Simon's mother Yvonne passed away on April 9th this year. The funeral was held on June 11th at Sacred Heart Church, Quex Road, in Kilburn
Here is Simon's eulogy:
Yvonne Marie Guise was born an astonishing 96 years ago, in 1919, at the end of the First World War, just before the signing of the Treaty Of Versailles, which contained within it, as we now know, the seeds of the Second World War. So she grew up and came to womanhood in those terrible times which saw the Great Crash and the rise of the European dictators. She and her older brother Tony and her younger sister Marie, who all might have expected a decent education, were each of them at work by the age of 16, Marie at 15. Their father Jules, who was Danish, an engineer and an inventor, never worked at all during the 1930’s, at the end of which, at the age of 42, he suddenly died. Their mother, Vera, who was of German stock, had been a singer – she sang at the Royal Albert Hall at the official celebrations for the end of World War I – was, till they went to work, the family’s only breadwinner – genteelly brought up, she cooked and scrubbed in underground kitchens, she sold watches across the country, she had a disastrous go at running a bed and breakfast establishment.
The girls, my mother and my aunt, became typists, working in a secretarial agency in Victoria, where they were brusquely addressed by their surnames and worked long and arduous hours. Both of them were clever young women – they attended the London Oratory Grammar School, which I went to 30 years later – but neither had the education they longed for. They dreamed of other lives – my mother wanted to be a journalist – but economic reality kept them down. And then, when my mother was twenty, the Second World war broke out and that defined their lives not only for the next six years, but for ever more. Technically, they were Danish, like their father, though neither spoke the language, and their passports were stamped Alien; for a while they were limited in what they could do, though both eventually became fire-fighters during the Blitz; their brother Tony was called up and died in the last days of hostilities. But the war with its constant threat of instant death was a time to seize life with both hands, and Yvonne plunged into the hectic round of parties and pleasure that her mother laid on for the boys on leave. Yvonne was attractive and witty, but very much, even at that young age, her own woman; she kept the boys at arm’s length, mercilessly mocking and teasing them.
Then, in 1944, rather against her better judgement, she married her brother’s best friend, my father, Neil Callow, a lively, sensuous, gregarious man, who was posted to Africa for the North Africa landings. While there, he fell in love with Africa, and at the end of the war she joined him there, in Freetown in Sierra Leone, and they led the unimaginably exotic lives of colonial expats – a life of comfort, of servants, of free-flowing booze and plentiful food – until Yvonne became pregnant for the first time and returned to Austerity Britain, severely rationed and devastated by 6 gruelling years of war. Neil joined her for the birth of their daughter, Gabrielle, who was turned out to have a rare blood disease which led to her early death at 18 months old, a tragedy they overcame by having a second child as soon as possible, which was me. She was 30. Again, Neil returned to England for the birth, but the lure of Africa and the possibility of earning good money there was too strong for him to resist and he went back. That was the end of her marriage, though she didn’t know it till he failed to return at end of his 18 months’ tour.
Her life and in some ways her personality changed as a result of that shocking rupture and the loss of a man she had come to love. Her Catholicism, always strong, became ever more deeply entrenched; she refused to entertain the idea of divorce and resigned herself to being single till the day either he or she died. Always pleasantly rounded, she now went on a severe diet which she then maintained for the rest of her life, and single-mindedly addressed the question of bringing up her child. First of all, she had to try to make ends meet. She was only fitfully supported by my father, but she successfully pursued a career as a secretary, making sure that I was fed and clothed and properly educated: she had very clear ideas about how to do things, guided by the egregious Dr Benjamin Spock and his theories of child-raising: I was not to be indulged in any way, but was to be offered constant mental stimulation – we went on a ceaseless round of visits to museums, galleries, events – she took me down to Chartwell to catch a glimpse of the ancient Churchill, she arranged trips to National Trust properties. If we saw a film, it an improving one, like Walt Disney’s The Vanishing Prairie. I was not an easy child to handle – emotional, exhibitionistic, uncontrollably energetic – but she stuck to her programme for me. Discipline was fierce – she was not above using a much-feared hairbrush for severe spankings – but there were visits to the cinema and very occasionally to the theatre by way of compensation. Above all she instilled in me the idea of achievement: no day should pass without something to show for it – something learned, something made, something mastered.
