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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 Kemp’s Jig (as seen at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe in 2019) was televised for the arts programme, Aquarius and the show  ran for 2 short seasons at the National Theatre. Chris’s book, Will Kemp; Shakespeare’s Forgotten Clown was published by the Kylin Press. 

We acquired the rights to the play in 2018 and since then Steve Taylor has been playing Kemp.  Our first venture was literally following in Kemp's footsteps from London to Norwich and we've since been all over the country.  The show is available as a complete play with interval or as a shorter,  one act "Fringe" version.

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

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Penlee Park Open Air Theatre, Penzance

Wednesday 16th June 2021

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.

Cygnet Theatre Exeter

Friday 18th & Saturday 19th June 2021

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.

Town & Gown Pub and Theatre

Cambridge

Sunday 1st August 2021

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.

The Coach House Theatre,

Malvern
 

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'