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The Canterbury Tales go walkabout



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 landmarks.

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 message.

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 Courtyard.

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 Molly sweeney.

 

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