as the Ugly Sisters.
While times move on, some traditions will never die and over the years Brick Lane Music Hall has played host to some of the greatest dames in the business, from the much-loved Colin Devereaux (aka Dockyard Doris) and Phil Starr, to the most famous dame of them all, Mr Danny La Rue, who appeared many times to sell out houses from the early days in Brick Lane, right through to 2008 where he gave his last official performance at our current home in Silvertown.
The dame currently treading the Brick Lane Music Hall boards is Nigel Ellacott, who plays Dame Vera Minge in Babes in the Wood. Seen below backstage with Andrew Robley (the Sheriff of Loosebottom), Nigel has been playing dame for over thirty years. Nigel made his Brick Lane Music Hall debut as dame in 2014, when he played Betty Swallocks in Big Dick Whittington.
This week in February 1992, Vincent Hayes was putting the finishing touches to his ambitious venture, a brand new music hall, the first music hall to open in Britain since the Second World War. Vincent chose Brick Lane because it was at the vibrant heart of the East End. At the time the area was still run-down, with the iconic Truman Brewery building standing empty, its former canteen disused. Vincent took a chance on both the venue and the public’s appetite for music hall shows. Loving music hall himself, he felt that there was no reason others shouldn’t love it too, especially since he intended to create a music hall fit for the times.
The Truman Brewery and Brick Lane proved to be the perfect starting point for Vincent’s venture, so much so that within a few years the business needed to move to larger premises, first in Shoreditch and then on to Silvertown, though retaining its original name. Brick Lane Music Hall has always represented Vincent’s own unique take on music hall, with laughter the key ingredient. It is safe to say that Vincent has successfully re-ignited the public’s love of this very British form of entertainment.
The original bar in Brick Lane, which opened for business in February 1992.
One of the early line-ups: left to right, Peter John, Barbara Windsor, Brian Walker, Judith Hibbert and Vincent Hayes
This cartoon appeared in the London Evening Standard, where Robert Gore-Langton in one of our earliest reviews, wrote “There is an atmosphere of dissenting comic anarchy in tune with the original spirit of music hall. It also has the most socially diverse audience I have ever seen in one room. The night I went, the Bishop of Lancaster was at a table with a nun and two monks.”
Vincent Hayes on stage with the late Danny La Rue, who was one of Brick Lane Music Hall’s great early supporters.
As Valentine’s Day approaches, love is in the air in Silvertown, where cupid has arrived with his golden arrow…. in the form of Rusty Goffe, in Babes in the Wood. Rusty plays Big John alongside Alan McHale as Will Scarlett.
Pictured above, The Merry Men themselves. Our most popular panto’ yet, Babes in the Wood plays until March 7th. Please join us for the fun – maybe bring your loved one for that special celebration – but make sure you watch out for cupid’s arrow ….
At the end of the first week of our pantomime, Babes in the Wood, we thought you would like to see just some of the comments that were posted on TripAdvisor in one day –
Click on TripAdisor on the home page to read these reviews in full. Brick Lane Music Hall is currently the Number One Theatre in London – as voted by our audiences. This is not only a tribute to the quality of our shows and the talent of our artists, but to all the hard work that goes on backstage and front of house to ensure that a visit to Brick Lane Music Hall is the most enjoyable experience we can possibly make it.
Well done and thank you to all our staff – and thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to leave their reviews.
Vincent Hayes MBE leads the cast of Babes in the Wood, the 2015 Brick Lane Music Hall pantomime for grown-ups.
Vincent takes the role of Everard Alcock
The Babes – Richard and Fanny – are played by Paul James and Hayley-Jo Whitney
Andrew Robley plays Sheriff of Loosebottom
Nigel Ellacott is Dame Vera Minge, seen here in her Lady Gaga routine…..
Principal Boy is Lottie Johnson, taking on the role of Robin Hood
Lottie is joined by her Merry Men…. Alan McHale, left, as Will Scarlett, and Rusty Goffe, as Big John….
