A band of excited West Cornwall DFAS members had a happy and cultured time on our recent London trip. The formula of ‘make your own arrangements for travel and accommodation’ worked really well.
We kicked off with the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the Royal Academy which had something for everyone; it was touching, beautiful, tragic and amusing. Ai’s mantra of “speaking truth to power” found its expression in the names of earthquake victims which were transcribed on the walls around hundreds of steel rods which had been rescued from the debris and laid out on the floor as a memorial.
We ate a delicious supper on Piccadilly and then hastened to the Theatre Royal Haymarket for a performance of Mr Foote’s Other Leg written by Ian Kelly and starring both him and Simon Russell Beale. We were ushered into the private Oscar Wilde room for pre-performance drinks, and after the show we were taken backstage to meet the star and the author. Some of us were a little starstruck! It was a real privilege to meet one of the greats of British theatre and chat to him about the performance.
On Thursday morning we met up for The Fabric of India at the V&A. What an exhibition! We drooled over fabulous textiles and were fascinated by some of the techniques which were illustrated by video and accompanying photographs.
Thursday evening saw us in Covent Garden for a ‘NADFAS at Night’ lecture on Scandal in Modern Art, an insider’s view of some of the seamier and more shocking aspects of the art world. It was a real treat to be in The Club for Acts and Actors which has remained virtually unchanged since the 1940s. The evening ended with some delightful acapella music from the students of Imperial College and Royal Holloway.
On Friday morning we appeared in court, or rather in the grounds of Middle Temple, where we were treated to a fascinating tour of this Inn of Court. We touched a chest made from the wood of The Golden Hind and ate our lunch in the great hall where Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I were both present for the first ever performance of Twelfth Night.
Our guide Diane Eccles was delightful and well-informed and we felt as though we’d been given a real insight into another world. After a hearty lunch with the legal profession we parted company, some of us to return to Cornwall and some to stay in town a little longer.
Everyone had such a good time. It was a lovely thing to do. We’ll be sure to do it again, that’s a promise