A stripped back classic outside Peterborough Cathedral
The debut production of a brand-new local theatre company, Laughing Tree Theatre, is due to be performed in the cloisters at Peterborough Cathedral in September.
The company, specialising in fast-paced comedy and pop-up theatre, is set to stage an abridged version of Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus, which tells the story of an arrogant scholar who thinks he’s learned everything the world has to offer, so sells his soul to Lucifer in exchange for the gift of magic.
Despite then becoming the most renowned sorcerer in Europe and meeting legendary heroes such as Helen of Troy, he soon comes to regret his deal with the Devil.
“We’ve stripped it right back,” says the production’s director, Ellen Fraser. “We’re using a tiny cast and very little in the way of set. We’ve got a truly incredible setting at Peterborough Cathedral, so we really wanted to show off the cathedral as a backdrop.
“I’m loving working with Steph, our artistic director, on this production, because her doctorate was in early modern theatre like Marlowe and Shakespeare, so she really knows what she’s talking about.”
The Laughing Tree Theatre was originally due to debut with a comedic two-hander, The Secret Lives of Henry and Alice by David Tristram in October of last year, but the production had to be postponed due to the Covid-19 restrictions.
“It’s been a trial, getting a new company established while we’ve not been able to meet properly!” says Stephanie Collins, Laughing Tree’s artistic director. “We’ve focused a lot on online community theatre while restrictions have been in place. We’ve held monthly play readings that anyone can join and get involved in, and we’ve worked with local amateur and professional actors to produce short scenes from Shakespeare and other classic works.”
You can see Doctor Faustus on September 17 and 18 (6.30pm) at Peterborough Cathedral. The production will be in the open air, and audiences are asked to bring their own chairs.
Tickets are £10 and can be bought at buytickets.at/laughingtreetheatre.