5 Stars
‘Vivid, pungent and richly theatrical.’
The Guardian

5 Stars
‘Lines that burn with social rage’
Financial Times

5 Stars
Matthew Dunster's finely acted production uses the shadowy intimacy of the Playhouse to powerful effect.

5 Stars
‘Think James Bond thriller but in doublet and hose’
The Times

The Winter Selection
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The Secret Theatre

The Dark Arts of Elizabeth's Spymaster
by Anders Lustgarten

  • Delete  2017/Winter/Secret/New1

Thursday 16 November – Saturday 16 December 2017

Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Tickets Running Time
Fixed Position Standing: £10 | Seated: £20 – £48 | Premium Tickets: £62 Approx. 2 hrs 15 mins including an interval
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Anders Lustgarten

Matthew Dunster

Jon Bausor

Assistant Director
Isabel Marr

Charlotte Broom

Alexander Balanescu

Lighting Designer
Malcolm Rippeth

Costume Supervisor
Laura Hunt

Fight Director
Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown


Tara Fitzgerald

Edmund Kingsley
Robert Pooley

Cassie Layton
Frances Walsingham / Mary of Scots

Sam Marks
Sir Philip Sidney / Robert Southwell / Adam

Aidan McArdle
Sir Francis Walsingham

David Partridge
Anthony Babington / Miles / Howard

Abraham Popoola
John Ballard / Tom / Topcliffe / Doctor

Ian Redford
Sir William Cecil / Palmer

Colin Ryan
Phelippes / Davy

Artwork Credit

Olivia D’Cruz 

‘It’s not enough that men are watched;
they must think themselves watched,
even when they are not  


Espionage, double-crossing and blackmail come to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in this new spy thriller with powerful contemporary echoes.

Spymaster Sir Francis Walsingham oversees a vast surveillance network from the heart of Elizabeth I’s court. As the nation’s relationship with Europe deteriorates and civil unrest grows, Walsingham adopts ever more extreme tactics to keep his queen and country safe. But does he risk losing control of the apparatus he has created and destroying the lives of those closest to him? And can such safety ever be achieved?


Matthew Dunster, the Globe’s Associate Director, directs this new play by Anders Lustgarten, an award-winning playwright renowned for his bold approach to social and political questions. The Secret Theatre asks what we are prepared to sacrifice in order to ensure our safety. Shot through with moments of the blackest humour, this smart, tense thriller finds its perfect setting in the shadowy recesses and flickering candlelight of the Playhouse.

Please note: This production may not be suitable for children. In its faithful portrayal of Elizabethan-era espionage and torture, this production will feature scenes of gory and often brutal violence, including gunshots and blood. Contains strong language.  


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