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Friday 12th December is the UK's official Panto Day and to celebrate this auspicious date we have gathered together a host of our most weird and wonderful images of pantomime animals!
From the traditional pantomime horse, cow and goose, to the more bizarre versions of monkeys and lions - one or more actors dressed up in animal costume has been a staple of the British panto since the modern form rose to popularity in the Victorian era.
And if these images have you yearning to try out a costume for yourself, there is always the annual London Pantomime Horse Race in Greenwich on Sunday 14th December!
We look forward to seeing you there!
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'If you love art, folly or the bright eyes of children, speed to Pollock's'
...wrote Robert Louis Stevenson in an essay which immortalised Pollock’s Toy Shop - a business that was started in 1856 and still runs today from Covent Garden in London.
A search through the extensive University of Bristol Theatre Collection has recently uncovered a magnificent photo-documentary by renowned theatre photographer John Vickers (1916-1976) of a visit he made to the Benjamin Pollock Ltd workshops in the late 1940s. The company, at the time, was under new management and enjoying a revival of interest due to the demand for newly manufactured Bakelite and wood kits.

Pollock’s speciality was in fact the sale and manufacture of Toy Theatres - otherwise known as Juvenile Drama. Traditionally the kits comprised a paperboard stage and accompanying set design with cut out characters according to the play being sold - and sometimes the likeness of popular actors of the time. The miniature production would be performed to family and friends using an abridged script and, until the introduction of the television, was one of the most popular forms of home entertainment in Europe. Toy theatre has seen a resurgence in recent years and there are numerous international toy theatre festivals throughout the Americas and Europe.

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As Helen Mirren takes her award winning role in Peter Morgan's hit play The Audience to Broadway and Kristin Scott Thomas is confirmed as the Queen in London’s forthcoming revival we take a look at other icons of our time who have been represented on stage.
View all Icons of Our Time images here
Most recent Royal incarnations include Mike Bartlett’s Charles III imagining the future lives of Prince Charles and Prince Harry and Moira Buffini’s Handbagged which eavesdrops on the weekly meetings between the Queen and Margaret Thatcher.
But it's not just the Royal family that playwrights have depicted on the stage - take a look through our selection of images below to find Albert Einstein, Anna Nicole Smith, Eva Perón, Che Guevara, Muammar Gaddafi, Joseph Stalin, John Gielgud, John Barrymore, Maria Callas, W. H. Auden and Benjamin Britten plus musicians Ray Davies, Kurt Cobain, Sid Vicious, The Beatles, Buddy Holly and more.
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View Nobby Clark's archive at ArenaPAL
Nobby Clark's exclusive images charting Bill Bryden's Cottlesloe Theatre Company (and beyond) provide, in all their raw brilliance, a fantastic visual diary in the newly published book Bryden & Clark: Lives in the Theatre.
Bryden Clark Book Cover
Order ‘Bryden & Clark: Lives in the Theatre'
Some of the greatest and most ambitious stage productions in the history of modern British theatre were envisaged and executed by the Cottlesloe Theatre Company. From The Ship with its magnificent industrial cathedral set, to the world premiere of the visceral dramaGlengarry Glen Ross, Nobby Clark captured it all and, as Michael Coveney recently wrote, "Clark's pictures tell the story of their scale, ambition and sheer bloody-minded magnificence."
The book is printed by Oberon and is available in all good bookstores please see the link below. An ideal Christmas gift for all - including theatre buffs and photography lovers!

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WW1 Rememberance top
Corporal-bugler Pierre Sellier (1892-1948) who sounded the ceasefire on November 11, 1918
On the "eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month" of 1918, the Allied Forces and Germany agreed an armistice to end the hostilities of the First World War.
Armistice day is typically recognised with the call of the military bugle’s Last Post, a 2 minute silence followed with the trumpet playing of the Rouse . The first is an implied summoning of the spirits of the Fallen, the second symbolises the end the day thus the period of silence becomes, in effect, a ritualized night vigil.
The UK’s national ceremony at Whitehall’s Cenotaph in London features military marching bands playing a traditional programme of music first devised in 1930 and includes Dido's Lament by Henry Purcell and Nimrod from the Enigma Variations by Edward Elgar.
We have selected images from around the world which depict the way in which music and dance - whether impromptu or organised - is often at the heart of expression for those who wish to pay tribute to the fallen as well as celebrate the laying down of arms.