She took a job as a school secretary in a wildly eccentric private school in Berkshire largely because my education would be thrown in as part payment for her services. For me it was a life-changing two years of country-living and for her an introduction to Spanish culture (the headmaster was a passionate Hispanophile, having fought in the Spanish Civil War – on the side of the Fascists) and it led her to teach herself Spanish, toiling night after night over her Assimil textbooks and the accompanying gramophone records. When I was seven, she took herself off to Madrid to become governess to a Spanish family; I stayed, very happily, with my rather indulgent grandmothers, for the few months she was away. When she came back, earlier than expected, we moved back to South London; she found a job working at the Nigerian embassy where she was the London secretary of Chief Anthony Enahoro; this meant that I was kitted out with a variety of African robes and embroidered caps and the bedsit in Streatham was draped with exotic blankets and ivory carvings.
And then, when I was 9, and she was 39, astonishingly, my father got in touch to suggest that he and Yvonne should resume their married life – she and I should join him in Central Africa where he now lived. As a devout Catholic, believing that he was still her husband, though they had not seen each other for 5 years, she complied and we took the three-day flight to Kenya, where he picked us up and drove us all the way down to the tiny town of Fort Jameson in what was then Northern Rhodesia.
It was a disaster from the beginning. My father clearly had no intention of resuming his marriage: he was trying to get her to desert him, which eventually she did. With astonishing strength of mind and and resourcefulness, she overcame the anxiety of being effectively stranded in the middle of that huge continent, and moved us to the capital, Lusaka, where she worked as a high-flying government secretary. And still she was determined that I should be mentally and imaginatively stimulated. We went off on Safari; we took trips to nearby beauty spots; she arranged for me to go up in a bi-plane with a colleague of hers, terrifying but tremendous. She bought a car and learned to drive. Or rather, she passed her driving test, having broken down in tears when she was failed, and so began a reign of terror for local drivers, as she drive into ditches and knocked down fences. I meanwhile was packed off to school in South Africa; my father’s alimony was always intermittent and she soon had to withdraw me, as I had been withdrawn from various schools over the years; but eventually, triumphantly, she engineered our return to England in 1962, three years after we had left it.
Back to South London we went. She secured a place for me at the London Oratory Grammar School, by dint of constant pleading, and did everything she could to focus my mind on the studies which would lead to my getting a place at university, her single goal for me. She carried on with her secretarial career: when she worked for a shirt company, I learned the pleasures of hand-made shirts; and when she went to work for Freemans mail order, all sorts of other bonuses came my way. But these were very difficult years for us: a constant struggle with her trying to assert her authority and me become more and more wilful, less and less prepared to accept the limitations she tried to place on me.
She was very much one her own. She had cool feelings towards her family, and was not a woman who made friends. She would go on adventurous trips with the Church, but she kept herself to herself; as long as my father was alive, she never had a relationship with another man, and by the time he died, in 1971, it was too late. Nor would she have wanted it: her independence was the thing she prized above all else. She took herself off to concerts, to galleries, to exhibitions; she avidly watched the television – documentaries only. She had no time for fiction of any kind, which she regarded as a species of lying. She particularly had no time for Shakespeare, whose popularity she regarded as a conspiracy by an intellectual mafia of actors and directors and producers. Poetry in general, she said, was the longest way of saying the least.
She was not best pleased, to put it mildly, when I decided to leave university to become an actor, but she said, typically, that though she would never give me a penny in support, and though she was certain I had no talent whatever, nonetheless she thought I should do it because if I didn’t I would regret it for the rest of my life.
She knew what it was to regret.
She took only limited pleasure in my success as an actor, cheering up a bit when I started writing books and directing, both of which she regarded as proper, grown-up jobs.
