On Saturday, I watched the first showing of award-winning theatre company Antic Disposition's "Henry V" play at Middle Temple in London. "Henry V" is one of the events in the series of events taking place in London for Shakespeare400, which marks the centenary of World War 1 and 400 years since the death of William Shakespeare. (A few weeks ago, I went to see the light show on the Guildhall in the City, which I previously covered here.) The play has returned to London to Middle Temple off of Fleet Street.
The play is set in World War 1 in France. It takes place in a hospital that contains both French and British allied troops. Of course, the original play is about King Henry V and the enemy France. The play is told through the soldiers and nurses in the hospital, and it is a blend of modern and medieval times. We really enjoyed the play, and photographs from the play can be seen on the threate company's (Antic Disposition) Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/anticdisposition/
In addition to watching the adaption of the Shakespeare play "Henry V" during this important year, I also got to go inside the beautiful Middle Temple Hall. This venue was chosen in order to add to the atmosphere of the small and beautiful venue, and Shakespeare knew the hall. In fact, "Twelfth Night" was performed here in early February in 1602.
Middle Temple is one of the four associations (similar to guilds) of barristers in London. The area around the hall was where the barristers lived and stayed, and the hall was the meeting place for dinners, seminars, and other functions that the students were required to attend. The hall maintains its appearance from the time when it was built; it was built in the mid-1500s.
The interior of the hall has beautiful wooden carvings, stained glass, and paintings of kings and queens, such as Charles I, Charles II, Queen Anne, Queen Elizabeth, and William III. The pop-up bar was located in another room of the hall, and that meant that I could wander down and check out more of the beautiful building.
The pop-up bar was down a corridor with paintings and wooden panels. This led into the most beautiful room with carved ceiling and paintings. I ordered two glasses of Cava for the intermission, and bottles of wine, beer, fruit juice, and confectionery could also be purchased immediately or for the intermission.
After the show, we walked back out to Fleet Street. We arrived via the Thames, but I wanted to head to Covent Garden so walked out via the Fleet Street exit. A wooden door can be opened to access Middle Temple Lane. There are quite a few narrow walk-ways and streets off Fleet Street. This was the area for the newspapers and publishing and courts with the Royal Courts of Justice virtually across the road. The London School of Economics is also near.
"Henry V" is being shown in Middle Temple Hall until April 6. This is a fantastic way to admire the beautiful building and to watch a magical play in the beautiful setting.