Please help us to 100% of target--we're 3/4 of the way there
This summer Fred Theatre is breathing life into a recently rediscovered Restoration comedy, The Dutch Lady.
So far the play remains anonymous, and has until only a few months ago existed purely in manuscript buried away in the archives of a public library in the United States.
The play has lain, forgotten for over three centuries. In February 2017, Dr Joseph Stephenson of Abilene Christian University (Texas) began working on the manuscript, and his edition of The Dutch Lady is forthcoming in 2018.
Joe has kindly given Fred access to the script and we’re delighted to be giving it its first recorded public performances in July in Stratford upon Avon, London and Birmingham.
We've all heard of manuscripts being "discovered"--of course, they're not discovered, but rather, "noticed," since book collectors and librarians have taken meticulous care of them through the centuries--but I never thought I would be the guy to notice a play that no one's ever heard of and work on it for the first time. At first, I was obsessed with the idea of authorship, and I looked into the fact that Edward Phillips had attributed a play called The Dutch Lady to Aphra Behn. The more I studied the play, however, the more I appreciated it for its characters, its plot, and its barely veiled political commentary (and the less I thought it was by Behn).
I want to thank the Department of Language and Literature at Abilene Christian University for sending me to Boston to look at the manuscript, as well as the Shakespeare Institute for facilitating the first recorded performance of the play and the accompanying symposium. (By the way, I do believe the play was performed in the seventeenth century, but we have no record of it.) The play was written to be put on stage, and my continuing research on the play will incorporate what we learn this summer during Fred Theatre's production.
It’s a superb play, following the exploits of Fuscara, the eponymous Dutch Lady, to marry her way out of financial difficulties. There are additional sub-plots, and a lot of laughs along the way.
As this production has only just come about we need your help to get the play on stage and help restore its place in the cannon.
We’ve already secured some wonderful support. The Shakespeare Institute is donating space for rehearsal and performance, and Joe’s university is covering our London expenses. I’m also waiting to hear back from a Birmingham-based theatre trust who may be supporting us for the performances in our home city.
However, there is still a long way to go in to cover all the production expenses, which is why I’m asking for your help today.
Fred is a small professional theatre company that doesn't receive any regular public funding, in fact most of our shows are self-funded. Any help you can give us will be gratefully received.
There are three ways you can help today:
First make a donation. We’re not offering any rewards, rather we’re hoping lots of people will make small donations just for the pleasure of giving and knowing they’ve helped a great production reach the public.
Second, please help spread the message about this crowdfunding campaign. Mention us on social media, perhaps take ten minutes to email half a dozen friends asking them to consider making a small donation.
Third, please book to come see the show—it’s going to be a great night of entertainment and you’ll be able to say you were among the first to see this wonderful, until now forgotten, Restoration comedy. Full tour dates and booking information will be on Fred’s web site soon.
Did I mention making your own donation? Please do this today, right now. The campaign in only running for a few days so please don’t delay.