Saturday, 22 September 2007

Faustus on the Radio

BBC Radio Three are broadcasting Doctor Faustus, starring the very lovely Paterson Joseph as Faustus and Ray Fearon (who was a hugely impressive Othello at the RSC a few years back) as Mephistopheles. It'll be broadcast on Sunday 23 September 2007, 20:00-21:40, and will apparently be available to listen again online until 30 September.

Details and extra things here:

Monday, 17 September 2007

The Changeling on Tour

The Changeling
Thomas Middleton and William Rowley

On tour: 28 September - 1 December 2007

Beatrice-Joanna wants to marry Alsemero but her father has other plans. Meanwhile, her servant - the hideous Deflores - would do anything to win her. In return for killing the man her father has chosen as her husband, Deflores names his price - Beatrice-Joanna herself. At first repulsed, her desire is ignited and their torrid alliance thrusts them on a journey of lust, lunacy and death.

Often hailed as the greatest Jacobean tragedy, The Changeling is an electrifying mix of violence, family duty and sex.

This new production features period costume designed by Mark Bouman, a stunning stage design by Paul Wills and is directed by ETT's Director, Stephen Unwin.

A co-production with Nottingham Playhouse Theatre Company.

Info. here:

[The Changeling seems to be flavour of the month of late... The recent Cheek By Jowl production was pretty stunning, and I've also seen decent versions from
Mamamissi (at the Southwark Playhouse) and Bristol's Tobacco Factory (at the Barbican). It's easy to see why it's so (comparatively) popular -- it's a fabulous play -- and I don't want to sound ungrateful... or wilfully obscurantist... but... wouldn't it be peachy to see a different Middleton or Rowley for a change? Like A Game at Chess, or All's Lost by Lust (which was rather spectacular in a staged reading at the Globe a couple of years ago), or even a completely different early modern tragedy? One that isn't The Duchess of Malfi, or Faustus, or 'Tis Pity She's a Whore?

Suppose I'll have to wait for that major revival of The Fatal Dowry...

Sunday, 9 September 2007

Library Meme

I have a slight fear of memes - all a bit intimate for this antisocial soul - but I like this Library Meme (as seen on The Little Professor).

Here’s my current hoard:

• Helen Cooper, The English Romance in Time: Transforming Motifs from Geoffrey of Monmouth to the Death of Shakespeare (OUP, 2004)
• Philip Schwyzer, Archaeologies of English Renaissance Literature (OUP, 2007)
• Nicholas Dames, Amnesiac Selves: Nostalgia, Forgetting, and British Fiction, 1810-1870 (OUP, 2001)
• Craufurd Tait Ramage, Beautiful Thoughts from Latin Authors with English Translations (Liverpool: Howell, 1877)
• Henry Thomas Riley, Dictionary of Latin Quotations, Proverbs, Maxims and Mottos, Classical and Medieval, Including Law Terms and Phrases. With a Selection of Greek Quotations (London, 1860)
• Marjorie Keniston McIntosh, Working Women in English Society, 1300-1620 (CUP, 2005)
• Rozsika Parker, The Subversive Stitch Embroidery and the Making of the Feminine, 2ed. (London: The Women’s Press 1996)
• Laura Gowing, Domestic Dangers: Women, Words, and Sex in Early Modern London (OUP, 1996)
• Alice Clark, Working Life of Women in the Seventeenth Century, 3ed. with a new introduction by A.L. Erickson (London: Routledge, 1992)
• Keith Thomas, Religion and the Decline of Magic: Studies in Popular Beliefs in Sixteenth- and Seventeenth-Century England (London: Weidenfeld and Nicholas, 1971)
• Diane Watt, Secretaries of God: Women Prophets in Late Medieval and Early Modern England (Woodbridge: D.S. Brewer, 2001)
Terence Vol.1, trans. John A. Barsby (Harvard UP, 2001)
Juvenal and Persius, ed. and trans. Susanna Morton Braund (Harvard UP, 2004)
• Terence, Comoediae (Londini: excudebat C. Whittingham, 1854)

The (frankly rather horrifying) eclecticism solely to be attributed to intellectual incoherence – though I’m as prone to that as any other butterfly minded early modernist – but a symptom of scholarly editing. A couple of the monographs are related to Book II, but most of this stuff is littering my shelves because I’m trying to write commentary notes on subjects that I know relatively little about and feel the need to rapidly swot up on. (Viz. Beautiful Thoughts from Latin Authors with English Translations, grabbed in the hope that it would help me to track down some Latin quotations. I went to a large, rural comprehensive school. We did six weeks of Latin – that’s half the time we spent doing metalwork... though you should see my welding...)

