The Players And The Boy Actor
Double-Bill, Coming soon
The Players by Nick Whitby
Towards the end of the reign of Elizabeth the First, a group of the period’s most influential women wait at the house of the Countess of Derby for the arrival of a troupe of travelling players. As they wait they engage in a battle of wits and wills that will shape both their world, and our own.
Intriguing, mysterious, and often wryly funny, The Players reveals where power truly lay in the Elizabethan age, and why. The play peels back some of the assumptions that still surround the period for modern audiences, and challenges the absurd idea that its leading women were merely passive observers of their times. It offers audiences a direct way in to a proper and full appreciation of this extraordinary period in our country’s history, that avoids a too-often incomplete and lazy way of imagining our past – that might be summed up in a simple question: ‘Do you think that women in any time or society weren’t fully involved in the affairs of their world?’
Writer Nick Whitby studied English at New College Oxford under the great scholar (and co-editor of The Riverside Shakespeare) Anne Barton. Her influence was also strongly felt on the development of the RSC through her husband John Barton, one of its founding directors. Nick has been a playwright and scriptwriter for over 30 years, with work produced in various genres on BBC, ITV and C4, and plays performed across Europe, in America, Canada and Australia, as well as in the UK, at the Donmar and Hampstead theatres in London. The Players emerged in 2020 from his association with Cygnet on a Shakespeare workshop, that involved readings by the student-actors involved. For Nick, The Players was directly inspired by the extraordinary level of skill, commitment and ability shown in their handling of Elizabethan verse in that workshop, and was begun shortly afterwards, being accepted for production in November 2020.
The Boy Actor by Caroline Monk
Aspects of the most personal history of Elizabeth 1st are revealed in this play as, with a mixture of affection, humour and inspiring majesty, she allows herself to be charmed by a young aspiring actor whose dearest ambition is to join Shakespeare’s company.
“A well-researched and balanced play which scores on all fronts … a must for Shakespeare lovers.”
Western Times 1995