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Kate Glover's

Magna Carta

Eight hundred years after King John gave his seal to Magna Carta, a new play Magna Carta, written and directed by Kate Glover highlights the intrigue, plots and squabbles in a tantalisingly little known reign.

The play tells the dramatic story of the struggle between King John and his rebel barons. We burst into a rowdy House of Commons where the great seventeenth century lawyer Edward Coke is in full flow. It is he who realises the significance of the charter after hundreds of years of neglect. (Shakespeare had not bothered to include it in his play KING JOHN.) Coke leads us into the thirteenth century where we meet King John and his court.

John is portrayed as a complex and brilliant man, albeit with a dark side, who suffers tremendous angst at the loss of his French possessions. His determination to get the lands back leads to swingeing taxes on his subjects. Resentment of this grows as suspicion of John deepens: the nagging question as to who killed Arthur of Brittany runs through the play, with the implication that it might well have been his Uncle John....

A plot to murder John by the shadowy baronial thugs Eustace de Vesci and Robert FitzWalter is scuppered, but tension continues to mount.

The barbarous treatment of the once powerful de Briouze family and of the gentle hermit Peter of Wakefield, coupled with the fall of London to rebel barons, engineered by the enigmatic Serlo the Mercer, Mayor of London, leads to the denouement in a “field called Runnymede.” It is here that a furious John, after days of negotiations, brokered by Archbishop Stephen Langton, finally gives his seal to the Charter. It is left to Edward Coke to point to the iconic significance of this great event in future years.

Kate Glover's

Queen Anne

Three hundred years after the death of Queen Anne in 1714, Kate Glover's play highlights the intrigue, plots and squabbles in a tantalisingly little known reign.  Directed by Kenneth Michaels, Glover’s playQueen Anne is a production by Historia Theatre Company.  It ran during July and August 2014 at the Barons Court Theatre .

When Queen Anne, shy, gout-ridden and overweight, ascends the throne in 1702, the Jacobites, proto-terrorists, will stop at nothing to kill her and put her half-brother, the Roman Catholic James Stuart, on the throne.  James just happens to be supported by the hugely powerful Louis XIV of France .  Court favourites vie for influence with the Queen.  Coalition politics spark off intense rivalries between Whig and Tory politicians.  With her husband and children all dead, how will the Queen cope?

 

Sally Sheringham’s

THE SOUND OF BREAKING GLASS

 

The play focuses on the Marland family and covers the years from 1908 to 1921. Reggie, the husband, is a banker and Emma, his wife, runs the household and spends her time doing volunteer work and catching up on her embroidery.  Emma’s old school friend Kitty, a paid-up member of the Suffragette movement, inspires her to think about her life: is her cosy, pampered existence really enough for her?  She is lured to a Suffragette demonstration atHyde Park by her spirited housemaid Maisie.  She is impressed by the bravery of women who, she now sees, are as normal as herself.  Some of them are even married!  She decides to join the cause and starts off in a reasonably safe way selling Votes for Women newspapers.  Strident and confident she most certainly is not.  But she begins to get the hang of dealing with heckling from passers by – partly due to the help of Ethel, a down to earth and witty lady who has joined the cause about the same time as Emma.  Emma’s daughter Lucy has the shock of her life when she inadvertently comes across her mother selling the magazines; she is nonetheless delighted.

Emma begins to get a little more daring and joins fellow Suffragettes in breaking Government windows – in a very funny scene in which the women pretend to be a Church choir.

Meanwhile, Reggie is unsurprisingly both disbelieving and furious.  He is also angry that his authority is flouted on a daily basis.  He spends more and more time at his Club.  If rumours (spread by the monstrous Lady Clegthorne) are correct, he finds a little consolation elsewhere...

Emma becomes militant.  Her capacity for spin bowling (discovered at school) now gets a new airing.  The First Act closes with her arrest as she once again goes on a window-breaking spree.

