Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle
THIS SUMMER, from June 29 - July 10 (preview June 28), Chaucer's
The Canterbury Tales returns to its roots, when
Gareth Machin, Artistic Director of the Southwark Playhouse, along
with Ian Hastings, takes it outdoors to venues in and around Southwark
Chaucer, the bane of so many schoolboys' and indeed, schoolgirls'
lives (I remember him well!) is generally considered to be the
father of English literature; The Canterbury Tales his
most prominent work.
The unfinished poem which was started around 1387, follows 30
or so pilgrims on their five-day journey from Southwark, to the
tomb of St Thomas a Becket in Canterbury. To pass the time, each
traveller told a story.
And in reflecting the many different levels of society from which the pilgrims
came, tales ranged from the downright bawdy to those with a serious
The programme will feature The Prologue and five of the most
popular tales - The Prologue at The George Inn; The Knight's
Tale in The Gardens of St George the Martyr; The Miller's
Tale and The Nun's Priest's Tale in Little Dorrit's
Court; The Pardoner's Tale at Borough Market and
The Wife of Bath's Tale in Southwark Cathedral's Millennium
As well as seven professional actors and two musicians, 20 members
of the local community will also be taking part.
Machin's other work at the Southwark Playhouse includes The
Chimes, Gaffer and The Archbishop's Ceiling; while
previous work as Associate Director of the Bristol Old Vic, includes
Betrayal, Henry IV Part I and II, The Beggar's Opera and