July 31st 2017
GOING ROUND THE GLOBE WITH THE PHOENIX MASTERS
On 31st July the Firebirds tried a new departure: a joint Firebirds and Phoenix Masters visit to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The visit was open to both Firebirds and Phoenix Masters to join, separately or together, and there was a good attendance of over 40, the sun shone and it was great fun. Many of us met for coffee at the Swan, next door to the theatre, and it was lovely to have a bit of time to catch up with other Firebirds, and also Phoenixes of our acquaintance.
We had a very interesting tour of the theatre, which was the brainchild of Sam Wannamaker (that is, Zoë’s father) though he sadly never lived to see it completed. It is constructed as far as possible out of authentic materials and has the first thatched roof built in London since the Great Fire in 1666. We then gathered for a demonstration of stage sword-fighting skills, which was fascinating. There was, interestingly, an actress as well as an actor who showed us the various swords and daggers which are used as props. There is a whole field of study devoted to ensuring authenticity; they have swords specially made, as accurate as possible in every detail, except for the sharpness, of course. The demonstration was extremely energetic, and even if every move was carefully choreographed it looked alarmingly real and I for one would not like to have been facing either of the swordsmen.
This was followed by a splendid (and enormous) buffet lunch at nearby Dogget’s Coat and Badge who gave us a room with a brilliant view of the river and laid on a magnificent spread. For those who were interested, there was a return visit to the Globe in the afternoon to look at their excellent exhibition.