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KEMP'S JIG

“I HAVE WITHOUT GOOD HELP DANCED MYSELF OUT OF THE WORLD (THE GLOBE THEATRE)”

In 1599 (or 1600 depending on which calendar one uses), Will Kemp, superstar of the European stage and chief clown of the Lord Chamberlain’s Men fell out with the playwright and fellow company shareholder William Shakespeare, resigned his shares and as any high-profile personality might do, staged an event.

He soon found he did not need a theatre to house his antics. A road would serve his needs. He danced from London to Norwich and wrote about his journey in his book The Nine Daies Wonder.

Fast Forward 400 years or so to Chris Harris; actor, clown, and mime who became intrigued by Kemp, did a vast amount of research and wrote the play we see today – Kemp’s Jig. Chris toured the play globally and it has also played at the Royal Shakespeare Company and was made into a radio drama for the BBC. The radio programme was heard by Sam Wanamaker who subsequently asked Chris to tour the USA as Kemp with his play The Wooden O, to raise funds to build the Globe, Bankside.


A truncated version of the Kemp’s Jig (as seen at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019) was televised for the arts programme, Aquarius. This programme was introduced by the then Artistic Director of the Royal National Theatre, Sir Peter Hall and the show also ran for 2 short seasons at the National Theatre. Chris’s book, Will Kemp; Shakespeare’s Forgotten Clown was published by the Kylin Press. 

 

WHEN & WHERE CAN YOU SEE
KEMP DANCE HIS MERRY DANCE?

Performing Arts Headlines

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Tea House Theatre, Vauxhall London

Postponed

A 'horrible histories' for all ages, Kemp's Jig is a romp through Elizabethan England as told through the eyes of Shakespeare's forgotten clown as he Morris dances the 125 miles from London to Norwich in a bizarre publicity stunt.

Online@theSpaceUK

8th August 2020

Will Kemp has been haunting theatres for 400 years.  When he visits a Victorian building he bumps into Music Hall star Nelly Power and discovers they have much in common.  "At the Ghostlight" - a new short piece by J.J. Leppink

Coach House Theatre, Malvern

21st November 2020

A 'horrible histories' for all ages, Kemp's Jig is a romp through Elizabethan England as told through the eyes of Shakespeare's forgotten clown as he Morris dances the 125 miles from London to Norwich in a bizarre publicity stunt.

OSO Arts Centre,
Barnes London

Postponed

A 'horrible histories' for all ages, Kemp's Jig is a romp through Elizabethan England as told through the eyes of Shakespeare's forgotten clown as he Morris dances the 125 miles from London to Norwich in a bizarre publicity stunt.

An abridged version performed as a double-bill with 'Marie Lloyd Stole My Life'

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