MY PERFECT DAY
Gregory Doran has been the Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company since 2012. He is currently directing Henry IV, Parts 1 & II at the Barbican, in which his partner Antony Sher stars as Falstaff.
Gregory Doran, the Artistic Director of the Royal Shakespeare Company, shares his favourite places in the city.
What time would you wake up?
I divide my time between Stratford-upon-Avon and London. If I was having a perfect day, it would reflect Sunday and I would have a lie-in.
What would you have for breakfast?
I would visit Euphorium Bakery on Upper Street in Islington, and have some croissants. I’ll cook kedgeree if I’m in a good mood.
What galleries do you like visiting?
I’m very fond of the National Portrait Gallery (left). It shows you real faces and brings people to life. I was doing a play by John Fletcher when the National Portrait Gallery had a campaign to raise money to buy Fletcher’s portrait. I contributed because it was wonderful to bring him to life!
Where do you like to shop?
I like treating myself to a jacket or trousers from Paul Smith, or a jacket from Ted Baker (below).
What are your favourite green spaces?
I love Hampstead Heath, Kenwood House and Parliament Hill. The London skyline looks wonderful from high up – it puts everything into perspective.
What do you make of new buildings?
They aren’t carbuncles, but it would be sad if St. Paul’s Cathedral was dwarfed by new sites.
How do you like to travel?
I love walking into London from Islington. You see the traces of old London in the street names, like Bear Alley or Apothecaries’ Hall.
What pubs do you like?
Ye Old Mitre, in Hatton Garden, which has a cherry tree growing in the corner of it. It goes back to Shakespeare’s day. Some of the lovely old pubs on Fleet Street or the Strand have little corners that take you back to a previous age.
What would you do for entertainment?
To some extent, it’s a bit of a busman’s holiday. Obviously, theatre is my thing. I love the buzz around David Lan’s Young Vic. I love the Little Angel Theatre, which I’ve been a patron of since we did
VenusAndAdonis there. They are not just doing shows for kids, but also sophisticated adult puppetry (left).
Where do you like to eat out?
The Almeida restaurant, off Upper Street, is a favourite. If my partner Antony Sher is performing in the West End, or if we’re meeting friends for dinner, we visit Rules – it is one of London’s oldest restaurants. It’s fantastic for game and meat pies. You feel a sense of history in it – Dickens, Thackeray and Chaplin ate there. The staff are fantastic and the welcome is great. It’s not at all snooty.
Where would you stop for afternoon tea?
When we have visitors, we take them to Fortnum & Mason. It’s a great place to have tea. You always poke around and buy some biscuits or jam afterwards. If we’re feeling swish, we take them to The Ritz (below).
What do you think makes London stand out from the rest of the world?
Dr. Johnson said ‘when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life’. When I am in London, it feels so fast and furious that I want to rush back to Stratford-upon-Avon. What makes the capital special is that it has such an extraordinary energy and is so multicultural.
Where would you spend the night?
Sometimes, when my twin sister comes over from America, I let her stay in the house and I treat myself and Antony to a night in The Savoy (below), overlooking the Thames. Henry IV, Parts I & II. To 24 Jan 2015. Barbican Centre, Silk St, EC2Y 8DS. T: 020-7638 8891. www.barbican.org.uk