Maid Marion is played by Catherine Dennison
And the cast is completed by Laura Hayward (far left) and Stephanie Sen (right).
If you would like to follow the Backstage pantomime banter, you can tune into Nigel Ellacott’s entertaining blog, Dame Vera’s Brick Lane Blog on his definitive pantomime website, www.its-behind-you.com.
There were rare moments at Brick Lane Music Hall this week when you could hear a pin drop during rehearsals for Babes in the Wood. With the pantomime due to open on January 20th, everyone has been concentrating hard on being ready for the opening night – learning lines, going through routines, getting the set and props organised, the costumes ready…. Pictured above (left to right) a studious Rusty Goffe, Vincent Hayes discusses the finer points of the production with fellow cast members, while Zara Kattan ensures all is in order. Below (left to right) Frank Kershaw fills dressing room 2 with pink brocade, on stage, Lottie Johnson, Laura Hayward, Catherine Dennison and Stephanie Sen work on their moves, and, proving that a woman’s work is never done, Nigel Ellacott puts the finishing touches to one of his frocks.
But as rehearsals continued, the mischief began – and it started looking as though Babes in the Wood could turn out to be our most riotous production yet!
Left to right, Nigel Ellacott, Vincent Hayes, Laura Hayward, Andrew Robley, Hayley-Jo Whitney, Paul James, Rusty Goffe and Alan McHale.
As Vincent hits the ground, you can be sure plenty of laughs will be in store in our panto’ for grown-ups, as Teach (aka Ms Vera Minge, played by Nigel Ellacott) tries to restore order with no help from the Sheriff (Sheriff Loosebottom, played by Andrew Robley) because he’s too squeemish to keep the Babes (played by Paul James and Hayley-Jo Whitney) in check. Will Robin Hood and his Merry Men come to the rescue? Find out! In Babes in the Wood, our annual pantomime for grown-ups which runs until March 6th!
The Brick Lane Music Hall Outreach team were making a splash this week, kicking off 2015 in Ilford, where they got the party going for Bob Govey who was celebrating his 100th birthday, along with friends and family members. Pictured above, Bob (with birthday badge) with Brian Walker and party guests. The event was attended by the Mayor and Mayoress, at Fernways Care Home.
Read more on our Out and About page! Photograph courtesy of the Ilford Recorder.
Relaxing after the show, left to right, Andrew Robley, Lucy Hayes, Vincent Hayes MBE, Paul James, Eleanor Jennings, Lottie Johnson, Laura Hayward, Tommy Knapp, Stephanie Sen and Anthony Friggens
2014 has been a big year for new talent at Brick Lane Music Hall, with three bright young talents in particular being introduced to the Music Hall by their illustrious parents! Seen above, Vincent Hayes with his daughter, Lucy Hayes, who has been keeping him in check, working as Assistant Theatre Manager, alongside Zara Kattan, during her gap year.
Ross Tomlinson backstage, left to right, Hayley-Jo Whitney, Judith Hibbert, Ross with Bert the dog, Ross’s Dad, Malcolm Tomlinson, and sister, Eleanor.
Earlier in the year we were delighted to welcome Ross Tomlinson, son of music hall artist Judith Hibbert, who appeared in our first shows in Brick Lane. Ross sang and danced his way into our hearts in shows including the St Patrick’s and St George’s Day shows. Then along came Ben Goffe, son of Rusty Goffe, who first worked at Brick Lane Music Hall as Fight Director in the 2014 pantomime Big Dick Whittington. He then re-appeared to wow audiences in our Fifties show, Be Bop A Lula.
Ben and Rusty Goffe in the dressing room during Be Bop a Lula. Behind them, left to right, Vincent Hayes MBE, Paul James, Jess Conrad and Alec White.
A Happy New Year to you and yours from all at Brick Lane Music Hall!
PS and – talking of bright young things – this is the latest addition to our midst – introducing baby Ruby, born to Joni Talks and husband Tom Wilkinson on December 8th. Congratulations, Joni and Tom and a special happy New Year to you from all at Brick Lane Music Hall.