Wednesday, May 30, 2007

London research/social plans

I'm getting down to the nitty-gritty of my London research trip -- when I'll be in what libraries and when; when I'm going up to the Bodleian to look at something there; what all-important day trips I'm going to take on the weekends -- and it occured to me that I know a number of my readers have travel plans overlapping with mine, but I don't know when exactly, except in a couple of cases.

Anyway, I'll be in London from the evening of June 24 through July 20 (leaving bright and early on the 21st). There are a couple of days I'll be up in Oxford, but I'm commuting from my London digs, rather than bother moving just for a few days. And I'm hoping to take some excursions on weekends to places like Canterbury and Battle. So if you'll be there at any time overlapping with me and want to get together for lunch, dinner, drinks, or an afternoon at a museum or something, let me know. If you don't want to advertise your dates in London in the comments, then 'gmail' me at drvirago2. That includes those of you I haven't met face-to-face yet -- I'd love to meet you!

I'll have wireless access where I'm staying, though I'm not sure if the archives and libraries I'm working in will have it. (I'm actually not going to be in the most obvious big national library like many people will.) But I'm planning on getting a disposable, pay as you go cell phone once I'm there, so that should make contact easier. Once I know the number, I can e-mail it to you.

Oh, and this is a VERY important question: does anyone know if there's a London equivalent to NYC's TKTS for cheap theater tickets? I'd love to see some theater -- sorry, theatre -- while I'm there. I'm hoping to see at least one of the Shakespeare productions at the Globe, but those are pretty cheap (highest cost: 32 pounds; lowest, for a standing spot in the yard: a fiver!). I'm talking about the more expensive shows -- like, um, Spamalot (did you think I was going to say something highbrow and serious?). Just curious. And also, is there anything you think I shouldn't miss, including the London equivalent of off-Broadway (what *is* the London equivalent to that). God, I am such a New Yorker when it comes to theater. Clearly I don't have a clue.


Anniina said...

Yeah, the TKTS booth is right smack in the center of Leicester Square. But, oftentimes you can get tickets at the individual theatre for the same or cheaper price even on the day of, about 1 hr before show.

Spamalot might be a tough call - I believe they're still sold out for months, but if you keep trying, singleton tickets might on occasion crop up, and 15 mins before the show you might be able to get one at the will-call.

Feirefiz said...

I would love to get together and see a familiar face once in awhile while you're here, and I'm up for making weekend trips too. I'll be here till mid-August. My significant other is going to be here till July 2 but we're going out of town on the 28. I got email access through the BL, so emailing will work. I have a cell too and can send number through email.

I've been thinking of Spamalot myself. Unfortunately the half-price ticket booth at Leicester Square is not offering any tickets. There's the balcony seats for 20-25 pounds, and it goes up from there and quite steeply too!

Anonymous said...

If you can't find what you want at the Half-Price booth in Leicester Square, try asking for returned tickets at the theatres themselves. Often there are last-minute returns or unsold tickets that can be quite inexpensive. And some places will give you a discount as an educator, so be sure to take your school ID!

Anonymous said...

Also, some theatres (including the National Theatre) offer day seats--you turn up in the morning, queue for an hour or two, and buy a ticket for that evening. The box office generally opens at 10, meaning that you ought to turn up around 8:30 or 9. It's always worth ringing the theatre to inquire, as the seats held back are usually very cheap and often some of the best in the house.

TimeOut is the best for theatre listings (and listings in general); search the website at, or pick up a hard copy once you arrive.

"Othello" at the Globe is getting very good reviews, and I'm looking forward to the Donmar Warehouse's production of Pinter's "Betrayal", starring Toby Stephens and Sam West. And it's always worth checking out the Barbican's theatre offerings.

Finally, the London equivalent to Off-Broadway is called the Off-West End, which just doesn't have quite the same ring to it. (But the Off-Off-Broadway equivalent is called the Fringe, to make up for it.)

--a lurking London transplant

Anonymous said...

Guess you were too young to remember us getting our tickets at the half price booth - for Blood Brothers, I think.

I will be busy packing for my move or I would be tempted to take a long weekend there with you.

Have a fruitful and fun trip. (of course I will be speaking with you before you leave!)

Alison said...

I'll be there during your dates, as you probably know! I'd love to grab dinner or a show with you!

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Just look for me in the reading room. I'll be there from the 22nd. I may be accompanied by LDW until about 5 July. And I may also be looking for someone to meet up with in Oxford.

Anonymous said...

There's also a TKTS booth at the Canary Wharf DLR station - if you want to avoid lines and are out that way anyways, it's convenient. But don't go for its own sake - you could spend the transport time standing in line instead.

I'm just generally in London, except for June 28-July 1, and Leeds and the weekend after.

Dr. Virago said...

Sis -- It's not that I was particularly young; it's just that it was so long ago. If that was when we were there with V, that was now 18 years ago. And can you believe that that dreck, Blood Brothers, is STILL playing?!

Everyone - thanks for the ticket-buying advice. Obviously I didn't even know that the London version of TKTS is...TKTS! D'oh! Or that you could get last minute tickets and returns at the box office. Also, right after I posted this, I looked around on some sites and found that even at full price, London tickets are a LOT cheaper than NY ones (but discounts are still welcome). And, yes, for Spamalot I'll have to rely on returns, I suspect.

I'm hoping to see at least two of the Globe productions, one of them, for educational purposes, as a groundling. Oy. We'll see if I can stand for 3 hours. At least there I can wear my running shoes and not be look upon in total horror.

And Morgan, S., ADM, and Feirefiz -- I'll definitely have to get together with you all! Oh, and ADM and Morgan -- though I don't have manuscripts to look at in the BL, I'll probably be there anyway, reading regularl old books, as it looks like it won't take me as long to use the archives I'm working in, as what's there from the 15th c. is slim. Guess I'll just be taking a very expense way to get a lot of work done somewhere exciting! So expect to see me around.

Another Damned Medievalist said...

Oh, I won't be looking at MSS -- I'll be in the regular reading room reading books I can't get here and (I hope) glancing up now and again at LDW while we work.

Karl Steel said...

For the groundling thing, just get there early and lean on the stage from time to time. That's what I do. And, believe me, so long as you're not wearing shorts, a fanny pack, a ball cap, and a tee shirt with a franchise or some transnational clothing corporate logo on it, you'll likely be one of the best-dressed people at the show, running shoes or not.

The Pastry Pirate said...

you know how much i envy you for getting to live in london, even temporarily. grr.

Anonymous said...

I'm based in Cambridge but will likely be in London (the B. L. indeed, though also the IHR) at least once in that period, working on a Leeds paper. I don't know the city as well as I should but any help I can be or society I might lend, you can dig an e-mail address off the Fitzwilliam Museum's website for me and use it, or just comment the blog of course. Hope you enjoy the UK.

medieval woman said...

Oh, I wish I was going to be there this summer - I just got the Early Book Society conference schedule (held in Manchester this year) - darnit!

Jeffrey Cohen said...

I will be there en famille but doing some research from June 29-July 13 (flying home on Friday the 13th; yikes!) We have a flat near Tottenham Court tube station and you are welcome to stop by for a drink some evening (if you like kids) or I'll be happy to grab lunch or tea with you some other time (if you do not).