Lauderdale House to stage comedy, opera and cabaret on the lawn

Alex Aldred in HGO's 2018 Spring production of Verdi's La Traviata at Jacksons Lane Theatre Highate

Alex Aldred in HGO's 2018 Spring production of Verdi's La Traviata at Jacksons Lane Theatre Highate ©2018LaurentCompagnon - Credit: Archant

The Highgate Arts Centre is planning live performances on the Tea Lawn including Hampstead Garden Opera taking on life and death in Holst’s Savitri

John Etheridge

John Etheridge - Credit: Archant

Opera, comedy and cabaret are on the bill for outdoor performances at Lauderdale House next month.

Highgate comic Matt Richardson, Ivo Graham (Live At The Apollo, Mock The Week), Helen Bauer (nominated for best newcomer at Edinburgh comedy awards), and Hal Cruttenden are set to cheer up socially distanced audiences on the Tea Lawn overlooking Waterlow Park.

Lauderdale regular Tim Mcarthur is doing cabaret, while Hampstead Garden Opera is starting rehearsals for Gustav Holst’s short opera Savitri.

All are now delighted the Government has given the green light for open air performances.

Tim McArthur in Into the Woods

Tim McArthur in Into the Woods - Credit: Archant

Glyndebourne is among the other companies who were already planning performances ahead of Thursday’s announcement.

Among the HGO cast will be Dr Alex Aldren an opera singer, who returned to the wards during the pandemic and found fame serenading his fellow NHS workers at the Royal London Hospital with Nessun Dorma.

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“At HGO we thought there is no point in wringing our hands and whingeing. Rather than waiting for the Government, lets go ahead and do something,” said chair David Conway.

“We started a month ago trying to see how it might be feasible and Lauderdale House has been very supportive. Our mission is supporting young singers and what better way than getting young singers to bring opera back to London?

“The response had been fantastic, lots of people have said they are pleased to have something they can look forward to. We are delighted to hear it can now go ahead and just need the Government to flesh out the detail on how to do it safely.”

Savitri will be performed twice a night with an orchestra of 13. It is based on an ancient Indian myth of a woman who pleads with Death for the life of her husband.

“This piece is really appropriate,” said Conway. “It’s a story about life death and hope that is powerfully resonant for our times.

“It’s also nice to have Alex in the cast as a symbol of what it’s all about.”

Savitri is due to run on August 13, 15, 20 and 22, but in addition, the Highgate arts centre has scheduled five Fridays of outdoor performances from July 24 to August 20.

There is stand-up comedy on July 24, and a cabaret night on July 31 featuring Highgate-based Mcarthur, pianist Aaron Clingham, Alison Guill and resident Lauderdale House pianist Stephen Hose.

On August 7 is Jazz with John Etheridge Trio. And on August 14 there’s a Classical Piano Trio, followed by a musical theatre singalong on August 21.

Social distanced areas will be marked out, tickets will be £15 and audience members can pre-order drinks and a picnic from the cafe.

Lauderdale House director Katherine Ives said she was “delighted” that the government had green lighted outdoor performances and said tickets will go on sale as soon as possible.