She gave up working as a secretary at the first possible moment, when she was 60, and withdrew to the countryside. This proved too isolated for her, so I got her a flat in Croydon, sufficiently rural and within easy striking distance of London, where three or four times a week she would go, either to the latest exhibition at the Royal Academy or to Westminster Cathedral for mass or benediction: her mother’s brother-in-law John Francis Bentley was the architect of the cathedral, though that sort of thing – family connections – never impressed her. She went to church to further her very intense and very personal relationship with her god, in whom she believed with a simple and literal faith. God the father, that is: I don’t know that she had much feeling for Jesus or Mary or the Holy Ghost. No, it was the Old Testament God, severe and all-knowing, whom she adored, daily awaiting, as she often told me, the day when she would die, go to heaven, and sit on his knee while he explained to her all the aspects of his creation that baffled her – why her 18-month old daughter had been snatched from her, why she had married the wrong man, why she had had to toil so unceasingly – why there was suffering, why there was injustice.
It was ten years ago that her mind collapsed, suddenly, overnight, after a long period of paranoia and fear for her life. Overnight, she lost her identity – her past disappeared like the hard disk of a broken computer. Then all the fixed points of her universe – God, the Church, me – lost all reality for her. And yet, though she increasingly lost the power of speech and the ability to function, there was a force of personality there, which impressed everyone who came across her – a huge inner force – and though she sat for hours in silence between meals, she always seemed to be thinking, trying to resolve some huge problem, it seemed to me. I sometimes thought that when she solved the problem, she would allow herself to die. She hung on and on, thinking furiously. And then in April this year, she let go. I like to think – I can only hope – that she’d finally solved the problem.
Some years ago, when she still had the power of speech, though she was not often able to make sense, she was vouchsafed one of those rare moments of lucidity that sometimes comes to those afflicted with this terrible condition. I came into the day room in her residential care home, and found her sleeping. I woke her up, and she suddenly smiled, a warm and happy smile, glad to see me. “How are you?” she asked, which was a rare question since she had disappeared into her own world. “Well,” I said, “busy – busy as you always were, working hard, as you always did.” I tried as I had so often done to bring her back to who she had been, what she’d done. “You worked so hard, you were a wonderful secretary, oh yes, I have all the glowing testimonials your bosses gave you whenever you left a job.” She smiled again, another radiant smile. “Really?” she said. “You mean I was of some worth?” “Oh, yes, I said, great worth, you did wonderfully well.” “I’ve often wondered,” she said. “Sometimes I don’t know who I was. I’m so glad.” And then I lost her again. But that moment, that knowledge of who she was – of what she’d done - of how she’d toiled against so many obstacles – of what an honourable, determined life she’d lived – I hope that was with her when she died. She was dealt a lousy hand of cards by life, in many ways. But she played them to the utmost of her abilities, and she deserves our honour and respect. And love.
In a bold and expert performance that makes no concessions to an actor’s vanity or an audience’s sympathy, the august British actor Simon Callow portrays — no, fully inhabits — Pauline in Emmanuel Darley’s “Tuesdays at Tesco’s.
Simon was part of the team that recorded the soundtrack for the campaign to regenerate Legal Aid
‘Outlander’ 1×10 Recap: Put Up Your Dukes
The official teaser trailer for the eagerly anticipated Creditors has been released, take a look here:
We are very excited to announce that Simon will be performing in Tuesdays at Tesco’s in New York City from May 14th to June 7th, 2015.
Simon is going to be in HBO's pilot for Alan Ball’s new series, Virtuoso. Shooting next month in Budapest. Virtuoso is period drama set against the complex and volatile backdrop of 18th century Vienna.
Saturday 28th February.
Simon will be appearing on the Ant and Dec show: Saturday Night Takeaway this weekend on ITV at 7pm.
On February 26th, Simon starts filming an Indy feature called Golden Years, with Bernard Hill, Virginia Mckennaan and Alun Armstrong. Directed and written by John Miller.
On Tuesday February 24th, Simon is presenting the world-wide broadcast of The Flying Dutchman from the Royal Opera House.
On Sunday February 15th at 3pm, Simon is doing a concert in Birmingham with the City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra. The music is by Elgar and Shostakovich.
February 3rd 2015, Simon will be in the recording studio to record texts with the BBC Concert Orchestra conducted by John Andrews. The music is Sir Arthur Sullivan's incidental music for the tempest and Macbeth.
On Friday January 30th at 18:30, Simon will be giving the Awards at the Royal United Hospital's annual get-together in the Assembly Rooms, Bath.
Simon Callow pays tribute to film-maker Mike Nichols
Their first meeting, a script reading for Postcards from the Edge, felt like a reunion. Simon Callow looks back at his 25-year friendship with director Mike Nichols, who died last week
Simon Callow: The Golden Age of Pantomime
Never underestimate the power of a heavyset hero in fishnet tights. Panto has long provided the heart, soul and high camp of the festive season. How did it all begin?
A Christmas Carol, Houston Grand Opera, Wortham Theater Center, Houston, Texas — NEW review
The tradition of performing A Christmas Carol as a one-man show goes back to Dickens himself and continues with contemporary practitioners such as Patrick Stewart and Gerald Dickens. Now it has inspired a brilliant new opera by the young British composer Iain Bell, with a libretto by the actor, director and Dickens expert Simon Callow and a performance of astounding stamina and vigour by the tenor Jay Hunter Morris. Don’t expect jolly holiday entertainment, although the new Christmas Carol is amply heartwarming in its own entrancing way.
We have added a new section to the website. Please find 'Diary' located on the top information bar.
Here you will find a complete schedule of Simon's appearances past, present and coming soon!
The Man Jesus - UK tour
|10 & 11 Sep||Salford Quays||The Lowry||0843 208 6000|
|12 Sep||Horsham||Capitol||01403 750220|
|13 Sep||Bideford||Devon Hall||01805 624624|
|14 Sep||Exeter||Northcott||01392 493493|
|16 Sep||Brighton||Theatre Royal||0844 871 7650|
|17 Sep||Aylesbury||Waterside||0844 871 7607|
|18 & 19 Sep||Southend||Palace||01702 351135|
|20 Sep||Newport||Riverfront||01633 656679|
|21 Sep||Richmond||Theatre||0844 871 7651|
|23 & 24 Sep||Mold||Theatr Clwyd||0845 330 3565|
|25 Sep||Dundee||Rep||01382 223530|
|26 Sep||Musselburgh||Brunton||0131 6652240|
|27 Sep||Berwick||Maltings||01289 330 999|
|28 Sep||Lincoln||PAC||01522 837600|
|29 Sep||Bromley||Churchill||08448 717 620|
|01 Oct||Leicester||Curve||0116 242 3595|
|02 Oct||Darlington||Civic||01325 486555|
|03 Oct||Southport||Atkinson||01704 533333|
|05 Oct||Cheltenham||Everyman||01242 572573|
|06 Oct||London||Lyric||0844 482 9674|
|07 Oct||York||Grand Opera House||0844 871 3024|
|9 – 11 Oct||Guildford||Yvonne Arnaud||01483 440000|
|12 Oct||Leeds||West Yorkshire Playhouse||0113 213 7700|
|13 Oct||Milton Keynes||Theatre||0844 871 7652|
|15 Oct||Neath||Gwyn Hall||0300 365 6677|
|16 Oct||Halesworth||Festival||01986 872000|
|17 Oct||Spalding||South Hollland Centre||01775 764777|
|19 Oct||Plymouth||Theatre Royal||01752 267222|
|20 Oct||London||artsdepot||0208 369 5454|
|21 Oct||Canterbury||Marlowe||01227 787787|
|22 Oct||Woking||New Victoria||0844 871 7645|
|24 Oct||Bridport||Electric Palace||01308 424901|
|25 Oct||Malvern||Festival Theatre||01684 892277|
|27 Oct||Harrogate||Theatre||01423 502 116|
|28 Oct||Bristol||Tobacco Factory||0117 902 0344|
|30 Oct||Dublin||Pavilion Theatre||01 231 2929|
|31 Oct||Coleraine||Riverside Theatre||028 70 123 123|
|01 Nov||Limerick||Lime Tree Theatre||061 774774|
|02 Nov||Cork||Everyman||021 450 1673|
|03 Nov||Northampton||Theatre Royal||01604 624811|
|04 Nov||Oxford||Playhouse||01865 305305|
Various dates and venues. See www.themanjesus.co.uk for details.
Ros Povey, Zoë Simpson and Seabright Productions present Simon Callow in the Lyric Theatre Belfast production of The Man Jesus by Matthew Hurt
Directed by Joseph Alford
This extraordinary play looks back two thousand years to witness key moments in the life of ‘the man Jesus’, through the eyes of the people who knew him.
