Summer’s Lease

In January, I wrote a blog post detailing some of the drama I was looking forward to in February, March, and April. I had a few people appreciate receiving information about upcoming productions so I thought I’d repeat the process. Here then, is a by no means comprehensive list of some of the things I’m looking forward to in the Summer months. As ever, I welcome suggestions. What have I missed? What do you want to see? I don’t claim to be especially well-informed about what’s on, so all recommendations gratefully accepted.

MAY is a busy month for me and I wonder if I’ll be able to get to see much theatre. At the start of the month, I’ll be talking about relatively obscure seventeenth century plays at conferences in Birmingham and Aarhus. This means I may have to miss the intriguing revival of Thomas Middleton’s A Trick to Catch the Old One, which opens at the Rose in May. The Rose have done a great job promoting rarely performed plays; they deserve (and need) our support. By the sounds of it, they’ve had packed audiences for their Marlowe shows in the Spring, we can only hope that Middleton proves as big a draw. Speaking of London-based initiatives to stage rarely performed plays, I must mention that Read Not Dead are moving to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse on 18 May, where they’ll perform a staged reading of Nathan Field’s excellent comedy Amends for Ladies. On 29 May, they’ll also be running an unusual and exciting event: scenes from four plays will be performed and the audience will help decide which gets a full staged reading. Directors and scholars will present their arguments for each of the plays: Back by Popular Demand sounds well worth attending. Elsewhere, at Oxford, the Malone Society are also producing a staged reading (and a symposium). The Fair Maid of the Exchange is being performed at Somerville College on 17 May.

JUNE looks like it will be a month in which I catch up on some productions that have already opened, but which I haven’t yet been able to see. You can read my review of 1 Henry IV for Reviewing Shakespeare here: I’m looking forward to seeing how Part 2 compares. I’ll also see The Roaring Girl and Arden of Faversham at the RSC’s Swan Theatre, so expect further posts. At some point, I’ll also see The Globe’s revival of Lucy Bailey’s gory production of Titus Andronicus. I’ll be on the lookout for audience members fainting or vomiting, as has been reported.

JULY brings more conference presentations, this time I’ll be at the British Shakespeare Association conference in Stirling, talking about modern performance. My paper, on Richard II, began life as my first ever blog post: it hasn’t developed into a proper argument yet, but there’s still time, right? Hopefully, there’ll be some time for theatre, too. The Globe’s Julius Caesar opens in June, but I’ll be more likely to see it in July. The production will move indoors for one night only, but it appears to be all-but sold out already. I’ll be interested to hear from anyone who attends (or anyone who can get me a decent ticket!) Back in Stratford, I’ll be at the Swan to see Maria Aberg directing John Webster’s brilliant, The White Devil; on the main stage, a full production of The Two Gentlemen of Verona will be performed at the RST for the first time in 45 years.

AUGUST will probably bring another trip to the Globe. Indeed, I might get a chance to see Antony and Cleopatra at both the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse and at the Globe. It seems likely that I won’t be able to see Julius Caesar inside and out, so I’ll do my best to get to this. At this point, my information tapers out. I’m sure there’s much more to come, including events that have yet to be announced; as ever I’ll try and comment on most of the things I get to see. In the meantime, suggestions and recommendations welcome!


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