‘Murder in the Cathedral’ by T.S. Eliot

(to be directed by Robert Lowe)


“Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest? @realHenry2King”

1170. Henry II is on the throne: a powerful, some would say almost tyrannical, leader, who brooks no challenges from his countrymen. His former friend and supporter Thomas Becket, whom he has appointed to the position of Archbishop of Canterbury in an attempt to force the church to bend to the will of the state, is now questioning the king’s authority and using his popularity to challenge the power of the king. Becket returns to Canterbury after exile abroad to face martyrdom at the hands of four knights who take it upon themselves to do the king’s bidding. In Canterbury, a chorus of the people comment on the actions of those they seemingly cannot control.

One of the great verse plays of the 20th century, Murder in the Cathedral is a powerful examination of the will of man in the face of tyranny, whilst also exploring martyrdom and self-sacrifice.

In an age where a president’s tweets about enemies of the state can lead to his followers taking violent action and where a government cannot agree on how to deliver the will of a divided country, it seems to be the perfect time to revive this play. I would like to use modern ideas to rethink this classic, presenting it in a dynamic and physical form, using the audience as both witnesses and judges of the situation.

The play can be performed with any number from 12 upwards, but ideally it would need a large cast of all ages to do it full justice. The purpose of this reading is to see if there is enough interest in scheduling a production of this extraordinarily powerful play at some point in 2020.

‘The last temptation is the greatest treason, to do the right deed for the wrong reason’

If you would like to find out more, do come to the reading on April 28th, or contact me at rml.stratford@gmail.com or suemoore@lofttheatrecompany.com to express an interest.

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