Staging Exeter performers

Free performance brings Exeter's past to life this Bank Holiday weekend

On Friday May 2nd, performers in Exeter’s Guildhall will bring the city’s theatrical history back to life. The evening will be a creative showcase for the Staging Exeter project, involving a series of free events: a public lecture, performances, an exhibition, and wine reception.

The Staging Exeter project seeks to reinvigorate historic performance spaces within the city centre.

The team is led by University of Exeter postgraduate researchers from Drama, Callan Davies, Anna-Marie Linnell and Nora Williams in collaboration with local actors and students who are curious about the city’s theatrical history.

Exeter has a rich performance history, starting well before its peak as a trading centre in the Elizabethan period. Using brief records of performances staged from the medieval period to the start of the Civil Wars, the Staging Exeter team has reconstructed an understanding of the city’s dramatic history. They then adapted these texts to create performances that are relevant for modern audiences.

The location of Exeter’s early modern plays can sometimes take spectators by surprise. Anna-Marie Linnell explains: “We know snippets of detail about a wide range of performances in Exeter, from pop-up plays outside the Cathedral to wedding parades in Southernhay.” She added:“The Staging Exeter team wants to establish the kind of audiences that would have been attending these early performances, and to recreate them for similar social networks today.”

To explore Exeter’s places and playing spaces, the team have run a series of public pop-up performances around the city centre. Recently they presented a series of scenes centred on Christopher Marlowe’s supernatural thriller Dr Faustus, the team also created a mash-up of an early modern country dance and Michael Jackson’s Thriller.

Keep your eyes peeled and you might see their next pop-up performance, which will take place the week after Easter in the city centre.

Doors will open for the Staging Exeter final event at 6.30pm on Friday May 2nd at the iconic Exeter Guildhall, which is itself a former playing space. To register your interest, email the project team:

Date: 28 April 2014

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