TESTIMONIAL New quote from American Professor Owen Thompson, 12th July 2013: "Declan combines scholarly expertise with entertaining verve and flair. Excellent tour!"
I am going to be making a short appearance in the evening on New Year's Eve on BBC Alba (The Scottish Gaelic language digital television channel available in the uk here:http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/tv/bbc_alba/20131204), being interviewed as part of a documentary presented by Scottish ComedianCalum MacKinnon on the history of Men wearing women's clothing. This is not some kind of frank revelation by me by the way, the connection is that in Shakespeare's day the female characters in his plays were played by boys and men, and I am talking about that.
BIG NEWS I am very excited to report that after a lot of research and on the ground experimentation, I trialled a new Shakespeare tour for a private group a couple of months ago and it went very well. I absolutely love the atmosphere on what is called 'The South Bank' and I think you will too. The new walk will be making an appearance in 2014 sometime in the Spring - excellent timing for Shakespeare's 450th Birthday.
The new walk is called 'The Shakespeare South London walk' and it will be the perfect complement to my pre-existing 'The Shakespeare City Walk'. This new walk will cover Shakespeare's life south of the River at the Globe and elsewhere, whereas 'The Shakespeare City Walk', which I have been doing for 14 years, deals with his life North of the Thames. I need to work it out but will possibly alternate the walk, one week doing 'The Shakespeare City Walk' and the next week 'The Shakespeare South London walk', although some weeks I will probably perform both Shakespeare tours. As things currently stand the new walk will begin at London Bridge and end at Waterloo underground station but I am going to spend more time early next year rerunning the tour and checking that I have the best content I can find, to finalise the tour before it opens for the public. Watch this space for more information early next year about 'The Shakespeare South London Walk'.
WHAT 'THE SHAKESPEARE CITY WALK' IS ABOUT: This 90 minute leisurely tour does not go to the Globe Theatre (because everyone already knows it), instead it uncovers lesser-known monuments and locations in the City of London on the North bank of the Thames, with connections to Shakespeare's life, his friends, his loves and his work.
The film 'Anonymous' proposes that William Shakespeare did not write his plays. I believe that William Shakespeare DID write his plays and therefore this may not be the tour for you if you refuse to believe that. Instead you can go on somebody else's tour. I do not propose to spend the tour arguing this point, I will just get on with showing you aspects of Shakespeare's London.
Here is a short clip of my appearance on BBC television on 28th May 2013, discussing Shakespeare's London with presenter Wendy Hurrell.
A slightly longer version, with a bit of a speech by me from 'As You Like It', can be seen here if you copy the following into your browser:
Visit the only two exact locations in London of Shakespeare houses
See the practically unknown hidden monument created from one of Shakespeare's best-known speeches
Go to the site of the Blackfriars Theatre, the lost sister theatre to the Globe
See the spot where we believe Othello, King Lear and Macbeth were written
Discover what Shakespeare was like as a man, including his complicated personal life
Visit Church locations Shakespeare knew
Hear some sublime Shakespeare speeches. I am a former professional actor and I
illustrate what I talk about with Shakespeare's own immortal words. This is a feature of
this walk that people especially love.
MEETING TIME AND PLACE: 11am on Friday mornings outside the only exit at Blackfriars underground station. Some sites say Temple underground station but that is out-of-date information still hanging around on the Net and those sites are incorrect. I do the tour so I should know!
Blackfriars underground station (Circle and District lines) has been totally redone and the meeting place for this Tour is now right outside that underground station's only exit, a few feet away on the pavement. Look for the sign with Shakespeare's head on my rucksack when you emerge from the station onto the pavement. The sign is at knee-level not eye-level.
*** W A R N I N G *** Before you set off to come to your walk, I very strongly suggest that you add an extra 15-20 minutes to your travel time to compensate for possibly getting stuck in one (or more) of London's extremely frequent tube train delays. Unfortunately, people who turn up late will miss this walk since I simply have to start the walk with the people who turn up on time. Just to be clear about this, if you miss the start of the walk for any reason, you miss the entire walk since I turn up off my mobile when I begin and you won't be able to find me in the side-streets. If it is your fault that you turned up late - because you did not start off early enough and did not allow the recommended extra time for possible tube train delays etc - you will not be refunded if you paid in advance. The sad reality is that hundreds a year miss my walks...*** W A R N I N G ***
This year's final walks are as follows:
Friday 6th December at 11am
Friday 13th at 11am
Friday 20that 11am (LAST TOUR IN 2013 BEFORE HOLIDAYS)
2014's first tour is on Friday 3rd January 2014 at 11am
Then Friday 10th at 11am,
Always ring the telephone number given in the Contact section on the morning of the walk you plan to come on, in case I am on holiday. It's essential to ring in any case because unforeseen circumstances can happen once or twice a year which mean that a particular walk cannot take place.
If you book through 365tickets.com and then a walk is cancelled by me (this has maybe happened twice in 13 years so it is a very rare event but theoretically possible), you will be refunded by that company or you can transfer to another date. The other company, LondonTown.com, don't actually charge you since you pay me when you turn up so no refund is necessary from them.
"Highlight of trip" - Christine O'Grady, Australia
"Loved the speeches from Shakespeare himself" - Nicoletia, Italy.
"Magnificent eye-opening tour" - Kevin Connell
"Declan is the best guide in London" - Manfred and Heidi Gloag, Germany
"An absolute highlight of my travels to date...incredible insight into the world of Shakespeare" - Kylie Sandover, Australia
"Best thing I've done in 5 years of London living!" - Gemma Clarke
"Excellent - the highlight of my trip" - Geraldine Murphy, USA.
"Thank you for this superb, history-filled and inspiring experience" - Elizabeth Vandepaer, USA. "The most enthusiastic, friendly and interesting tour together with first class acting on the side" - Magnus, Sweden.
If neither of the two public times given fit your needs, you can always email me or give me a call at the number in the Contact section and then we can discuss a private tour. I'm sometimes willing to do private tours on my days off. The price is just £12 per person with a minimum of 15 people per walk OR the equivalent value if there are less than 15 people ie 15 x £12= £180. If it's a corporate walk there is an extra £35 charge ie £215 minimum; also a £30 charge if I have to cancel a public walk to do your private one, but I can only cancel public walks if no-one has yet booked for them.
ALWAYS CHECK THE MESSAGE:NB Updated details of times, engineering works and other underground line problems, are always given on the message at the telephone number in the Contact section.
MY OTHER WALK
In case you are interested I also perform a very well-known London horror walk called 'The Blood and Tears Walk'five times a week.That one is edgy and disturbing - but also good fun - and will only cost you £5 if you come on this one first, otherwise it will cost £10 (undiscounted price).
FINALLY:I really look forward to meeting you soon and providing fresh insights for you into the wonderful world of the genius William Shakespeare.