In 1605 playwrights Ben Jonson and George Chapman were thrown into the Fleet Prison. This was for mocking the Scots in their new play Eastward Ho! – at a time when the English king was also King of Scotland. Their co-author John Marston managed to flee London. The actors escaped trouble: after all, they were only boys …
The play is one of a number which found inspiration in the City of London and its trade during the reigns of Elizabeth I and James I. City trade provided material for the playwrights of the time as they brought the varied textures of human interaction to the stage.
The City provided the rapacious moneylender, the clear-sighted (or otherwise) goldsmith, and the tavern keeper trying to impose order; there was the wine trade, raising the spirits and fuddling the mind.
And above all there was the Exchange, the foundation of London’s place as a major financial centre.
Much Ado About Trading interweaves readings from plays by William Shakespeare and his contemporaries into an exploration of City trade. They mingled with its crowds, observed its characters, and put them onto the stage.
Details – Much Ado About Trading
Please go to What’s On? to see whether this tour is currently on offer, and for booking details.
MEET: Outside Cannon Street Underground Station, on Dowgate Hill.
Duration: Two hours (approximately).
If you have any questions about this walk, please contact me
Pictures sourced from Wikimedia Commons