The Hooligan by W.S. Gilbert

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

Pentonville

Produced just four months before W.S. Gilbert’s death, this one-act play was a grim, yet powerful play. It was a study of a young condemned murderer, waiting in a prison cell for his execution and was inspired by the celebrated Crippen murder trial of 1910. One of Gilbert’s most successful serious dramas Gilbert focused on showing sympathy for the villain, … Read More

Sir Edward Seymour Hicks

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

seymour hicks

Sir Edward Seymour Hick, better known as Seymour Hicks, was an actor, performer, playwright, screenwriter, actor-manager and producer – and frequent visitor to Grim’s Dyke. Both Hicks and his wife were friends of W.S. Gilbert and his wife, Lady Lucy, making them frequent visitors to Grim’s Dyke. Ironically, hicks first taste of acting was in a school play when, at … Read More

Ellaline Terriss – popular English actress and singer

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

Ellaine Terriss

Born Mary Ellaline Lewin, in Stanley, Falkland Islands, Terriss came from a family of performers. Best known for her performances in Edwardian Theatre comedies, she had a career that spanned 52 years. Her father, William Lewin, (known by his stage name William Terriss), was a well-known actor in London. Her mother, Isabel Lewis, acted too, under her stage name Amy … Read More

W.S. Gilbert’s stage management methods

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

W.S._Gilbert's_burlesque_comedy,_Engaged

As illustrated in The Strand interview1, W.S. Gilbert was a thorough stage manager, who planned everything in great detail. His need for detail involved having exact replicas of the stage, actors and scenes created, so he could plan, in depth, exactly who should be on stage at any given time. This is possibly why he was revered so much, as … Read More

Ten things you MUST see in London

Samantha PillingEntertainment

Visiting London

Grim’s Dyke hotel is conveniently situated in Harrow Weald, just outside the main hustle and bustle of London. However, it’s also near three train stations and, with the M1 just under 3 miles away, you can easily visit London in as little as 13 minutes by train or under an hour, if travelling by car. If you’re looking to spend … Read More

Murder Mystery at The Grim’s Dyke

Samantha PillingEntertainment

Murder Mystery

  Grim’s Dyke has often been used as a film and TV location, providing the perfect backdrop for everything from comedy and romance, through to murder and intrigue. Its dramatic architecture and typically English interior provide the perfect environment for the ever-popular murder mystery. The Grim’s Dyke as a film location In the late 60’s, Grim’s Dyke was used as … Read More

MGM musicals

Samantha PillingEntertainment

GIGI

Metro Goldwyn Mayer (MGM) dominated the box office in the 1930’s. They were one of the largest, most glamorous and revered film studios in Hollywood and credited for inventing the Hollywood stable of stars’ system; developing budding stars and making them appealing to audiences. Their motto was Ars Gratia Artis – meaning art for art’s sake and their goal was … Read More

Astaire and Rogers: Hollywood’s golden dance couple

Samantha PillingEntertainment

Astaire and Rogers revolutionised the genre of musical film. First paired together in supporting roles for the film ‘Flying Down to Rio’ in 1933, they went on to pair in 10 Hollywood musical films during the golden age of Hollywood. By 1936 Astaire and Rogers were top box office names – and is it any wonder! Their second film The … Read More

William Gilbert – an early influence on W.S. Gilbert?

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

Pen Nib

In 1861, a 26-year-old W.S. Gilbert began supplementing his income by writing illustrated stories, poems and articles of his own. During this period, his series of illustrated poems, the ‘Bab Ballads’ became increasingly popular. However, W.S. Gilbert also illustrated the poems and short stories for others during this period – including those of his father, William Gilbert. Although William Gilbert … Read More

W.S. Gilbert – Stage Director

Samantha PillingEntertainment, History

Theatre sign

W.S. Gilbert wrote several plays and burlesques in his early years, especially whilst with the German Reed’s. It allowed him to develop his personal style and to control all aspects of production. However, it was in the following years that he honed his knowledge of stage direction, by following the likes of James Planché and Tom Robertson. James Planché A … Read More