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Durham University

Institute of Medieval and Early Modern Studies (IMEMS)

Event Archive

CANCELLED A Renaissance comedy in Durham Cathedral

23rd March 2020, 19:00 to 20:00, Durham Cathedral

On Monday 23 March, 7pm, you will have the unique opportunity to see a Renaissance play written for, and performed by, boy actors, in Durham Cathedral. Professional boys’ companies were, for a while, en vogue in Renaissance London, and the great playwrights of the period wrote cracking pieces for them.

Perry Mills, from Shakespeare’s old school, King Edward VI School in Stratford-upon-Avon, has recreated just such a boys’ company to perform repertoire written by Shakespeare’s contemporaries. Edward’s Boys will be in Durham for one day, with a production of Ben Jonson’s The Silent Woman. This grim city comedy features Morose, a misanthropic, rich Londoner who hates his family, women, and especially noise. His nephew Dauphine schemes to get his inheritance from Morose. The plan involves setting Morose up to marry Epicoene, a boy disguised as a woman. The play was originally performed by the Children of the Queen’s Revels, in 1609.

Jonson’s comedy is endlessly fascinating about how gender roles are performed, and illuminates other plays on the subject – such as Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, beautifully. It is also, in many ways, a fabulous precursor to Restoration marriage plays.

As a consequence of the strike, many events may have been lost. This is a chance to catch up and see a rare and brilliant play. I encourage you to see the production if you possibly can.

Book tickets here: