This Week in London – Musical theatre at the V&A; getting spooky at Hampton Court and the Tower; and, Bill Brandt at Tate Britain…

Costume for Eliza Doolittle in Lerner and Lowe’s musical My Fair Lady, designed by Cecil Beaton, worn by Julie Andrews, Theatre Royal, Drury Lane, 1958. Given bythe Friends of the Victoria and Albert Museum.© Cecil BeatonImage courtesy of Victoria and Albert Museum, London

The glittering world of musical theatre is at the centre of a new exhibition which opened at the V&A in South Kensington recently. Re:Imagining Musicals showcases some 100 objects, most being displayed for the first time, with highlights including Paul O’Grady’s Miss Hannigan costume from Annie, new costume acquisitions from SIX the MusicalEverybody’s Talking About JamieMoulin Rouge! The MusicalCompany, and A Chorus Line, the rarely displayed beaded gown designed by Cecil Beaton which was worn by Julie Andrews in My Fair Lady in 1958; the toy Olaf puppet from Frozen the Musical, and an original poster from the off-Broadway premiere of Hamilton signed by the cast and creatives. There’s also a 1965 original cast recording of Hello Dolly! signed by Carol Channing, Bunny Christie’s Olivier and Critics’ Circle award winning costume design, model and costume for Rosalie Craig as Bobbie in the 2019 West End revival of Company and Shakespeare’s first folio, which celebrates its 400th anniversary in 2023. The free display can be seen in the Theatre and Performance Galleries until 27th November, 2023. For more, see

Base Court and cloisters dressed for the Halloween ghost trail at Hampton Court Palace. PICTURE: © Historic Royal Palaces.

Visitors to Hampton Court Palace and the Tower of London are being invited to explore some of the properties’ spookiest stories in the lead-up to Halloween. Until 30th October, visitors to Hampton Court are able to explore the stories of everyone from King James I to tormented wives to Tudor trumpeters with special effects including mystical projections and eerie sound effects. Meanwhile, until 31st October, visitors can follow in the footsteps of infamous prisoners at the Tower of London with “spooky decorations, spine-tingling sound effects, and rooms transformed to tell terrifying tales about past inhabitants” while ghostly figures such as the Welsh Prince Gruffydd ap Llywelyn and King Henry VIII’s ill-fatded wife Anne Boleyn wander the grounds. Admission charges apply. For more, see

Bill Brandt – Woman Swimming
Tate. Accepted by HM Government in lieu of inheritance tax from the Estate of Barbara Lloyd and allocated to Tate 2009 © The Estate of Bill Brandt.

The work of British photographer Bill Brandt (1904-83) is the subject of a new exhibition at Tate Britain on Millbank. Bill Brandt: Inside the Mirror features 44 original photographs from across his career are displayed alongside the magazines and photobooks in which these images were most often seen. Brandt was first known as a photojournalist, renowned in the 1930s for his observations of British life, and later for his landscapes, portraits and nudes. Highlights include Woman Swimming (pictured), Hail, Hell & Halifax and his handmade photobook ‘A Dream’ – which is being exhibited for the first time. Runs until 15th January. Admission is free. For more, see

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Around London – Skating at a palace or a tower?; British Military Tournament; and, new blue plaques

Christmas is looming and snow and ice have been besieging London. But there’s plenty you can do to keep warm, including visiting one of the many ice skating venues about the city. Among those with a particularly historic location are rinks at Hampton Court (located against the backdrop of the palace’s west front, it’s open until 9th January – see website for ticket prices and times), in the moat of the Tower of London (also open until 9th January, see website for ticket prices and times), and at Somerset House (open until 23rd January, see website for ticket prices and times).

The British Military Tournament 2010 will be held at Earl’s Court this weekend. The programme features 500 troops, 145 horses, military bands, the field gun run and will include a re-enactment of a combat incident in Afghanistan involving recently returned troops. Presented by ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, with performances on both Saturday and Sunday. For more information – including booking information, see

New blue plaques have been unveiled in London marking the former homes of speed daredevils Sir Malcolm Campbell and his son Donald, and ground-breaking photographer Bill Brandt. The plaque for the Campbells, who between them set 10 land speed records and 11 water speed records, is located at Canbury School in Kingston-upon-Thames – Sir Malcolm moved here in 1919, married to Dorothy Whittall the following year, and, Donald was born here in 1921. The family moved in 1922 to Surrey. The plaque for German-born Brandt, meanwhile, was unveiled at 4 Airlie Gardens in Campden Hill. He lived here with his second wife Marjorie Beckett from 1958 and family members still live in the home. Some of his nudes were taken inside. For more information, visit