Take a Tour of the Groundlings
|Published: 29th March 2017 21:56|
Groundlings TheatreThe Groundlings Theatre in Portsmouth is a building dating back until 1784, and through being the old beneficial school, hosting many other an important events and guests, it is now a fully functioning theatre that run regular theatre tours, taking you through the buildings rich history.
Every other Thursday, you can see costumed actors taking you through one of Portsmouth most iconic and historical landmarks.
One of the actors on the tour is Elizabeth Rands, who is also the wardrobe mistress for the theatre. You could argue it all started in 1962, with her role as The Washer Woman in Wind in the Willows, and the rest is history. Elizabeth volunteers many hours of her time in organising and running the theatre's extensive wardrobe that holders over 11 and a half thousand costumes, and she also plays Mrs Dickens on the theatre tours. You may also know her as Queen Victoria at the annual Victorian Festival of Christmas at the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
“The theatre is so important because of it's history; it means so much living near and working in a place of such historical value, it is so imperative that the community know about it and are keen to preserve it for another 200 years”. Elizabeth has spent five years at the theatre, working hard and long hours to achieve excellence in the wardrobe and her part in the theatre tours, though she observes “being here over five years I still come across costumes I have never seen before, it is lovely to come across a piece of new magic in this theatre, and it goes to show, no matter how much time you spend here, there's always something more to discover”.
Whilst on the tour, Elizabeth plays the role of Mrs Dickens, the mother of the famed author, who's waters broke whilst at an event in the theatre. Alongside her you have the chance to meet Henry Ayers, Australia's first priminister, who attended school at the theatre, Jonas Hannaway, who invented the umbrella, and many actors, cleaners and teachers past- all held in close and true connection to this amazing building.
Tours cost just £5 per person (discounts for large group trips from schools/societies) and run at 1pm and 2.30 pm every other Thursday. The theatre are happy to arrange specifically times tours for large school/society parties. The tours make local history a thrilling article and teach us a lot about the magic of Portsmouth, and what the place we live in really has to offer. The Theatre is situated at 42 Kent Street, (PO1 3BS) and tickets can be booked online (www.groundlings.co.uk) or you can phone the box office on 023 9273 7370.