Editing is a weird activity. It’s also one that increasing numbers of us (especially early modernists, I think, but I’m ready to be corrected) seem to engage in, but few of us really talk or write about. This might be because much of it (collation, glossary notes, etc.) is tedious in the extreme. But at other times it’s oddly compelling – like trying to solve a crossword puzzle with only half of the clue – and it leads you into areas that you never intended to research and books that you never thought you’d need. (Viz. – again – Beautiful Thoughts from Latin Authors with English Translations.)

I wonder if it’s possible to identify the play from this list alone? I’d say yes, but its pretty obscure, even by my standards...

Saturday, 28 July 2007

Double Geek

Watched the first two episodes of Heroes on BBC2 on Wednesday. Was obscurely pleased to see that one of the actors is called Thomas Dekker. (Incidentally, the [not wholly accurate] Wikipedia article on the real TD includes this fabulous non-sequitur: 'When Dekker began writing plays, Thomas Nashe and Thomas Lodge were still alive; when he died, John Dryden had already been born.' Well, um, yes. So?)

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Late Overflowings of Waters

Obviously the devastation caused by heavy rainfall and inadequate water-prevention policies is not a subject for cheap humour. But wouldn't it be so much better if floods in general were reported as they were 400 years ago? Instead of 'Sodden Oxfordshire is Braced for Worse to Come' (The Guardian), 'Flood Peril of 3m Homes' (Daily Mail) or even 'Flood Damage Shocks Queen' (The Sun), we could have:

Lamentable newes out of Monmouthshire in VVales Contayning, the wonderfull and most fearefull accidents of the great ouerflowing of waters in the saide countye, drowning infinite numbers of cattell of all kinds, as sheepe, oxen, kine and horses, with others: together with the losse of many men, women and children, and the subuersion of xxvi parishes in Ianuary last 1607


Miracle vpon miracle. Or A true relation of the great floods which happened in Couentry, in Lynne, and other places, on the 16. and 17. dayes of Aprill last past, in this present yeare of our Lord God, 1607


More strange nevves: of wonderfull accidents hapning by the late ouerflowings of waters, in Summerset-shire, Gloucestershire, Norfolke, and other places of England with a true relation of the townes names that are lost, and the number of persons drowned, with other reports of accidents that were not before discouered: happening about Bristow and Barstable

Or even

Gods vvarning to His people of England, by the great overflowing of the waters or floudes lately hapned in South-Wales and many other places vvherein is declared the great losses and wonderfull damages that hapned thereby, by the drowning of many townes and villages to the vtter vndooing of many thousandes of people

And every disaster would be easier to bear if it came with woodcut illustrations:

The people might be fleeing to the hills and trees -- many of them leaving their babies to see out the flood on their own; the animals, on the other hand, are clearly thrilled by the whole thing. The people who seem to be riding their houses to safety make me suspect that these illustrations are not wholly to scale. The first picture appears on three different flood pamphlets (this is a compact sub-genre, I suspect) in 1607; the other seems to be unique to God's Warning.

Now I come to think about it, though, some things haven't changed. The power of animals to invoke watery pathos was much in evidence on the BBC the other night, including a remarkably insouciant golden retriever paddling its way through an oozy, overflowing Severn; meanwhile, in London, our local "newspaper", the Evening Standard, excelled itself with this:

Picture from

At least (and I realised that I may be speaking too soon) we're not blaming God this time...

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

Incestuous Doings in Cambridge

Young Actors Company presents
Tis Pity She's A Whore
by John Ford
Wednesday 18th - Saturday 21st July
Wed & Thu £8/£6, Fri & Sat £9/£7

Free online booking ( or ring 01223 300085

‘With admiration I beheld this Whore
Adorned with beauty such as might restore’

The Young Actors Company (formerly Whizz Kids) return to the ADC with 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, a tragedy of religious skepticism, incestuous love and revenge. Written by John Ford and originally performed in the seventeenth century, it was the first major English play to take as its theme fulfilled incest between brother and sister.

The play's treatment of the subject of incest made it one of the most controversial works in English literature. Until well into the twentieth century, critics were usually harsh in their condemnations, but since then there has been a better understanding of the complexities and ambiguities of the work.

