London’s Roman Amphitheatre provides ancient stage for city’s condensed history
London’s history – 50 million years of it – will be condensed into a one-hour play, staged this month in the remains of the city’s long-lost Roman Amphitheatre in the Square Mile, hosted by Guildhall Library.
A Complete History of London, written by former banker Tim Chapman, tells the story from when the capital was covered by ocean in pre-historic times to modern-day London. Three actors will perform a wide range of roles in the play, which includes appearances from Romans, Vikings and Danes, as well as Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and Guy Fawkes.
‘Real’ Londoners also make an appearance in this fast-paced production. The play comically and inventively informs the audience about the development London went through to become the city we know today, and leaves spectators with a true sense of what life was like for Londoners through time.
London’s Roman Amphitheatre dates from c.70AD – its remains were discovered by archaeologists in 1988. Originally the site of gladiatorial contests, sporting prowess and public spectacle, this production will be the second time in 1,500 years that the space has been used as an entertainment venue, the first being for the recent, sold-out performances of Euripides’ Medea.
Sara Pink, Head of Guildhall Library, spoke of her excitement about the library’s venture into theatre:
“The ancient remains of the Roman Amphitheatre, 30ft underneath Guildhall Yard, are a very special space in which to perform, and we’re looking forward to watching the actors race through so many years of the city’s history. It promises to be a very inventive and funny evening, and I am sure that people will leave this unique auditorium, both informed about how Londoners lived throughout the ages and entertained by the trio’s performance.”
The play runs from Saturday 20 April to Friday 26 April (no performance on Sunday evening), with shows starting at 7:30pm.
Tickets cost £15 and are available here from Eventbrite, or in person from Guildhall Library or over the phone with a credit/debit card by calling 020 7332 1868/1870 during library opening hours.
Tickets are selling fast, with only 100 seats available per night!