Andy Kesson, Medieval and Renaissance Drama in England, Vol.29 (2016) "This repertory study of the Queen's Servants is immensely detailed, carefully researched and full of generous doses of archival discoveries… [It] usefully revisits and rethinks a company that is, when not overlooked, … [Read More...]
29/8/2018 – #RedBullPlaque Day!
The site of the Red Bull Playhouse – built c.1605 – finally has its plaque.
With circa 100 people in attendance, Hayward’s Place saw a plaque unveiled to this Jacobean theatre, one-time home of Webster’s The White Devil and Thomas Heywood’s A Woman Killed With Kindness to name but two performed contemporaneously to Shakespeare’s repertoire.
Entertainer and broadcaster Alexander Armstrong, together with his sons Patrick and Rex were there to unveil the plaque, along with Mayor of Islington David Poyser and Dr. Griffith as academic boffin. Introduced by Mark Aston of Islington Museum and Islington Local Archives, all three spoke.
The event was preceded by a two-hour interactive exhibition in the Crypt of St. James’ Church, Clerkenwell, where many of the playwrights and players of the Red Bull were interred. Actors performed the parts of Thomas Heywood, John Webster, Susan Baskervile and Vittoria Corombona.
Red Bull Playhouse
Kate O’Toole, Dr. Griffith and Zenga Longmore in Dr. Griffith’s Red Bull Book Film
If you’d like to learn more about the Red Bull, a rival playhouse to Shakespeare’s Globe, you can purchase Dr. Griffith’s book.
2018: A Christopher Beeston Year
Guy Henry as Christopher Beeston in Dr. Griffith’s Red Bull Book Film
Dr. Griffith has designated 2018 a Christopher Beeston Year, as she ponders this actor, once a fellow with Shakespeare’s Chamberlain’s Men at the Curtain in Shoreditch. Instead of following this company to the Bankside Globe, Beeston joined Edward Somerset, fourth earl of Worcester’s company, later to be given patronage by Queen Anna of Denmark, James I’s wife.
Beeston became an actor-manager of the Queen’s Servants’ company while at the Red Bull in St. John Street, Clerkenwell. This was in 1612 after the death of Thomas Greene, the company clown.
It was as a Queen Anna’s man that Christopher became the first to engender a playhouse in Drury Lane – an indoor playhouse, different to the Bull – the Cockpit Phoenix playhouse. This theatre was the first entertainment venue, therefore, in what we now term ‘The West End’.
A Jacobean Company and Its Playhouse
Dr. Griffith’s book tells the previously untold story of the Servants of Queen Anna of Denmark, a group of players parallel to Shakespeare’s King’s Men, and their London playhouse, The Red Bull. Griffith sets the playhouse in the historical context of the Seckford and Bedingfeld families and their connections to the site.
Tom Rutter, Early Modern Literary Studies, Vol.19 no.2 (2017) "Eva Griffith's book, which complements her previously published research on the [Red Bull] playhouse… should be a vital starting point for anyone working on the Red Bull and on the Queen's Men, who performed there until 1619.…Griffith … [Read More...]
Leeds Barroll, Shakespeare Quarterly, 2016 (Vol. 67, No.2, 282) "Certainly Griffith's book deserves to be ranked with other important studies of the drama of the Stuart era." … [Read More...]
Siobhan Keenan, Theatre Notebook, 2015 (Vol. 69, No. 1, 65-66) ...Based on a wealth of original archival research, Griffith’s book invites scholars to re-examine traditional assumptions about Queen Anna’s men. This includes drawing attention to the fact that the company did not confine itself to … [Read More...]