Rowan Williams Play, Shakeshafte comes to the house where it is set

5 June 2017

In early 2016 Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury, gave copies of his new Play, Shakeshafte, to a drama group in Swansea and to Trinity Players, the drama group from Holy Trinity Church, Stratford-upon-Avon where Shakespeare was baptised and buried, for a first performance in Wales and in England.
On Saturday 17 June, Trinity Players will be performing the play at 2.30pm and 7.30pm in Hoghton Tower near Preston, the house where the action of the play is set.
Local tradition suggests that the young Shakespeare, called William Shakeshafte in Alexander Hoghton’s will, worked for a time as a tutor cum entertainer at Hoghton Tower, possibly at the same time as the Jesuit martyr, Edmund Campion,was in hiding there.
Rowan Williams describes the Play as a ‘Fantasia’ on the events of those years particularly on what a Shakespeare and a Campion might have had to say to one another: the intelligence of the martyr and the intelligence of the poet. Rowan Williams’ comment on hearing that his Play would be performed in Hoghton Tower was, ‘wonderful news!’ The Play ran for three performances in Holy Trinity Church to full houses in November 2016
This is a play of ideas but also one of action, music and songs.  It has been a deeply spiritual experience for the cast and the Stratford audiences alike, and the performances in the Banqueting Hall at Hoghton should be exceptionally atmospheric, set around the King’s Table with musicians playing in the Minstrel’s Gallery. Tickets are on sale via the Hoghton Tower website.

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