April 18 2014 Latest news:
Monday, April 23, 2012
Unsuspecting rail passengers heading into Blackfriars found themselves entertained by Shakespearian actors and a hip-hop comedy duo.
Dubbed 'entertrainment', the collaboration between Network Rail and Shakespeare's Globe Theatre celebrated the opening of Blackfriars South station, the first new station built on the South Bank for 120 years.
On board trains running into and out of Blackfriars, bemused passengers were treated to short acts from the Shakespeare play Two Gentleman of Verona.
It was performed by the award-winning Two Gents Productions and was believed to be the first play to take place on a train.
Each scene lasted for a few minutes, with scenes specially adapted from their forthcoming shows at the Globe to Globe Festival to fit between the station stops along the Thameslink route.
Commuters alighting at Blackfriars South platform were given a further surprise when they were serenaded by hip-hop comedy duo Abandoman, performing under the guise of First Capital Connect ticket inspectors.
The award-winning comedians are currently performing at the Udderbelly Festival a short distance from the station and greeted passengers with impromptu Shakespeare-inspired and improvised rap.
Laurence Whitbourn, Network Rail project director for Blackfriars, said: "The opening of the south station has made Blackfriars a cultural gateway bringing people from Brighton to Bedford to within easy reach of some of the very best culture that London has to offer.
"We wanted to make the daily grind of the commute a bit more fun and demonstrate the kind of entertainment that is available along the length of South Bank."
Brighton resident and theatre lover Charlotte Frost, 24, said: "I stopped to charge up my Oyster card when a ticket inspector approached me asking me if I needed help. I didn't realise it was Abandoman - they improvised a brilliant song for me on the spot. Great commute to work in this morning!"
Blackfriars has been completely rebuilt by Network Rail to make way for longer trains and more frequent services on the Thameslink route through central London.