Simon Callow, one of Britain's best-loved actors, performs this fresh and moving account of biblical stories including the raising of Lazarus, the wedding at Cana and the journey to Jerusalem. His powerful portrayal of the tyrants, traitors and madmen in Jesus’ life asks people of all faiths and none: what sort of a man was able to inspire the history of the world?
Thought-provoking, thrilling and full of wit, this production premiered to great acclaim at Belfast’s Lyric Theatre, and now embarks on a strictly limited UK tour.
‘Callow renews our sense of wonder at the son of man and his story.’
'Callow and Hurt manage to keep us gripped.’
‘Callow is stunning.’
IN LONDON THIS WEEK!
26th to 30th of August at St. James Theatre
Directed by Simon Stokes
Adapted by Richard Quick
From a translation by Peter Green
Simon Callow does stand-up comedy – filthy, scabrous, politically incorrect – as he lambasts foreigners, plutocrats, women, gays – as delivered last in Rome AD 100.
Juvenal was one angry white middle-class male. In Juvenalia he tells it like it was. And is.
‘A comic delight … Callow comes on like a foul-tempered and thoroughly vicious Woody Allen’
‘The observation and lyricism delight and resonate’
For tickets and information: LINK
Houston Grand Opera
Running from the 5th to 21st of December
A Christmas Carol
When Charles Dickens' novella A Christmas Carol appeared in 1843, it delighted Victorian London and still inspires imaginations today.
Iain Bell, a promising young British composer, has written a captivating score to a libretto by Simon Callow, the renowned film and stage actor. Remembered for roles in films like A Room with a View and Four Weddings and a Funeral, Callow has also played Ebenezer Scrooge and Dickens himself on the screen.
Together, they have penned a spellbinding, intensely theatrical experience for HGO's intimate Cullen Theater. The opera is a true tour de force - a one man show - with Houston favorite Anthony Dean Griffey as the narrator of this beloved fable. We will, without doubt, leave the theater with a deeper understanding of the holiday each time we say, "Merry Christmas."
The Narrator - Anthony Dean Griffey
The Narrator - Kevin Ray (Dec. 17 and 20)
Conductor - Warren Jones
Director - Simon Callow
Set & Costume Designer - Laura Hopkins
Lighting Designer - Mark McCullough
Houston Grand Opera Orchestra
Phony politicians, flashy oligarchs, gay marriage. As Simon Callow takes his one-man show to Edinburgh, he explores the timeless bite of Juvenal's Satires...
With its comic intrigues and double cross-dressing, as well as its longing for a vanished world, this is Strauss's most successful and satisfying opera...
Edinburgh Festival and London
Directed by Simon Stokes, Adapted by Richard Quick, Translated by Peter Green.
Riverside Studios, London:
Tues 17- Tues 22 July 7.30pm
Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh
Jul 31, Aug 1-5, 7-10, 12-17, 19-25 at 3.30pm
St James Theatre
Tues 26-Sat 30 Aug, 7.30pm (matinee performances at 2.30pm on Thurs 28th and Sat 30th
Simon Callow does stand-up comedy. Filthy, foul-mouthed, viciously funny, and deeply politically incorrect. The target: immigrants, plutocrats, women, gays. As last delivered in Rome AD 100. Juvenal was one angry white middle class male. In Juvenilia he tells it like it was. And is. The Writer, Juvenal born circa ad 55, wrote sixteen satires that attacked the decadence of Rome in its heyday. Here adapted by Richard Quick we are given a view into the moral decline that is as relevant now, as it was back then.
Following the critically acclaimed sell-out concert, Ivor Novello – The Great British Musical, award-winning Musical Director Ross Leadbeater and The Novello Singers return to the St James Theatre for a limited 3 performances only with a new theatrical concert celebrating the best of The Great British Musicals.
Narrated by BBC Radio 4 Just A Minute host Nicholas Parsons CBE (Friday and Saturday Eve) and Stage and Screen legend Simon Callow CBE (Saturday Matinee) this is a not-to-be-missed opportunity to enjoy a ‘glamorous night’ at St James Theatre with Ross Leadbeater and The Novello Singers – a newly established eight-voice musical theatre ensemble.
