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Home :: Archive :: 2005 :: September ::
Heywood & The Red Bull
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1520  Thursday, 15 September 2005

From: 		Sebastian Perry <
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Date: 		Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 09:34:45 +0100 (BST)
Subject: 	Heywood & The Red Bull

I thought this might be of interest to some.

Seb Perry

---------

400th Anniversary of Shakespeare's Rival: Clerkenwell's Red Bull 
Playhouse the Lions part is celebrating the 400th anniversary of the 
building of the Red Bull with a staged reading of Thomas Heywood's The 
Rape of Lucrece and an academic conference at the London Metropolitan 
Archive.

The Rape of Lucrece by Thomas Heywood was one of the Red Bull's greatest 
commercial and artistic successes.  Its thrilling combination of 
politics, madness, sexual crime and war in both intimate and epic 
writing was repeatedly revived, while the play's unsettling repertoire 
of popular song grew with each revival.

Staged rehearsed reading at the Priory Church of St Bartholomew the 
Great, Smithfield, directed by Sonia Ritter

Performances Thursday 6th, Friday 7th, Saturday 8th October.

Box Office: 020 7483 4384

Conference: Beyond Shakespeare's Globe at the London Metropolitan 
Archive, Saturday 15th October 2005

Company: the Lions part ( www.thelionspart.co.uk  email 

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  )

The Red Bull

The Red Bull Playhouse was an open-yard theatre which lay just off St 
John's Street in Clerkenwell.  Built in 1605, it was a hugely successful 
rival to the Globe, and to Shakespeare's company The King's Men.  The 
resident Red Bull company, the Queen's Servants, performed a remarkable 
repertoire citizen's dramas (including Heywood's A Woman Killed With 
Kindness), Jacobean tragedy (such as Webster's The White Devil) and a 
range of popular music-based entertainment.  Remarkably, and almost 
uniquely, the theatre survived the ravages of the Civil War and 
Cromwell's puritans, and remained open throughout the Interregnum.  The 
site of the theatre can still be discerned as Heyward's Place in EC1.

The Play

In this extraordinary play, unlike Shakespeare in his long poem, Thomas 
Heywood shows the full political build-up to the violation of the young 
Roman matron Lucrece, and its warlike results.  Heywood stages intimacy 
and battle, inner madness and outward pomp in a manner unequalled in the 
theatre of the age.  An extraordinary counterpoint to the mayhem appears 
in the interweaving of popular satirical song, making this possibly 
England's first stage musical.  The play remained popular for decades, 
and we perform it from a newly-prepared script transcribed from the 
British Library and edited by Dr Eva Griffith, a member of the Lions 
part and the foremost authority on the Red Bull.

The performance will be accompanied with live incidental music as well 
as the songs.

The Company

the Lions part is a professional company specialising in verse drama and 
celebration.  The company has performed at Shakespeare's Globe and its 
own seasonal festivals on the Bankside; at Hampton Court, the Painted 
Hall at Greenwich and on tour all over the country; while its members' 
work includes the RSC, National Theatre, Shakespeare's Globe, Original 
Shakespeare Company and the West End.  They staged a similar event on 
the architectural remains of the Rose Theatre in Southwark, producing 
Marlowe's Dr Faustus (with Anton Lesser and David Bradley as Faust and 
Mephistopheles, also directed by Sonia Ritter).  The company has 
charitable status with an educational remit, and aims to raise the 
profile of the Red Bull in the media, among theatre professionals and in 
academia, as well as with the theatre-going public.

'One of the most thrilling and fulfilling experiences for both audience 
and ourselves the performers, that I can recall...the separation between 
audience and performers now has the potential to dissolve'
Anton Lesser (of Dr Faustus at the Rose)

The company's patron is Mark Rylance, and until his recent death, the 
much-loved playwright Christopher Fry.

"the Lions part are an exceptionally talented and innovative company 
pushing the boundaries of dramatic invention" Christopher Fry

"the Lions part are an energetic and exciting company with much to 
contribute to the world of theatre in the area of ensemble playing and 
storytelling and their work is characterised by a positive vitality and 
a festive spirit. They deserve to be seen by a wider audience, and 
Shakespeare's Globe has played host to this company many times"
Mark Rylance, Artistic director, Shakespeare's Globe

The Venue

The 12th century Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great is one of the 
treasures of the City of London. Built when Henry I, son of William the 
Conqueror, was King of England, it survived the Great Fire of 1666 and 
the bombs dropped in Zeppelin raids in World War I and the Blitz in 
World War II. It has an extraordinarily good acoustic for speech and a 
beautiful and atmospheric interior, recognisable from the films Four 
Weddings and a Funeral, Shakespeare in Love and The End of the Affair, 
and in BBC 2's Madame Bovary.

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