The Curtain Rises: Post Match Report

On Saturday 21st, we enjoyed seeing the puffed-up knight Huanebango being struck down by a disembodied voice, entering a sixteenth-century smoking area, meeting the cosmopolitan neighbours of 1580s Shoreditch, and learning how to use a sword and buckler... Here at Before Shakespeare we’ve already hit the bar. Here is a love jug, a fear god … Continue reading The Curtain Rises: Post Match Report

The Before Shakespeare Guide to [The] Theatre Etiquette

[Come and behave (well?) with these tips in mind at our upcoming event on the Curtain playhouse at hackney House on 21 July.] Just as writers in twenty-first century New York have opinions on how other people should behave in theatre spaces, so early modern London has its fair share of advice to spectators.  Whether … Continue reading The Before Shakespeare Guide to [The] Theatre Etiquette

Losing the Plot: Audiences, Scraps of Performance, and Selective Participation

Further to Andy’s post on story, this post asks questions about the nature and necessity of coherent “story”—and of audiences following “plot”—in early modern commercial dramatic performance. It does so by putting literary and archival material into conversation with archaeological discoveries, and as such I'm thankful to Heather Knight of MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology) … Continue reading Losing the Plot: Audiences, Scraps of Performance, and Selective Participation

Performing words #6: matter

what’s the matter? This post follows up some of the points raised by Andy in his discussion of “story” and early modern theatre as part of his Performing Words series. Here, I suggest that the term “matter” might afford a more historically nuanced—and appropriate—vocabulary for thinking about the intersection of “story,” words, and performance. the … Continue reading Performing words #6: matter

The Woman in the Moon: In Conversation with Edward’s Boys

It’s Friday, and we’re hurrying across London Bridge in the rain towards a part-carpeted Methodist Church in London’s Eastcheap: that Elizabethan-sounding nook somewhere loosely between Crutched Friars and Leadenhall (more Tudor echoes). We settle in to observe how woman was first created. Not Genesis 1:27 or 2:22, though. John Lyly’s Pandora. Again, sheltered from the … Continue reading The Woman in the Moon: In Conversation with Edward’s Boys

The First Blackfriars Playhouse 1576-84: Ownership, Repertoire, Audience

On the 18th February, Before Shakespeare and The Dolphin's Back will return Elizabethan drama to the site of the First (and Second) Blackfriars Playhouse(s).  We are hosting a workshop in the Apothecaries' Hall, built on what was formerly part of the Blackfriars complex that housed the two different playhouses (where we'll focus on the First … Continue reading The First Blackfriars Playhouse 1576-84: Ownership, Repertoire, Audience

The Woman in the Moon: Interviews with the Cast

During rehearsals for James Wallace’s The Dolphin’s Back production of John Lyly’s The Woman in the Moon (Shakespeare's Globe, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse) back in August 2017, we had time to catch up with a few of the cast members and ask them how it felt to play gods, Nature, men, and women on the Sam Wanamaker stage … Continue reading The Woman in the Moon: Interviews with the Cast

The Sound of Lyly: Galatea Interview

We recently had a chance to interview Vicky Abbott, the musical lead on Emma Frankland's Galatea project, and we asked her what it was like writing music for a sixteenth-century play in a modern production.  We feature here some of Vicky's brilliant recordings (©Vicky Abbott) along with choreographed responses to songs that have been crucial … Continue reading The Sound of Lyly: Galatea Interview

Galatea in Cornwall: Finding Gods in Truro

For this week's R&D workshops, Emma Frankland and Mydd Pharo are joined by Kellan Frankland, Krishna Istha, Mzz Kimberley, and Nadia Nadarajah in and around Truro (based at the Hall of Cornwall, thanks to their support) for a week looking at Galatea's Gods and their divine interactions: Neptune, Venus, her son Cupid, and Diana and … Continue reading Galatea in Cornwall: Finding Gods in Truro