War-Horse

Joey, the puppet horse used in the West End play War Horse, has taken up a new home at the V&A in South Kensington. Created by the Handspring Puppet Company for the National Theatre’s adaption of Michael Morpurgo’s novel, Joey appeared in more than 1,640 shows since his debut at the New London Theatre on 28th March, 2009. He will now be housed in the V&A’s Theatre and Performance Gallery in a specially created display which shows how the puppet was operated on stage and features three mannequin puppeteers to illustrate the process. Joey was donated by Adrian Kohler and Basil Jones of South Africa’s Handspring Puppet Company who designed and created the puppets used in War Horse. War Horse, which continues its run at the New London Theatre, has been seen by more than four million people. For more, see www.vam.ac.uk. PICTURE: Joey at the V&A operated by Nicholas Hart (Head), Stuart Angell (Heart), Thomas Goodridge (Hind). © Victoria and Albert Museum, London. 

 

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• This weekend London host’s the 10th Liberty Festival, a showcase of deaf and disabled artists. Free events – including live music, dance, street theatre, film and cabaret – are being held at several locations across the city over Saturday, Sunday and Monday, including in Trafalgar Square, the National Theatre, South Bank Centre, BFI Southbank and Picture, the Mayor of London’s Live Site at Potters Fields Park next to City Hall on the south bank of The Thames. Highlights of the event – a centrepiece of the Paralympic celebrations – include a “cabaret showcase of comedy, film and music” at Royal Festival Hall on Saturday, and a “jazz, blues and R&B spectacular” at BT London Live Trafalgar Square on Sunday. This year’s event, produced by the Mayor of London with Greenwich+Docklands Festivals, coincides with Unlimited, the London 2012 Festival’s showcase of disabled artists. For more details, see www.molpresents.com/liberty. For more on BT London Live Trafalgar Square, see www.btlondonlive.com.

• If you go down the woods (read Royal Parks) today…you will find a Teddy Bear’s picnic! Royal Parks is inviting children up to the age of 12 to attend three Teddy Bear’s picnics it’s holding in Richmond Park and Bushy Park this week. While one event has already gone (it was held yesterday), there’s still two to go – one at the Kingston Gate Playground in Richmond Park from 11.30am to 3.30pm today, and another at the Bushy Park Playground between 11.30am and 3.30pm tomorrow (Friday). Both afternoons feature free craft activities, games and a “best dressed ted” competition. For more, see www.royalparks.org.uk.

Tragedy on the Thames: Princess Alice Disaster. This talk at the London Metropolitan Archives looks at an event which took place on 3rd September, 1878 when a day trip to Rosherville Pleasure Gardens in Gravesend turned to tragedy with more than 650 people dead after a collision on the Thames. The talk will discuss the coroner’s inquests and witness accounts before looking at some original documents held at the LMA. The free event is held on Monday from 2pm to 3pm. Booking essential (020 7332 3851). For more on the LMA, follow this link.

Westminster Abbey has unveiled a new website showing how the spectacular Cosmati pavement was brought back to life in a two year restoration project. The 13th century floor mosaic, which covers the floor in front of the High Altar, was hidden under carpets for more than 100 years before the restoration work was carried out. The new website features more than 40 films showing all elements of the restoration and interviews with experts about the pavement as well as an interactive map of the pavement. For more, see www.westminster-abbey.org/conservation. You can also see our Treasures of London article on the pavement here.

• On Now: Animal Crackers – A Cartoon and Comic Bestiary. This exhibition at the Cartoon Museum in Bloomsbury features characters including Mickey Mouse, Wallace and Gromit, Fred Basset and Rupert Bear as well as icons like the American Eagle, Russian Bear and financial Fat Cat and joke cartoons from publications including Punch, Private Eye, The Spectator and many national newspapers. More than 140 cartoons, caricatures, comics and graphic novels, created by more than 60 artists, are included in the display. Runs until 21st October. Admission charge applies. For more, see www.cartoonmuseum.org.

