Theatre: A Rehearsal of the Life and Death of Robert Devereux, 2 nd Earl of Essex

Woodend, The Crescent, Scarborough, Saturday May 19 at 7.30pm.

A play by Jenny Hill, which premiered at La Rosa Hotel, Whitby, earlier this year, continues its tour with a performance at Woodend.

The production is bejewelled with lute songs from the Tudor period, by Dowland and others from the circle of Queen Elizabeth I.

The play is set in 1624, where Richard and Susannah, a lutenist and singer, are preparing a concert to mark the publication of a book – Gervase Markam’s Honour in his Perfection, which is dedicated to the Earl of Essex.

Although he was executed for treason during Elizabeth’s reign, aged only 36, the hero-worship that existed during his lifetime continued, and he had a huge following.

The play tells of the eventful life of his years at court, and later as a soldier, his sometimes stormy relationship with the queen, and the tragedy of his early death.

It is performed by Jenny (voice), and Simon Nisbett (lute).

Jenny grew up in the creative atmosphere of St Ives, Cornwall.

She trained as a singer at the London College of Music, taught singing for many years, and founded three choirs.

Her solo experience is mostly in the field of early music.

Jenny is also a poet, a member of Whitby Writers’ Group, and tours with her collection Voices of the First World War. This is her first venture as a playwright.

Like many lutenists, Simon Nisbett started out as a guitarist. He became Licentiate of Trinity College, London in the early eighties, and taught guitar in schools in the South East for many years. He always had a love of Early Music, and made the lute his first instrument some ten years ago, before moving to Scarborough. He has been performing with Jenny Hill as Merry Melancholy for two years.

Woodend, as the former home of the Sitwells, makes the perfect setting for the play: Edith Sitwell researched and wrote extensively about Elizabeth I and her court, includingThe Earl of Essex. The panelled library has a Tudor feel, and makes a perfect setting for this story of romance, intrigue and tragedy. The performance takes place May 19.

Tickets: 01723 384500