The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 16.1520 Thursday, 15 September 2005
From: Sebastian Perry <
Date: Thursday, 15 Sep 2005 09:34:45 +0100 (BST)
Subject: Heywood & The Red Bull
I thought this might be of interest to some.
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
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
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.
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 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 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.
S H A K S P E R: The Global Shakespeare Discussion List
Hardy M. Cook,
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