A unique chance to see this rarely-performed classic tragedy.

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

I wanna thank my supervisor, my agent...

Here's a thing. I've been looking at a few dissertation samples on Proquest, and it's struck me that almost everyone else in the world is better at writing acknowledgements than I am. It's not that I deliberately write dry, dutiful and oddly ungrateful-sounding acknowledgements, I just get overcome by embarassment whenever I start typing. When one's brain seems to be squirming in one's head it's difficult to summon anything better than "I am extremely grateful..." Having looked at pages of acknowledgements that manage to be fulsome (in the good sense) sincere and witty (damn them), I'm suffering from severe acknowledgements-envy.

And I don't think it's a Brits vs. North Americans thing - I do know of one British institution where acknowledgements are frowned on as "pretentious", but I also saw a US dissertation that had none at all. Besides, m' learned supervisor manages to write screeds.

Sigh. Maybe there's some kind of course?

Tuesday, 22 May 2007

101 Uses for a (Live?) Puppy

I've always been intrigued by out of date topical references. Like the final chorus of the Suede song Animal Nitrate, in which Brett Anderson (or Bert, as the NME rather gloriously used to call him) sings 'now you're over twenty-one' in the place of 'oh it turns you on'. Listening to that song at the age of twenty, it seemed incredibly potent – the age of consent for heterosexual sex may have been eighteen, but at that stage consenting sex between gay men was still illegal in the UK for those under twenty-one. I was reminded of this today, when I came across an early modern topical reference which initially left me in a state of bafflement greater than that of a twenty-year-old listening to Animal Nitrate in 2007. From Thomas Nabbes's play Tottenham Court, performed at Salisbury Court in 1633 and published in 1638, from a discussion between two tenants who are supposed to be looking for their landlord's missing daughter:

'As sleepy as if I had eaten a Puppie'? Having read this at a point when I was feeling pretty sleepy myself, my initial reaction was to wonder, does eating puppies makes you sleepy? Or did people think that eating puppies might make you sleepy? Are puppies particularly sleepy? Sleepier than, say, kittens? (Having owned neither cat nor dog, I have no data on which to base any theories of relative animal-sleepiness, though I seem to recall that baby guinea pigs were pretty damn snoozy…)

A Google search just gave me sleepy puppies on YouTube, while searching Literature Online revealed nothing except the frankly dubious advice from The Charitable Pestmaster, or, The Cure of the Plague (1641) by Thomas Sherwood, 'Practitioner in PHYSICK', that you can cure someone of the plague by laying a puppy on their stomach:

Sadly (and you're probably ahead of me here), having consulted a review in a 1887 number of Notes and Queries (by putting tiny, tiny bits of text into Google Scholar), it seems that the Tenant's puppies should be poppies. Just a seventeenth-century malapropism, then. Ho hum.

Faustus in London

Dr Faustus
By Christopher Marlowe
Directed by Giles Foreman
Presented by The Caravanserai
Bridewell Theatre

Tuesday - Saturday, 29 May - 2 Jun 2007
Performances at 7.30pm
Saturday 2 Jun 2007
Matinée 14.30

The Caravanserai takes on Marlowe’s classic tale. Dr Faustus wishes to ‘practice more than heavenly power permits’, to transcend the limitations of human perception and to acquire ultimate knowledge.

[Yes, the world - well, Europe - is going sell-your-soul-crazy...]

Sunday, 20 May 2007

Read Not Dead in London

Read Not Dead
Shakespeare's Globe Education Centre Theatre, June-July

In 1995 Globe Education began to explore the plays by Shakespeare’s contemporaries in a series of staged readings called Read Not Dead. Since then audiences have enjoyed over 130 plays that had been gathering dust on library shelves. Leading actors and directors have also enjoyed reviving them, turning the readings into ‘performances with scripts’ with entrances and exits, token props and costumes and the occasional song.

The Gentleman of Venice
James Shirley
Sunday 3 June, 3pm

On the one hand, take two young men, one the heroic son of a gardener and the other the dissolute son of a Duke; on the other, take a couple who are unable to conceive a child, and an Englishman abroad. Locating much of its action in the garden of the Duke of Venice, James Shirley's sophisticated tragicomedy plays with the possessive reputation of Italian husbands, the debate about the influence of nature over nurture, and the power of a mother's love.

