Photos from the 2022 tech rehearsal at the theatre
(click on images to see larger version)
Historia presents Kate Glover's new play -
harassment over the way they wanted to worship
the arrest of their leaders
bullying by Venture Capitalists
sickness and death on board
terrifying storms at sea
heartbreak over the people they had to leave behind
worries over enough food and supplies
no knowledge about what they would find when they got there
As planned, MAYFLOWER got its first public outing on Sunday 22nd November 2020 as a ZOOM performance. Nearly 100 people turned up. Very many thanks to you for coming and also for the generous donations that you have sent.
Our international audience came from the USA, Canada, Australia, France and the UK.
FEEDBACK: We had lots of great feedback and we are also hoping to edit a recording of the show. You can read what others said:
Aline Waites -
It seems a little odd to review a play that has already finished its run at the Hen and Chickens. But I feel that the play has value as an interesting historical document and has such good reviews that it deserves to have another run maybe elsewhere. Glover has put an awful lot of research into finding out about this group of religious puritans
known as “The Separatists” who decided to find a new way of living. It was impossible in England during James 1st as there was a strong move to move towards a High church religion much more like Roman Catholicism. This group of people prefer a much simpler way to spend their religious life and are persecuted because of it, many escaping to Europe to avoid prosecution.
Glover also plays the role of Magdalen Winslow, heartbroken mother of Edward Winslow (Simon Brandon) who has escaped to Holland and is waiting in Leiden for their chance to get on a boat and begin their lives in the New World. Edward has an intelligent wife Elizabeth played by Francesca Baker. She has a strong intuition and recognises the wickedness of Thomas Weston, evil but charming Harry Saks, and a member of the Separatist group, who promises Edward a contract which offers a ship, money and jobs for all in the new World. Edward who is ever sweet and optimistic accepts the contract before it is signed only to find out that it has been radically revised and signed by another person without his knowledge.
This is just the beginning of the many hazards they face whilst trying to find their way to Virginia.
Another of the group William Bradford (Daniel Chrisostomou) is made of stronger stuff and refuses the contract. His wife is another heartbroken mother, but their son is only three years old and has to be left behind in London with his grandparents, Dorothy feels she will never see her son again. In order to be able to praise God as they wanted, there were terrible sacrifices to be made.
The Winslows reside in Leiden waiting for their chance to leave Europe with the pastor who is going to sail with them to take care of their souls when they are on the journey.
Pastor John Robinson decides in the end that his work is to stay in the old country and ends Act one with a beautiful prayer delivered with great heart by Stephen Riddle.
Act Two takes place in many different ports in England Southampton, Dartmouth, Plymouth until finally they manage to get on the Mayflower and head off across the Atlantic. On the journey they face sickness, death, stormy waters and personal sadness.
Many of the actors now double up as people on board the ship under the captaincy of Kenneth Michaels as Captain Jones.
This production is described as a Dramatised Reading which means it is not a full scale production but I’m sure this is something the Historic Theatre Company will keep in view
It is such a good idea. Could be a great movie.
more audience reviews:
Charles Justice wrote the following review on 29 May 2022:
"Historia Theatre Company’s current production, Kate Glover’s Mayflower: They Knew They Were Pilgrims, is being performed until 11 June at the Hen and Chickens at Highbury Corner. A well-constructed and moving piece, acted with the usual spark and eloquence of a Historia cast made up of some familiar and some impressive new members. It traces the progress of the Leiden non-conformist congregation from their decision to set up in Virginia to their unplanned arrival in Massachusetts. As well as the underlying theme of religious persecution, the plot addresses the exploitation of refugees from persecution by ruthless venture capitalists who fund the journey in exchange for years of slave labour from the pilgrims, and send them to sea in overcrowded, barely seaworthy vessels. The play was written to mark the 400th anniversary of the 1620 voyage, but of course could not be performed live in the anniversary year. Four hundred years on, the parallels with the present day could scarcely be more chilling.
As pub theatres go, the H&C is pretty good, if bum-numbing. The traffic noise can be a distraction - but it can’t outdo Michael Murray’s exuberant sound effects."
Fiona Griffiths - Just a quick note to say how very much we all enjoyed the play tonight. Connie (descendant of Edward Winslow) and Dave specifically asked me to send their congratulations - they thought it an extraordinary piece of work. …..
Really great evening - you and the team should be very proud.
Francis Beckett (Author of the play Clement Attlee) - I enjoyed the Mayflower show, and I thought you made the very most of the very limited facilities a small fringe venue can offer. The characters were well drawn and there was plenty of dramatic tension to sustain interest. I did wonder whether it was really a film script rather than a theatre one. Would love to have the printed script when available
Cliff and Ann - The play was absolutely captivating, historically accurate and beautifully presented. We learned how Protestant separatists ('Pilgrims') were exploited by the venture capitalists of the time, to launch a New World colony. They made ideal candidates, given that they were close-knit, industrious and accustomed to hardship. The brilliant acting more than compensated for the minimalist set. We hope that future performances will be better attended and result in standing ovations!
Robert - Engaging re-telling of a story that is familiar on one level but less so on others. The cast bring the characters to life without resorting to patronising stereotypes.
Sandra - I chose to see this play from the Historia Theatre Company as it sounded as if I could learn more about something of which I had scant knowledge. And that aim was achieved. The acting was mixed. There was a little trouble with the page-turning, which was the technique used to tell the audience what the scene was about, when someone turned one page too many, but that was resolved in the second half. Like the pub and all staff very friendly and helpful.
Prue - It was with a degree of scepticism that I booked to see Mayflower: they knew they were pilgrims at the Hen and Chickens Theatre in Highbury and Islington. "How could a theatre company do justice to such an enterprise?" I asked myself. On Saturday afternoon 4 June 2022 Historia Theatre Company answered my question, rising admirably to the challenge. Excellently written and directed by Kate Glover and Kenneth Michaels respectively and well performed by a group of versatile and sensitive actors, this production was truthful, educational, enlightening, enthralling and moving.... Go and see it while you still can.
Nirjay Mahindru - I love the way we heard strong female voices previously ignored in history. I also loved the fact the play is well written and the acting was superb which overrides any sort of technical issues pertaining to the production. It left me wanting to know more about these people and the journey they took.
Here is it; we really get the sense of being at sea
The Islington Tribune published an article about our play. If you haven't booked your tickets yet, maybe bring some young enthusiasts along?
Read the article:
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