Join us just north of of the City walls in Finsbury Square for an open performance workshop exploring the diverse audiences of Elizabethan playhouses and their surrounding neighbourhoods. We will ask: Who visited Elizabethan playhouses? What might it mean to put “non-English” characters on stage? What do playwrights’ engagement with the issues of immigration, identity, and belonging tell us about late sixteenth-century playing spaces?
This experimental workshop will stage extracts from a number of sixteenth century plays that dramatise the economic, social, and cultural issues of immigration in order to further understand both Elizabethan attitudes to "foreignness" and our own relationship to Renaissance drama. These readings will be informed by a wide array of non-dramatic documents from the period - such as letters, diaries, travel reports, orders from the London Mayor, and official lists of immigrant residents - and will be open to staging suggestions and discussion from audience members.
Everybody is welcome and no knowledge of the history or drama of the period is necessary. We invite participants to contribute to discussions, and we will end with an open conversation reflecting on the issues raised in the workshop. If you have any queries or questions, please do be in contact with TIDE or Before Shakespeare. Audiences, Immigration and Belonging in Elizabethan Theatres is a collaborative workshop between the European Research Council-funded TIDE project, the Arts and Humanities Research Council UK-funded Before Shakespeare project, and The Dolphin’s Back.Sign up here