Back in March, the Victoria and Albert Museum – home of the theatre and performance galleries which once housed part of their collection in the Theatre Museum, Covent Garden – opened its doors on a Friday evening for a series of theatrically-based events. Some were more successful than others: a “cardboard representation of the West End” turned out to be less the meticulous recreation of some of Theatreland’s most magnificent architecture, more a load of upturned cardboard cubes loosely arranged along walkways that claimed, and failed, to emulate the layout of W1 roads.
One of the definite highlights of that evening, though, was cramming into the museum’s Lydia and Manfred Gorvy Lecture Theatre to hear Timothy West and his son, Samuel, read from an original Shakespeare First Folio book. It was a presentation that clearly asserted the theatre and performance galleries’ determination to be an intrinsic part of the V&A – something that many people, myself included, worried may not happen when the Theatre Museum closed.
One thing that the V&A’s Covent Garden venue allowed but which the South Kensington museum has traditionally not is the possibility of regular live theatrical performances. So the fact that this week the same lecture theatre at the V&A is playing host to a production brings pleasure by sheer virtue of the booking alone. The fact that it’s an unmissable piece of theatre helps too.
Back in March, the Victoria and Albert Museum – home of the theatre and performance gallerie…