With the castle as the backdrop, there is no better stage to watch enthralling performances this summer.
Nell Gwynn by Jessica Swale
And the smash hit musical comedy from the Globe, Nell Gwynn.
“They’ve disgraced our trade. Ruined our art. They put a woman on the stage!”
London, 1660, King Charles II has exploded onto the scene with the love of all things loud, extravagant and sexy. And at Drury Lane a young Nell Gwynn is causing stirrings amongst the theatregoers. Nell Gwynne charts the rise of an unlikely heroine, from her roots in Coal Yard Alley, to her success as Britain’s most celebrated actress, and her hard won place in the heart of the King. But at a time when women are second class citizens, can her charm and spirit protect her from the dangers of the court?
The British playwright Jessica Swale’s Nell Gwynn premiered at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2015 and was nominated for five awards, winning a 2016 Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy. Similarly to Gwynn’s controversy within the plot, the plays premiere also created debate for drama-lovers due to the casting of Gugu Mbatha-Raw as the protagonist Nell Gwynn. The mixed-race woman was to play a historically white figure, nevertheless the actors remarkable performance which led to her nomination for Best Actress at the 2015 Evening Standard Theatre Awards, quelled all questioning.
Changeling’s creative director Rob Forknall says:
“ The people of Kent have spoken and voted for Nell Gwynn in last years audience poll, it’s the first time we have performed a play in the open air by a living, FEMALE playwright. We are very excited. I saw this show at the Globe and thought it perfect for our audiences, sexy and funny. The Winters Tale was a surprise for me as a summer play, but the audiences love it’s beautiful verse and fairytale feel.”
As part of a summer-long tour, the company is performing Shakespeare’s Winter’s Tale and Swale’s Nell Gwynn in a range of outdoor locations from 28 June to 18 August 2019, in venues as diverse as Margate seafront and Biddenden Vineyard to a wide range of public gardens, parks, amphitheatres and many of the county’s best-loved castles.