Ashlie: You are late!
Stephen: I’m sorry, Ashlie. I’ve got great news. I’ve been offered a real acting job.
Ashlie: Well, that’s fantastic. What’s the job?
Stephen: I’m going to be playing Shakespeare. His plays are amazing.
Ashlie: Oh Stephen, I’m so pleased, that is great news.
Stephen: I know. I’ve got to go and collect my costume from the Globe Theatre now. It’s just round the corner.
Ashlie: The Globe! That is where Shakespeare’s plays were performed in London. I have always wanted to go to the Globe. I’ll come with you.
Stephen: This is my big chance. Every actor wants to be in a Shakespeare play.
Ashlie: I can’t believe you got a proper job as an actor.
Stephen: Can’t believe it? Really?
Ashlie: No, honestly. It’s great. I’m really impressed.
Stephen: Well, I think theatre people can recognise real talent when they see it.
Ashlie: Real talent, eh?
Stephen: It’s all about characters. Shakespeare created great characters. Kings, princes, heroes like Hamlet. I’d make a great Hamlet. To be or not to be. That is the question.
Ashlie: To be or not to be – late. Come on Stephen, get a move on!
Stephen: Wow – this is amazing!
Ashlie: I know. Can you imagine life here in Shakespeare’s time?
Stephen: Yes – no mobile phones, no computers, no Facebook. How would we survive?
Tour Guide: Hello. Welcome to the Globe Theatre. This is where the tour begins.
Tour Guide: So the original Globe was built not far from here in the late 1500s. Shakespeare was one of the owners of the theatre and his plays were performed there for many years.
Ashlie: So what happened to the first Globe?
Tour Guide: The first Globe Theatre actually burnt down in 1613. It was during a performance of Henry VIII and a stage cannon accidentally set fire to the roof.
Tour Guide: OK, it’s this way to the costume exhibition.
Stephen: You can really get a sense of what history was like in a place like this. The whole world’s a stage and all men and women are mere players.
Ashlie: Come on, Stephen, you’re not on stage now. We’re going.
Stephen: Is this really what the actors would have worn?
Tour Guide: Yes, these are copies of traditional costumes as they would have been in Shakespeare’s day.
Ashlie: Can I ask a question? Did they have women in the acting troupe or was it just men?
Tour Guide: No, men and boys acted out all of the female roles so these costumes would all have been worn by men. OK, so moving on...
Ashlie: What’s wrong?
Stephen: I’m not really into history. I’m going to pick up my costume and I’ll see you later.
Ashlie: OK. See you in a bit.
Stephen: So, Ash, what do you think of this?
Ashlie: It’s fantastic. I love the hat.
Stephen: I know, it’s a pretty amazing costume. I must be playing a prince or a king or someone really important.
Ashlie: That’s great, Stephen. Maybe you have the lead role?
Stephen: That’s it – you’re right. The director must have seen my star qualities.
Ashlie: Star qualities, eh?
Stephen: Yeah. I was born to be a star. I’ve got so much talent!
Do the Preparation task first. Then watch the video. Next go to Task and do the activity. If you need help, you can read the Transcript at any time.
Think about the following questions:
Now, watch Stephen and Ashlie as they go to Shakespeare's Globe Theatre.
Ashlie: Wow, Stephen. Here we are, the RSC, the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Stephen: It’s such a famous theatre. All the greatest actors have played Shakespeare here. I’m getting a bit nervous now.
Ashlie: You’ll be fine, you’re so lucky - it is an amazing place to perform. I am getting a bit jealous now! Can I have your autograph?
Stephen: Stop it. I’d better go in and find the director. Are you going to be okay on your own?
Ashlie: Don’t be silly, I’ll be fine. I’ll just go and do the tourist thing around Stratford. I think I’ll visit the house where Shakespeare was born.
Stephen: Okay, I’ll call you later and tell you when the play starts.
Ashlie: Ah, I can’t wait to see you on stage. Good luck!
Stephen: Thanks, bye.
Romeo: But soft! What light through yonder window breaks? It is the East and Juliet is the sun. Arise fair sun and kill the envious moon.