The concert celebrates the works of Gilbert and Sullivan, Lionel Monckton, Vivien Ellis, Noel Coward, Ivor Novello, Lionel Bart, Leslie Bricusse and Andrew Lloyd Webber, and features a special First World War centenary tribute to Ivor Novello’s 1914 composition ‘Keep the Home Fires Burning’.
30 June 2014
Join us for a theatrical exploration of Beethoven through his music and letters. Intense emotion, psychological drama and the Academy of St Martin in the Field's signature interpretation of Beethoven provide "as edge of a seat experience as you will find", featuring award-winning screen and stage actor Simon Callow, Inon Barnatan and in a change to the previously published line-up, Jack Liebeck (director/violin).
Seventy years ago, in July 1944, with the most disastrous war in history in its death-throes, a secret meeting took place in a hotel deep in the forests of New Hampshire. Bankers and economists from over forty nations met to draw up a settlement to save the world economy and secure the peace. Everything depended on two men - John Maynard Keynes and Harry Dexter White, played in this new play by Simon Callow as Keynes and Henry Goodman as White.
Featuring a star-studded array of storytellers like Harry Enfield, Sally Phillips, Richard Hammond, Sarah Solemani, Rebecca Front, Kevin Eldon, Hugh Dennis, Jessica Hynes, Sharon Horgan, Jack Dee, Stephen Mangan and Charlie Higson, this brand new and exclusive Dave original taps into a bygone age of television storytelling. But this time, instead of the cosiness of the original it took inspiration from, Crackanory is packed full of darkly funny yarns that are firmly set in the cut and thrust of 21st century life.
Each episode features two 15-minute tales narrated by some of the best names in comedy and featuring some special guests, while these unique stories are brought to life with a mix of live action and animation. Simon will be appearing in the second series, due for release later in the year.
We’re thrilled to announce that Simon Callow is confirmed as the narrator for the performance of Tarik O’Regan’s Suite from the Heart of Darkness on Wednesday 14 May at BBC Hoddinott Hall.
The Suite is extrapolated from O’Regan’s opera of the same name based on the novella by Joseph Conrad. The spoken text for the narrator is based on the libretto written by Tom Phillips. An added bonus is the post-concert talk which will see Callow joining O’Regan and Phillips in conversation with broadcaster Nicola Heywood-Thomas.
Full details of the concert, given by BBC National Orchestra of Wales, can be found:
Simon Callow concludes Newsnight's celebration of Shakespeare's 450th birthday playing Prospero, from The Tempest.
Director: Ben Cura
Producer: Cuibar Productions (ES) /Tough Dance (GB)
A love triangle is unraveled when a painter whose career and marriage are in decline is approached by an admirer and eased into making sense of his troubled relationship with his wife. The movie is based on the original play by August Strindberg (recently revived at the Donmar in 2008 in London and at the B.A.M. in 2010 in New York).
Simon plays Chloe Fleury’s literary agent John Allen. John is seen at her book-launch party on Osea Island approaching Freddie Lynch, a famous young painter. Freddie’s earlier accidental encounter with Chloe, in a remote corner of the island, has left a mark on him - which John can sense. He uses this to take advantage of a photo-op with the two - which will eventually segue, Chloe’s husband being absent, into adultery.
But what about the little guys, the wasters - new to the big city, stuck in office jobs, unable to get the girls?
Plebs follows three desperate young men from the suburbs as they try to get laid, hold down jobs and climb the social ladder in the big city – a city that happens to be Ancient Rome.
The series stars Tom Rosenthal (Friday Night Dinner), Joel Fry (White Van Man) and Ryan Sampson (After You’ve Gone) as the three young men – Marcus, Stylax and their lazy slave with an attitude problem, Grumio.
Simon will be making a guest star appearance in the second series.
Simon appeared on the quiz show's theatre special.
"Rob Brydon hosts a new series in which five celebrities help contestants to guess the answers to some rather revealing questions. The famous faces in this episode are James Corden, Jennifer Saunders, Simon Callow, Emilia Fox and Louis Smith."
Simon Callow brings to life Shakespeare's unforgettable characters and the real man behind the legend in this triumphant and critically acclaimed play.
Don't miss your chance to experience this magnificent performance from one of Britain’s finest actors, as BEING SHAKESPEARE sets the West End alight for a strictly limited run of 22 performances only.
