To celebrate the arrival of a new production of Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Sign of Four at Portsmouth’s New Theatre Royal from November 15-17, the venue has put together a trail around Portsmouth suggesting points of interest that relate to Arthur Conan Doyle.
Spokeswoman Rebecca Oldfield said: “Embrace your inner detective by tracking down traces of Arthur Conan Doyle across Portsmouth.
“New Theatre Royal in Portsmouth will be bringing the world’s most famous detective home in a vibrant new production of The Sign of Four. The story from Conan Doyle’s epic second Holmes tale is brought to life by Blackeyed Theatre, in association with New Theatre Royal and South Hill Park. If the prospect of a thrilling theatre adventure leaves you wanting more, there are plenty of other sights to see across the city that provide clues into the life and imagination of the great author.
“The game’s afoot as we follow Conan Doyle across Portsmouth!
“Just 20 minutes’ walk from New Theatre Royal, Old Portsmouth gives you a taste of what Portsmouth would have been like when Conan Doyle lived there. Much of the city was devastated by bombing during WWII but Old Portsmouth gives a sense of the grandeur that must have inspired the author.
“Clarence Pier in Southsea is just a short walk away from Old Portsmouth and is the place where Conan Doyle’s coastal steamer from Plymouth docked in 1882 when he first arrived in the city. He had no definite plans about how long he would stay and just £10 to his name. Perhaps it was the view from sea that inspired his love of the city and saw him stay to make a success of his medical practice and his writing career.
“It’s worth taking a quick detour after the fresh sea air to visit St Jude’s Church. Though Conan Doyle was a scientist and a rationalist like his fictional alter ego, he did have some spiritual interests, including a fascination with the possibility of ghosts. He was resistant to much of the dogma of organised religion and engaged in lively debates with the vicar of St Jude’s. Walking through the beautiful grounds, you can imagine Conan Doyle strolling alongside you, sharing some rather unorthodox views.
“One of the reasons Arthur Conan Doyle had connections with St Jude’s was because his home was less than 10 minutes’ walk away. The original building in which he lived was destroyed during the Blitz, but a blue plaque recognises Elm Grove as his former home and where he wrote his first novel.
“This could therefore be described as the place where Sherlock Holmes was born.
Your last stop on the trail is perhaps the most essential for any Sherlock fan. Portsmouth Museum presents two galleries across the whole of the ground floor showcasing their incredible collection of photographs, books and other artefacts chronicling the life of Arthur Conan Doyle and the creation of the iconic detective Sherlock Holmes. Try out your detective skills in the new exhibition You Don’t Know Sherlock, Yet!
“After walking in the footsteps of Conan Doyle for the day, the theatre is just a short walk away. There you can take a rest after all your sleuthing and enjoy a production crammed full of adventure, romance and comedy in The Sign of Four, running at New Theatre Royal from November 15-17.
For more information and to book tickets visit http://www.newtheatreroyal.com or call the box office on 02392 649000.”