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University of York Offers Behind the Scenes View of Play Rehearsal

University of York

7:46am 14th March 2013

The University of York is offering a behind-the-scenes view of a play rehearsal and an opportunity to learn how Renaissance lives are created in the theatre for 21st-century audiences.

Open to all, ‘Renaissance Reincarnations in the Theatre’ today, features a chance to see the rehearsal process for selected scenes of Peter Whelan’s play The School of Night, an interview with British playwright David Edgar, and an exhibition based on materials from the Peter Whelan archive.

Taking place at York’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television, the public rehearsal of The School of Night, will be directed by Tom Wright, a professional director who recently joined the University as a Comedy Education Outreach Officer, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. An associate director of Freedom Studios, his productions include The Container (Edinburgh Festival and Young Vic, Fringe First and Amnesty International Award-winner).

The School of Night, first produced at The Other Place Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon in November 1992, is one of seven plays written for the Royal Shakespeare Company by British playwright Peter Whelan. It focuses on the life of Christopher Marlowe and the mystery surrounding his death.

Peter Whelan will give a short presentation after the rehearsal, and there will be an exhibition based around materials from the Peter Whelan archive, stored at the University’s Borthwick Institute for Archives.

As part of the event, British playwright David Edgar will talk to Professor Michael Cordner from York’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television about the process of writing Written on the Heart, a modern play on the early modern Bible translator William Tyndale. The interview will explore how the play has responded to and shaped Tyndale’s cultural afterlife.   

The event organised by Dr Varsha Panjwani, from the University of York’s Department of Theatre, Film and Television, and Dr Chloe Preedy, from the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of English, is part of a wider ongoing project exploring the practical processes involved in re-imagining early modern lives for 20th and 21st-century spectators and readers, say the University of York.

Dr Panjwani said: “The event offers a unique view of how Renaissance lives are created in the theatre for modern audiences. We are particularly pleased to welcome both Peter Whelan and David Edgar to York as we are sure they will provide some fascinating insights into the processes involved.”

Dr Preedy added: “The event is an exciting opportunity to explore how our awareness of influential Renaissance figures such as Christopher Marlowe and William Tyndale crucially shapes and is in turn re-shaped by the fictional afterlives they have acquired, in a dynamic and mutually influential exchange.”

Free to attend and open to all, places for the ‘Renaissance Reincarnations in the Theatre’ event are limited and pre-booking is essential, say the University of York. Email renaissance.reincarnations@gmail.com to book.

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