A collaboration between Roehampton and the Dolphin's Back theatre company is unearthing the secrets of one of England's first theatres and performing a variety of Elizabethan plays on the original site the first time.
Posted: 1 February 2018
On 18 February, audiences will be offered the chance to share an experience with people from over four centuries ago and watch research in action reveal brand new discoveries. Set to perform at the Apothecaries Hall, the Before Shakespeare research project and Dolphin's Back theatre company will perform extracts from plays by John Lyly, George Peele and Anthony Munday, interspersed with interactive workshops and documented history in performance.
Apothecaries Hall, which is usually closed to the public, is on the same site as both the first and second Blackfriars theatres. Opening in 1576, the first Blackfriars was one of England's earliest playhouses. Several decades later, another part of the building was acquired by William Shakespeare's company and duly converted into one of the King's Men's theatres. This will be the first time since the sixteenth century that the plays that originally debuted in the First Blackfriars Playhouse will be performed on the site.
The performance and workshop, part of a series of events throughout February and March, will reveal the diversity of Elizabethan London's Blackfriars neighbourhood. It was home to many immigrants and refugees, and its inhabitants were from all social classes, trades and ethnicities. The playhouse in turn offered innovative drama, and whether plays influenced, or were influenced by, the surrounding area will be explored during the course of the workshop.
Dr Andy Kesson, project leader says 'This marks an important and exciting moment, bridging the gap between centuries and 'reminding us that forgotten early modern plays are accessible, interesting and fun'.
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