Blurt Master Constable
Anon (?Dekker)
Sunday 24 June, 3pm

Hippolito and Camillo return to Venice from war with a French prisoner, Fontinelle; Hippolito's sister Violetta is admired by Camillo but promptly falls for Fontinelle; the courtesan Imperia is sent Fontinelle's picture and likes what she sees. This lively and highly musical comedy features a clutch of witty pages, an over-the-top stage-Spaniard, an antiquated suitor, and 'the duke's own image' - Blurt Master Constable.

The Knave in Grain
'J.D., Gent'
Sunday 1 July, 3pm

The seedy side of Venice in the English imagination comes to the fore in this engaging example of Caroline popular theatre, which seems to mingle Shakespeare's Othello and the madhouse plot of Middleton and Rowley's The Changeling. Franciscus, a merchant of Venice, is provoked by the eponymous knave, Julio, into murderous jealousy about his wife, Cornelia, and seems to commit murder as a result; Doctor Vanderman is driven to madness as his wife is pursued by the gallant Vallentius. 'Acted at the Fortune many days together with great applause'.

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Faustus and Farces in The Hague

FEATS 2007 - The International Theatre Festival
25-28 May
Royal Theatre (Koninklijke Schouwburg), The Hague

Theatre Groups from Amsterdam, Basel, Bonn, Brussels, The Hague, Lausanne, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Stuttgart and Stockholm will come to The Hague for this International Theatre Festival to perform works in English from, among others, Shaw, Pinter, Marlowe and Tennessee Williams.


Monday 28th May 19:30

Chamber Music by Arthur Kopit (performed by Tagora, Strasbourg)

The Tragical History of Doctor Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (performed by ECC, Brussels, directed by Steven Challens)

Renaissance Farces by Rabelais and Boccaccio, adapted by Joseph Strick (performed by ATC, Brussels, directed by Christine Marchand-Long)

Nothing to do with Criticism, or Plays, or the Renaissance, but...

... last night I heard possibly the least glamorous thing ever said onstage by a guitarist to his glamorous lead singer - "you're like a skinny lizard..."

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Women Beware Women in Cardiff

Women Beware Women by Thomas Middleton
Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama
Friday, May 25, 2007
to Saturday, June 02, 2007

Directed by Martin Houghton

Thomas Middleton's Women Beware Women is Romeo and Juilet for grown-ups. It begins pretty much where Shakespeare's vision of breathless adolescent romance ends: with a newly married couple, eloped from Venice, arriving in Florence. The husband's tragic mistake is to go to work. Young, horny Leantio would like to stay at home all day in bed with his bride, Bianca. But he decides to be responsible: "Man loves best/ When his care's most." Husbands get cuckolded when they are away at work, doing their breadwinner duty. It happens even now. The results can be frightening and often very bloody. A tale of lust, deceit and carnage.

This production contains material which is not suitable for persons aged 14 years or younger.


Admission: £8, £6, £3.50

Venue 2, The Sherman Theatre - Cardiff

To book tickets, please contact The Sherman Theatre Box Office: Tel. 029 2064 6900

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Early Modern Soap in Bromley

The Duchess of Malfi
Bromley Little Theatre
Directed by Pauline Armour
Friday, 18th - Saturday, 26th May 2007
A beautiful young widow, her two villainous brothers, a mystery lover, a treacherous spy, a wanton seductress - intrigue, lust, horror, madness and murder...

An episode of Desperate Housewives, Dynasty, Coronation Street or Eastenders?... No... The Duchess of Malfi, written by the acclaimed Jacobean playwright John Webster, in 1612.

N.B. Bromley Little Theatre is a private Club Theatre with a licensed members’ bar and audiences are required to be members of the theatre or accompanied guests; bookings can be made only by members.

[I've always thought
Desperate Housewives was more Jonsonian, meself...]

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Extreme Bawdry in Adelaide

The Custom of the Country
By John Fletcher and Philip Massinger

A moved playreading
Directed by Alexander Kirk
Original music by Alexander Mitchell
University of Adelaide Theatre Guild

A rare theatrical treat!

June 7 & 8

This production of The Custom of the Country continues our exploration of the byways of 17th and early 18th century theatre, which began in 2005 with Susanna Centlivre's The Wonder and continued in 2006 with Edward Ravenscroft's The London Cuckolds.

Jacobean tragicomedy is famous for the surprising turns its various actions can take, and The Custom of the Country is no exception.

