It’s a couple of years now since I last went down to London, for an anniversary trip with my husband. Unfortunately he was on crutches at the time, so we didn’t get to make the most of the visit.
Last week I travelled down to the capital for a couple of days for work.
Normally on a work trip, I’d go back to my hotel after I’d finished for the day, put on my pyjamas and order room service, while watching whatever rubbish was on the available television channels.
Basically, I’d hide.
But this time I decided to make the most of my free time and go to the theatre. I started looking to see what was on in Shoreditch, close to my hotel. But as soon as I saw it was the last week of Headlong’s adaptation of 1984 at the Playhouse Theatre, I had to get myself a ticket.
So on this trip to London, I was a grown up and went on a solo night out.
I took myself out for a meal, before getting the Tube into the West End and finding my way to the theatre.
And I’m glad I did. I’ve always been a thinker, but spending time alone allows you to reflect on the things going on around you. It’s a good way to appreciate the theatre, especially a serious production like 1984.
This was a dark piece of theatre, and well-staged, making use of video technology, lighting and sound to create a jarring experience that immersed the audience in this frightening, totalitarian world.
It was all the more absorbing for me, because the novel I’m currently writing is a dystopia and is partly influenced by Orwell’s novel. Seeing the story on stage made me all the more determined to persevere with my own writing in the hope that one day it might be as powerful.
And I had the solo trip back on the underground to contemplate what I’d watched, before enjoying the feeling of wandering alone through the streets of London, back to my hotel room.
Not everyone is keen on doing things alone, but don’t be afraid, sometimes it’s worth it.
I could have spent a night alone in my hotel room flicking through the TV channels, but instead I had an experience that made me feel more confident about travelling alone, and made a standard work trip memorable.