Fire & Phoenix
The play opens in the bakery of Thomas Farynor, King's Baker, just before midnight on 1 September 1666. It's a swelteringly hot night. There has been no rain for months. Thomas assures his daughter that he has checked the fires...
The fire starts within hours; for three days it rages terrifyingly, helped by a ferocious East wind. Lord Mayor Bludworth is useless. Samuel Pepys takes practical measures, and liaises with the King, Charles II. The people lose everything and camp out at Moorfields. Foreigners and 'papists' are blamed for the fire and so are ferociously attacked. People are hysterical. St Paul's burns: a vision of Hell.
A Frenchman is hanged for starting the fire, but was he really guilty? What about Farynor? Pepys has his suspicions...
Despite the toll of 89 churches and 1300 houses destroyed, and 200,000 people made homeless, Christopher Wren, in a moving final scene with Pepys, has a strong sense of hope, and believes that London, like the Phoenix, will rise from the ashes.
Performance Schedule (2016)
15 October, 14:30 Matinée (rehearsed reading) as part of the Festival of Anniversaries at St Hugh's College, Oxford.
15-19 November, daily at 19:30 matinée 19 November at 14:30 Bridewell Theatre, Bride Lane, London EC4Y 8EQ
A tour will follow to the 'Fire' churches
20 November: matinée at 14:30 All Hallows by the Tower, Byward Street, London EC3R 5BJ
22 November, 19:30 St Olave's Church, Hart Street, London EC3R 7NB (Where Pepys is buried)
23 November, 19:30 St Stephen, Walbrook, 39 Walbrook, London EC4N 8BN
24 November, 19:30 St Mary Woolnoth, Lombard Street, EC3V 9AN.
Thomas and Hanna Farynor (John Sears and Marie Fortune)
Samuel Pepys (Kevin Drury) and Christopher Wren (James Price)
Leonard (Elliot Blagden), Joshua and Susanna Curtin (Harry Saks and Tania Foley)
Charles II (James Price) and the homeless (Harry Saks, Elliott Blagden, Tania Foley)
Jane Birch (Tania Foley)
Crowd scene with Cornelius Rietveld, Dutch Baker (L to R: Elliot Blagden, Tania Foley, John Sears, Harry Saks, James Price, Kate Glover)