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Saturday, January 25, 2014

London's Odeon: A Touch of Rome from Gilbert Bayes

Rome is everywhere, as RST found on a recent trip to London.  We were on Shaftsbury Avenue, in the heart of the city, and were admiring from across the street the Odeon Covent Garden Theatre and its dramatic 140-foot frieze.

And there, following the Greek Chorus, was Rome, represented by its Gladiators, then by its empire--the words Imperial Rome at the top of the frieze.  We later learned that the theater, opened in 1931 as the Saville Theatre (architect: Sir Thomas Bennett), had for several decades been a space for legtimate theater before becoming a movie house in the 1960s and the 4-screen Odeon complex in 2001.

Gilbert Bayes at work on a plaster cast
of the frieze, 1930

The frieze is by a well-known British sculptor, Gilbert Bayes.  Its subject is the stage, its title "Drama through
the Ages."  Bayes was working on the piece in 1930, when he was photographed at his studio.  It was completed for the opening the following year.


The Odeon, complete with garbage cans.  Bill rather liked the green building at right; Dianne thought it was hideous.  

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