Act Two opens with Ethel and Emma in prison.  Emma takes protest to its logical conclusion and decides to go on hunger strike.  Reggie visits her in prison in a tender scene in which he shows without doubt that he still loves Emma but is frustrated and distressed by his incapacity to do anything at all to alleviate the situation.Emma is freed.  The situation becomes much darker when Emily Davison throws herself under the King’s Horse at the Derby in 1913.

The shock at this death becomes intertwined with grief and suffering with the onset of World War I.  William, the beloved son of Emma and Reggie, is killed in action.A similar fate befalls Lucy’s fiancé.  The once proud and virile Reggie has a breakdown.  Emma becomes a nurse but can do little to alleviate Reggie’s depression.  Light begins to dawn when Maisie, now married, produces a son and asks Reggie to be a sort of pretend grandfather for the boy.  Reggie cheers up as he begins to think of golf and motor cars and teaching the young boy to play cricket.  He and Emma begin to get back their sexual intimacy - but on a new and more equal basis.  The play ends with daughter Lucy announcing that she intends to become one of the first women MPs.

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Judenfrei

Love and death in Hitler’s Germany

 

This moving play chronicles the passionate love story and the desperate dilemma of two gifted young people, who just happen to be Jews, as well as the extraordinary contrast between the reactions of their families to this predicament in the terrifying world of Nazi Germany.

Hanna and Philipp, two lawyers in their thirties, are in love. The problem is that they are Jewish lawyers in the Berlin of 1938. Hitler has prohibited all Jewish lawyers except World War 1 veterans from practising. Philipp was in the trenches as a teenager so he thinks he is all right, but he is terrified for the safety of the brilliant and impulsive Hanna who refuses to be prudently inconspicuous. He tries to persuade her to flee to safety. He promises that he can get her a visa to Cuba. She, however, refuses to leave without her manipulative mother Elisabeth and her feckless sister Anita. One night, in November 1938, Philipp receives a mysterious telephone call from a total stranger. It is obviously a coded warning. Philipp’s dying father and altruistic sister urge him to leave that night. It is a call which will change all their lives.

Philipp does flee, albeit unwillingly. Hanna, forced to stay on, witnesses the terror of Kristallnacht. Her quality of life deteriorates as she has to take on menial jobs to support Elisabeth and Anita. In November 1941 she receives what she has been waiting for - three visas for Cuba. But it is too late: the order has already come for her and her family to be deported from Berlin. In the final scene, Philipp, safe in New York, grieves for Hanna and for his family. He grieves for the fact that he was not there to say Kaddish for them and he resolves to survive and to return to Germany for their sake.

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An African's Blood

The play tells the story of the twenty year struggle to abolish the slave trade from 1787 to 1807; yet it starts and finishes with the cries of Mariatu Sesay, a modern day slave. We are lured into the world of the late eighteenth century as slaver John Newton (later an abolitionist and author of Amazing Grace) orders his next cargo of ironware, calico and ale to sell on the West African coast in exchange for a cargo of slaves.

Thomas Clarkson and William Wilberforce meet at a dinner party and describe how they each became committed to the cause of the slaves. We listen to the eloquent testimony of an ex-slave – Olaudah Equiano. Clarkson travels all over England gathering witnesses and testimony to the horrors of the trade, risking his life at least once in the great slave trading city of Liverpool.

Meanwhile we see Wilberforce doggedly introducing his motion for the abolition of the trade, year after year, to the patronizing amusement of his opponents. The powerful proslavery lobby, including plantation owners and City Merchants argue passionately that abolition would ruin the British economy. We hear evidence from both sides about how slaves were treated on the sugar plantations of the West Indies and about life on board ship.

By 1791, the people have begun to take an interest: Miss Arabella Brookes, daughter of one of the pre-eminent slave owning families shocks her Mamma by refusing to touch sugar. She is joined by three hundred thousand people. Poems and pamphlets, songs and pictures gradually change the political atmosphere. Clarkson and Wilberforce and their allies regroup; the new Prime Minister Lord Grenville and the charismatic Charles James Fox give their support. The Bill for the Abolition of the Slave Trade is finally carried in the Spring of 1807 and the House cheers Wilberforce as he sits, with head bowed, tears streaming down his cheeks.

