Rarely Played

Why not add a Rarely Played introduction to your ticket for just £5?

Learn more about each of these plays with our inspiring and engaging seminar introductions prior to our Read Not Dead performances.

Time: 1.00pm – 3.00pm

Tickets: £5


Tickets for Read Not Dead readings must be purchased separately.

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Read Not Dead in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

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Various dates

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

£15 | £12 FoSG & Students
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Run time: Approximately 3 hours

Please Note: Latecomers may not be admitted


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Sappho and Phao

Sunday 27 August, 4.00pm

By John Lyly (published 1584)

Sappho is the virginal queen of Sicily, and the goddess Venus is not happy about her virginity. So she gives the beautiful local ferry-boy, Phao, an even more beautiful make-over and causes Sappho and Phao to fall in love. But marriage between queens and ferry-boys is discouraged, and the play follows Sappho's attempts to sidestep Venus' plans for compulsory heterosexual union. Will the lovers manage to fall out of love?

This reading is in collaboration with Before Shakespeare and The Dolphin’s Back. Learn more about this project on our Before Shakespeare blog.

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Why not add a Rarely Played introduction?

Enrich your understanding of the plays, the playwrights and the context of early modern drama with our popular accompanying seminars. 

Time: 1.00pm – 3.00pm

Tickets: £5

Buy Tickets >>


The Elder Brother

Sunday 17 September, 4.00pm

By Philip Massinger and John Fletcher (published 1637)

With his daughter Angelica having turned fourteen, Lewis decides that it is time to find her a suitable husband. His neighbour, Brisac, has two eligible sons: the scholarly Charles (the eponymous elder brother) and his younger, more worldly brother Eustace. With the latter seeming the better match, Lewis and Brisac plot to transfer Charles’ birthright to his brother, while promising to leave him with a suitable income. But when Charles and Angelica meet and instantly fall in love, things do not go quite the way their fathers had hoped.

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Back by Popular Demand - Winner's Performance

Sunday 1 October, 4.00pm

Join us in the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse for the staged reading of the winning entry from the Back By Popular Demand Voting Event. The four plays chosen for this year’s Back By Popular Demand will be either solo or collaborative plays by Philip Massinger.  

We can now reveal that the winning team is...

Team Custom: Philip Bird and Dr Lucy Munro, The Custom of the Country

Arnoldo has fallen in love with and married Zenocia, but no sooner has their romance begun than it must overcome an obstacle: the ancient right of Count Clodio to sleep with the bride on her wedding night. Seeking to escape this country custom, the newlyweds flee along with Arnoldo’s brother, Rutillio. Hotly pursued, the three find themselves faced with new challenges. Zenocia is captured by a Portuguese sea captain and forced to serve his intended wife, who has herself fallen in love with Arnoldo. Rutillio, meanwhile, finds himself entangled in a web of violence, lust and disguise. Will love and loyalty overcome abusive tradition? 

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The Great Duke of Florence

Sunday 12 November, 4.00pm

By Philip Massinger (published 1636)

Widowed and childless, Duke Cozimo has vowed to leave his dukedom to his nephew Giovanni. Giovanni has spent his childhood in the country where he has fallen in love with Lidia – the epitome of female goodness. His attempts to bring Lidia to court arouse Cozimo’s suspicions and he sends his favourite, Count Sanazarro, to give report of her. The plot’s twists and turns begin when Sanazarro instantly falls in love with Lidia, and Cozimo is not far behind…

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