Theatreland Tour with Ian McKellen
Approaching Seven Dials
Now then, time to turn right.
That's it, excellent work. Or, more to the point, excellent directing.
You're to head straight down this road. You’re in Earlham Street and it leads to the famous Seven Dials crossroads. You can see its tall monument up ahead. You aim for that. I’ll talk while you walk.
The monument in the middle of Seven Dials marks the centre of the streets that have changed a great deal over the years. In Charles Dickens’ time, this was one of the most disreputable areas of London.
He described the houses and inhabitants as those which “would fill any mind but a regular Londoner’s with astonishment ... Where is there such another maze of streets, courts, lanes, and alleys? Where such a pure mixture of Englishmen and Irishmen, as in this complicated part of London?"
Now, keep walking until you reach the monument. When you get to the monument, I’m going to take you through a little exercise. An acting trick to help you peel back the years and see the dials as the once were – when Charles Dickens waked these streets. I’ll leave you to get into character.