Brookes collaborates on historic plays at Hampton Court Palace

Wednesday, 05 August 2009


Prof Tom Betteridge is acting as theatrical adviser to Historic Royal Palaces.

Two groundbreaking plays inspired by the mighty Tudor monarch Henry VIII will be staged in the royal setting of Hampton Court Palace with the help of Oxford Brookes University.

Professor Tom Betteridge, of the department of English and Drama, is acting as theatrical adviser to Historic Royal Palaces, the independent charity that looks after Hampton Court. The plays will be staged at Henry VIII’s famous royal residence as part of a year-long programme of special events commemorating the 500th anniversary of the King’s accession to the throne.

The plays are A Little Neck, an entirely new, site specific promenade theatre experience, and a restaging of John Heywood’s The Play of the Weather, originally commissioned by Henry VIII.

Both works look at two different aspects of Henry VIII’s reign and will make use of Hampton Court Palace’s historic rooms and surroundings, as well as immersing the audience in the action.

Prof Betteridge said: “These two plays are not just about commemorating a significant moment in history but about making Hampton Court’s stories and history accessible to the general public.

“Henry VIII’s court itself was a place of performance and drama and these two meticulously researched plays offer not only clever entertainment but also a radical slice of public history.”

The Play of the Weather (a collaboration between Historic Royal Palaces, Oxford Brookes and the Arts and Humanities Research Council) shows at Hampton Court Palace from 6-8 August.

A Little Neck ( a collaboration between Goat and Monkey theatre company, Historic Royal Palaces, Oxford Brookes and The Wellcome Trust) will be staged 14 September- 4 October.

Tom Betteridge is an expert on Tudor literature and court drama. He has published widely. His other interests are English Reformation literature, William Shakespeare, John Foxe, and critical theory. He is currently working on a literary biography of Thomas More and study of love in Shakespeare.

The picture shows Professor Tom Betteridge outside Hampton Court Palace: copyright Cat Steventon/HRP

More information on the Historic Royal Palaces website.

Listen to Prof Tom Betteridge's interview on the BBC Radio Oxford breakfast show - 6 August.