And what have they really achieved?The ghosts of the nineteenth century make way for the courageous Mariatu who is indeed the face of slavery yet to come. We never discover who the real ghosts are.

 

FIVE ELEVEN

The 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot fell on 5 November 2005.  Kate Glover's play chronicles the events, and poses questions to which we still seek answers four centuries later.  

  • Religious divisions: persecution of the adherents of the old Faith

  • Roman Catholic Priests hunted down and killed

  • New King promises greater toleration

  • Promises broken; persecution returns

  • Disappointed and angry young men plot overthrow of government

  • Plot betrayed; conspirators tortured and executed

  • Persecution of Roman Catholic minority sharpens

Kate Glover's lively retelling of the Gunpowder Plot.....laudable commitment to historical authenticity.....nice performances.  Time Out

Kate Glover’s dramatisation of the events leading up to the 1605 Gunpowder Plot is most successful in evoking the discomfort and frustrations out of which the conspiracy rose.  The Stage

Performances from an adaptable cast are strong and convincing...good theatre and a well-researched piece of history.  Whatsonstage.com

 

Evelina

A young ingénue from rustic Dorset, Evelina finds herself in the midst of the sophisticated beau monde and social minefield of 18th century London. She is extremely beautiful and is pursued by many admirers, suitable and unsuitable. The story is complicated by the fact that no-one knows who she really is. This threatens to stop her marrying the man she really loves, the honourable and handsome Lord Orville.  

Adapted from a novel written more than 200 years ago, the themes are of timeless relevance.  Evelina has no parents at the beginning of the play: her mother is dead and her father has rejected her. Part of her quest is to be known by her father, to be acknowledged by him, to be a somebody as opposed to a nobody ; throughout the play she is frequently taunted with this vicious slur. 

Evelina had its first airing as a rehearsed reading on 13 June 2002, the 250th anniversary of the birth of Fanny Burney, at Dr Johnson's House off Fleet Street. The reading took place. She was introduced to Johnson by her father, the musician and writer Dr Charles Burney. The actual novel Evelina was written during the reign of George III, to whose consort, Queen Charlotte, Burney was for some years second keeper of the robes.  Johnson was full of praise for the novel and commented: “…there were passages in it which might do honour to Richardson ”.

Directed by Kate Glover at the Pentameters theatre in Hampstead in March 2004, Evelina was very well received:

"Kate Glover's engaging production...nice period costumes and  very strong performances"  Robert Shore, Time Out

 

"...this excellent adaptation by Kate Glover...Lavish costumes and elegant courtly dances beautifully invoke the manners and the times.  Historia Theatre Company...certainly get it right."  Julia Hickman, Theatreworld Internet Magazine

 

"A triumph...the end result is witty, informative and wonderfully theatrical"  Paul Anthony-Barber, UK Theatre Network

 

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A Passionate Englishman

Performed in 1997at the Hen and Chickens in Islington, A Passionate Englishman portrays the life of William Penn.  Though famous as a Quaker and as the founder of Pennsylvania, Penn converted to the Quaker faith only in his 20s, and was in America for a mere four years.  Penn's foundation of a place of asylum for the persecuted Quakers of 17th-century England has only too obvious contemporary parallels.  Kate Glover surfaces the often-ignored fact that Penn and the diarist Samuel Pepys were acquainted, and were both incarcerated for a time in the Tower of London, accused of Jacobitism.  It is this period of Penn's life that provides the setting for the play, which takes the form of a dialogue between Penn and Pepys.  It explores Penn's life in a series of flashbacks, by turns dramatic, comic and affecting; in parallel, it charts how the relationship between Pepys and Penn develops.

The play was well received, both as drama and for the professionalism of its production:

"...a miniature West End spectacular in Islington."

"...constant attention to detail...head and shoulders above so many other fringe productions."

"...as a historian, Ms Glover discovered plenty of surprising facts about her subject."

The play was successfully performed later at Chigwell School (Penn's old school), produced by a member of the 6th form.

 

 

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