Romeo: See how she leans her cheek upon her hand: O that I were a glove upon that hand, that I might touch that cheek!
Ashlie: Oh, alright then. Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? Deny thy father and refuse thy name. Or if thou wilt not, be but sworn my love. And I’ll no longer be a Capulet.
Romeo: Shall I hear more? Shall I speak at this?
Ashlie: Thanks, that was really good fun.
Romeo: You were really good. You’re a great actress.
Ashlie: Thank you, I really enjoyed it. So do you always play Romeo and Juliet here?
Romeo: No, it varies, we might do Macbeth next.
Ashlie: I think I’d better go then before you ask me to be one of the witches. I have to go and meet my brother soon anyway. He’s performing with the Royal Shakespeare Company.
Romeo: Lucky him. But you’re welcome here any time.
Ashlie: Sorry. Hi, Stephen, you’ll never guess. I actually got to do some Shakespeare too... I was Juliet. It was fantastic... So how’s it going? Well, do you want me to come over? Well, okay…
Romeo: What’s up?
Ashlie: It’s Stephen, I don’t think he wants me to go over and watch him, but - it must just be first night nerves. I think I’m going to go anyway and surprise him.
Romeo: OK. Bye!
Ashlie: Thanks again, then. Bye.
Ashlie: Excuse me. Do you know when the show starts?
Stephen: Hi, Ash.
Ashlie: Stephen, you really are playing Shakespeare, then! Come on.
Think about the following questions:
Now, watch Stephen and Ashlie as they explore Stratford...
This is London’s West End, where theatre is centre stage. Over 40 playhouses can be found in the largest theatrical district in the world.
The Prince of Wales Theatre is home to the hit show Mamma Mia!. And I’m getting a sneak peek backstage.
Mamma Mia! has been playing at the Prince of Wales Theatre since 2004. It’s a love story set on a Greek island. The show features hit songs by the band ABBA. It’s been a worldwide hit, winning many awards.
This is the warm up, when the actors get ready for the show. I can’t wait to see them in their full costumes in the actual performance.
I think this is the way to the dressing room.
Ah, now this one is so me.
I’ve come backstage to meet one of the stars of the show.
Amandeep: Craig, which character do you play?
Craig: I play Sky who is getting married to Sophie, who is Donna’s daughter, who runs the taverna on the island.
Amandeep: Tell me about the costumes.
Craig: I’m mainly in a wetsuit or swimming trunks and everyone else is in normal clothes throughout - except right at the end, when we do the big finale, everyone gets dressed up in big, glittery, loud colour costumes.
Amandeep: What’s the best thing about working on Mamma Mia!?
Craig: The crew and cast are great. And the music’s great.
There are a lot more people involved in putting on a show than just the actors. Without the backstage crew, the show can’t go on.
Clare Whitfield is a stage manager and has worked on Mamma Mia! since 1999.
Amandeep: So Clare, tell me about what you do.
Clare: My job is to look after the show from the set and the props and the furniture to ensure the safe and clean running of the production every night.
Amandeep: Can you explain what a prop is?
Clare: Yes, a prop is just an everyday object that the actors use. In our show we use a lot of luggage, a diary, letters, a hairbrush. It can be anything, but the fact that the actor picks it up and takes it on stage makes it a prop.
Amandeep: Why do people enjoy Mamma Mia!?
Clare: Everyone loves ABBA. People of all ages can relate to it. And it’s such a great, uplifting story.
It’s almost time for the show to start. I’d better go and find my seat.
Think about the following questions:
Now, listen and watch as Amandeep interviews crew and cast of the musical, Mamma Mia!.
This fast-moving video series is about the things that make Britain great. Watch the videos, do the exercises and leave your comments!
There are twelve episodes, with two videos each, on a wide variety of topics. Enjoy!
From hip hop to jazz… From dance to the blues: it’s music, and there’s a style for everyone. Some of the greatest music in the world comes from Britain, and British music is still topping the charts today.
The Premises recording studios are big players in the music industry. Everyone from Lana del Rey to the Arctic Monkeys come here. Let’s find out more.