The newly married Arnoldo and Zenocia, to prevent Count Clodio exercising his droit de seigneur on their wedding night, flee their Italian city along with Arnoldo's brother, Rutilio. The scene shifts to Lisbon when their boat is captured by the Portuguese sea captain, Leopoldo. Then their real troubles begin!

The Custom of the Country is a skilful mixture of tragicomic romance and farcical bawdry in the guise of a chastity play. In the end, chastity and marriage triumph over lechery and lust.

A new music score, to be performed by a vocal and instrumental chamber ensemble conducted by the composer, is being specially composed for this production. Composer Alexander Mitchell graduated from the University of Adelaide's Elder Conservatorium in 2005 with First Class Honours in a Bachelor of Music (Composition). He is now completing a Masters and his music for The Custom of the Country forms part of that work.

First performed in 1619, The Custom of the Country was deplored for its bawdiness but continued to delight and shock audiences until the mid-Restoration. It is a rare theatrical treat and our production, we believe, is an Australian premiere.

TWO PERFORMANCES ONLY, on Thursday 7 and Friday 8 June at 7pm in the Little Theatre. All tickets $10.

See for booking info.

[This could be fabulous. The Custom of the Country is a notoriously filthy play (look -- Wikipedia agrees), featuring not only the droit de seigneur alluded to in the title, but also a tremendously funny scene set in a male brothel established for the benefit of ladies and gentlewomen. (Do you get such things with Shakespeare? I think not.) The hero's brother, Rutillio (oh yes), on the run because he thinks that he has murdered the Governor's nephew, is adopted as a "stallion" for the brothel. Being a virile sort of lad, he thinks that all his birthdays and Christmases have come at once: "Bring me a hundred of em: I'le dispatch 'em ... I'le make you young againe, beleeve that Lady. I will so frubbish you" ("frubbish"? Ah -- "frubbish": "To furbish or polish by rubbing" [OED]). Sadly, the next time we see Rutillio, halfway through the next act, he has been -- ahem -- exhausted by the attentions of the ladies and gentlewomen. He enters "in a night-cap", is joined by three ex-employees of the brothel, who enter "with night-caps very faintly", and they all sit around and moan about their aching bones:

Good Gentlemen;
You seem to have a snuffing in your head Sir,
A parlous snuffing, but this same dampish aire---

2[nd Gentleman]. A dampish aire indeed.

Rut[illio]. Blow your face tenderly,
Your nose will ne're endure it: mercy ô me,
What are men change'd to here? is my nose fast yet?
Mee thinks it shakes i'th hilts

And we wonder why Fletcher fell out of favour so radically in the C19th... Project Gutenberg have a text here (apparently from Glover and Waller's early C20th edition of the works of "Beaumont and Fletcher"), if you fancy corrupting your mind and/or morals.]

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Current Favourite Stage Direction...

From John Lyly's The Woman in the Moon, probably written for a children's company c. 1590 and published 1597: ‘She playes the vixen with euery thing about her’.

Sadly, it doesn't mean that the newly-created Pandora has turned into a fox, though stranger things happen in Lyly's plays. Instead, she apparently takes out her anger -- induced, wouldn't you know, by the malign influence of Saturn -- on the frons scenae and any prop within reach. Further stellar SDs come later in the same scene, as she reacts sulkily and violently to the approaches of four unfortunate shepherds: She hits him on the lips ... She strikes his hand ... She thrusts her hands in her pocket ... She winkes and frownes’. Marvellous stuff -- it's easy to forget, amid discussions of Euphuism and allegorical representations of Elizabeth I, just how funny Lyly can be.

AND -- Pandora was once played by none other than Katharine Hepburn (there's a great picture in Leah Scragg's new Revels edition of The Woman in the Moon). UPDATE: Here's the picture, from Bryn Mawr's website:

Sort of Shakespeare

The Washington Shakespeare Company Reading Series

Building on the success of the Bard-37: Canon Cabaret and Greek Alpha - Omega readings series, WSC plans three unique reading series to continue this exciting tradition. ... Starting January 8, 2007, we offer another Shakespeare option in Washington with our Sort of Shakespeare Reading Series, including Shakespeare apocrypha, his contemporaries, and plays inspired by the Bard and his canon.

