In June 2011 Thomas Middleton's great Jacobean comedy, 'A Mad World, My Masters', directed by Professor Mike Cordner, with Dr Tom Cantrell and Mark Smith, was the first staff-directed production on the department's superbly equipped main stage.
The production was filmed, with four cameras, on its opening night by a team led by Patrick Titley, the department's Lecturer in Mutlicamera Production. The resulting film now receives its first public screening.
Thomas Middleton, one of Shakespeare's greatest playwriting contemporaries and his close collaborator on several plays, is most famous today for writing two of the finest seventeenth-century tragedies, 'The Changeling' and 'Women Beware Women'.
But he also created a brilliant array of witty and entertaining comedies set in early Jacobean London, which explore with relish a cutthroat urban world, where the "best art" of the inhabitants is "to dissemble well".
'A Mad World, My Masters' is one of the most inventive of these London comedies.
The play takes its audience on an exhilarating whirlwind ride through a series of plots and counterplots, with surprises around every corner and some of the cleverest comic plotting and dialogue written for the pre-civil war stage.
The action weaves together two contrasted stories of trickery and deceit (one involving money, the other adultery), in which those who think themselves most cunning - and who may indeed seem to be so - do not always win the race.
The play's demands allowed the outstanding technical resources of the department's principal theatre to be fully exploited.
The production was supported by a generous endowment from the Sylvia and Colin Shepherd Charitable Trust.
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