The Freemasons' recent campaign to correct the false impression of secrecy, conspiracy and general skulduggery that hangs over their organisation has taken a curious twist with the letting of their impressive West End hall to a theatre impresario. Mark Watt is using the ornate Freemasons' Hall in Great Queen Street, which is richly decorated with towering columns and Masonic hieroglyphics, to stage a production of Rodgers & Hammerstein's The King And I.

The show, which is part of the BOC Covent Garden Festival, will star Irek Mukhamedov of the Royal Ballet. Apparently, the masons are relishing the event. "They have a great sense of theatre," said Watty.