Lovely research day on Thursday in lovely Georgian Bury St Edmunds.
First was a lecture in the Guildhall on the problems of directing Georgian plays for a modern-day audience. This was given by Colin Blumenau (the artistic director of the Theatre Royal BStE) whose enthusiasm for the repertoire of the Georgian era just spills out of him. At several points during his talk I thought "Ahh, right!" and "Yes, of course!". As my Newmarket-Regency-in-progress revolves around a certain touring company, this will come in very useful.
Next it was off to meet my good friend Elaine to show her the Subscription Rooms (where we spent some time being Lost In Austen)
and then up to the Market Cross art gallery which used to be the theatre before the Theatre Royal was built in 1819.
Then in the evening we went to the Theatre Royal itself to watch a rehearsed reading of The Wolf and The Lamb (a one-act farce by Wilks and enormous fun). I cannot BELIEVE these guys had only had one day to rehearse this. They were fabulous! After the interval came Katie Bonna's The Celebrated Mrs Inchbald, in which Katie very cleverly shows key moments in Elizabeth Inchbald's life. Inchbald was a very witty playwright (who just happened to have been born near Bury St Edmunds) who believed in reform by stealth. Certainly her work changed people's opinions in a rather more peaceful way than radical revolution!
I had said to Elaine earlier that in the interests of research, I'd chosen seats in the end box right on the apron of the stage itself. It proved to be a brilliant place, so close to the action and really making me feel part of the period.
Roll on the next 'Restoring The Repertoire' offering from the Theatre Royal!