Feb. 19, 2007 - The Plebians Rehearse the Uprising - Gunter Grass
Directed by Christopher Henley

Feb. 26, 2007 - Two Noble Kinsmen - apocrypha
Directed by Jeremy Fiebig

March 5, 2007 - Fortinbras - Lee Blessing
Directed by Jesse Burgess

April 9, 2007 - A Yorkshire Tragedy - apocrypha
Directed by Paul Tacaks

April 23, 2007 - The Spanish Tragedy - Thomas Kyd
Directed by Clay Hopper

April 25, 2007 - London Prodigal - apocrypha CANCELLED
Directed by Cam Magee

April 30, 2007 - The Herbal Bed - Peter Whelan
Directed by Shirley Serotsky

May 7, 2007 - The White Devil - John Webster
Directed by Ian Armstrong

May 14, 2007 - Great Scenes from Shakespeare - Directed by Gaurav Gopalan

May 21, 2007 - The Witch - Thomas Middleton
Directed by Jose Carrasquillo

June 25, 2007 - Mrs. Kemble’s Tempest - Tom Ziegler
Directed by Lee Mikeska Gardner

July 2, 2007 - Measure for Measure - A Comedy, After Shakespeare - Howard Brenton
Directed by Dan van Hoozer

July 9, 2007 - Caesar and Cleopatra - George Bernard Shaw
Directed by Gaurav Gopalan

July 16, 2007 - Romeo and Julius [Caesar] - Jeff Goode
Directed by Serge Sieden

July 23, 2007 - Sir John Oldcastle - apocrypha
Directed by Randy Baker

July 30, 2007 - Lear - Edward Bond
Directed by Stephen Fried

Sunday, 22 April 2007

Liking SAA

Like most people, it seems, I liked SAA this year, especially after the relative misery of RSA. I liked the hummingbirds, I liked the food, I liked the people I hung out with, and I managed to avoid the very few people I didn’t want to see. For a variety of reasons I went to lots of seminars but not very many paper sessions –- though the pedagogy one was a lot of fun. However, I made an effort to get to the plenary, which had papers by three people whose work I admire a lot, and I thought it was great. This is perhaps because if I was forced to categorise what I do it would be as a kind of ‘historical formalism’ (albeit -– hopefully -– one that resists the ‘easy yoking together of those things called “form” and “history”’ that Julian Yates complains about on the Literature Compass Blog), but it was also because each paper was tightly written and engagingly delivered. And any plenary that features pictures of famous trees that probably never existed is fine by me…


  • One eminent scholar saying to another, in hushed and anxious tones, ‘I don’t know if he remembers me…’
  • By a friend, two Rotary Club ladies discussing the SAA:

FIRST ROTARY CLUB LADY: You’ll never guess who all these people are!
FIRST ROTARY CLUB LADY: They’re all academics! And they’re here for a conference ---- about ---- SHAKESPEARE!!!


Saturday, 21 April 2007

Gallathea and Mariam in London

Primavera presents: Forgotten Classics
King's Head, Islington, London

Featuring six outstanding plays rarely - if ever - seen in Britain before, the Primavera Forgotten Classics series at the King’s Head is a unique chance to see the work of some of the world’s finest playwrights. Tom Littler directs full-scale casts of West End actors in rehearsed readings ranging from Elizabethan comedy to Romantic drama, including the first play ever written in English by a woman and Charles Dickens’s only stage work.

by John Lyly
Written and last performed in London 1594

A blockbuster hit in its own time, GALLATHEA is the source for Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Twelfth Night: a comic drama of sexual identity and confusion. In a wood, three hunters seek the love of three beautiful nymphs, who will do anything to stay chaste. Meanwhile, two maidens run into the wood to escape a virgin sacrifice demanded in the town - but one of the girls is disguised as a young man... One of the outstanding comedies of the age.
8pm, Sunday 13 May

by Elizabeth Cary
Written 1613. World Premiere

The first play written in English by a woman. Elizabeth Cary’s explosive ‘closet drama’ provides a new, feminist viewpoint on the Biblical household of King Herod and the infamous Salome. The conflict between Mariam, descendant of the rightful Jewish ruler, and Herod, her Roman-appointed husband, resonates powerfully in the charged atmosphere of the Middle East today.
8pm, Sunday 22 July

Please call the Box Office on 020 7226 1916 to reserve tickets or email: Online booking also available:

[I'm not sure about the claims of world premieres or first performances since 1594 -- haven't there been numerous productions of Mariam in universities in recent years? And surely someone somewhere has done Gallathea in the last 400 years... But great to see these plays getting an outing with professional casts nonetheless.]