If you’ve heard of them, they’ve probably played here. The Premises has been one of London’s most popular studios for over 25 years. It has space for rehearsing, recording and mixing some of the best music in the world.
Viv Broughton is the studio boss.
Richard: Viv, tell me about The Premises.
Viv: Well, The Premises is a complex of recording studios and I don’t really think there’s anything quite like it anywhere in the country. It's a mixture of rehearsal studios, recording studios, a lively café, storage facilities, so it's a really busy place. Hundreds of people passing through all the time.
Richard: What sort of artists come here?
Viv: Oh, a mixture of people. I mean, we've been going for 26 years so almost everybody you can think of has passed through the doors one way or another, so I think in the last couple of years people like Rihanna and Adele and Lana Del Rey. Last month we had Ronnie Wood in from the Rolling Stones, so it's quite a mixture of people.
Richard: What is it about Britain that creates such musical talent?
Viv: Ah, that's a good question. It's a bit of a mystery but there just must be something in the water or in the air. Britain produces just so many amazing bands, from The Beatles and the Rolling Stones onwards and it's a melting pot of great recording and writing talent.
Britain has some of the world’s greatest music festivals. This is Bestival in the Isle of Wight. For 4 days every year, thousands of people come to this award-winning event to listen to and watch some of the greatest music acts around. There’s music here for everyone…
London is the shopping capital of the world. Every year millions of overseas visitors shop here. But what makes shopping here so great? There’s only one way to find out. I’m off to do some shopping – follow me!
Knightsbridge is famous for upmarket shopping. This is where the rich and famous come to buy… their socks. And this is the one and only Harrods… the ultimate in luxury. Even royalty shop here. If I’m lucky, I might see someone famous.
If only they had it in my size. Lovely! Thank you!
Done quite well there – what’s next? Taxi! Harvey Nichols, please.
At Harvey Nichols
Harvey Nichols – or ‘Harvey Nicks’ for short – is a great place for designer fashion.
Well, I had to buy couple of things… What?
The biggest toy shop in the world – now you’re talking!
So cute… err… it’s not for me.
London’s Oxford Street is retail heaven. It’s got over 2 kilometres of shops to choose from… and, of course, Selfridges for shopping with style. Taxi!
Could you drop all this off home for me, please? I’m off to explore a different sort of shopping in Britain.
If you like shopping all under one roof, then there are big shopping centres all over Britain. The Olympic-sized shopping centre at Westfield, Stratford, is huge. With over 300 shops, it’s one of the largest shopping centres in Europe.
Great shopping isn’t just about big shops. Smaller shops can offer something special too. Tucked away in the heart of Piccadilly is a great shopping gem. Lock’s sell that must-have in gentlemen’s fashion: the hat! Lock’s opened in London in 1679. Their hats can be seen across the world. They pride themselves on their personal service.
Richard: Sue Simpson is a hat specialist. Hi Sue.
Sue: Oh, hi Richard.
Richard: Wow, a bowler hat, you don’t see many of those these days, do you?
Sue: Well, we don’t call it a ‘bowler’ here at Lock’s, we call it a ‘coke hat’ because it was invented in 1850 for Thomas Coke…
Richard: …by this very shop.
Sue: …by this very shop and we still call it a ‘coke’ to this day.
Richard: Ah, the classic top hat. When would I wear that?
Sue: That’s a beautiful silk top hat. You would wear that for a society wedding, or the time you see most of them is at Ascot, which is the famous race meeting in June.
Richard: So what’s your best-seller here at Lock’s?
Sue: Our best-seller would be a classic tweed cap or this trilby here, which is called a ‘Voyager’, and the novelty of this one…
Richard: …is it folds up so you can pop it into your luggage.
Sue: …pop it into your luggage.
Richard: Excellent. Is that a deerstalker?
Sue: Similar to a deerstalker, but this is a country cap with a fastening that goes over the top. And this was invented originally for wearing in open-top cars, but now it’s more commonly worn on the hills out shooting and this keeps the ears warm and stops it blowing away.
Richard: I like it; I’ll take this one.