The show returns to the the London stage following its run at the Trafalgar Studios in 2012 and subsequent off-Broadway transfer.
At the Harold Pinter Theatre from 26 February until 15 March 2015,
Simon is very excited about staring in the up and coming: Space Age and Outlander.
One to keep an eye out for...
Tuesday 10 December 2013
Sponsored by Trailfinders, the concert will be a wonderful evening for adults and children alike and will feature popular congregational carols accompanied by the Choristers of Thomas’s Battersea, the London Central Fellowship Band and the Band of the Grenadier Guards, along with heart-warming readings from a host of well-known special guest and patients from Great Ormond Street Hospital.
Simon will be appearing on Tuesday 10th of December
Tuesday 17th December 2013
Join us to celebrate the festive season at the magical setting of St Paul’s Cathedral for our popular, annual Carols by Candlelight. This wonderful evening will put you in the Christmas spirit with seasonal readings from our celebrity supporters; be entertained by the world-renowned St Paul’s Cathedral Choir as they lead the carols, and enjoy spectacular performances throughout the evening.
Carols by Candlelight in 2013 will include readings and performances from celebrity guests. We're excited to announce that Jonathan Ansell will be singing at the event, and actor Simon Callow CBE will be reading. We will update this page with more guests, so check back for updates.
Gather after the service by the steps of St Paul’s Cathedral for delicious festive treats. For guests wishing to continue the Christmas merriment, we host an intimate champagne supper in the charming Crypt of St Paul’s, under the Cathedral floor. Here you’ll enjoy a champagne reception, delicious supper and the opportunity to bid in our luxury ‘auctionette’.
Etiquette on London's Transport Network
Wagner's Head is at the Theatre Royal Plymouth on the 12th, 13th and 14th of December (Matinee & Evening)
‘The most surprising thing I discovered was his autobiography. You assume an 800-page biography by Wagner is going to be heavy, but it’s one of the most entertaining biographies by an artist I’ve ever read’, said Simon. ‘It shows he does have a sense of humour. It doesn’t conceal anything, it’s absolutely lousy with anti-Semitism but equally it’s full of vision and brilliance and jokes. He was a funny man!’
In creating Inside Wagner’s Head, Simon revealed he has discovered a hugely complex character – one who was fervently nationalist but who hated militarism and imperialism. The BAFTA-winning actor also spoke of reconciling Wagner’s anti-Semitism with his ability to create awe-inspiring works:
‘It’s really difficult – I think that it’s a pathology in his case. When he was being painted by Renoir he chit-chatted most agreeably with Renoir and then suddenly a five-minute tirade against the Jews, completely unprovoked, and then after the tirade back to chit-chat. It was like a Tourette’s syndrome.
‘Wagner was a delinquent by temperament… he glamorized his participation in the revolution of 1849 – he went round joining in with the general mood of danger and excitement. He was very excited by being in the presence of [Mikhail] Bakunin, the great anarchist; the most famous terrorist in the world at the time. Wagner, like Dickens, is one of those people who attracted extraordinariness to him. Wherever he went, everything became more extreme. He self-dramatized to an astonishing degree, but that’s who he was.’
Simon also spoke about Wagner’s relationship with his patron King Ludwig II of Bavaria, his revolutionary activities and Wagner’s turbulent love affairs as well as giving a sense of how he himself developed Wagner’s voice for the one-man show.
Announced As Recipient Of The Stage Award for Outstanding Contribution to British Theatre at the 2013 UK Theatre Awards.
Felicity Kendal and Simon Callow star as two people who have something in common: the affair that exists between their spouses!
Set in burgeoning 1950’s Paris, Chin-Chin tells of the often hilarious and ultimately disastrous effect of the affair, as the jilted couple rendezvous in a Paris apartment to set the world to rights, where they declare their independence in life, and in love.
But out of these undesirable circumstances, special connections are forged, and the un-likely pair soon realise that they will leave the ‘city of love’ with more than they had bargained for...
Dates and venues are as follows:
Cheltenham Mon 18th Nov - Sat 23rd Nov
Cardiff New Theatre Tue 26th Nov - Sat 30th Nov
Truro Hall For Cornwall Mon 2nd Dec - Sat 7th Dec