WWI - An End to War, 1918 LINK
WWI - Remembrance LINK
WW1 Rememberance
Click on the image to view our selection

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To celebrate the Halloween season, we present a frightful selection of ghoulish images depicting the very best of spiritual stage appearances by...ghosts!
Featuring the classic ghosts of past, present and future in A Christmas Carol, the ominous spirits of dead foes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet and Macbeth, Alan Ayckbourn's supernatural offerings Haunting Julia and Snake in the Grass, the famous operatic spectres of Turn of the Screw, Don Giovanni and Queen of Spades, and the eerie Wilis ensemble of the tragic ballet Giselle.

And for our more nervous readers, here is a much less scary picture of a ghost from a 1958 child's play called The Haunted House featuring a very young Clarissa Dickson Wright - who went on to become one half of TV cooking duo Two Fat Ladies!
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The conductor has been a common feature of the orchestra since the mid-19th century when the baton was first raised as a means of beating time to music.
Styles may have changed over the years but the ability to become possessed by a musical piece has always been at the very heart of a great performance. Whether traditionally formal and dignified in movement - or like many late 20th century conductors - passionate and fierce in their direction, each conductor is known for their own personal style, facial expressions and body language - all key ingredients of any orchestral performance.
Below we have put together an extensive selection of images as well as highlighting 20 of our favourite conductors both past and present.
Please click on each conductor's name to view corresponding images, or click on the large image below to view our full selection.
click to open images
Felix Mendelssohn (Germany 1809-1947) - generally credited with being the first to use a light wooden baton
Hans von Bulow (Germany 1830-1894) - Wagner's one-time champion who raised the technical standard
Arthur Nikisch (Hungary 1855-1922) - the first to take a European Orchestra on tour to America
Arturo Toscanini (Italy 1867-1957) - renowned for his photographic memory, intensity and perfectionism
Leopold Stokowski (UK 1882-1977) - a free hand conductor and immortalised in Disney's Fantasia
Otto Klemperer (Germany 1885-1973) - a hugely successful career in the USA and Europe was marred by poor mental health
Herbert von Karajan (Austrian 1908-1989) - the top-selling classical music recording artist of all time
Leonard Bernstein (USA 1918 - 1990) - one of the first American born conductors to receive worldwide acclaim
Bernard Haitink (Netherlands 1929) - Music Director of the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden from 1987 to 2002
Henry Lewis (USA 1932-1996) - the first African-American to lead a major symphony orchestra (New Jersey Symphony)
Claudio Abbado (Italy 1933-2014) like Toscanini known for his photographic memory
Seiji Ozawa (Japan 1935) – caused controversy by leaving the NHK Symphony Orchestra to join the rival Japan Philharmonic Orchestra
Zubin Mehta (India 1936) - the Music Director for Life of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra
Simon Rattle (UK 1955) - conducted the London Symphony Orchestra at the Opening of the London Olympics 2012
Marin Alsop (USA 1956) - the first woman to conduct the Last Night of the Proms
Simone Young (Australia 1961) - the first female conductor at the Vienna State Opera
Edward Gardner (UK 1974) - concludes his long standing tenure as Musical Director of the English National Opera in 2015
Daniel Harding (UK 1975) - principal guest conductor of the London Symphony Orchestra since 2006
Gustavo Dudamel (Venezuela 1981) - electrified the Proms audience with the The Simón Bolívar Youth Orchestra in 2007
Robin Ticciati (UK 1983) - currently the second youngest Musical Director of Glyndebourne Festival Opera

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Images by Frazer Ashford / ArenaPAL
BEHIND THE SCENES
A look at the hidden side of Fairfield
A new photographic exhibition by Frazer Ashford

Monday 27 October to Thursday 13 November 2014
Sun Lounge, Fairfield Halls, Croydon

A new exhibition by award-winning ArenaPAL photographer Frazer Ashford can be seen at Fairfield Halls from Monday 27 October to Thursday 13 November. Titled ‘Behind the Scenes’.

Over the years, Frazer has gained unrivalled backstage access at Fairfield Halls to many of the world’s leading artists covering stage, television and music. Images in Frazer’s exhibition include Miranda Hart, Laura Cantrell, Ken Dodd, Sam Attwater, Helena Blackman and The Circus of Horrors.

Behind The Scenes is a free exhibition, located on the Sun Lounge at Fairfield Halls. www.fairfield.co.uk  

View Frazer Ashford images at ArenaPAL

 
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