• Tens of thousands of people are expected to join London Mayor Boris Johnson for the annual Sky Ride this Sunday. The event, organised by the Mayor of London, Sky and British Cycling in partnership with Transport for London, allows people to cycle a 11.6 kilometre route through the city centre minus the usual car traffic. The circular route, which takes in Westminster Bridge, the Mall and Buckingham Palace, Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, will be vehicle-free between 9.30am and 4.30pm. Last year more than 85,000 took part. For more information, seewww.goskyride.com/london.

• The Imperial War Museum is marking the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks in the US with a new photographic exhibition showing artefacts recovered after the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York. Memory Remains, which opened on 26th August and runs until 26th February, is a photographic exploration of Hangar 17 – a previously empty hanger at John F. Kennedy Airport in New York where debris and material retrieved from the 16 acre World Trade Center site were stored. It features images taken by Spanish-American artist Francesc Torres, who was commissioned by the National September 11 Memorial & Museum to capture what was happening inside the hangar and granted special access to do so. The exhibition is being accompanied by another at Imperial War Museum North in Manchester. In the Spotlight: Remembering 9/11, which runs from 10th September until September next year, features artefacts from the World Trade Center including a British flag which was laid on the altar in St Paul’s Cathedral on the first anniversary of the attacks. Admission to both exhibitions is free. For more information, see www.iwm.org.uk.

South Bank hosts the Liberty festival, an annual showcase by deaf and disabled artists, this Saturday. The festival, which will take place at two sites – the Southbank Centre and the National Theatre, will feature a mix of music, dance, street theatre, comedy, circus performances and aerial displays. Highlights include Mark Smith’s Deaf Men Dancing, performance artist Bobby Baker, Jean-Marie Akkerman’s Cirque Nova featuring four disabled aerial artists, and Kazzum, who produce theatrical work for children up to 16-years-old. The event is free. For more information, see www.london.gov.uk/liberty.

The British Library and BiblioLabs have launched a new 19th century historical collection app for iPad users. The app (which costs £1.99 a month or $US2.99 for those outside the UK and is available through Apple’s App Store) allows users to explore historical and antiquarian books including classic novels, original accounts by Victorian travellers, books on science and poetry, memoirs and military histories. Around 45,000 titles are initially available with a further 15,000 to be added by the end of the year.

On Now: Freedom from: modern slavery in the capital. A new exhibition looking at the reality of trafficking and forced labour has opened at the Museum of London and the Museum of London Docklands – the museum first cross-site exhibition. Created in partnership with Anti-Slavery International and coinciding with the launch of its Slavery-Free London campaign, the exhibition looks at the personal impact of human trafficking and slavery in 21st century London and includes personal testimonies such as that of ‘Gheeta’ who was trafficked from India and forced into work. It also features a series of large scale photographs by Chris Steele-Perkins of Magnum Photos. Runs until 20th November. Admission is free. For more information, see www.museumoflondon.org.uk.

• Horace Walpole’s Georgian Gothic villa Strawberry Hill will reopen its doors this weekend after a £9 million restoration project. The house at Twickenham in west London was built between 1747 and 1792 had fallen into such a state of disrepair that it had been listed as one of the world’s most endangered heritage sites in 2004. The son of Sir Robert Walpole, Britain’s first prime minister, Walpole built the house as a summer getaway and created an architectural masterpiece incorporating the features of cathedrals into the property. For more information, see www.strawberryhillhouse.org.uk.

• Walking charity, the Ramblers is holding a Films on Foot festival celebrating London’s film heritage this October. The festival, which runs from 13th to 28th October, coincides with the 54th Times BFI London Film Festival and will feature 16 free “films on foot” walks taking in different areas around London which have been used in films. The walks will start every weekday at 7pm and every weekend at 1.30pm (you simply have to turn up at the starting place to take part). There is also a self-guided film walk along South Bank available for download. For more about the festival, see www.ramblers.org.uk/walkthemes/filmsonfoot/

Animals from across London feature in a new exhibition at National Theatre. A London Bestiary features the work of photographer Ianthe Ruthven who has captured some of the most famous and lesser known animals around London – everything from the lions guarding Nelson’s Column to the statue of a dog in Highgate cemetery and an elephant and camel from the Albert Memorial. Runs until 31st October. For more information, see www.nationaltheatre.org.uk/60094/exhibitions/a-london-bestiary.html.